Case in point: Kate plans to arrive at Westminster Abbey via car, not carriage.
"Catherine opted for a slightly lower-key arrival," a palace source tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. "She felt she would be arriving as Miss Middleton and leaving as HRH whatever, so that was the thinking behind it."
But fairy-tale fans, take heart: The public will still get their princess-in-a-carriage moment when William, 28, and Kate, 29, leave the abbey.
As for the parties, Queen Elizabeth will kick things off with a post-ceremony wedding breakfast of champagne and canapés for 600. At 7 p.m. Prince Charles will host a dinner dance for which Kate – and some 300 guests – will change into evening gowns.
As the date draws closer, the betrothed couple are working to ensure that not everything is revealed ahead of time.
Says a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman: "Prince William and Catherine are keen that some things be a surprise for that day, for their friends and family and those watching around the world."
For much more on William and Kate's wedding, including the bride's likely royal title and her pre-wedding princess training, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday