UPDATE: Here's the dress!
The calendars have been marked. The countdown has long begun. But what, exactly, are we counting down to?
Technically, the royal wedding. But in all honesty (who are we kidding here?), it's the royal wedding dress everyone's really waiting to see. It all kicks off just a few short hours from now (time zone permitting) and we don't want you to miss a minute of the excitement, sartorial or otherwise, which is why we've taken it upon ourselves to put together this handy-dandy, minute-by-minute schedule of Kate Middleton and Prince William's wedding day activities. So you, too, can get to the church on time. (You're welcome.)
So set your alarm clocks—or at the very least, your DVRs. Here are all the milestones you need to know to enjoy their big day:
(Note: all times local to London. Not so good with the math? East Coasters, subtract five hours; West Coasters, subtract eight. Hawaii? You may as well just call in sick now, cause you ain't getting any sleep.)
8:15-9:45 a.m. Guests, of the general congregation variety, begin arriving at the North Door of Westminster Abbey. So, pip pip and a cheerio to you!
9:50 a.m. The distinguished guests begin to trickle in, including Prime Ministers, the Diplomatic Corp and Governors-General. And a whole bunch of people you will never, ever rub shoulders with.
10:10 a.m. Prince William and Prince Harry depart together from Clarence House and make the short drive to Westminster Abbey. Commence squealing.
10:15 a.m. They arrive. The groom is expected spend several minutes mingling with guests and relatives before retiring to the attached Chapel of St. Edmund, where he will spend roughly 20 minutes in quiet reflection with his best man Harry and members of the clergy.
10:20 a.m. Members of the royal family arrive. At this time, Kate's mom Carole Middleton and brother James Middleton leave the Goring Hotel.
10:25 a.m. The remaining members of the royal family leave Buckingham Palace for the Abbey.
10:27 a.m. (Yes, the times are this specific, if you think anything will be left up to chance for the big day, then you have another think coming) Carole and James arrive at the Abbey.
10:35 a.m. Will's cousins, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, along with other members of the royal family, leave Buckingham Palace.
10:38 a.m. Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles leave Clarence House.
10:40 a.m. Beatrice and Eugenie arrive at the Abbey. At the same time, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip leave Buckingham Palace.
10:42 a.m. Prince Charles and Camilla arrive at the Abbey.
10:45 a.m. Queen Elizabeth arrives at the Abbey. She and Philip are to be the last of the VIPs to arrive. Duh.
10:48 a.m. The bridesmaids and page boys, corralled by maid-of-honor Pippa Middleton, leave Goring Hotel.
10:51 a.m. Here comes the bride! Kate and her father Michael Middleton depart in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI (from Prince Charles' fleet) from Goring Hotel to the Abbey.
10:55 a.m. Pippa & Co. arrive at the Abbey.
11 a.m. Kate, and her much speculated-upon dress, arrive. As soon as she steps out of the vehicle and the world gets its first glimpse at the gown, Buckingham Palace will announce the details and designer of her dress and all will once again be right with the world. As the world's fashion press try to contain themselves, Kate herself will begin the 300-foot walk down the Abbey's aisle to meet William in an area of the church dubbed the Lantern, and the ceremony will commence. Speakers set up along the wedding procession will be relayed to the crowd outside.
The service will be officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, while the Bishop of London, Right Rev. Richard Chartres (long established as Will's favorite cleric, who has been counseling the Prince and Kate, and confirmed the bride-to-be into the Church of England last month), will give the address. The ceremony itself will feature many musical performances, and will be led by the Dean of Westminster. Only one ring swap will occur—William has chosen not to wear a wedding band.
12:05 p.m. The service ends. But before it does, a fanfare of trumpets will ring out to mark the exact moment they tie the knot.
12:15 p.m. Bells will herald the newlyweds' departure, via (weather permitting) a 1902 State Landau Coach (the same open carrier ridden by Prince Charles and Diana) to Buckingham Palace. If it rains, they'll opt for the enclosed Glass Coach. The carriage procession, which will include an escort by the Household Cavalry, will be followed by the Queen's procession, and the entire group will make its way back to Buckingham Palace. The convoy will include senior royals, the Middleton family, guests, and a military procession.
12:30 p.m. The duo arrives at Buckingham Palace, followed by their guests.
1:25 p.m. Kiss me, Kate! The fairy tale moment has arrived. The newlyweds will emerge together on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, where they will wave for the assembled masses, smile and engage in their first public kiss as husband and wife for the no doubt braying crowd. In addition to marking their union with a royal snog, they will be joined on the balcony by the queen and members of their families. So don't expect the PDA to be too intense—royal or not, who wants to start tonguing in front of their grandma?
1:30 p.m. A flyover courtesy of the Royal Air Force and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will mark the occasion.
1:40 p.m. The Queen-hosted reception begins at the palace, as 600 guests sip champagne and devour canapés at the buffet-style brunch service. The two cakes—one fruit, one biscuit-based—will also be cut and served, and this is when Harry's best man speech is due to be delivered. William's hairline has been warned.
3:30 p.m. William and Kate depart the Palace and are driven through the Mall to St. James Palace, where they will enjoy a "period of reflection" to take in the morning's momentous events. And possibly engage in some other newlywed-type activities (too early to start trying for an heir?).
7:00 p.m. The couple, in what could be their final public appearance of the day, make their way back to Buckingham Palace for a final reception to be hosted by Prince Charles for 300 select members of their family and friends, which will not, it's been announced, include the queen. A much more intimate affair, this gathering will feature dinner and dancing and is expected to last long into the night.
7:01 p.m. The search for a new famous couple to obsess over begins.