Pippa Middleton confirmed her engagement to her longtime boyfriend, financier James Matthews, last July. In a joint statement, the couple said they were "delighted" and revealed they would tie the knot this year. With the date and location set, here's what we know about James and Pippa's big day.
The Duchess of Cambridge's younger sister and the 40-year-old millionaire announced the good news last year on July 19, after just a year of dating. James is thought to have proposed during a trip to the Lake District, and according to the , the groom-to-be asked Pippa's father Michael for his daughter's hand in marriage beforehand. "James is a traditionalist and very much wanted to do things properly," a friend of the couple revealed. "That meant getting the consent of his future father-in-law." Kensington Palace said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were "absolutely delighted" by the news, and Pippa's parents, Carole and Michael, told the press they were "thrilled."
When news of the engagement broke, all eyes were on Pippa's finger. A day after the announcement was made, she was spotted wearing her , which features an Asscher cut diamond at the center. It is rumored to be worth more than $200,000.
The hen party
While Prince William was pictured partying with friends in the Alps, , which also served as a low-key hen do.
According to the, Kate, William and their group of friends shared the same private jet to take them on their separate skiing holidays. The Duke headed to Verbier in Switzerland, while Pippa and her friends flew 100 miles away to enjoy a "small, private party" in Meribel, France. And as you might expect, it was a fairly glamorous affair. "They stayed in a really exclusive catered chalet with maids and a chef, who ensured that they were totally spoiled," a source told the newspaper.
The date and venue
Pippa will be a spring bride. According to the the couple will tie the knot on May 20, 2017 at St. Mark's church in Englefield, Berkshire, which is located a few miles away from the Middleton family home. Following the church service, the congregation is expected to celebrate with a reception on the grounds of Carole and Michael Middleton's Georgian property in the nearby village of Bucklebury.
Marrying in her hometown is said to be important to Pippa. "Pippa is a traditional girl and wanted to marry close to home," a source told . "There is no particular significance with 20 May—it is just the date that they have decided on."
In comparison to her sister Kate's Westminster Abbey nuptials, the younger Middleton's wedding is likely to be a low-key affair, but with 150 guests reportedly attending, it will definitely be a party.
The guest list
While many hoped the Duchess of Cambridge might be bridesmaid at her sister's wedding, it's highly unlikely this will happen. "Kate would upstage her sister," says People's royals editor Judy Wade. "It's a tricky situation for Pippa. She would want her sister by her side, as who else would she trust to make things go well? But if your sister is a future queen, she is going to draw attention."
It's thought that the Duchess will do a reading at the church service and the royal children are expected to have . "Princess Charlotte is going to be one of the flower girls," a source told . "They're planning for Prince George to be a page boy."
Whatever their roles, onlookers will be keen to get a glimpse of the young Prince and Princess on the day, but they aren't the only royals to look out for. Multiple reports suggest Prince Harry has received an invite, but it's still unclear whether his girlfriend Meghan Markle will be his plus-one.
According to the , Pippa has implemented a "no ring, no bring" policy, which means guests can only bring their partners if they are either married or engaged. While many thought the bride-to-be might make an exception for the Suits star, who recently attended a wedding in Jamaica with Harry, a source has told the newspaper that Kate's younger sister doesn't want to add another element of commotion, as "Meghan's presence could cause a great deal of unnecessary chaos."
Speculation surrounding the guest list has also spread to the Matthews side of the congregation. James' younger brother Spencer is known in the U.K. for starring in the reality-television series Made in Chelsea. According to in the tabloids, party boy Spencer has been asked to keep a low profile until the wedding.
Pippa captured the world's attention when she wore a white Alexander McQueen dress as her sister's bridesmaid. Now it's her time to be the center of attention, there's no doubt Pippa will impress again. So what can we expect to see Pippa wear on her special day? According to the Say Yes to the Dress star and Princess Diana's wedding-dress designer David Emanuel, she would do well to choose an "English and romantic" style.
"In total contrast to her sister, I would style Pippa in a completely different silhouette," he told Town & Country. "An Empire-line gown, a low scooped-neck bodice and long slim sleeves in ivory lace, with soft layer upon layer of silk georgette skimming the body, and flowing into a soft train. A tiny diamond tiara and full cathedral veil would soften and finish the look. Not a royal look, but English and romantic."
As for who will land the all-important job of designing her bridal gown? Leading British designers Jenny Packham and Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen are tipped to be in the running, along with Giles Deacon, who was with a large black dress bag in his arm last November. However, according to the Central Saint Martins graduate, the potential partnership is no more than gossip. "I can never really comment on rumors," he told in February. "Until things are confirmed it's just rumors."
A new name
Pippa will be given a title once she is married. , Pippa's future father-in-law David Matthews is currently the Laird of Glen Affric, and when he passes away, his son James will take on the title, which will make Pippa the Lady of Glen Affric. Until they inherit their new titles, Pippa can take on the title of Mrs Matthews of Glen Affric the younger, which she can use anywhere in the Commonwealth, according to the. Lady Pippa? It's definitely got a ring to it.
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