Royal weddings in the past were "a way of building power alliances. Today they're a way of uniting the monarchy with the people and strengthening the sense of community."
- Historian Louise Berglund

Exactly one week before the wedding of HRH Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist, the Swedish royal family gathered for one last outing before they’re all together again at the royal wedding on Saturday, June 13.

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Prince Carl Philip, 36, the second child of HRH King Carl XVI Gustaf and HRH Queen Silvia of Sweden, will wed longtime girlfriend Sofia Hellqvist, 30, in the wedding of the year. Though this is the third royal wedding in the family in just five years, it promises to be quite the event. And though some traditions have the bride's family hosting most wedding festivities, the groom's parents will be hosting this entire weekend's events.

The royals celebrated together on June 6 for National Day, with the main event at Skansen, Stockholm's open-air museum, where the King gave his annual speech. Everyone wore traditional Swedish costumes, with Princess Madeleine looking radiant in her special maternity-sized dress. Madeleine, the prince’s younger sister, is due to give birth to her second child any day now, which could mean she’ll have to skip her older brother's big day.

Pre-wedding gala
On Friday evening, June 12, the wedding celebrations officially start with a private dinner for invited guests. The pre-wedding event, traditionally a very elegant affair, will be held for the invited royal guests and friends of the couple, most likely at Vaxholm Castle.

Getting ready for the big day
It isn’t known whether Sofia will wear a Swedish crown of the royal family or a new tiara. She could also opt for a jewel in the hair. There is speculation that she might wear Princess Lilian's laurel wreath tiara, which she left to Victoria — “something borrowed” perhaps, and meaningful since the newlyweds will live in the house where the aunt and uncle, Princess Lilian and her husband Prince Bertil, lived.
There are many rumors about Sofia’s wedding dress , but it’s likely to be a Swedish designer since she has favored them at other auspicious events, including Princess Madeleine’s wedding and for her first appearance at the Nobel Prize dinner last year. She is not obliged to wear a Swedish label, however, and some voices suggested choosing Valentino who also designed the wedding dress of Princess Madeleine.

The wedding day
The ceremony will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 in the Royal Chapel at the Royal Palace. Approximately 550 guests are expected, starting to arrive around 4 p.m. The ceremony, which will last about 40 minutes, will be officiated by the King’s Chaplain Lars-Göran Lönnermark and Pastor Michael Bjerkhagen. The prince’s 3-year-old niece and goddaughter, and future queen of Sweden, Princess Estelle, will probably have a starring role as one of the ring bearers.

The royal couple has invited the world to their wedding through a live broadcast on SVT, starting at 3 p.m. (9 a.m. EST), with the ceremony starting at 4:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. EST). Watch the festivities live or recorded here: www.svtplay.se and #royalwedding2015

Upon marriage, Sofia Hellqvist will become Her Royal Highness Princess Sofia of Sweden, Duchess of Värmland. It is up to the king to decide whether anyone who marries into the Swedish royal family should be offered a royal title. A month before the wedding, King Carl XVI Gustaf announced his decision to name her a princess.
And so, following tradition, after the church ceremony, it is expected that HRH Prince Carl Philip and HRH Princess Sofia will make their first public appearance as newlyweds traveling around central Stockholm in the same barouche that Madeleine had for her big day, and King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia rode in after their 1976 nuptials.
The procession should take about 25 minutes as it travels about one and a half miles from the Royal Palace past the Outer Courtyard and along Slottsbacken, Skeppsbron, Slottskajen, Norrbro, Regeringsgatan, Hamngatan, Nybroplan, Nybrokajen, Hovslagargatan, Södra Blasieholmshamnen and Strömbron, ending at Logården, a garden outside the palace. There, they will be greeted by a 21-gun salute from Skeppsholmen.

The reception
Back at the Royal Palace, a lavish reception for about 370 guests will be waiting in the Vita Havet Assembly Rooms. The prince is quite a foodie with a keen interest in fine cuisine and was personally involved with helping choose the food that would be served at his wedding dinner — together with award winning chef Fredrik Eriksson, who manages the menu selections for the Nobel banquets. The dinner will be prepared by the only Scandinavian chef who holds three Michelin stars (for his restaurants in Stockholm), Mathias Dahlgren, and other top chefs Markus Aujalay and Henrik Norström.
The wedding cake will be created by the Swedish National Pastry Team's Mattias Ljungberg who runs Tössebageriet in Stockholm, and Frida Leijon and Fredrik Borgskog. What the cake will look like and how it will taste are closely guarded secrets, but if it's anything like the cakes of the prince's sisters' weddings, it will be royally spectacular at more than 9 feet in height.
Following the dinner, the guests will move into the opulent Karl XI’s Gallery for dancing, where the bride and groom will share their first dance to a traditional wedding waltz.
When the party kicks into gear, two of Sweden's best known music acts will perform — dance music star DJ Avicii, whose real name is Tim Bergling, and Icona Pop. "I met Carl Philip in Ibiza, where we got to hang out and talk for some time," the DJ said. "He is so damn cool and a really humble, good guy." Icona Pop, who had a number one pop hit with song "I Love It," has also been confirmed to perform.

The royal guest list includes:
Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, and Princess Estelle
Princess Madeleine, Chris O’Neill, and Princess Leonore
Aunts Princess Margaretha, Princess Birgitta, Princess Désirée and Princess Christina
The Queen, Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark
The Queen, Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway
Princess Martha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn
Queen Mathilde of Belgium
Britain's Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain
Princess Takamado of Japan
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
Prince Nikolaos and Princess Tatiana of Greece