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15 Ways Meghan's Wedding Will Be Different from Kate's

The bride-to-be is making history—and doing it her own way.

When Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry in a few weeks, the wedding of the year is sure to be a unique blend of centuries-old tradition and personalized touches (just as the couple has promised). One thing is for sure, though: The nuptials are going to be decidedly different from Kate Middleton's pomp and circumstance-filled wedding to Prince William. Here's a look at the 15 ways these two very different weddings reflect these two very different brides. And more on the royal wedding, check out 18 Biggest Royal Wedding Guest Etiquette Dos and Don'ts.

 One was a holiday, one isn't 

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When Prince William married Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011, the date was a bank holiday. Meghan's May 19th wedding won't be an official holiday, but Brits won't have to miss a minute of the televised festivities because the nuptials because fall on a Saturday.

One bride is American, the other is veddy British

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Meghan will make history as the first American to marry into the royal family in 81 years. The last American to wed a royal was Wallis Warfield Simpson—with decidedly different results. King Edward III abdicated his throne in 1936 for the twice-divorced socialite, setting in motion the events that led to Elizabeth II's ascension to the throne. Kate is, without question, British to the core.

 The Long-term Relationship vs. The Whirlwind Courtship 

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By the time they were married in 2011, Kate had dated William (with one brief break-up) for ten years. Meghan, who was previously married to producer Trevor Engelson for three years, had a whirlwind courtship of about sixteen months when Harry popped the question. And for more on Prince Harry, check out these 25 Reasons Why Prince Harry is the Coolest Royal.

 Different Churches 

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Kate married William amid the pageantry of Westminster Abbey in the heart of London. Meghan and Harry will say their vows at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, about sixty miles outside of the city.

The Guest List  

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Heads of state and politicians like then Prime Minister David Cameron were invited to Kate's wedding. Politicos—including Harry's good friends Barack and Michelle Obama and Prime Minister Theresa May—were left off the guest list for Meghan's wedding. The couple wisely decided to invite only friends and family, which include Meghan's co-stars from Suits.

Image via flickr all creative commons

The Public's Access 

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An estimated half-million people lined the procession route in London hoping to a glimpse of the bride on Kate and Williams's wedding day. Meghan and Harry have invited more than 2,600 members of the public on to the grounds of Windsor Castle, who will get an up close and personal glimpse of the day's festivities.

Sisterly Love—or not 

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Kate famously had her BFF and sister, Pippa Middleton, as her Maid of Honor. Meghan hasn't spoken to her half-sister Samantha Grant (who has since changed her last name back to Markle) in years. Samantha has been a vocal critic of Meghan and Harry and, not surprisingly, isn't on the guest list — but word is she'll be a television commentator on the big day. Uh-oh.

The Fathers of the Brides

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Kate is extremely close to both her parents and was accompanied on the drive to the church by her father, Michael Middleton, who walked his daughter down the aisle. The exact role Meghan's father, Thomas Markle, might play in the upcoming wedding remains a mystery. It was reported that Meghan wanted her mother, Doria Ragland, to walk her down the aisle and that her reclusive father, who lives in Mexico, would not attend the ceremony. Photographs have surfaced showing Thomas exercising—and even reading tourism books on Britain—so perhaps he'll be there for his daughter after all. The Palace isn't telling, so everyone could be in for a big surprise.

Picking Up the Tab

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Kate's parents insisted on contributing to the cost of her wedding—a reported $34 million—to William. The Queen is picking up the tab for Meghan and Harry's big day, which won't cost as much but will still run in the millions.

A Royal Outcast is Being Invited

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Perennial royal outcast Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was not invited to Kate and William's wedding back in 2011, but she is reportedly on Meghan and Harry's guest list. It seems the royals are trying to make peace with Prince Andrew's ex-wife in the months leading up to wedding of their daughter, Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank, in October, which will also be held at St. George's Chapel.

The Cake

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Kate served the traditional white frosted fruitcake designed by baker Fiona Cairns. Self-proclaimed foodie Meghan is breaking with tradition and serving a lemon elderflower cake served up by Los Angeles native-turned-London baker Claire Ptak.

The Speech

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It's been reported that Meghan plans to make a speech at some point during the wedding reception. It's impossible to envision Kate even considering such a non-royal move.

The Music

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Prince Charles helped Kate select the traditional music for her wedding ceremony. Meghan and Harry have chosen all the music for the wedding themselves and have personally asked the Kingdom Choir, a Christian gospel music group, and 19-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who in 2016 won the BBC Young Musician contest last year, to perform. A recording of the performances will be made available after the wedding.

 The Glam Squad 

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Practical Kate did her own make-up on her wedding day—and looked fabulous. Meghan, who, no doubt, has a number of make-up artists on speed dial from her days in Hollywood, will likely have an A-list glam squad with her for the wedding of the year.

The Bouquet

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Kate followed a long-standing bridal tradition of royal brides leaving their bouquets on the grave of the unknown warrior in Westminster Abbey. The touching gesture was started by the Queen Mum in 1923, who left her flowers on the memorial in honor of her brother Fergus, who was killed in World War I in 1915.  Since Meghan is getting married outside of London, it is unlikely her original bouquet will wind up there, but it is possible another one will be made and left in the church afterwards.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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