Britain's royal wedding: main points
Britain's Prince William marries his fiancee Katherine Middleton at London's Westminster Abbey on Friday. Here are the key points about the schedule, guests, security, menu and the wedding dress:
The marriage ceremony begins in Westminster Abbey, central London, at 11:00am (1000 GMT).
The first of the 1,900 guests begin to arrive from 8:15am (0715 GMT); William at 10:15am (0915 GMT), Queen Elizabeth II at 10:45am (0945 GMT).
Having spent the night at The Goring luxury hotel near Buckingham Palace, Kate Middleton and her father Michael depart at 10:51am (0951 GMT).
The ceremony ends at 12:15pm (1115 GMT). The newlyweds will travel in a procession to Buckingham Palace. Five carriages will carry the royal family and the Middletons for the 15-minute journey taking them past the Houses of Parliament and Downing Street then along The Mall, the processional route to the palace.
The couple will appear on the palace balcony at 1:25pm (1225 GMT) and likely kiss for the crowds.
Some 650 guests are invited to the palace for a buffet lunch, which lasts until mid-afternoon.
Around 300 people will stay on for formal dinner that evening, with a disco going on through the night.
A total of 1,900 people have been invited to the ceremony. Around 40 foreign royals received invitations along with footballer David Beckham and singer Elton John. But also making the list are the butcher, postman and pub landlord from the Middletons' home village of Bucklebury.
The selection process has not been without controversy: the crown prince of Bahrain, whose country has been criticised for its violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, declined his invitation but human-rights groups have denounced the presence of dignitaries from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Swaziland.
The media also focused on the absence of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the two Labour party predecessors of current Prime Minister David Cameron.
"Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher will not be attending due to ill health but her Conservative successor, John Major, will be present.
More than 5,000 police will be deployed, according to London's Metropolitan force.
Although the force said they had "no specific intelligence about any security threat", the British terror threat level has remained at "severe" for over a year, meaning an attack is "highly likely".
Very little is known about what food and drink will be consumed throughout the day, but it is certain that two cakes will be on offer.
Firstly, the essential fruit cake -- ordered from celebrated patissiere Fiona Cairns -- which will be decorated with 16 flowers symbolizing, among other things, happiness (the rose), tenderness (the lily) and marriage (ivy).
Next to the wedding cake will be a more humble chocolate cake favoured by Prince William, made using the famous McVitie's "tea biscuits".
Another state secret, the wedding dress has been the subject of fervent speculation.
The media named Sarah Burton, artistic director at Alexander McQueen, as the chosen designer but the fashion house denied the reports.
US website huffingtonpost.com speculated on British Libelula designer Sophie Cranston while the Daily Mail reported that Kate had designed her own dress.
© 2011 AFP