Despite the early hour, Deb Chiaravalloti will be ready to party — as will her four guests.
Dressed in pajamas, the friends will gather at Chiaravalloti's Newbury home at 5:30 a.m. on Friday, where they'll spend the next few hours, on a vacation day from work, watching Prince William and Kate Middleton get married at London's Westminster Abbey.
"I just thought it would be hysterical," Chiaravalloti said. "People need something fun to do."
And if you're going to throw a wedding-watching party, you might as well do it right. Chiaravalloti won't be serving her guests mere coffee and bagels.
The menu includes cranberry-chocolate-chunk scones and crumpets — complete with clotted cream and marmalade from the Best of British shop in Newburyport — and tea from her tea cups and individual teapots.
Of course, like any English wedding, the guests must wear white gloves and fancy hats. As hostess, Chiaravalloti will supply the hats wrapped in sparkly tulle.
"I'm making them as big as I can," she said.
As the group waits for the wedding to begin at 6 a.m. (11 a.m. in London), they'll be busy making some pre-wedding wagers on what Middleton's gown will look like, the colors and styles of the dresses for the mother of the bride and maid of honor, and what Middleton's new title will be — princess or duchess.
Chiaravalloti, vice president of public relations and marketing at Anna Jaques Hospital, has compiled a stack of sketches depicting possible gown styles.
"I'm really hoping that it's a ball gown," Chiaravalloti said. She's heard reports that Middleton is giving a nod to William's mother, the late Princess Diana, with the design of her dress.
"Whoever comes closest (to the style) wins," she said of the wagers.
Fittingly, the prize is a tiara.
"I have to go out and shop for the perfect (one)," Chiaravalloti said.
Then comes the trivia. Chiaravalloti has searched the Internet — including a visit to the official royal wedding website — to compile her questions.
They will range, she said, from "Where did they get engaged?" and "What is the cake for the reception?" to "What is Prince William's full name?" or "How long will the bells toll at the Abbey following the wedding?"
"There's a ton of it out there; it's every time you turn around," she said.
Following the wedding, Chiaravalloti and her guests will toast the happy couple with champagne.
Two of her friends, Katie Basson and Rose Russo, both of Newburyport, will arrive the night before and sleep over, and two guests will arrive that morning. Her friend, Diane Packard, is driving down from York, Maine, for the event.
"They jumped all over it, and said, 'I will absolutely be there,'" Chiaravalloti said.
Julie Ganong, owner of Chococoa Baking Company in Newburyport, is among the partygoers.
"It's history being made," she said. After getting up early in 1981 to watch the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, it "only seems fitting" to do the same for their son, she added.
"It's just pure fun; it's royalty and glamour all rolled into one," Ganong said.
The wedding of Charles and Diana had "an innocence" about it, Ganong added, and then the public watched that fairy tale unravel and tragedy hit with the death of Diana in a car accident in 1997.
Today, William and Kate's story isn't a fairy tale, but there's still excitement and mystique surrounding them, she added.
"The two of them seem down-to-earth," Ganong said.
For Chiaravalloti, who also remembers waking up early in the morning to watch the wedding of Charles and Diana, the event is a chance to spend time with friends.
"We're just going to have fun," she said.
Watch it live
The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be shown live on The Daily News website Friday. Visit www.newburyportnews.com to watch the complete coverage from Westminster Abbey.
A ROYAL SPREAD
Are you having a royal wedding watching party? The Associated Press has compiled some ideas for what you can serve to your guests:
FRUIT AND CHOCOLATE SCONES
Classic to afternoon teas, scones are commonly baked plain or studded with currants, then accompanied with jam and clotted cream, a thick, creamy spread. You can make your version with any dried fruit, such as blueberries, cranberries or apricots. You also can add chopped nuts or chocolate chips.
Start to finish: 1 hour
23/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/2 cups dried fruit, nuts and/or chocolate bits
Coarse sugar, optional
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until well distributed. Add the cream, sour cream and vanilla. Mix until almost combined, then add the fruit and nuts and mix just until distributed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough into a circle about 3/4 inch thick and 10 inches across. Cut the circle into 8 wedges, then transfer each wedge to the prepared baking sheet.
Refrigerate or freeze until well chilled, 15 to 30 minutes.
While the scones chill, heat the oven to 400 F. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with coarse sugar, if desired. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool before serving.
Bismarcks also are known as Dutch babies and German pancakes. Though this oven pancake isn't commonly served as a breakfast item in England, its savory counterpart, known as a Yorkshire pudding, is served for Sunday dinner, with leftovers being served with jam for dessert. Use any fruit you like for the filling; fresh berries are particularly good, but sauteed apples with cinnamon and sugar are tasty, as well.
Start to finish: 35 minutes
1 cup milk
1 cup bread flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
11/2 cups fresh fruit, such as sliced peaches, citrus segments or berries
Powdered sugar or whipped cream, to garnish, if desired
Heat the oven to 450 F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, flour, baking powder and salt until smooth.
Place the butter in a pie plate or oven-safe skillet. Set the pie plate or skillet in the oven. When the butter has melted, swirl the pan around to fully coat the bottom and sides.
Pour the batter into the hot pan and immediately return to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 F and continue to cook until browned and puffy, about another 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven. Heap the fruit in the center, then serve dusted with powdered sugar or topped with whipped cream, if desired.
BUBBLE AND SQUEAK
Named for the sound it makes while it's cooking, bubble and squeak is a breakfast hash of sorts, designed to use leftovers from the previous nights' boiled dinners.
It generally is made from shredded boiled cabbage, mashed potatoes and whatever else is around. Leftover meats could be shredded or chopped and thrown into the mixture, as well as carrots, onions and squash. Our version assumes the vegetables are cooked, but if you don't have any leftover veggies, simply boil them until tender.
Start to finish: 40 minutes (20 minutes active)
1 pound sausage meat
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 russet potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
1 cup shredded, cooked cabbage
1/2 cup chopped cooked carrots
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, cook the sausage meat until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan and reserve.
Add the onion to the sausage drippings in the skillet and cook until translucent and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the potatoes, cabbage and carrots, as well as the reserved sausage meat.
Mix and cook until well browned, 15 to 20 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally and flipping the mixture over and about. Season with salt and pepper.