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The Royal Wedding: The View from the Back Pew

April 30, 2011

Author’s Note: For years now, a former colleague of mine, Lesley Simpson, has written a monthly “View from the Back Pew” wedding column for her hometown newspaper, which doesn’t publish a full online version. I don’t agree with her on every point, but I always trust Lesley’s whimsical but thorough assortment of observations and quotes to make me feel like I was really there. Lesley has kindly agreed to let The Brown Tweed Society re-print her column about the recent Royal wedding. Enjoy!

Hello again, my fellow nuptial enthusiasts! I know all you “nupie groupies” have heard quite a bit about the Royal wedding already. It was one for the ages, wasn’t it?! And you know me, I milled around the wedding festivities all day to try to bring you some inside stories and viewpoints. Like I always say, you hear the juiciest stuff in the back pew!

  • At the reception, I spoke to one family member who gave me the inside scoop on what the groom and his brother were wearing. She said that she was really proud of William and Harry for saving up some money and buying their tuxedos at Mens Wearhouse rather than renting. Said the family member, “And they went during the spring sale, so they also got a Buy One Get One free deal. Now both of ‘em also have funeral suits to wear when their crazy old grandparents, Philip and Elizabeth, finally kick the can.” This family member was one of many who steadily dipped into the champagne fountain all night, so I’ve omitted her name to save her a bit of embarrassment for that quote.


  • There had been some degree of uncertainty about Kate’s engagement ring and the wedding bands. But several sources confirmed to me that William absolutely, positively went to Jared.


  • A couple of younger women sat in front of me and talked about the readings. One said, “If I hear that ‘faith, hope, love, and the greatest of these is love’ thing in one more wedding, I’m going to walk up there, rip out that page, and burn it!” Her companion said, “No you won’t, you’ll just complain about it to me again. Besides, I think it’s nice, you heartless old hag.” The first one said, “Who is this sentimental fool, and what did she do with Maggie?” They grinned at each other, and then they both cringed through the next reading about the wife’s “proper” place in the marriage.


  • The bridesmaids’ dresses were too tight. Period. You’re in the historic Westminster Street Methodist Church, not on the street corner, girls! I can’t believe Kate’s mother didn’t put a stop to that—she must have been outvoted!


  • It blew me away—William and Kate both knew about my column, even though they’re two towns over from me, of course. So both of them actually agreed to talk to me for a couple of minutes.


  • Here’s what William said to me while Kate danced with her dad at the reception: “You know, a lot of little stuff went wrong today. The limo Harry and I rented smelled like puke. I cut myself shaving four times this morning—happens every time I know people are actually going to be looking at my face. My cousin Fergie (they call her that because of her Black Eyed Peas obsession) gave Wild Turkey to my sixteen-year-old nephew at the rehearsal dinner, and he ended up ripping up half the flowers and…relieving himself…in the banquet room at the restaurant. So now they’re charging us $500 for a carpet cleaning and threatening to ban my whole family from every going there again.”


  • Then William said, “But Lesley, none of that matters. I’m the happiest guy in the world today and the luckiest idiot you’ll ever meet. I mean, just look at her. And she’s so smart, and so talented, and stronger than I’ll ever be. My life just got immeasurably better.”


  • And here’s what Kate said to me while William was doing the garter toss: “I heard some of William’s family complaining about the food a few minutes ago. I mean, what do they expect here—this ain’t Buckingham Palace!


  • Kate went on to say, “But it’s OK. It all went pretty well. And I’ve got myself a heck of a man, haven’t I? He mostly does what I tell him! But he also calls me out when I’m being crazy—in a sweet way. Most people have a mean streak when they get stressed out, but not William. Not even close, bless his heart. He’s a kind, decent man. He’s going to be a great dad.”   

So that’s my View from the Back Pew on the wedding of William and Kate Royal at the Westminster United Methodist Church on April 23, 2011.

I love what I get to do in this column, dear readers! It’s easy — and fun sometimes, I’m not going to lie — to get caught up in both the “storybook” versions and the “soap opera” or “tabloid” versions of weddings that the media-wedding industrial complex sells like crazy. But all that hoopla that you see on TV isn’t what the best weddings are all about. I love weddings because of what I heard from William and Kate last Saturday. Two real people, flesh and blood, warts and all, who are brave enough to make a commitment to each other and each other only, smart enough to know that the hard work is just beginning in their new family, and crazy enough in love — in a good way — to believe they can face down even the most bruising challenges. God bless them, I say.

—Lesley Simpson, April 2011

  1. Porter permalink
    May 1, 2011 1:31 pm

    Well done.

  2. Paul permalink*
    May 2, 2011 3:06 pm

    That’s good stuff.


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