SNOHOMISH — The gleaming tables at Amy McDaniel’s house on Friday morning were the centre of attention: handsomely set with fine china, crystal champagne flutes, little silver bells and wooden fans.
The Royal Wedding Extravaganza was to be a civilised, right royal affair.
A sign informed guests there was no need to remove their glass slippers. Ladies hats were to be worn at all times. Ladies attire was to be elegant and colourful, their jewellery radiant but not gauche.
The ladies were starting to arrive. They were energised, keen as mustard.
But there was one problem in the programme.
“I didn’t think about TiVo recording the new ‘Good Morning America’ over the old one,” said McDaniel, 42.
The recording of the royal wedding she’d watched on a special “Good Morning America” at 3 a.m. had been erased. About 30 women were on their way over to watch. It would be a disaster.
Fortunately, she had a backup recorded from a different telly. Her husband Brad was able to figure out how to get that wired to the big-screen telly, and Bob’s your uncle, problem solved.
As the ladies tasted their heart-shaped cucumber-and-cream cheese finger sandwiches, biscuits and tea, their hostess explained a few rules.
The ladies were to ring the bells every time they heard “prince” or “princess.” They were to blow soap bubbles when Middleton, now known as Her Royal Highness Duchess of Cambridge, walked down the aisle with Prince William, the newly-titled Duke of Cambridge.
Ladies were to rise and curtsy whenever Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II appeared. For Prince Charles, they must salute. And when Prince Harry, the last remaining royal bachelor, appeared on screen they were to fan themselves with vigor.
The room held a champagne toast after the Welsh gold ring was struggled onto Middleton’s finger and the Archbishop of Canterbury pronounced them husband and wife.
McDaniel decided to host a royal wedding viewing party shortly after the royal couple announced their engagement.
“I have four boys, which is why I’m into getting to have as much girly stuff as I can,” McDaniel said. Guests brought homemade dishes to share: fruit salads, cookies, er, biscuits, and those finger sandwiches.
Beth Hamlin of Snohomish made a chocolate biscuit cake, similar to the one Prince William requested as the groom’s cake.
She wore a floral bridesmaid dress that she wore at her sister-in-law’s 1991 wedding and the cream-coloured pillbox hat she last wore for a friend’s wedding — in 1986.
“My favorite part of the wedding was when Harry turned around and stole a peek at Kate and then he just smiled and he whispered to his brother,” she said. “I want to know what William said when Kate got up to him.”
Sisters Joan Robinett Wilson and Julie Robinett Smith of Snohomish fashioned their own hats for the occasion. Wilson’s looked like a wedding cake made from several boxes and what Yanks call “duct tape,” adorned with red silk carnations, two British flags and a bride and groom cake topper.
“I want to see the dress and the little flower girls and what big hat Camilla has on,” Wilson said.
Smith’s hat was mostly a large, swooping bill, with ribbon and flowers on one side. She liked Middleton’s long-sleeved lace and ivory satin gown. “I’m just waiting to see if long sleeves come back in fashion now,” Smith said.
McDaniel said she wasn’t expecting as many people to come to her party when she first started planning, but interest in the event quickly grew.
“When else do we get to dress up and wear hats and bring out the china?” she said.
McDaniel and her husband, married for almost 16 years, agreed on the advice they would give the royal couple if asked.
“Don’t think it’s going to be easy, enjoy each other and have fun,” she said.
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; firstname.lastname@example.org.