Pippa Middleton’s unusual wedding rule that impacted Meghan Markle
1st November 2022

Loose Women: Pippa Middleton’s wedding rule discussed in 2017

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Kate Middleton’s sister Pippa got married to James Matthew in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by family and friends back in 2017. But guests reportedly had to stick to one unusual rule when they got to the reception, which impacted Prince Harry and his then-girlfriend Meghan Markle at the time.

Like all couples getting ready to tie the knot, Pippa and her husband James had some very specific requests for their wedding day. From choosing the perfect dress to finalising the menu and narrowing down the guest list, there’s a lot to consider when planning a wedding.

But the Princess of Wales’ younger sister had a slightly unusual idea when it came to the seating plan. Pippa married James in a stunning ceremony on May 20, 2017, at St Mark’s Church in Englefield with their nephew Prince George and niece Princess Charlotte as the pageboy and bridesmaid.

Following the ceremony, the 300 guests made their way to Bucklebury Village Hall, where they parked their cars ahead of the evening celebrations.

They were then driven to Pippa’s parents’ estate – but not before each guest had their photo ID checked and their own password to get in.

When they arrived, they were greeted by a 140-foot glass marquee in the garden, which had been decorated with an enchanted forest theme.

Guests took part in a number of fun games and watched an excellent light show before they were served food and drink including mini haggis, deer carpaccio, langoustine claws and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce.

But when it was time to sit down to eat, guests were surprised to discover that Pippa had not followed a conventional seating plan chart.

Instead, she set a rule that they were not allowed to sit with their other halves, which directly impacted Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Although this is quite unusual, it does allow guests to get to know each other who may not have known each other prior to the wedding.

According to Harpers Bazaar, the etiquette guide Debretts says: “It is up to the host to decide whether husbands and wives are to be seated together or apart at formal events.”

This meant that despite travelling 3,000 miles from America, the Duchess of Sussex was not allowed to sit with Prince Harry.

But, it turns out that Meghan almost did not get an invite at all. Pippa was reportedly including a “no ring, no bring” rule at her wedding according to The Telegraph, which may have impacted Meghan as she was still just a royal girlfriend at the time of the nuptials.

This rule meant guests were supposed to bring only a spouse or fiancé to the wedding as a date. Pippa and James tied the knot on May 20, 2017, but Meghan did not become engaged to Prince Harry until November of that year.

However, Pippa clearly made an exception for the Duchess, as Meghan did attend the wedding with Prince Harry, who was also pictured at the event.

Meghan and Harry had not been together for too long when Pippa and James got married, so there was a lot of media attention on them.

This reportedly worried Pippa as she feared that it would overshadow her big day.

Although, Prince Harry was not the only guest who openly defied Pippa’s wedding rule, as her younger brother James Middleton did the exact same thing.

James brought an unmarried date to the wedding, who was his girlfriend at the time, TV presenter Donna Air.

The duo later split up, and James went on to marry his French girlfriend Alizee Thevenet in 2021.

Pippa’s wedding, despite all the unusual rules, was an intimate high-society event, with only 150 guests attending.

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