Hats galore at royal wedding viewing party

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — By 10 a.m. Friday, Cyncie Staats’ Confederate Avenue home looked like it had been invaded by Brits.
Ladies decked out in big, small, short and tall hats trimmed with feathers, flowers and a variety of other bling packed the residence for a royal wedding viewing party.
Staats hosted about 40 friends at her house to watch the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
And although there was no dress code, hats were a must.
Barbara Pem honored her deceased mother-in-law, donning a fruit hat she purchased in the British Virgin Islands.
“She bought it years ago and I’ve been hanging onto it for all these years,” she said.
Patty Mason designed her own headpiece, using a woven hat she purchased from T.J. Maxx. She embellished it with giant blue daises and a blue bird.
A magenta hat with a wide brim came from Fern Albract’s closet.
“It’s old. I wore it to a Kentucky Derby hat party years ago,” she said.
But Staats chose Martha Owens’ brown and white feathered hat as the best headpiece.
Owens went to work crafting a hat similar to Middleton’s signature look as soon as she found out about the party.
“There are so many lovely hats it was a tough choice,” Staats said.
Special guest
Though most of Staats’ guests came from Rowan County, Barbara Jackson traveled from Florida.
She hosted a similar party at her Salisbury home when Charles and Diana wed in 1981.
“Everybody had on hats and gloves, we tried to speak in a British accent and threw rice at the telly,” she said. “It was an outrageously good time.”
Jackson said she was happy to be back in Salisbury on Friday.
“Most of the girls are people I knew form the 30 years I lived here,” she said.
Wedding impressions
Although Staats hosted her party nearly five hours after the royal wedding aired live, her guests didn’t miss out.
Ladies gathered around several televisions to watch the recorded version of the event. “I just love the tradition, royalty, pageantry and beauty of it all,” Jane Hubbard said. “I thought it was a really special part of history being made.”
But Hubbard said she didn’t wait to see the wedding at Staats’ house.
“I got up at 4:45 a.m. to watch it,” she said. “I loved every minute of it.”
Rachel Oestreicher-Bernheim also woke up bright and early for the occasion.
She said she was thrilled to see Middleton in such a chic dress. “She looked breathtakingly beautiful in the most natural way,” she said.
Owens, who had been anxiously anticipating the unveiling of the dress, said she wasn’t let down.
“It was just elegant,” she said. “It wasn’t frou frou and that’s the way she is.”
Jackson said the bouquet, made of myrtle and sweet William flowers, was one of her favorite features.
“I liked that the flowers were small so that you could see her dress,” she said.
Barbara Owen dubbed the entire wedding “marvelous.”
“It was fabulous,” she said. “I thought no one would top Princess Diana’s wedding, but this did.”
Jackson said despite all the glitz and glam of the wedding, it’s always been the relationship between the William and Kate that has captivated her the most. “I think they are really a couple that is in love and that’s why everybody has been so happy to see them get married.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.