No fascinator, no entry: West Island woman hosts posh royal wedding party
2 local women weigh in on how they plan to celebrate the royal wedding this Saturday
Allisun Dalzell hasn't kept life-sized cut-outs of the royals in her basement for three years for nothing.
They've been waiting for Saturday's party to honour one of her favourite royals, Prince Harry, who will be marrying the American actress Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle.
"I happen to be a big fan of Harry. I think he's adorable," Dalzell told CBC's Daybreak. "I've been waiting for [his wedding day] since he was born."
A strict dress code will be enforced in Dalzell's West Island home: people have to dress as if they are attending the wedding. That means fine clothes or fascinators, for instance.
The menu includes bangers and mash for breakfast, blueberry yogurt with raspberries and granola, berry crumble muffins, strawberries and English cream, tea sandwiches, scones and — for a Montreal touch — mini bagels.
"People say it's crazy to do what I'm doing," Dalzell said. "So what?"
She will also have her collection of life-sized cut-outs of members of the royal family on display, which she got several years ago and has been storing with the special day in mind.
Mom, you're embarrassing us
Dalzell's kids, in particular, have their reservations about the party.
For the past few weeks, they've begged her not to say anything about her over-the-top celebration when their friends were in the car.
But Dalzell is undeterred by naysayers, and she's seen how her passion for celebrating the royal wedding has given others the confidence to show that they, too, love the royals.
"They all came out of the closet," Dalzell said.
Twenty-five of her friends have been invited, and more are expected to tag along.
Markle in the spotlight
But not all Montrealers who will be tunning into the early Saturday morning broadcast of the wedding will be doing so out of love for the royals.
For Aminka Belvitt, a Jamaican-born Montrealer, it is Markle who is the main attraction.
"I celebrate who she is as an international feminist, as an advocate for women's rights," said Belvitt, who joined Dalzell on Daybreak to discuss the wedding.
"I was a fan of watching Suits [a TV show that starred Markle]. She was amazing. To be able to see how she can change and have a trajectory in such an old system — that's what excites me."
She added that when it comes to women of colour in the spotlight, "representation matters." She hopes Markle's story will inspire other young women.
All out on wedding day
Dalzell is going all out planning her festive event. There's a Paddington Bear cut-out in the front, Union Jack flags hang over the door, and a photo of Windsor Castle is pasted to it.
Windsor Castle is the site of Saturday's wedding, and it's the reason Dalzell isn't in England right now.
When the wedding was first announced, she booked nine hotel rooms all around London — she wasn't sure exactly where the wedding would be and knew rooms would be all booked up if she waited.
When she found out the wedding would be an hour outside of London, she realized there would be no pomp or ceremony on display in the city and decided to stay home and host her theme party, instead.
She says it's worth it to celebrate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — two people she admires.
Harry is one of her favourite members of the Royal Family, and she finds Markle "really classy. She has a maturity about her."
This West Island woman is going all out for the royal wedding tomorrow.<br><br>Here's how to watch: <a href="https://t.co/YqIxixLmPO">https://t.co/YqIxixLmPO</a> <a href="https://t.co/7oGLw2tUCv">pic.twitter.com/7oGLw2tUCv</a>—@CBCMontreal
With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak