April 29, 2011 — -- 8:27 a.m. ET: Short and sweet: that's the best way to describe the kiss Prince William planted on his new wife. It's the first time the public has seen a lip lock between the couple. Given the hollers from the crowd below, it seems the people wanted a bit more romance.
Two minutes after their first kiss, Prince William gave Kate Middleton another brief peck.
8:26 a.m. ET: Smiling and waving, Kate Middleton and Prince William are on the balcony of Buckingham Palace soaking up the adoration of the British public.
8:15 a.m. ET: 100 million pints of beer are expected to be sold in Britain today, where it's a public holiday in honor of Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding. 5,500 street celebrations are expected to be held throughout the UK as well. Now that is a royal party.
7:38 a.m. ET: While a large-scale party takes over London, Kate Middleton's hometown is celebrating the royal wedding in its own way.
In Bucklebury, England, six pigs are roasting on spits -- two at the BBQ joint Graham's Hog Roast and four at Bucklebury Farm Park. 20 dancers from the Kennet Morris Men are performing in the park, doing a traditional British dance that's been around for centuries. (The group regularly performs at Middleton's favorite hometown pub, The Bladebone Inn.)
Locals are getting involved in duck and sheep races as well, but of course, most of their attention has been devoted to the main event: a big screen airing the wedding and champagne to sip while watching.
7:26 a.m. ET: The newlyweds have stepped out of their carriage at Buckingham Palace. Wonder if their arms are tired from all the waving?
The Queen is on their heels in her own (covered) carriage.
7:09 a.m. ET: Despite clouds overhead, Prince William and Kate Middleton are braving the risk of bad weather and riding to Buckingham Palace in an uncovered carriage, the better for the public to see them.
Their carriage is a 1902 State Landau, the same one Prince William's parents rode in after their wedding.
7:03 a.m. ET: Before he said his vows, Prince William cracked a joke that many royal wedding viewers may not have caught. According to a lipreader, at the altar, Prince William mouthed to his father-in-law, "We're supposed to have just a small family affair."
The lipreader, who spoke to the Press Association, also spotted Prince Harry comment "Right, she is here now" as Kate Middleton walked into Westminster Abbey.
6:49 a.m. ET: Despite its modern touches and designer, it's worth noting that Kate Middleton's dress, with its lace sleeves, form-fitting bodice and full skirt, looks very similar to that of another commoner-turned Princess: Grace Kelly.
6:33 a.m. ET: In his address to the couple, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, celebrated that millions of people could "share in your joy today." "This is, as every wedding day should be -- a day of hope," he said.
6:26 a.m. ET: After the couple said their vows, Kate Middleton's brother, James Middleton, read from a modern American version of the Bible during the service, urging the royal newlyweds to "associate with the lowly."
"Weep with those who weep," "live in harmony with one another," "do not claim to be wiser than you are," he said.
James Middleton's reading is the only one that will be given during the service.
6:20 a.m. ET: It's official: Prince William and Kate Middleton are now man and wife and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
6:14 a.m. ET: Prince William and Kate Middleton seem a little shaky while saying their vows. He also struggled to get the wedding band -- made of Welsh gold -- on her finger. Nerves, perhaps?
6:09 a.m. ET: At the altar, Prince William mouthed to Kate Middleton, "You look beautiful."
6:00 a.m. ET: After months of speculation, the designer of Kate Middleton's dress has finally been revealed: Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.
Buckingham Palace posted the following statement on its website:
"Miss Catherine Middleton's Wedding Dress has been designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen."
"Miss Middleton chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing. Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterises Alexander McQueen's work. Miss Middleton worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress."
"The dress epitomises timeless British craftsmanship by drawing together talented and skilled workmanship from across the United Kingdom. The dress design pays tribute to the Arts and Crafts tradition, which advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often Romantic styles of decoration. Ms. Burton's design draws on this heritage, additionally giving the cut and the intricate embellishment a distinctive, contemporary and feminine character."
5:52 a.m. ET: As Kate Middleton stepped in the car to Westminster Abbey, cameras caught a glimpse of her dress -- white with a plunging neckline and long lace sleeves. Middleton is wearing a veil over her face and a tiara on her head. Her hair is down.
5:42 a.m. ET: Though the general mood around the royal wedding is celebratory, there is some unrest.
According to Scotland Yard, ten people have been arrested around Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. The arrests included assault, possession of offensive weapon, drunk and disorderly behavior, theft, and breach of the peace.
5:33 a.m. ET: The mothers of the groom and bride chose understated, elegant outfits for the royal wedding.
