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.
“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.
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“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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.