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Image: Kate Middleton, Prince William
Sang Tan  /  AP
The ultimate wedding wreckers? Britain's Prince William and his fiancee, Kate Middleton, pose for the media at St. James's Palace in London after announcing their engagement in November.
By Laura T. Coffey
TODAY contributor
updated 1/12/2011 11:35:51 AM ET 2011-01-12T16:35:51

Hell hath no fury like a bride-to-be scorned — especially when the scorning has come down from royalty itself.

For many couples getting married this spring, joyful planning turned to stunned horror when it came to light that the wedding of the century — between Prince William and Kate Middleton — would be happening on their own special day: April 29, 2011. On both sides of the Atlantic, engaged women — and a fair share of engaged men — swooned.

Chelsea Slipko summed up the nature of the dreadfulness while trying on wedding dresses at a London department store: “It’s like having your birthday on New Year’s or your anniversary on Valentine’s Day. It’s not just your day anymore.”

Anna Whitcomb, a wedding-gown shopper at the same store in London, had this to add: “I’m supposed to be the princess, and now I have a real princess to compete with!”

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Even singer Michael Bublé joked on TODAY that the royal wedding prompted him to change the date of his upcoming wedding to Argentine model Luisana Lopilato to April 6. “I was gonna do it on the 29th, but I was afraid that it wouldn’t get any press,” Bublé told Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

‘I wanted it to be our day’
Fearing distracted guests and inevitable comparisons, some couples have indeed moved their wedding dates as far away from Friday, April 29, as possible. Others, however, are embracing the April 29 coincidence and playing up their “date twin” status.

It took a little while for Danielle Bondulic, 25, a nurse from Staten Island, N.Y., to warm up to the idea of sharing her wedding day with the royals, but now she genuinely likes the idea.

Image: Anthony Squarciafico and Danielle Bondulic
Courtesy Danielle Bondulic
At first Anthony Squarciafico and Danielle Bondulic were shocked to learn they'd be marrying on the same date as the royal wedding. They've since warmed to the idea.

“At first I was like, ‘OOOHHHHH, they picked the same day,’ ” Bondulic recalled of her initial moment of shock. “I wanted it to be our day, you know? But then everybody started calling me and saying, ‘You’re getting married the same day! You’re getting married the same day!’ Everyone was so excited, and I thought, ‘Oh. Maybe it’s a good thing.’ Then I got happy.”

For Bondulic and her fiance — Anthony Squarciafico, 26 — changing the date wasn’t really an option. The date April 29 is loaded with significance for the couple: Squarciafico’s grandparents were married on April 29, 1951, and his brother’s birthday is April 29 as well.

The couple booked a church and a ritzy reception hall last spring, and they’ve been making elaborate plans ever since: They’ll have five bridesmaids, five groomsmen, a flower girl, a ring bearer and 320 guests. It was only after all those plans were firmly in place that Wills and Kate announced their wedding date last November.

Kate and William to forgo servants

“Like I said, at first I wasn’t thrilled about having the same day,” said Bondulic, whose ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. “But now, it’ll be special, I think. ... And their wedding should air on TV in the morning our time, so it won’t conflict with our wedding.

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“I’ve been telling everyone who’s coming to our wedding, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to watch their wedding!’ ”

‘I think it adds something’
Chicago resident Katie Steiner, 30, has no qualms at all about sharing her wedding date with royalty; in fact, she’s been excited about it since the moment she learned of the coincidence.

“I think it kind of adds something,” said Steiner, who began planning an April 29 wedding last summer with her fiance, Chris Dunlop, 29. “Everyone now knows April 29, so it kind of gets them to remember our date. I think it makes it more festive.”

LikeBondulic and Squarciafico, Steiner and Dunlop are pretty much locked into an April 29 wedding no matter how they feel about the royal nuptials. As Catholics, they couldn’t get married at a Catholic church during Lent. April 29 was the first possible date a church was available after Easter, and it was the only date they could find before June 1, when Dunlop’s brother may be sent abroad for military duty.

“We really wanted to do it before then,” Steiner said. “That really narrowed it down.”

Image: Chris Dunlop and Katie Steiner
Courtesy Katie Steiner
Chris Dunlop and Katie Steiner are excited about sharing their wedding date with Prince William and Kate Middleton. (Pssst ... doesn't Chris look kind of like Prince William?)

When they learned that Prince William and Kate Middleton planned to get married the same day, they immediately embraced it — in part because Steiner’s first name, Katie, is close to “Kate,” and because Dunlop likes to joke that he looks like Prince William.

“He thinks he does,” Steiner said, laughing. “I’m like, ‘No, you don’t!’ But he does look like him a little.”

Britain will get later pub hours to celebrate royal wedding

As happy as Steiner is about the April 29 connection, though, she said she feels sorry for brides-to-be in London who are planning to marry on that date.

“All the vendors there are probably raising their prices,” she said. “It will be a holiday there, so I’m sure they’re trying to charge more.”

