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Mary Lee Herrington Headshot

Royal Wedding Or Royal Pain?

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Almost a year after the event, people are still waxing lyrical about the Royal Wedding. The dress, the bridesmaid dress, the balcony kiss and the escape in the open-top MG -- and so it follows that we are now seeing copycat dresses, copycat bridesmaid gowns, and more disappointingly, copycat weddings.

As a London-based online wedding publication, we at Reverie love to champion our most famous British wedding to date. It has shown some of our finest wedding suppliers in their best possible light, and we love the attention our city has received from the Royal Wedding. And anyone who knows me can attest to my anglophile tendencies (from obsessions with "Downton Abbey" and the Bronte sisters to my personal collection of Royal Family mugs and memorabilia. And, yes, I live in London and I love it. Enough said.).

But dare I say it? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person in the world who wasn't bowled over by Kate Middleton's (sorry, the Duchess of Cambridge's) long-sleeved wedding dress! Nor was I all that impressed with her hair (reports that it took two sessions, the second of which was four hours long just baffle me!). It was no surprise to us that there would be copying (and, boy, have we seen loads of copycat dresses hitting the racks this past year), but we were hoping that it would be less copying and more "inspired by" pieces. We only pray that the copying doesn't extend to tiaras (god help us if the tiara made a comeback!).

Let's not even mention the other royal wedding (no title caps for this reference) -- that of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall. We wish they had hired a stylist -- one who would have dressed Mike in a fine tweed suit. With his stocky build and rugby features, he would have looked so much more dashing in a suit that was actually cut for his figure than in a baggy, old-fashioned morning suit.

The problem with royal weddings is that they are ROYAL weddings and so much of what we see is based on hundreds of years of protocol and tradition, played out and produced by craftsman of the highest order. The Duchess of Cambridge's dress was made with the intention of respecting a very strict tradition and of incorporating the craftsmanship of centuries past. It was an appropriate dress -- not in any way suggestive or revealing (in some ways, it was perhaps too traditional -- the heavy skirt looked positively medieval, as heavy as the tapestries hanging on the walls of Buckingham Palace!). If your wedding is not restricted by rules of decorum that come with being a royal, why on earth would you subject yourself to the limitations and weight of those traditions when you could chose from the incredible selection of dress styles and men's suits that are more flattering on you and reflect who you are?

That isn't to say that the trend in wedding dresses with sleeves is something we detest -- far from it! One of our favorite long-sleeved looks from this past year was the form-fitting Carolina Herrera sheath worn by Bella Swan (albeit a fictional bride though nevertheless extremely real to countless girls dreaming of their Edwards!). And let's not forget the stunning backless long-sleeved dress worn by Lauren Bush Lauren -- breathtaking.

Our real beef with statements about the dress being such an "inspiration" is that, more often than not, people are too lazy to be "inspired" and just resort to the herd mentality of copying the look, without stopping to think if it really reflects who you are. Don't just copy what the Duchess of Cambridge did -- her decisions were not all her own, her new position in life and the family she was marrying into dictated what was appropriate bridal wear and what wasn't. Her new grandmother-in-law would be the Queen of England, and she the future King's consort. Her list of dos and don'ts would have been as daunting as it was explicit. She was tied by tradition and expectation, something most modern brides should be happy to be without.

This goes for men too: Please dispense with the morning suits! It makes sense for royal weddings because of their strict attention to protocol, but if you're not going to look like David Lauren wearing bespoke Ralph Lauren, take a moment to reconsider why you feel you must wear an ill-fitting suit just because that is what you think should be worn at weddings. Avoid making your wedding look like a costume party (or, as the Brits say, "fancy dress") by instead opting to wear something that makes you look like the modern man that you are, rather than something that tends to make you look shorter and stockier -- essentially something your dad would think of wearing.

On your wedding day, what you choose to wear should be about what looks great on you. So as much as Duchess Kate may have looked appropriately beautiful on her wedding day, that was her wedding. Not yours. We can admire the Royal Wedding, but let's not make it a copied royal pain.