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A simple Royal wedding? Britain simply won't allow it

No doubt the planning is already under way for the royal wedding, which is expected to take place some time during the spring or summer of 2011. Leave the cost and logistics to the number crunchers; bring on the pomp and ceremony! Or perhaps not? Already, there are those who feel that, if left up to Prince William and Kate Middleton, the wedding would be a decidedly low-key affair.

"They would have a simple-down-to-earth wedding," speculates Ciara Hunt, Royal Family expert and former editor in chief of Hello! Canada. "But the fact is, the world and Britain will not allow that. Everyone is so excited they are getting married."

As for wedding planners, just leave it to the team at Clarence House, the official residence of Prince Charles, in London, Ms. Hunt says. "Clarence House has managed this relationship, the courtship - everything about William and Kate. They will very much make sure to manage the wedding as well."

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Of course, that doesn't preclude some early speculating.

The Dress

Every detail will be subject to scrutiny - from the choice of designer and to the length of the train. Judging from her sartorial track record, Ms. Middleton is not a true fashion plate. Yes, she has been known to carry handbags from big labels such as Prada, Mulberry and Longchamp, and she generally appears elegantly turned-out in proper coats and figure-flattering dresses, but Ms. Hunt shoots down the likelihood of couture "frivolity."

Translation: fashion diehards should not hold their breaths for a creation from British geniuses John Galliano or Vivienne Westwood. Ms. Middleton, who worked as an accessories buyer for High Street chain Jigsaw, is particularly loyal to Issa London, a contemporary dress label designed by Brazilian expat Daniella Issa Helayel. Is it pure coincidence that Ms. Helayel recently branched out into custom wedding gowns?

Among the other contenders: Stella McCartney (daughter of Paul and highly regarded for her pared-back yet feminine aesthetic); Jenny Packham, whose frocks are popular among young brides, and Phillipa Lepley and Bruce Oldfield, local wedding designers for the well-heeled.

One other possibility is Elizabeth Emanuel, the woman behind Diana's poufy princess creation - pearl embellishments, ivory silk, taffeta, lace. As for Victoria Beckham, whose namesake label has earned accolades across the industry, Ms. Hunt gives her a slim chance. "It would be fabulous but I really doubt it."

The coif

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Will she or will she not pin her hair up? That's the question posed by hair enthusiasts and fans of her enviably lustrous locks. "She absolutely loves wearing it down," observes Ms. Hunt, who hastens to add, "But I imagine she'll wear it up because she'll have all those jewels to show off."

The church

As experts see it, there really are only two choices, both equally poignant: St. Paul's Cathedral where Diana was married or Westminster Abbey, where her funeral took place. Ms. Hunt points out that the church will dictate the dress design but that for wow factor alone, a massive train à la Diana is a non-negotiable.

The food

According to an article in last week's Daily Mail, a number of notable caterers have already proposed menu plans to Clarence House in advance of the big day. Odds are that some of the fare will come from Home Farm, the organic and sustainable working farm overseen by Prince Charles, where mutton is bred to such high standards that it gets sent to the Ritz Hotel in London.

Meanwhile, the couple is regularly spotted at Tesco, the major supermarket chain, and when out for meals at local restaurants, Prince William apparently indulges in heartier pub grub while she sticks to salads and fish.

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The music

Elton John sang farewell to England's rose so it would not be too farfetched to find him performing at the ceremony. The couple has never made their music tastes too public, although the Prince once had quite the fondness for the Spice Girls. Note to Posh, Baby, Sporty, Scary, Ginger: If ever there were an occasion worthy of a reunion, this would be it.

Canadian guests

The consensus among social butterflies is that Galen and Hilary Weston, who are as close to a royal couple as it gets in these parts, will receive an invitation. After that, it's anyone's guess. Names being tossed around include, of course, Autumn Kelly, the Montreal-born wife of Peter Phillips (son of Princess Anne) and Tony Graham, the president of Wittington Investments Limited (Mr. Weston's holding company), who was on a shooting trip with Prince Charles a few weeks ago.

But some clues could be taken from another royal wedding 30 years ago as to who else from Canada may be invited.

In 1981, among the 2,500 guests at St. Paul's Cathedral in London for the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana were three Canadians: governor-general Edward Schreyer, his wife, Lily, and prime minister Pierre Trudeau. Although Prince Charles had invited some of his own Canadian friends, Mr. Schreyer and his wife, and Mr. Trudeau were there as the country's official representatives.

Prince William could follow the same protocol, inviting Governor-General David Johnston and his wife, Sharon, as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen.

With a report from Jane Taber

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