The royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, was an event for the ages. From Kate's Alexander McQueen wedding gown to the Aston Martin the royal newlyweds rode away in, the fairy-tale celebration left future (and former) brides everywhere wondering why their wedding couldn't be like that.
The great news: It can be! Here are nine ways to incorporate some of Kate and William's "royal flourishes" into your wedding at a commoner's price. (Handsome prince not included.)
Dress to impress
Though you might never know what it feels like to wear haute couture on your wedding day, it doesn't mean you can't get a similar experience for a lot less. As Kate walked down the aisle in her custom-made dress, fashion labels such as A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz were quickly drawing up sketches to replicate the Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen creation at a much more affordable price. The A.B.S. "Kate Middleton" dress will retail for $800 and will be available at select Lord & Taylor stores this July.
And if Kate's dress isn't your style, but the idea of an inexpensive designer dress is, Vera Wang's White by Vera Wang collection for David's Bridal is available at several locations, including the store in Fort Worth. The collection includes 12 bridal dresses that range $600-$1,400.
David's Bridal, 4470 Hulen Park Drive S., Fort Worth. 817-346-4874. www.davidsbridal.com.
Want to get your hands on some dazzling diamonds without dropping serious cash? Adorn.com wants you to, too! With a selection fit for a duchess, this jewelry website, which Amy Eisinger, associate editor for WeddingChannel.com, led us to, will let you rent whatever gems your heart desires at a fraction of the cost. Even better reason to try out the website? A pair of 18 karat white gold floating drop diamond earrings in a similar style to the pair gifted to Kate by her parents and worn on her big day. The "Middleton" earrings on the site, which retailed for $7,200, can be yours for a $160 rental fee. www.adorn.com.
License to drive for less
Unless you have your own fleet of luxury cars stashed somewhere, you might think the chances of rolling up to your big day in a Rolls-Royce Phantom or making a grand exit from your reception in a Aston Martin DB9 Volante, a la the duke and duchess, are slim to none. But with the help of a rental service, you can at least feel like a royal as you drive off in your choice of luxury car.
George James of Upscale Luxury Car Rental says the Phantom and the Volante rent for $2,199 and $799 a day, respectively (and for $65 per hour, you can add on a chauffeur). He says the price fluctuates depending on the time of year and demand. Upscale Luxury is based in Houston but does business all over the state, including providing some hard-to-find cars for the recent Super Bowl and for last year's NBA All-Star Game in Dallas. Clients also pay for gas or other transportation-related costs to get the cars from Houston to North Texas, but for a wedding, the car is brought right to the bride's front door (or wherever she asks it to be taken).
Upscale Luxury Car Rental, www.upscalecarrentals.com; 713-409-5508.
When you're the future of the British monarchy, you can't just announce your engagement to the world by taking out an ad. When it came time to share the news of their impending nuptials, ultra-modern William and Kate chose to do so via Twittter. And the social networking didn't end there. In the months and weeks leading up to the big day, the palace kept everyone posted with wedding tidbits through both Twitter and an official website.
While you might not have a personal secretary or staff on hand to keep your guests informed, there are easy-to-build websites (some of which are free), which you can regularly update to ensure that your friends and family don't miss a thing. Some to try: weddingchannel.com, theknot.com and ewedding.com. And, of course, setting up a Twitter account for your wedding is free, too.
With these rings
Looking for a one-of-a-kind wedding band? You might want to take a cue from Will and Kate. Though Prince William chose to forgo a wedding band for himself, Kate's own band was made from a piece of Welsh gold that had been in the royal family for years and was given to William by his grandmother Queen Elizabeth.
Troy Vinson Jewelers in Fort Worth will craft a unique piece from salvaged metal or heirloom jewelry. The fee begins at $595, and customers can see their vision go from a computer-aided design, to the casting and molding process, to the final product.
Another unique but inexpensive ring idea: a nondiamond engagement ring -- for example, a style like Kate's sapphire engagement ring. Troy Vinson Jewelers, 4666 Southwest Loop 820, Fort Worth. 817-377-8555.
If you're looking to save but don't want to scrimp, take a cue from the duke and duchess. Though their wedding cost seven figures, WeddingChannel.com's Eisinger says having a morning wedding, or a Friday wedding, saves major money. Rates for venues tend to run higher for Saturday night. Also, "people drink less in the morning," Eisinger says. For a morning or lunchtime reception, you won't have to offer a full bar. A selection of champagne, wine and beer would be sufficient.
True to her girl-next-door appeal, Kate garnered major likability points when it was revealed that she would be doing her own makeup for the wedding. Turns out she had a little help leading up to the big day. While her final look was all her own, Kate took private lessons from a Bobbi Brown Cosmetics makeup artist.
Want lessons but in a money pinch? Nordstrom, which carries Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, offers complimentary consultations. Or if you are a DIY type of girl, Bobbi Brown has several how-to books. Also, the company's Facebook page has an official face chart with step-by-step instructions on how to create a royal-inspired look.
Nordstrom North East Mall, 1101 Melbourne Road, Hurst. 817-590-2599. www.nordstrom.com.
Sing unto thee
As Kate made her way down the aisle of Westminster Abbey, she was backed up by two boys choirs and an orchestra. If that got you thinking that the old Here Comes the Bride tune was a little un-regal, you don't have to look far to find your own boys choir.
The world-class Texas Boys Choir of Fort Worth will perform at ceremonies for a flat rate of $2,500. For the fee, the choir, which features 18 to 24 boys, can perform up to five songs from its wedding repertoire. You can even pick from three wardrobe choices.
Texas Boys Choir, Fort Worth. 817-924-1482. www.texasboyschoir.org.
Into the woods
It's not every wedding that has trees lining the aisle up to the altar. Featuring two hornbeams and six English field maple trees up to 20 feet tall, the majority of the greenery used in the abbey came straight from the royal estates.
Want a similar look for your special day? Edward Barrett of Colleyville's Signature Productions, which often gets requests to incorporate trees into a wedding, says that, depending on the type, the price per tree runs $75 and up. While Signature Productions has its own dried birch trees on hand, Barrett says the company also works closely with tree-rental vendors to give customers what they are looking for.
Signature Productions, 85 Village Lane, Colleyville. 817-427-4700. andtheywilltalkaboutit.com.
Stephanie Allmon contributed to this report.