The tough economic times seemed forgotten as the Archbishop of Canterbury presided over the meticulously planned wedding spectacle.
The newly titled Duchess of Cambridge wore a veil with her arms and shoulders covered in lace as she made her vows that turned the commoner bride into royalty. Pippa Middleton, Kate's sister, greeted her at the door of the abbey. She tended to Middleton's wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton, a student of late British designer Alexander McQueen.
The arrival of Middleton's limousine was the final step in a carefully choreographed procession of celebrities, dignitaries and royalty to the historic church for the nuptials.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, the grandmother and father of the groom, arrived at Westminster Abbey just moments before Middleton. Queen Elizabeth, wearing a bright yellow suit and hat, waved to the crowds as she and Prince Philip arrived to the site of the wedding.
The crowds who turned out for the event were jubilant, but at least 18 people have been arrested, Scotland Yard reported, and an abandoned car at the intersection of Grosvenor Gardens and Buckingham Palace Road was investigated by explosives officers, the BBC reported.
Middleton's mother, Carole, arrived with her son James. James was the only family member to speak during the wedding. He read a passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible.
Prince William, resplendent in a crimson tunic of the Irish Guards and accompanied by his brother Prince Harry, saluted the guards as the car left Clarence House. William wore a blue sash with his red uniform. The sash represents the order of the garter, the most senior and the oldest British Order of Chivalry. It was founded in 1348.
"He's wearing the uniform of the Irish Guards because he is the colonel of the Irish Guards," said Robert Lacey, royal historian. "He's chosen to wear it because it's going to look very good on the day. Perhaps he knows it's going to match whatever his bride to be is going to wear as well."
Riding in a Bentley, William and Harry cheerfully greeted the excited crowds who lined their route to Westminster Abbey.
"I can hardly believe it actually. I sometimes still think of them as the 15 and 13 years olds that they were ... terrible naughty teenagers and here they are young men about to launch into a new chapter of William's life. How exciting," said Colleen Harris, former press secretary to the royal family.