Royal wedding watched from coast to coast

Canadians who woke up in the wee hours to watch the royal wedding were quick to offer their congratulations to William and Kate, the happy couple.

'It was quite real,' one fan says of the William-Kate ceremony

Across Canada, people gathered in the early morning hours to watch the royal wedding Friday, with many offering their congratulations to William and Kate, the happy couple.

At the Empress Hotel in Victoria, royals watchers gathered at the famous Bengal Room to watch the ceremony starting at 1 a.m. local time with a royal breakfast.

"It was so sweet," Christine McAuley told CBC reporter Chris Brown. "It was just wonderful."

McAuley said her favourite part of the ceremony was when Middleton leaned to her new husband and said "I'm so happy" in the carriage following their union at Westminster Abbey.

"That was just great," McAuley said.

Her friend, Wendy Ferraro, said her favourite part of the ceremony came when William's brother and best man, Prince Harry, turned to him before the ceremony and said "Go for it."

"It was quite real," Ferraro said about the couple, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

In Edmonton, Wendy Scott said she was delighted when the couple looked at each other and had a little chuckle in the carriage ride following the ceremony.

"That was really cute," she told CBC reporter Briar Stewart. "And then the carriage ride back — I think it was neat to see all the people in London," she said.

At the Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina, fancy hats were the order of the day along with the occasional tiara, as a crowd gathered at 3 a.m. CT to watch the ceremony live. After Kate and William were officially married, the crowd applauded.

And at the Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto, meanwhile, royalty fan Lindsay said she was most impressed by the fashion choices.

"We were all excited about Kate's dress and it didn't disappoint. We were so excited," she told CBC reporter Melanie Nagy. "It was classic, but it was really gorgeous, a classic tribute to McQueen," referring to the fashion design house of Alexander McQueen.

"Today was fantastic. It was exactly what we had wanted. We've been excited about this for a long time, so it was great," she said.

Another royal fan, Kelly Downie, woke at 3 a.m. ET to take in the festivities with a group of friends in Toronto. "I have a deep appreciation for the royal family," she told CBC News.

While she also extolled the virtues of Kate's dress — calling it "exquisite … the epitome of a classic tasteful dress" — Downie also noted the moment when Kate met her husband-to-be at the altar after her father walked her up the aisle.

"She finally got to the altar and William looked over and mouthed 'You look beautiful, I love you,'" Downie said. "We were voyeurs in that very personal moment. It was very beautiful."

In Charlottetown, the Churchill Arms pub opened early to host a crowd of royal wedding enthusiasts. There, too, fancy hats were on display as those gathered joined a global audience watching the nuptials.

Bell Aliant said the royal wedding sent Atlantic Canadians scrambling to their computers on Friday morning. Across the region, internet usage on the company's network rose sharply around 5:30 a.m. AT, said company spokeswoman Alyson Queen.

"Traffic patterns peaked to almost double the level of volume that we would normally see on a Friday morning when the ceremony started at 7 a.m.," Queen told CBC News.

"Those traffic volumes continued on the network until around 10 o'clock," she said.