Prince Charles's wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is wearing a champagne silk dress and a hand-embroidered duck-egg blue and champagne coat. Both are designed by Anna Valentine. Her hat is by the event's favorite milliner, Philip Treacy. Her shoes are Jimmy Choo.
Mrs. Carole Middleton is wearing a sky blue wool crepe coat dress over a sky blue silk shantung day dress. The dress and coat dress are by Catherine Walker. Her hat is by the designer Jane Corbett.
5:22 a.m. ET: The man of the hour has arrived. At approximately 5:19 a.m. ET, Prince William walked into Westminster Abbey with Prince Harry by his side, smiling, waving, and wearing the uniform of the Irish Guards regiment, of which he is an honorary colonel.
While his uniform has gold "sword slings," he's not wearing an actual sword.
Prince William is wearing one medal. Prince Harry -- because he fought in Afghanistan -- is wearing two.
5:04 a.m. ET: VIPs continue to file into Westminster Abbey ahead of the royal wedding's official start. Below, the approximate arrival times of some prominent attendees (all times ET):
4:02 a.m. -- Chelsea Davy, Prince Harry's girlfriend.
4:17 a.m. -- David and Victoria Beckham.
4:34 a.m. -- Earl Spencer (the late Princess Diana's brother) and fiance Karen Gordon.
4:35 a.m. -- Boris Johnson, mayor of London.
4:46 a.m. -- Elton John, wearing a morning coat and fuscha tie, and partner David Furnish.
4:49a.m. -- Former Prime Minister John Major.
4:56a.m. -- Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
4:41 a.m. ET: From sprigs to spikes to sprays of flowers, the hats atop the heads of the royal wedding's attendees are out of this world.
Philip Treacy designed many of the toppers the women at Westminster Abbey are wearing. Duchess Camilla, Princess Beatrice, and Victoria Beckham are a few of the more than two dozen women sporting the British designer's fashions. Kate Middleton also hired him to design hats for the wedding party.
Per British tradition, they'll be able to keep their hats on during the wedding.
4:23 a.m. ET: David and Victoria Beckham: they're royalty of a different sort.
The erstwhile Spice Girl and soccer star arrived at Westminster Abbey for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding at approximately 4:15 a.m. ET. Victoria Beckham opted for a demure navy blue number of her own design and a Philip Treacy hat.
Despite the fact that she's seven months pregnant, Beckham trotted into the hall in sky-high stilettos.
4:08 a.m. ET: Wedding guests are streaming into Westminster Abbey and in about 45 minutes, the British royal family and VIP's will arrive.
Meanwhile, the mass of onlookers is growing: Westminster City Council estimates that approximately 600,000 people are surrounding Westminster Abbey, with the count growing by the minute. Officials expect about a million people to gather as the day goes on.
But not everyone is swept up in the crowd. Earlier this morning, Middleton's brother, James Middleton, had breakfast with his soon-to-be brother-in-law Prince Harry at Clarence House.
3:56 a.m. ET: Prince William and Kate Middleton are hours away from walking down the aisle, but already, the conversation about their wedding has reached a fever pitch.
Since midnight ET, there have been over 300,000 tweets hashtagged with #royalwedding. By some accounts, that's more tweets than were dedicated to the 2010 midterm elections.
Between 2,000 and 3,000 tweets per minute are dedicated the royal wedding. Wednesday, the conversation was between 200 and 300 tweets per minute; Thursday at noon the conversation grew to 600 to 700 tweets per minute.
3:39 a.m. ET: Even the royals can't stop the weather.
With rain showers likely, most members of the wedding party have opted to travel from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace in closed carriages instead of open ones, as previously planned.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh will travel in the closed Scottish State Coach rather than a Semi State Landau, Buckingham Palace said this morning.
The palace spokesperson stressed, though, that the decision was not weather-related: "We had the option to use the two different carriages and the decision was taken to use the Scottish State Coach for the Queen."
The other carriage in the monarch's procession, carrying the rest of the wedding party, will also be closed.
But as of now, the people will still get to see the newlyweds. No change has been made to the plan for Prince William and Kate Middleton to travel from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace in the open topped 1902 State Landau.
3:20 a.m. ET: It's official: Kate Middleton will not be a princess.
Hours ahead of her marriage to Prince William, Buckingham Palace announced that after saying their vows, the couple will become the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Below, an excerpt from the statement issued by Queen Elizabeth II's press secretary:
"The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince William of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus. Prince William thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge and Miss Catherine Middleton on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge."
"Prince William thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge and Miss Catherine Middleton on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge."
Carrickfergus is in Northern Ireland and has its own castle. Strathearn is in Scotland.
Prince William will retain his title of Prince of Wales as he earns his new distinctions, giving him a title from each part of Great Britain: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.