From March Madness to their own fantasy league drafts, men go to great lengths to honor sporting events big and small.
This season, women have their own spectator sport to look forward to. It's called the royal wedding, and it kicks off April 29th.
“It's like Christmas & the Oscars & a season finale episode of The Bachelor all wrapped into one,” wrote Elizabeth Anderson, 28, a marketing manager in San Antonio, Texas who has been blogging about Prince William and Kate Middleton's big day.
In addition to a barrage of media coverage and a shameless amount of royal wedding-themed paraphernalia available online (think napkins with the wedding date monogrammed and plates that say "It should have been me"), everyday fans count down the days until it's time to celebrate.
Anderson plans to take a half-day off of work and will host a high tea. Because her party must be held the night before the ceremony, she'll be airing the Lifetime movie “William and Kate: Let Love Rule” instead. Afterwards, guests will play games.
“I've started a bracket, or pool,” Ms. Anderson said. Guests will bet on details like the correct silhouette of Kate's dress, the length of her train, and how much was spent on flowers. Winners earn prizes.
Nancy Rose, who is retired and lives in Clayton, Mo., insists on hosting her party in real time, with attendees arriving at her condo at 4:30 a.m.
"The coverage really starts at three," said Ms. Rose, who selected cards and an appropriately British-looking font before having the invitations professionally printed. She then assembled 42 invitation packages herself, placing each card inside a mesh bag filled with silver confetti strings and tied with white satin ribbon (bags were specially ordered to fit the tiaras).
"The way I wanted to do it, I knew I wouldn't be able to put them in the mail," she said. "I knew I’d have to hand deliver."
A 60-inch screen and projector will be delivered to Rose's party room, which a makeshift aisle will connect to the lobby of her condo building. As for the hostess' attire? "I had something made," Rose said of the black night shirt she had monogrammed with her initials and embroidered with a crown.
If Rose were a wedding professional, she could submit her party for review by Meghan Ely, 30, of Richmond, Va., who works as a wedding marketing expert and runs a royal wedding party contest on her blog.
Following the engagement announcement, she recalled thinking, "I'm going to throw the gauntlet down and I'm going to go nutso on this stuff."
Ely expects 20 guests at her own viewing party, which includes a photo booth and a professionally made fruitcake like the one that will be served at the wedding. But unlike the original, Ely's cake has a picture of the bride and groom superimposed on it.
Guests will be arrive 5 a.m., so Ely included in her party budget the cost of sending her husband to a hotel for the night. He opted to stay.
For West Coast fans, the bigger time difference creates another set of challenges. Lisa Andrews, 26, a translator who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, has five friends coming over, three of whom will fly in from Washington. The group has determined it's best to skip work and not go to sleep at all the night before.
Andrews' guests plan to wear formal wedding during the beginning of the night, and then they'll change into pastel silk pajamas. “We don't really want to be in stilettos till five o'clock in the morning," Andrews said.
Andrews and her friends already ordered fake replicas of Kate Middleton's sapphire and diamond engagement ring, which they’ll sport during the party. Securing life-sized cutouts of the bride and groom is next on their list. Andrews will serve a menu of champagne cocktails and tea sandwiches but nothing cheesy, she said, like (God forbid!) British flag-emblazoned paper plates.
“We want to keep it a little more understated and elegant,” said Andrews, who lives with her boyfriend and added that he's being supportive, to a point.
"I was trying to get him to dress up as a butler for the night, but he wasn't really going for that” she said. "I don't think he thought it was as funny as I did."
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