Even two hours before the ceremony's scheduled start, messages of congratulations and celebration streamed in from royal fans worldwide.
As the royal motorcade made its way toward the church, Twitter users steadily picked up the pace of their online conversation, ultimately peaking at a rate of 15,000 tweets per minute. By the time Middleton made her way down the aisle, Twitter users had generated about 1.5 million tweets since midnight.
In the hour leading up to Kate's entrance, "royal wedding" was trending online in the U.S., U.K., South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina. Later, it started trending in Japan, Nigeria and Turkey.
In the U.K., Twitter revealed that many British revelers were enjoying the festivities with an early morning cocktail. About two hours before the ceremony started, "Pimm's," the name of a popular British drink, nearly broke into the top 10 U.K. trends.
"Pimms surprisingly refreshing for breakfast," tweeted one partygoer in England.
As the female guests entered the Abbey in their eye-catching, high-fashion headpieces, "hats" began popping in tweets worldwide. And just minutes before Middleton entered the church on her father's arm, #proudtobebritish surfaced as the third top trend in England.
After the public caught its first glimpse of her dress, "Grace Kelly" started trending, as viewers commented on the style of her long-sleeved, lace dress.
Even television host Kelly Ripa chimed in with the tweet: "Modern day Grace Kelly! Looooove it!"
"Can you imagine now nervous and excited Kate Middleton must be right about now??!! #royalwedding," Ivanka Trump, mogul Donald Trump's daughter, posted.
Online Outpouring From All Over the World
On Facebook, fans around the world posted early-bird status updates congratulating the royal couple and letting friends know that they had crawled out of bed for the big event.
In the past 24 hours, more than 1 million people in the U.K. referenced the wedding in their status updates, Facebook said. In just four hours Friday morning, 684,399 status updates mentioned the royal wedding, for an average of 47 mentions every second.
Kate Middleton was the top mention in the U.K., but star performer Elton John won 12,000 mentions and Princess Beatrice's unusual hat earned a Facebook fan page ('Princess Beatrice's Ridiculous Royal Wedding Hat') that already has 4,000 fans.
In the hours leading up to the moment William and Kate exchanged their vows, posts poured in from all over the globe -- from Argentina and Mexico to the Philippines and Thailand to Nigeria and Zambia.
"Can't wait to see the bride's dress=S it's almost 3a.m. In Mexico but i can't miss the royal wedding," posted one Facebook user.
Another Facebook member said, "This freakin awesome cnt wait to wat da prince iz wearin!my eyez r glued to tha screen wachn it al da way from zambia."
For many admirers of the royal family, watching Prince William's nuptials served as a reminder of his beloved mother.
"watching from Worcester Ma I remember watching his moms wedding Congratulation!!!!!!! I wish u the best in the future," said one woman, reminiscing on Facebook.
A proud Brit posted, "here i am wathing the tv in Leeds with my two girls just like i did with my mum when diana got married x."
Royal Wedding Breaks Record for Live Streamed Video
By the time the newlyweds drove away as a married couple, Twitter users had tweeted up a storm of more than 3 million tweets -- double the volume generated by this year's Super Bowl and rivaling the Twitter activity around the 2010 World Cup Final, which was a standout worldwide social media event.
Wedding-related phrases, from "William & Kate" to "Grace Kelly" to "#rw2011," also dominated all of the top 10 trending worldwide terms.
The hashtag #proudtobebritish continued to swell until it became the top trending term worldwide. The hashtag, which steadily gained steam throughout the event, seemingly echoed a tweet posted by Victoria Beckham Thursday.
"London looks beautiful!!!we are so proud to be British! X VB x," she wrote.
But not all trends on Twitter were so prim and proper. Cheeky tweeters started posting "QILF" and "PILF" in messages commenting on "gorgeous" Middleton and her brother-in-law Prince Harry.
"Prince Harry in that uniform...I soooooo would ;) #PILF," said one tweeter.
Middleton's sister Pippa (Philippa) Middleton was also a trend on Twitter, even attracting a mention from sometime Twitter king Justin Bieber.
"congrats to William and Kate ...and Kate's sister. She was a hit with @thatrygood," he wrote, apparently referring to his friend Ryan Good.
William and Kate's balcony kisses also made it into the top 10 trends in the U.S., although the first one – a brief peck -- garnered mostly negative commentary. The second kiss, however, won over Twitter romantics who tweeted more celebratory posts.
Camilla Parker-Bowles, Prince Charles' wife, also took a few blows on Twitter, as critics bashed her fashion sense and lamented that Princess Diana couldn't attend the wedding instead.
Eight of the top 10 Google searches early Friday morning were related to the wedding, including searches for "Princess Diana" and "Bentley."
According to Yahoo, Middleton's dress, shoes and tiara spiked in search, as did the questions, "What do royal earls do?," "What does pippa mean?" and "What is William prince of?"
The wedding also broke a record for live streamed video, previously held by the 2010 World Cup. According to Akamai Technologies, Inc., a leading Web services company that monitors Internet traffic, concurrent live streams of the royal wedding served by the company surpassed the World Cup's 1.6 million. The company also said it saw a "clear spike" in traffic in its News Index, which monitors real-time global news consumption, and noticed elevated traffic in Europe.
Keynote Systems, a leading mobile and Internet performance monitoring company, said the wedding was also a major mobile event. At around 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. ET, the company said the response time for several major news outlets' mobile sites nearly doubled, indicating increased interest in accessing the news at those times.
In the week leading up to the royal wedding, chatter intensified online. Over the past week, Twitter users posted 2.1 million messages about the wedding (a number surpassed in just the first half of the royal wedding day itself) and Facebook users in the US posted 1.77 public status updates with the phrase "royal wedding."