London brides are indeed having panic attacks at the prospect of transportation nightmares, fully booked hotels and blanket security checks throughout the sprawling city in late April. Kim Rix, a London wedding planner, advised brides there to avoid the day purely for logistical reasons.

But many brides-to-be said there is little they can do about clashing. Venues, caterers and photographers are usually booked months, if not years, in advance, and couples must put down hefty deposits on everything, making it difficult to cancel or change plans.

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“I don’t think there's anything you can do about it. It’s impossible to compete with the royal wedding,” said Thea Darricotte, 30. “You just have to adapt to it.”

Rix said couples who do find themselves sharing the prince's big day could record the royal wedding and play highlights for guests who don't want to miss out on the national celebrations. That could be fraught with awkward moments, though, and less confident brides may not like having their dresses or nuptials compared to a much more glamorous, wealthy bride like Middleton.

Deborah Joseph, the editor of Brides magazine, suggested couples marrying on April 29 take the royal wedding in stride, incorporating a Union Jack or royal theme “as a cheeky nod.”

Will Sir Paul McCartney perform at royal wedding?

British couples who marry on April 29 also have the prospect of enjoying other perks. When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1997, they invited 50 couples who had been married on the same day to a special tea at Buckingham Palace.

So a royal garden party could await 50 years down the road — providing both marriages go the distance.

This report includes information from The Associated Press.

Need a Coffey break? Friend TODAYshow.com writer Laura T. Coffey on Facebook, follow her on Twitter or check out her blog posts on Life Inc.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: The queen mother of wedding plans

  1. Closed captioning of: The queen mother of wedding plans

    >>> finally here tonight, the upcoming royal wedding of prince william and kate middleton , the biggest event in the uk since the last one. there are millions of details to be worked out. it will cost millions of dollars. there are seemingly just as many questions. our report tonight from nbc's jim meceda.

    >> reporter: prince william and his princess to be kate , or will it be catherine? the wedding, like the devil, is in the details. but a royal wedding ? even the most mundane details are the focus of worldwide speculation. where will it be, at st. paul's? or the more modest westminister abby , even of print sell elizabeth's nuptials 63 years ago.

    >> it's going to be somebody to do with westminister where royal weddings have happened. but maybe something more personal and private.

    >> reporter: some say church bells will ring in mey, others as late as august. and the dress. there's kate 's favorite designer, or perhaps someone british. much is at stake.

    >> i think it will have a huge impact on weddings to follow.

    >> reporter: even a scaled down wedding will be expensive. the cost shared by taxpayers. that's worrying many in these tough times.

    >> i'm happy for them as a couple. but i also don't like funding them, really. and their lifestyles.

    >> reporter: a spokesman says buckingham palace will contribute, too. but taxpayers are likely to foot the bill for security. in what could be one of the biggest british police operations ever, as many as 2 million spectators are expected to flood the capital of london for what could be a wedding bonanza. these plates, $50 each. there is seen a run on these knockoffs of kate 's engagement ring , the one once worn by diana. kit and williams' wedding could generate as much as a billion dollars and a ton of pride.

Photos: A royal couple's long courtship

loading photos...
  1. William and Kate

    On April 29, 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton were married, eight years after they first met at university. The prince popped the question five months earlier to his longtime girlfriend during a vacation to Kenya. Take a look at their top moments.

    Official wedding photo The online version of the royal wedding's official program includes a never-before-seen portrait of the couple, shot by Mario Testino. Testino also shot their official engagement pics. (Mario Testino / Art Partner) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A pre-wedding outing

    Kate Middleton, or the Duchess of Cambridge as she is known after the wedding, waves as she walks with Prince William in Darwen, England, on April 11, less than three weeks until the royal wedding. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Royal couple mania!

    Excited fans line up to see Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton arrive at the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy in Darwen, England, on April 11. The prince was in the town to officially open the school. (Lindsey Parnaby / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Weather or not

    Heavy rain didn't prevent Kate Middleton and Prince William from thrilling the crowd that gathered to see them as they arrive at the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy in northern England on April 11. (Phil Noble / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A perfect flip

    Prince William looks on as Kate Middleton tosses a pancake during a visit to City Hall on March 8, 2011, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Indigo / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Wedding blooms

    Britain's Prince William and his fiancee, Kate Middleton, speak to wedding florist Rachel Gibson during a visit to the Greenmount Agriculture & Food College, in Antrim, Northern Ireland, on March 8, 2011. (Paul Faith / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Remembering Christchurch

    Prince William looks on as his fiancée Kate Middleton signs the book of condolence in memory of those who lost their lives in the Christchurch earthquake at the New Zealand High Commission in London. (David Parker / WPA Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Romantic homecoming

    Prince William and Kate Middleton returned to the university where they met and fell in love on Feb. 25 with an official visit to St. Andrews on the east coast of Scotland. (Danny Lawson / WPA Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Pouring some bubbly

