All The Surprising Modern Touches At Prince Harry And Meghan Markle’s Wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, took their vows Saturday at Windsor Castle and nudged the royal family into a more modern era, with a ceremony that bucked convention and tradition throughout.

Here are all the ways they made their moment in the world spotlight stand out:

Reverend Michael Curry’s energetic sermon…

Curry, who is American, spoke animatedly about love, God and Instagram in a long and partly improvised sermon before a bunch of royals who seemed… perplexed. He even evoked slavery as he spoke about “the dynamic power of love.”

It was just a bit of a shift from the sermon delivered at the 2011 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The reverend is the first black person to lead the Episcopal Church, which is part of the Anglican Communion like the Church of England.

Twitter lit up with Americans celebrating the significance of both Curry’s presence and his words. 

…which included a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love,” Curry said, quoting the late civil rights leader. “And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.”

A gospel choir rendition of “Stand By Me”

The choir’s performance before a seated Harry and Meghan represented another element of black culture in the wedding ceremony.

The blog Black Girl Nerds called the whole thing “one of the most beautiful and BLACK weddings we’ve seen televised yet!”

Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir performed at the royal wedding on May 19.

Harry’s wedding band

Since wedding bands are a more modern tradition in the United Kingdom, it’s common for British aristocrats to skip them. 

But at Saturday’s ceremony, Meghan gave Harry a platinum band with a textured finish made by Cleave and Company, the British jeweler that also fashioned her rings.

Harry’s brother, William, chooses not to wear a band, like their grandfather. The royal brothers’ father, Prince Charles, doesn’t wear one, either, but he did opt for a signet ring at his 2005 wedding.

Harry’s beard

Harry didn’t shave. Good for Harry. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex, pictured during their carriage procession through Windsor

The (non-tiered) cake

Royals have historically gone for grand tiered confections at their nuptials, but Harry and Meghan opted for something different. The couple chose a light sponge cake by American pastry chef Claire Ptak made with elderflower syrup and 200 lemons, with sections displayed atop separate golden stands.

The absence of the word “obey” in the couple’s vows…

It is a pretty creepy tradition when you think about it.

…and being named “husband and wife,” not “man and wife”