Royal Wedding Weekend in NYC
by Mallory Passuite, 04/06/2011
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The royal wedding of Britain's Prince William and princess-to-be Kate Middleton—about which the tabloid buzz has already reached a fever pitch—will finally take place on April 29 at London's Westminster Abbey. Whether you're a Londoner looking to escape the hoopla or an expat, visitor or local looking to immerse yourself in it, New York City offers something for everyone, with hotel deals and packages, airline discounts and special events.
For Brits seeking retreat or to take advantage of the official holiday (the "I do" date falls conveniently between Easter and May Day weekends, begetting an extended bank holiday), American Airlines is offering attractive fares from the United Kingdom to NYC the weekend of the wedding. The airline recently partnered with British Airways to offer an hourly "shuttle" service between London and New York City. Visit aa.com to book. Once here, there's plenty of NYC fun to get lost in.
The London NYC offers guests a private in-suite royal wedding celebration with a traditional English breakfast, delivered during the early-morning broadcast of the ceremony, an English floral bouquet, champagne and truffles.
Treat yourself like royalty at The Waldorf=Astoria, which offers two April packages in its recently renovated Royal Suite, the former residence of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. One includes accommodations in the suite on April 28, for a formal cocktail party for up to 40 guests, with a custom British menu.
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, is offering a special "Discover Downtown" package, with rooms that reveal sweeping views of Lower Manhattan, a full American breakfast at 2 West Restaurant (the hotel's modern American bistro), ferry tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Libertini cocktails back at 2 West.
TLC—the TV network of shows like Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings and Cake Boss—is taking over Times Square on the big day. A week’s worth of pre-wedding coverage culminates with a live production and viewing party in Father Duffy Square. Randy Fenoli of Say Yes to the Dress will host the festivities from Times Square as the nuptials stream live on two digital billboards. Other activities include a Say Yes to the Dress fashion show featuring past favorites from the program, the on-site weddings of three couples and Grammy-winning artist Colbie Caillat performing her new single, “I Do,” live.
The New York Palace will host a royal wedding viewing party on April 29 in its Drawing Room. For $150 per person, guests can view the ceremony on flat-screen televisions, enjoy a traditional English breakfast and receive keepsake New York Palace slippers. Breakfast will be served at 6am to correspond with the ceremony, which begins at 11am London time, and will conclude with a champagne toast.
The Paley Center for Media will also be hosting a viewing party on April 29, and a quirky one at that: guests are invited to don their old (and, yes, presumably tacky) bridesmaids' gowns. The ceremony will stream live from London in HD on the center's theater screen while guests enjoy tea, scones and TV wedding trivia. The party begins at 5:30am; it's free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Book your ticket at paleycenter.org.
The DUMBO Improvement District is setting up a massive screen under the Manhattan Bridge for a free, live viewing of the wedding ceremony, with a British-style street party, plus a ticketed Big Apple Brits party with drinks and DJs at the DUMBO Loft that evening. Visit royalweddingnyc.com for more info.
Rehearsal Dinners and Receptions
Tea & Sympathy, a British comfort-food spot located in a corner of the West Village known as Little Britain, will host a rehearsal dinner on April 28, the night before the big day, plus a special menu of royal food all weekend. The restaurant-shop is teaming up with the French restaurant Lyon, its Greenwich Avenue neighbor, to host a block party complete with royal wedding cake. While in the neighborhood, check out other British hotspots like A Salt & Battery, for authentic fish and chips, Myers of Keswick, for British-food favorites and Lulu Guinness, the British brand known for quirky accessories. The latter will be offering wedding cake and refreshments from 11am to 7pm on April 29, as well as selling Brit-themed pieces.
The St. George's Society of New York, a group for British expats and American Anglophiles, will host a royal wedding reception fund-raiser bash on April 29 at Times Square's Edison Ballroom. The ticketed event includes a cocktail reception, a three-course dinner, live music and clips of ceremony highlights, plus an auction to raise money for St. George's Society beneficiaries and scholars. Visit stgeorgessociety.org to purchase tickets.
British fashion brand Ted Baker will fete the royal wedding with “Better Kate Than Never,” an Anglophilic accessory and undergarment collection (which includes baby-blue boxer briefs, spotted with three-tier wedding cakes that are topped with British flags) and a two-day celebration. The new Ted Baker store in the Meatpacking District will serve champagne and “fancy French cake” from 11am to 7pm on April 29 and from noon to 6pm on April 30.