British embassy throws 'austerity' wedding do for diplomats
The British embassy in Brussels threw an austerity-based royal wedding reception for diplomats, military attaches and trade connections Friday -- with food and drink laid on by sponsors.
Ambassador to Belgium Jonathan Brenton told some 400 guests the British tradition was to bring something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue to a marriage.
"Here we are in a time of austerity in the UK and we have had to borrow an enormous amount -- so thanks to our sponsors," he said, listing backers that offered Freixenet cava sparkling wine from Catalonia, pork pies from an Irish butcher and "North Sea" cod and chips.
Several of the companies told AFP the embassy paid "not one penny," in a bid to avoid accusations of excess taxpayer spending over and above the actual wedding in London.
Guests including the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Japan and European Union counterparts watched Kate and William's wedding on screens set up in the ornate 1730 downtown residence.
Brussels-based, English-born cake designer Michael Lewis-Anderson's five-tier, pale-blue wedding cake -- while not an official confection -- proved the main draw.
Decorated with hundreds of tiny diamonds, real-gold royal insignias and an intertwined 'C' and 'W' representing Catherine Middleton and Prince William, Lewis-Anderson was responsible for Belgian Princess Mathilde and Crown Prince Philippe's 1999 wedding cake and valued his latest concoction at 15,000 euros ($22,300).
© 2011 AFP