US women delight in royal wedding, 'girlie Super Bowl'
Hundreds of fancy hat-wearing women in their formal best, and a handful of less excitable men, gathered before dawn Friday at Washington's Ritz Carlton for a royal wedding viewing party and breakfast buffet.
"Oh... oh, wow. It's a wow moment," gasped Jan Boswell, hugging tightly her French bulldog Lucy -- outfitted in a canine ballgown -- as Kate Middleton began her walk down the aisle at Westminster Abbey to wed Britain's Prince William.
"It's such a wonderful fairytale, it's spectacular!" exclaimed Boswell under a wide blue-frilled brim.
She had arrived a little past 4:00 am (0900 GMT) to the underground ballroom flanked with two enormous screens showing the scenes in London, along with some 250 other guests for the sold-out $40 buffet of English favorites like baked beans and black pudding.
Her friend Susan Nixon, a Brit who has been living in the United States for over 30 years, admitted she was shocked at the effort put in by her adopted compatriots.
"I'm impressed!" she cried, looking around at the flowers and colorful veils adorning the heads around her.
Away from the downtown crowd, Shana Davidson in suburban Virginia's Tysons Corner was no less excited to be a part of the special day.
Rising at 5:00 am with four friends for tea and scones in her living room, Davidson laughed at how much fun it was to watch what she described giddily as a "girlie Super Bowl."
"I bought an HD television just for this," Davidson said. "It was time to upgrade, anyway, but this was a really good excuse."
Ritz party organizer Audrey Slade, part of the hotel's public relations team, was amazed at the response for the viewing.
"At first we thought it would be great if 30 people showed up, but in a few days we sold all the tickets, and had 100 people on a waiting list," she told AFP.
She was overseeing the smiling crowd that despite the early morning start oohed and aahed at Middleton's dress, and giggled at the prince's bashful smile.
Twenty-two people had also undertaken the $429 wedding package that included a night's stay, and celebration bar drinks the night before.
One of the few men in attendance, Jason Baletsa, gladly lapped up the attention his presence brought -- especially with his tuxedo and plastic crown, along with friend Richard Olson sitting nearby in a kilt.
"It's just great to be part of history. It's a special day," a grinning Baletsa told every camera crew and reporter lining up to speak with them.
On the West Coast, people simply stayed up late into the night, as opposed to rising at the crack down of dawn, for what was more of a raucous scene.
"We had 260 people in total... lots of cheering, screaming," said bar manager Andrew Perkins at the Cat and Fiddle British pub on Sunset Boulevard.
"It was a good turnout... and I was surprisingly emotional.
"It's been 30-odd years since we had the last decent wedding," added the east London native, who dressed up in a traditional Beefeater outfit for the party.
© 2011 AFP