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Royal Wedding: Live from the State

By Vanessa McCray

8:06 a.m.

They woke up at 2 a.m., did their make-up, donned their best hats, pulled on their high heels and waited in the chilly early morning air to watch the royal wedding at the State Theatre.

The audience here is finally thinning after more than four hours of wedding coverage viewing, but at least a hundred die-hards remain in their seats waiting to see William and Kate kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Those who are leaving are freely sharing their opinion of Kate’s dress. Stylish locals here complimented the dress and the demure but sophisticated cut. “Exquisite” and “age-appropriate” are two ways it’s been described to me.

7:30 a.m.

State Theatre volunteers are now serving small, chocolate-y slices of groom’s cake in the movie house lobby to wedding watchers as they exit. The cake was prepared using Prince William’s favorite recipe, and the local slices are served on blue monogrammed napkins.

The crowd here clapped loudly along with the London crowds when the newlywed couple emerged from Westminster Abbey.

6:40 a.m.

The wedding service is in full swing at London’s Westminster Abbey. At the State Theatre on Front Street, the crowd thinned just a bit after Prince William and Kate exchanged vows. But, clearly, most people here are staying for the full ceremony. The theater is as hushed as a church.

6:01 a.m.

The excitement mounted at the State minutes before Kate appeared briefly outside the hotel and stepped into a shiny black car. Only a glimpse of the veil, tiara and long-sleeved lace detail was visible.

Scattered applause, followed by shushed whispering, swept through the theater as the car drove to Westminster. When Kate stepped out of the car, the State’s first floor seats were full, save for about a few dozen. The local audience clapped politely and the whispering increased.

5:45 a.m.

Biggest cheer of the morning so far at the State when the crowd catches a glimpse of the Queen wearing all yellow. That’s followed by a collective gasp and ooohs as the cameras show the tiny flower girls exiting the hotel.

Scattered applause for Camilla and her Jimmy Choo shoes comes next.

5:38 a.m.

I’ve talked to quite a few students who are planning to watch as much of the Royal Wedding festivities at the State as they can before heading to school. Traverse City Central High School friends Caroline Smith, Emma Beauchamp and Elizabeth Sigworth are looking forward to seeing Kate’s dress, but said they’ll probably have to leave for school before the newlyweds appear later this morning on the balcony for their scheduled public kiss.

Caroline said she plans to ask her teacher to tune the classroom TV to royal coverage so she doesn’t miss the moment.

5:15 a.m.

The views from London are dazzling on the State Theatre’s huge screen. There’s nothing quite like seeing that red carpet stretch out, seemingly endlessly, down the aisle of Westminster on a movie theater screen. It definitely beats watching it at home on my shoddy, old-school 24-inch TV.

People enjoy the camaraderie of watching this event together. Jill James, of Northport, drove to downtown Traverse City to participate in the festivities while listening to NPR on the car radio.

“Take a look around you. It’s obvious. It’s a party. It’s a celebration. Do you do that home alone? No, you do it at the State Theatre,” James said.

The State crowd chats quietly during this pre-wedding coverage, and the concession lines grow longer when NBC breaks for commercials. But, now the first shot of Prince William approaching in a car has flashed on screen and people are clapping.

4:45 a.m.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the hats. No. Not the feathered and frilly creations walking into Westminster Abbey. I’m talking about the beautiful and creative toppers worn by Traverse City guests this morning at the State.

There’s numerous broad-brimmed, brightly colored garden hats with ribbons and bows. Several girls are wearing sparkly tiaras. One woman is making her way to her seat wearing a two-foot tall feather.

And the dresses. A lady is wearing a lace and bead-encrusted dress, another is sitting in the theater in a strapless princess ball gown. There’s women in pearls and cocktail dresses and several men sporting black tuxedos.

4:10 a.m.

I’m sitting in the back row of the State Theatre in downtown Traverse City, where a few whoo-hoos just erupted from an early morning crowd in appreciation of a particularly lavish wedding hat that appeared on NBC’s coverage of the Royal Wedding. Traverse City residents are filling the local theater, which is hosting a free viewing party to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton.

At least 60 people waited patiently outside the theater for doors to open at 3:45 a.m. Many residents wore hats and high heels. Mary Jean McLin, of Traverse City, wore a black hat that she said was once part of a Halloween witch costume. She also wore a pair of white opera gloves from her 1960 senior prom.

  • Upnorth

    I’m sitting in my PJs on my couch. Highly debated about making the drive up for the festivities but the promise of an extra hour or two of sleep won out.

  • Cathy Stripe Lester

    The best overall comment on the wedding? The verger who did cartwheels down the red carpet afterwards!

  • Tess Bastian

    Oh, that’s me in the strapless ball gown!

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