Cover Story

Invitation to the royal wedding

Cape woman plans party to toast nuptials

Get Adobe Flash player
By Kathleen Pierce
Globe Correspondent / April 21, 2011

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

Before the sun rises on April 29, a cadre of women in bathrobes and boas will make their way to Ginger Plexico’s house in North Chatham. The union jack flying above her brick bungalow is the first sign of the pomp and circumstance that lies ahead.

“Many of my friends have never been to a royal wedding party,’’ said Plexico, who began planning a viewing party for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials shortly after their engagement was announced in November.

The wedding airs at a cruel hour (11 a.m. in the United Kingdom and 6 a.m. here), but 2 billion people around the world are expected to tune in to see the would-be-King and Queen-in-the-making tie the knot at Westminster Abbey.

“I’ve been following the courtship of William and Kate for years. I was hoping that they would hurry up because I wanted to have this party,’’ said Plexico, a 71-year-old Wellesley resident who moved to Chatham 15 years ago.

The self-described “royalphile’’ has invited 20 people — 10 out-of-town guests who will arrive the night before and 10 locals who will find their way to her house in bowler hats and white gloves under predawn skies. “At least no one has to worry about getting stuck in traffic,’’ Plexico said. “That’s one plus.’’

As a three-time royal wedding party hostess, Plexico has become a bit of an expert on how to pull off a smashing party. With each wedding, her repertoire has grown more elaborate. For the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981 she started with doughnut holes from Dunkin’ Donuts. When Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson walked down the aisle in 1986, she upgraded to scones and strawberries and cream. Twenty-five years later Plexico is ready “to go all out.’’

Her house will be festooned with red, white, and blue banners and flags with the royal couple’s mug. She bought the swag, including bunting and balloons, on and had them shipped from England. “The postage was more than the decorations.’’

With the help of friends, Plexico will lay down a traditional English spread fit for a king. From Victoria sponge cake to cucumber sandwiches sans crusts to scones and clotted cream to imported McVities Chocolate Digestives, her invitees should stay fortified throughout the hourlong ceremony. A layered cream and fruit dessert called a trifle will anchor her dining room table and a sheet cake with the royal couple’s photo in the icing will come out when they’re pronounced man and wife. There will be plenty of English breakfast tea and champagne, although “this is not a heavy drinking crowd,’’ Plexico said.

As delightful as that sounds, food is a sideline at this bash. Early risers watching the wedding in real time are getting something far richer: a front row seat to history says Plexico. “You are witnessing the wedding of someone that will one day be the king of England. Maybe not in my lifetime, but definitely in yours.’’

Speaking of lifetimes, a younger generation of women, too young to see Lady Di say “I do,’’ seem to have caught royal wedding fever.

“We grew up hearing about Princess Di and her ridiculous dress,’’ said Ameliaranne Sutton, a 29-year-old publicist who lives in Cambridge. “We have had to spend 29 years watching clips of it and hearing how it was the wedding of the century. We’re not missing that twice.’’

Sutton and her two roommates are throwing an all-day affair that starts with tea and scones at 5:30 a.m. and ends with takeout curry whenever.

They see the royal-couple-to-be as contemporaries and themselves in Middleton, 29.

“Everyone thinks that they can be a famous-something when they’re little, so when one of your peers actually becomes famous for no particularly unique reason, you’re interested in watching it play out,’’ said Sutton.

The royal couple is expected to ride in a horse-drawn carriage, and royals from across the world will be in attendance. Add guests like Posh and Becks and a rumored Kanye West into the mix, and it’s got red carpet buzz written all over it. “I don’t want to watch this by myself. It’s fun to share impressions,’’ said Plexico, whose guests will arrive an hour before the wedding airs.

Through the years Plexico has amassed a collection of postcards of Queen Elizabeth, books on her coronation, Time magazine with a shy 19-year-old Princess Diana on the cover and even tchotchkes like a solar-powered queen who waves. They’ll be on display for her guests’ edification and amusement.

But you don’t need to go overboard to throw your own royal wedding party. “You can make it as elegant as you want, the real work is already done for you because the theme takes care of itself. The stars are William and Kate,’’ Plexico said.

Think about who you want to watch it with and “be sure to invite people with a sense of humor,’’ said Plexico, not someone who’s going to spend the whole time picking it apart. Historically she has not invited men because, “I don’t think any of them would care.’’

One man who does is Bill Taylor. The general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston has made sure the Back Bay hotel gets into monarch mania this year.

“Throughout the world the glitz and glamour and regal splendor of the event is fascinating for people. There’s a general spirit of bonhomie and camaraderie come the 29th,’’ said Taylor, who grew up in Newcastle, England.

A full British breakfast is planned on the morning of the wedding and Pimm’s Cup cocktails (see recipe) will be shaken at the Bristol Lounge all week. “I’m hopeful people will be in good spirits and the weather will play ball.’’

Regardless of whether you consider the royal wedding a major event or major nuisance, the wedding of the century comes at a good time, on a Friday in spring.

“Most people figure it’s a good excuse to take the day off work and revel a little bit,’’ said Taylor. “We don’t have a Super Bowl. This is our equivalent, but without commercial breaks.’’

Kathleen Pierce can be reached at