As amateur event planners, we dream a lot smaller than a royal wedding. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two from the publicity, planning and awe of these events. From a royal wedding, to a royal reality television disaster, let’s take a look at two of my favorite nuptials of all time.
The Royal Wedding– Will & Kate
This event is my favorite of all time. I remember counting down the days and celebrating at 4 a.m. in the U.S. My mother finds this fact amusing because she remembers doing the same for Diana and Charles 30 years earlier. The union of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton, a commoner, made waves throughout all realms of media. From television specials, a TV movie, countless magazines spreads and even an ice cream cake in their honor, the publicity of this royal wedding was a goldmine.
It wasn’t like the public in the U.K. really needed to be influenced to watch the wedding or take part in the festivities. The amount of national pride created by the union itself was enough to bring them out in the thousands to watch from the street as the royal couple passed. The problem here was getting the rest of the world to watch. I remember hearing people say “I’m an American, why would I care about a British wedding?” My response to them was always: “Because this is history!”
From the day of the engagement announcement on November 16, the press worldwide began firing away questions and shots from their cameras to cover every move and moment of this event. You can notice in this video at times you cannot even hear Wills speak because of the clicks of hundreds of cameras. As an amateur event planner, I can’t imagine the stress Kate Middleton must’ve felt. If we are handling a bride, her biggest concern may be the flowers or her mother-in-law. Try having your grandmother-in-law being the Queen of England, then come talk to me about pressure.
The publicity and reputation of the royal family was also largely well protected throughout this time. The family has definitely seen its share of bad publicity. Charles’ affair with Camilla during his marriage to Diana, their divorce and her untimely death all cast a shadow on the royal family. The family had been seen as old school; stuffy and no longer important… that is until Wills stepped in.
The second in line to the throne, Prince William is every bit his mother’s son. His charity work and personable demeanor make him likeable to the people of the U.K. and the world. The choice he made to marry a commoner, Kate Middleton, didn’t hurt either. You can watch countless documentaries or read stories making comparisons of Kate and Diana. While they are very much alike, the new royal couple does not seem to follow in the footsteps of Charles and Diana. They are close and deeply in love from what anyone can see. Kate is happy and taking on her role as a princess and queen-to-be just fine. This role never suited Diana.
As you can see, I got a little distracted there by the wonder of Will and Kate, so much so I forgot I was even talking about the troubles the family experienced in the past. The media reacted the same during the anticipation for the wedding. There was too much wonder and excitement surrounding the happy couple to even worry about what had happened in the past. That wonder, I would say, is why the wedding had over 3 billion viewers according to The New York Times. To put that number into perspective, there are about 7 billion people on the planet, that means literally 1 out of every 2 people spent the morning of April 28, 2011 watching Wills and Kate say I do, er, I will rather.
As I sit here and realize how much I just told you about my favorite event of all time, I almost feel bad I have to now let you know about one of the biggest publicity flops in famous wedding history. This wedding was a match made in reality television heaven and ended in publicity hell.
The Royal Reality Wedding- Kim Kardashian & Kris Humphries
Kim Kardashian, daughter of Kris Jenner and Robert Kardashian, is famous. No one is really sure if it was the sex tape or her father’s fame as OJ Simpson’s lawyer but she is. Keeping up with the Kardashians, a reality show based on Kim and her family, began filming in 2007. Since then, the princess of reality television experienced multiple failed relationships which were publicized and scrutinized in every tabloid magazine on the shelves.
The show had seen great success with specials, like the one that followed Kim’s sister Khloe and her quick marriage to NBA star Lamar Odom. The moment Kim “fell in love” with her own NBA star Kris Humphries, she wasted no time planning a bigger and better special. They married in a lavish, well publicized ceremony on August 20, 2011. The ceremony was of course filmed for E! Entertainment Television and was aired in a two part wedding special titled “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event.” According to the Today Show, 10.5 million people tuned in to the show, making it the most watched day in E!’s history.
Little did the unsuspecting audience know that just 72 days after drawing millions into their nuptials, the marriage would end in a bitter divorce. According to the show and various media sources, Kim just wasn’t in love anymore. Kris fired back with the claim everyone was waiting to hear…”It was a fraud.” A fraud? Faked for the cameras for ratings and money? How could they? These are the questions asked by many followers of the Kardashian clan.
The famous family immediately began taking questions and comments from the media and fans about whether or not the wedding was staged and ultimately how much of their show was actually reality at all. The public felt they had been duped by a friend. They were just there for the ratings and the money behind the publicity that stemmed from the wedding. Of course the Kardashians adamantly deny any wrong doing and apologized that the audience felt this way, but the truth still isn’t out there. Kris Humphries is fighting the divorce seeking an annulment based on fraud. If he’s successful in this endeavor, the prenuptial agreement stating he cannot talk about private matters with Kim would be void and the world may finally hear the truth about the reality behind these reality royals.
As a PR professional for the Kardashians, I would understand the great publicity that comes from a wedding of that magnitude, but I also understand the importance of upholding your reputation. If in fact this wedding was set up for the cameras, I feel bad for Kim and Kris. Your wedding day is supposed to be beautiful and happy, not a set with a script. The love we felt watching Wills & Kate just doesn’t come around every day but maybe Kim’s publicist should’ve held out a little longer for the real thing.
Tell me about your favorite special event of all time or if you want to chat royal wedding feel free to tweet me!