Tea was flowing along with crumpets and scones as Grosse Pointers and their guests tuned in to the royal nuptials Friday, throwing receptions for their own honored guests, some in hats, some in PJs, all of them connecting to a wedding ceremony an ocean away.
DVR's--not yet invented in the days of Di and Charles, the Royals' last wedding of the century--made possible watching parties of the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and the pause and rewind functions gave the gift of ample time to critique the wedding gown, the Queen's wave and the wildest use of the U.K.'s Union Jack.
Here and there across the Pointes, a town that loves tradition and likes to think of some of its early residents as aristocratic, there were teas, brunches and lunches. Finest china and silver were brought out and cream was clotted to go with the scones (note to yanks: Brits say scones, rhymes with Fonz).
Celebratory cakes, including Prince William's fave, a chocolate biscuit concoction, were bought from bakeries such as in Grosse Pointe Woods and the in the Woods and in the Park had runs on baked goods, nibbles if you're in London.
There were gatherings more fit for commoners with guests arriving in PJs with a cup of good ol' American Joe from home. And in some households, the day was treated as a national holiday, like the UK, with kids staying home from school to watch the pomp and circumstance.
To wedding watchers this was what the Super Bowl is to football fans, what the unveiling of the latest iPhone is to techies, what the Oscars are to movie buffs. Only these weddings don't come around as often.
It was the once-in-a-century draw that excited so many around the world and here in Grosse Pointe.
And the romance.
"Everybody loves romance," said Laura Huebner, of Grosse Pointe. "I remember getting up for Charles and Diana's wedding in high school."
She hosted eight, including her mom who came from Oakland County and spent the night to be up early for the wedding celebration.
Besides romance, there was the love of hats to unite royal wedding fans.
At Huebner's house a hat critique was part of the festivities. And guest Leslie Rentschler wore her grandmother's for the special occasion.
"We're a merciless crowd," Huebner warned, laughing.
Amy Muawad, of Grosse Pointe Park, and her middle-school aged daughter Grace, well versed in the British royalty traditions, hosted friends at their home on the appropriately name Kensington in the Park. Invitation read: At Kensington Palace.
About 15 women, some in hats, all with their wedding day pictures showed up. In addition to British baked goods, there was quiche and cakes and more, including a chocolate cake decorated with a chocolate plaque bearing the names of William and Kate and their wedding date, April 29, 2011. Mimosas were served as was plenty of Royal trivia from throughout the years.
There were oohs and aahs over the kiss, running commentary about the ceremony and the attendees and adoration of the handsome Princes William and Harry and talk about what the happy couple did to make the day their own modern affair. And each guest got brought a photo from their own wedding day, and told stories about their big event, not one of them televised to a worldwide audience.
At Beverly Lovell's house in Grosse Pointe Park, it was all about tradition. She prepared her Grosse Pointe Park home for a proper tea days in advance. A call to interview her for this story interrupted her napkin-ironing.
Her guests were the women of the family, four granddaughters, two daughters and a sister-in-law.
Her work was worth the effort because the wedding is one of those events that end up as a an 'I remember where I was when....'
"It is historic…And I think all of us are interested in brides," she said.
Hats were required at the House of Lovell's tea. She served tea sandwiches, deviled eggs, tuna salad, croissants, petit fours - and grilled cheeses for the kids - heart-shaped scones from her mother and grandmothers' recipe, tea cakes and fruit.
"I don't think any British person would think of this as a real tea," she said.
With a Scottish born mother, Lovell is a Royal watcher, always has been.
"I do give teas from time to time," Lovell said. "But not for this kind of thing. My daughter said we should get together and watch it. I said well we'll have to have a royal tea party."
The little girls are taking their tea from a children's tea set. The adults get the nice stuff.
"I'm just hoping the three little girls will watch a little bit," she said. "They're really into fairy princesses."
Amy Spence, of the Woods, considered throwing a party but did what many did: watched it at home with family.
"I don' t normally get into these things. I'm happily married with two little kids. I was thinking of having people over.
She opted instead to get up 4 a.m. to watch the wedding pre-show and to try to nudge her five-year-old into taking it in with her. Spence spent the week building up the anticipation, making cottage pie, another Prince William fave, for dinner and baking strawberry and cream muffins from a recipe from a British chef.
"I'm surprised I'm so excited about it," she said. "But as my husband put it to my daughter, tomorrow she's going to see a princess be made."