A Kate Stand-In Stars in Official Dress Rehearsal

Royal Wedding Dress Rehearsal Outside Westminster Abbey
A full military rehearsal took place on the route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace

04/27/2011 AT 07:30 AM EDT

If practice makes perfect, the Royal Wedding should come off without a hitch.

Early Wednesday morning, about one thousand members of the British military ran through the wedding service, and their objective seemed clear: to safeguard bride Kate Middleton without obscuring the crowd's view of her come Friday's wedding day.

At 4 a.m. London time, a swarm of military officials descended upon Westminster Abbey, all preparing for the big day.

"There were hundreds and hundreds of mounted military, all on horseback," says Janelle Howell, who has been camping outside Westminster Abbey since Tuesday. "And then the cars and coaches came. Dozens of them. And people got out of each car and entered the church, just like the guests will. It was quite the spectacle."

Among the vehicles was the car that Kate will take to the Abbey on Friday. As a pretty brunette emerged from the black sedan, several onlookers started to cheer – before realizing that she was a lookalike.

"It was a dry run," says observer Sherelle Newton. "Everyone was figuring out where they should be on Friday. But they were careful to make sure the crowds would be able to see Kate."

Even though the assembled crowd got a sneak peek, the dress remains a mystery. The lookalike was wearing slacks and a black sweater.

Entertainment Tonight cameras got video of the pageantry – and will reveal more (using night vision!) Wednesday night.

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