THE MUSIC IS SET, THE CAKE NEARLY BAKED, THE DRESS IN FINAL FITTINGS. WITH DAYS TO GO BEFORE THEIR APRIL 29 NUPTIALS, WILL AND KATE ARE, A FRIEND SAYS, RELAXED AND READY TO SAY THEIR VOWS
A Day to Remember
A fairy tale unfolds as Kate gets a royal title, the world gets a look at that dress-and the girl next door marries her prince
8:30 A.M. LONDON TIME:
Will the bride and groom be given new royal titles? If so, they'll be announced early in the morning.
Guests start arriving at the North Door of Westminster Abbey.
Mother-of-the-bride alert! Carole Middleton arrives from a London hotel.
The Queen and Prince Philip arrive from Buckingham Palace; the groom arrives from Clarence House.
Bridesmaids, led by maid of honor Pippa Middleton, arrive.
Here comes the princess bride! Kate and dad Michael Middleton make a grand arrival in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI. The big reveal: Kate's wedding dress!
The ceremony-led by the Dean of Westminster and officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury-begins, with the Bishop of London giving a "personal address." William places a wedding band on Kate's finger; he's chosen to go ringless. The Choir of Westminster Abbey, the Chapel Royal Choir and the London Chamber Orchestra perform.
Bells herald the newlyweds' departure for Buckingham Palace in one of two fairy-tale carriages: the open State Landau Coach (fair weather) or the enclosed Glass Coach (rain).
The couple and their families return to the palace and pose for private photos.
The big balcony moment as the newlyweds greet the crowds from on high. Will the bride and groom share a much-anticipated kiss?
Royal Air Force flyover.
The Queen's reception for 600 guests, with champagne and canapes. Also: the cake-cutting!
The bride and groom are driven to St. James's Palace via the Mall by car-likely the last time they'll be seen in public that day.
Party time! A select 300 guests will celebrate at Charles' bash at the palace. No clues on when the night will end-or where the newlyweds will head for their honeymoon. "This will," says a Palace spokesman, "be a private holiday for the two of them."
(1) BUCKINGHAM PALACE
The Queen's primary residence is a mile from Westminster Abbey.
(2) THE CARRIAGE
Kate and William will share the same 1902 State Landau Coach that carried Charles and Di.
(3) CLARENCE HOUSE
William and Harry's London digs near St. James's Palace, where they'll get ready.
(4) ST. JAMES'S PARK
The historic park is home to a pelican colony and affords views of the palace and a small lake.
(5) THE MALL
The boulevard connecting Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace teemed with tens of thousands for Charles and Di's wedding.
(6) HORSE GUARDS PARADE
The site of the Trooping the Colour flag ceremony, which honors the Queen's birthday every June.
(7) 10 DOWNING STREET
The official home of British Prime Minister David Cameron and his family.
(8) THE EYE
The 443-ft.-tall Ferris wheel on the banks of the River Thames will be kitted out with Union Jack bunting in honor of the big day.
(9) HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT AND BIG BEN
Chiming hourly, Big Ben is the bell-not the clock tower. It's part of a former palace that now is the Houses of Parliament.
(10) WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Sir Isaac Newton, Chaucer and other luminaries are buried in this hallowed church-also the site of Elizabeth's 1947 wedding to Philip and Diana's 1997 memorial service.
Above: How the day will go
After the Wedding, The Queen's Reception
Like Diana, William and Kate will celebrate at Buckingham Palace
PARTY IN THE PICTURE GALLERY!
Guests at the Buckingham Palace afternoon reception will sip champagne and nibble on canapes, surrounded by works by Rubens and Rembrandt.
William and Kate's reception will be held in the same room where Princess Diana (with the Queen) was photographed with her young bridesmaids in '81.
Guests are set to sample Fiona Cairns' fruitcake topped with hand-crafted flowers; a second cake made of chocolate and tea biscuits will also be served, per William's request.
Will & Kate's Wedding Party
The Maid of Honor
Kate's sister Pippa, 27, is her closest confidante-and has sat in on planning meetings for the affair.
The Bride's Brother
James, 24, will lend moral support but won't have any official duties.
Father of the Groom
Details about Prince Charles' reception have been kept secret.
The Best Man
, 26, ever devilish, promises a toast that will "take the mickey out of" big brother Will.
The Royal Cousins
Beatrice (right), 22, and Eugenie, 21, will be on hand along with their dad, Prince Andrew-but mum Fergie
Parents of the Bride
Carole and Michael have made a private contribution for the event.
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has offered advice to Kate.
Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, will be the last royals to enter Westminster Abbey, per royal protocol.
From posh to Posh: The Glam Guest List
Britain's elite upper crust will mingle with celebs on the big day
Jecca Craig is one of a few rumored exes invited.
Pal Holly Branson's dad is Virgin billionaire Richard.
Di's friend Elton John will attend with partner David Furnish.
and a pregnant Posh will rock high fashion.
Diana's brother Earl Spencer will bring fiancee Karen Gordon.
Zara Phillips (Princess Anne's daughter) is close with Will.
Will Kate Say Yes to This Dress?
Whose gown will the princess bride choose? Bets on the best-kept secret in the land
Odds 11: 10*
While bookmakers favor aristocrat-approved Lepley, says the Queen's couturier Stewart Parvin, "I've heard the designer is somebody no one has ever heard of."
Odds 16: 1
Her floaty gowns fit the occasion. "Kate's dress has to have impact because the Abbey is such a big venue," says Brides editor Deborah Joseph.
WHICH TIARA WILL SHE WEAR?
THE DUCHESS OF TECK
Passed down to Queen Mary in 1897, it features heavenly crescents and stars.
THE GIRLS OF GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND
Queen Elizabeth received her first tiara from her "Granny" Queen Mary for her 1947 wedding.
Giving Kate the Queen Mum's tiara "would be a nice gesture," says writer Suzy Menkes.
THE QUEEN VICTORIA
Designed by Prince Albert as a gift in 1842, the dainty piece features kite-and cushion-shaped sapphires and diamonds set in gold and silver.
*Odds according to UK-based betting firm William Hill as of March 6
Odds 10: 1
This Princess Diana fave met with Carole and Pippa Middleton in January. His vision for Kate? "She has such a gorgeous figure ... I would design a simple silhouette."
Odds 12: 1
The It Brit's fans include Gwyneth Paltrow
and Kate herself. Feeding the media frenzy? Carole and Pippa were snapped with her this month.
Kate's engagement ring "is the first of Diana's sapphires she will be given," says jewelry expert Leslie Field. Next? Perhaps this pendant-a gift from the Saudi Crown Prince.
When Kate joined future stepmother-in-law Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, for lunch at a posh London hotel in February, "there was lots of talk about the dress," says an observer. "Kate kept saying how much she loved Grace Kelly's dress, and Camilla was agreeing with her."
Master & Mistress of Ceremonies!
The best man and maid of honor have duties to fulfill-and merrymaking to lead
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
WHAT SHOULD BE ON THE WEDDING PLAYLIST?
London deejay Sam Young, who has spun for William at hot spot Boujis and for the couple at the wedding of a well-heeled pal, knows their musical tastes-and has a few suggested songs for Will and Kate's evening party: "He likes hip-hop and R&B, and she likes rock and roll." At the society do, "Kate was dancing all night in front of me to '80s, Motown," he says. "She didn't sit down once."
"Empire State of Mind"
[X] Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup
"We No Speak Americano"
[X] Kings of Leon
"Sex on Fire"
[X] Swedish House Mafia
[X] Michael Jackson
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
"Heart of Glass"
"Crazy in Love"
[X] David Guetta
[X] Black Eyed Peas
"I Gotta Feeling"
A ROYAL KEEPSAKE
Memorabilia lovers on both sides of the pond are snapping up the official commemorative china-personally approved by William and Kate. Each piece in the Royal Collection (royal collectionshop.co.uk)-which includes a plate ($65) and tankard ($57)-is handmade and bears the couple's initials. "We can't get hold of them quickly enough," says U.K. retailer Stephen Church. "Everyone's grabbing a slice of the wedding."
Around 70,000 pieces of the royal china (left, with a tea towel and a decorative heart) have been made since December.
The Gift of Charity
In lieu of wedding gifts, the royal couple request donations be made to charity. Here are causes close to their hearts:
• Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund: Ugandan education; named for Will's friend who died in a car crash
• Tusk Trust: African wildlife
• Child Bereavement Charity: Launched by Diana pal Julia Samuel
• Royal Marsden: Cancer treatment
- CONTRIBUTORS By Michelle Tauber,
- Suzanne Zuckerman,
- Moira Bailey,
- Charlotte Triggs,
- Jennifer Wren,
- Lesley Messer,
- Simon Perry/London,
- Monique Jessen/London,
- Liz Corcoran/London.