On Friday, the eyes of the world will be pinned on the royal wedding at London’s Westminster Abbey, when Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the “Windsor Knot.”
Commentators are apt to dissect everything from the bride’s gown to the reception’s menu.
But the pomp and circumstance of the storybook wedding seems outlandishly out of sync with the 21st century, let alone the tough economic times. It also seems particularly out of step with the casual tone of many Montana weddings, where someone on the guest list — if not everyone on the guest list — might feel comfortable in blue jeans.
By coincidence, the Billings wedding of Amber Noble and Michael Daem also takes place on Friday. In early February, when the Billings couple chose the date, they had no clue that the most hyped wedding of the 21st century was scheduled for the same day.
They picked the date for no particular reason, Noble said.
“He was just throwing dates at me, so I just picked one.”
Daem was raised in Custer but moved to Billings as a young teen and graduated from Skyview High. Noble was born and raised in Billings and graduated from Senior High. They met four years ago.
The royal wedding was so not on Daem’s mind that he didn’t realize the coincidence until a secretary at work mentioned that Daem was getting married on the same day as the prince.
“I thought she was talking about that singer, Prince,” Daem said.
For months, fashionistas have speculated about Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, a creation as tightly veiled as a state secret.
“Ours is a simple little wedding in the park, casual dress, none of the fancy tuxedos or anything,” said Daem, who is 29.
Noble will wear a long blue spaghetti-strap dress that flairs at the hemline. Daem plans to wear a blue dress shirt.
He and the bride are bankrolling the wedding with their tax refund. Daem does janitorial maintenance for MRL Equipment, a road-striping company.
The royal wedding is expected to cost $18 million — “modest” by royal standards.
The Billings couple sent out about 50 invitations and expect about 80 guests. Daem posted news of the wedding on his Facebook page, so a few extra friends might just show up.
The 1,900 wedding guests at Westminster Abbey will include more than 40 members of foreign royal families plus some heads of state. Elton John, who recently performed in the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark, will be among the celebrities, along with soccer star David Beckham.
Queen Elizabeth II and other senior royals will sit in the front row, while Kate’s family fills the other side of the aisle. The guest list is also rumored by the tabloid press to include four of William’s ex-girlfriends and two of Kate’s exes.
Noble will have her sister and close friends as attendants. Her 7-year-old daughter, Tatianna, will stand beside her. Like Prince William, Daem will have his brother as the best man.
Their flower girl will be their 4-month-old daughter, Wynter. A cousin will push Wynter in an infant stroller with Tinker Bell designs on it.
About 650 of the royal wedding guests are invited to a champagne reception at Buckingham Palace. They’ll be served appetizers or canapés, finger food rather than a sit-down meal, since, as one pundit put it, the guest are “there to be seen, not to be well-fed.”
After the wedding in Pioneer Park, Noble and Daem will have a potluck dinner reception in the Zimmerman Center.
“We asked everybody to bring their favorite dish,” Daem said.
He sees no conflict sharing a moment in time with the royal couple.
“Unless they invite somebody from our family,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a problem.”