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Published: Monday, April 25, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

Wedding-watching strategies for Friday's royal event

Wedding-watching strategies for Friday's big event

  • Britain's Prince William and bride-to-be Kate Middleton during a recent visit to Northern Ireland.

    Niall Carson / Associated Press

    Britain's Prince William and bride-to-be Kate Middleton during a recent visit to Northern Ireland.

  • Members of Britain's Household Cavalry take part in a rehearsal for this week's pre-wedding activities.

    Matt Dunham / Associated Press

    Members of Britain's Household Cavalry take part in a rehearsal for this week's pre-wedding activities.

  • Carriage restorer Dave Evans cleans the Glass Coach at the Royal Mews in central London, one of the carriages to be used in the wedding of Britain's P...

    Dominic Lipinski / Associated Press

    Carriage restorer Dave Evans cleans the Glass Coach at the Royal Mews in central London, one of the carriages to be used in the wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The Wedding of the Century is almost here.
Yes, it's all happening Friday, at 3 a.m. here, 11 a.m. in London.
At that fateful hour, the royal wedding of Prince William of Wales, second in line of succession to the throne of the United Kingdom, and Catherine Middleton, a commoner known as Kate, will commence at Westminster Abbey before a worldwide TV audience of 2 billion people, according to an estimate from British authorities.
That's more than a quarter of the Earth's population.
Will you be one of the watchers?
Coverage of the opulent nuptials will be hard to escape with nearly every major network in the universe offering programming all week long, before, during and after the ceremony.
Here are three ways to mark the historic event.
Plan A: Stay up all night
The royal wedding: Turn on the TV on Thursday night and you'll be soaking in it. If there's anything newcomers need to make this wedding meaningful, it's context.
We recommend you just pull an all-nighter Thursday.
Don your tiara and pearls, brew a pot of black tea -- Twinings brand if you can get it -- and kick back. (See The Herald's food section on Wednesday for recipe ideas.)
At 9 p.m., start with TLC's "Countdown to the Royal Wedding." If you're feeling a bit more intellectual, watch "William and Kate: A Royal Wedding" on KCTS, chronicling the couple's romance and the historical significance of royal weddings.
At 10 p.m. on E!, Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira will present "Inside the Royal Wedding," a documentary about the wedding preparations.
At 11 p.m., watch "A Tale of Two Princesses" on Biography, showcasing the similarities and differences between Kate and Princess Diana, William's late mother.
By midnight, live coverage of the events will have already begun on various networks, though you won't see the actual nuptials -- expected to take one hour -- until 3 a.m.
And that won't be the end of the pageantry.
About 4:15 a.m. local time, the happy couple will travel to Buckingham Palace by horse-drawn carriage past numerous landmarks.
At 5:25 a.m., William and Kate will reappear on a balcony at the palace with Queen Elizabeth II, the bridegroom's grandmother, and other members of their families and mark the occasion with -- it is fervently hoped -- a public kiss.
Then they'll retreat inside for a formal reception, followed by a more casual evening party.
Hint: Take the day off Friday so you can nap.
Alternate plan: Skip the preshow and set your alarm for 2:45 a.m.
Plan B: Record it
You're not going to miss the royal wedding.
Record it and watch when you want to.
TLC, according to local TV listings, will rebroadcast the event at 5 and 9 a.m. and 8 and 11 p.m.; and TLCHD at 6 a.m. and 5 and 8 p.m.
Plan C: Watch the highlights
Skip the blow-by-blow and watch all the highlights on Friday after work.
Start with "Inside the Royal Wedding" at 6 p.m., followed by the "Royal Wedding Highlights Special" on the BBC at 8 p.m. and, the grand finale, "Fashion Police Royal Wedding Special" on E! at 10 p.m.
Now that's a party.
Check The Herald's daily TV listings for more details, or search for your area and cable provider at tvguide.com/listings.

Sarah Jackson: 425-339-3037, sjackson@heraldnet.com.

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