    Prince William and his blushing bride-to-be Kate Middleton performed a bit of royal duty, making a rare public appearance in Anglesey, Wales to christen Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station’s brand new lifeboat, the "Hereford Endeavour" on Feb. 24, 2011. (Phil Noble / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Official engagement portraits

    The couple pose in their official engagement portraits, taken by photographer Mario Testino in the Cornwall Room at St James's Palace in London on Nov. 25, 2010. (Mario Testino / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Engaged at last

    William and Kate pose for the media at St. James's Palace in London on Nov. 16, after they announced their engagement. The couple are to wed April 29, 2011. (Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Diana's ring

    This close-up shows that the engagement ring Prince William gave Kate Middleton was the one that had belonged to his mother, Princess Diana. The ring is an oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds. (Paul Hackett / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Royal couple

    Months of speculation about William and Kate's engagement grew more intense when the couple attended Harry Meade and Rosie Bradford's wedding at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul on Oct. 23, 2010, in Northleach near Cheltenham, England. (Indigo via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Chic chapeau

    In an eye-catching hat, Kate Middleton attends the wedding of Nicholas van Cutsem and Alice at The Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks on Aug. 14, 2009, in London. Middleton had been named to Vanity Fair's international best-dressed list in July 2008. (Indigo via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Wedding guests

    Prince William and Kate Middleton attend the wedding of friend Chiara Hunt in Salzburg, Austria, on Sept. 6, 2008. Two years and two months later, it was announced that the prince and his longtime girlfriend had finally become engaged. (Ikon Pictures via Rex USA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A jolly good time

    Prince Harry, Prince William's girlfriend Kate Middleton, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall laugh together as they watch the Order of the Garter procession at Windsor Castle on June 16, 2008. (Tim Graham / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Together again

    Prince William and Kate Middleton at a Royal Air Force graduation ceremony held at RAF Cranwell, England on April 11, 2008. Middleton's accompanying the prince as he was awarded his RAF wings was a clear indication that the couple had reconciled after a widely reported split a year earlier. (Michael Dunlea / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. A day at the races

    Kate Middleton attends a horse race at the Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire, western England, in this March 16, 2007, photograph. (Eddie Keogh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. On the slopes

    Prince William and Kate Middleton were spotted skiing in Klosters, Switzerland, on March 19, 2008, one of a number of public appearances together that showed that they had reconciled after a reported April 2007 breakup. (Rex USA) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. They're off!

    Prince William and Kate Middleton on the first day of the Cheltenham Race Festival in Gloucestershire, on March 13, 2007. One month later, the media reported that Middleton and the prince had broken up. (Stephen Lock / Rex USA) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Separate seats

    Prince Harry (front left) and Prince William (on Harry's left) are clearly enjoying a performance at the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium in London on July 1, 2007. So is Kate Middleton (upper right corner). At the time, rumor had it that William and Kate had reconciled after their split in April 2007, but they sat separately, insisting that they were "just good friends." (Leon Neal / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Sports fans

    Prince William and Kate Middleton attend a rugby match in London in this Feb. 10, 2007, photo. (Richard Heathcote / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Paparazzi prey

    Photographers snap pictures of Kate Middleton as she leaves her Chelsea home on Jan. 9, 2007, her 25th birthday. The growing media attention that she attracted at this time prompted warnings to the press from Prince Charles, Prince William and Middleton's lawyers. As a result, two newspaper groups decided to cease publishing paparazzi photos of Middleton. (Solo via ZUMA Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Lady in red

    Kate Middleton arrives at the Sovereign's Parade at The Royal Military Academy in Camberley, west of London, on Dec. 15, 2006. (Ben Gurr / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Guest of honor

    Kate Middleton is seen at the wedding of Laura Parker Bowles and Harry Lopes at St Cyriac's Church, Lacock on May 6, 2006, in Wiltshire, England. (Tim Graham / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Model behavior

    Kate Middleton models on the catwalk at a student fashion show attended by Prince William on March 26, 2002, in St. Andrews, Scotland. The prince reportedly paid 200 pounds to sit in the first row and watch Middleton model a sheer dress over a black bandeau and bikini bottoms. (M Neilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Heads on a platter

    In November 2006, British retailer Woolworths showed a china plate representing Prince William and Kate Middleton as a commemorative gift for their wedding. Four years later the prediction finally came true when the royal family announced that the couple were engaged. (Woolworths via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Mario Testino / Art Partner
    Above: Slideshow (27) A royal couple’s long courtship
  2. Image:
    Jayne Fincher/Getty; Davidson/O'Neill/Rex via InStyle.com
    Slideshow (13) Kate Middleton’s princess style
  3. Image: Storms And Strong Winds Batter UK Coastal Areas
    Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images
    Slideshow (51) The lives of princes

Timeline: A history of British royal weddings

Take a look back at the gorgeous and famous British royal weddings in the last 80 years.

  1. AFP - Getty Images
    Above: Timeline A history of British royal weddings
  2. Interactive Royal Wedding


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