Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's fairytale wedding was sealed with an intimate kiss on the steps of St George's Chapel, as the world cheered the newlyweds.

The tender moment capped a lively and at times unpredictable royal wedding, with surprise A-list guests, an animated preacher, giggling royals and, at its centre, a couple very clearly in love and handling the pressure of their big day with aplomb, reports news.com.au.

Here's how it unfolded:

BRIDE AND GROOM HEAD FOR FROGMORE HOUSE

The newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex have left Windsor Castle for their evening reception at Frogmore House, where they will have a private dinner with 200 of their nearest and dearest friends.

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The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry head to their evening reception. Photo / Getty Images
The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry head to their evening reception. Photo / Getty Images

Meghan wore a Stella McCartney halterneck gown as Prince Harry opened the door for her to jump into a silver blue Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero. Prince Harry drove to the venue - the same place they had their engagement pictures taken.

Meghan's second dress is a bespoke lily white high neck gown made of silk crepe by the British designer who is the daughter of Paul McCartney. Earlier, Stella McCartney had been named as the designer behind the wedding dress, which was in fact made by Givenchy.

She wore Aquazurra shoes in silky satin with nude mesh and baby blue soles. Her hair was styled by George Northwood into her signature chignon style.

In another unconventional touch, Meghan Markle will give a speech at the reception, and it's expected Prince William will deliver his best man's speech as well.

INSIDE THE RECEPTION

Sir Elton John has performed at the lunchtime reception for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Prince Harry had asked him personally, due to their "close connection," Kensington Palace said.

Sir Elton performed a reworked version of Candle in the Wind at Princess Diana's funeral in 1997, changing the words to Goodbye England's Rose.

The six hundred guests were served Californian–style "bowl food" and the best of British produce. Canapes include Scottish langoustines wrapped in smoked salmon, asparagus wrapped in ham and a heritage tomato and basil tartare with "balsamic pearls".

That was followed by Free-range chicken with yoghurt and roasted apricot, and confit of Windsor lamb with roasted vegetables will also be served.

Dessert canapes will include champagne and pistachio macaroons, orange crème brulee tarts and rhubarb crumble tartlets.

The lemon and elderflower wedding cake will also be cut:

To drink, guest will have Pol Roger Brut Réserve Non Vintage Champagne, wines and elderflower mocktails.

MESSAGE FROM DAD

and has sent his best wishes to his daughter Meghan and new son-in-law Prince Harry. "My baby looks beautiful and she looks very happy," Thomas Markle, who withdrew from attending the ceremony for health reasons, told TMZ.

"I wish I were there and wish them all my love and all happiness."

WHY KATE'S OUTFIT LOOKS FAMILIAR

The Duchess of Cambridge has raised eyebrows at the royal wedding with a recycled outfit she has worn twice before.

Kate Middleton stunned in her first outing since giving birth to Prince Louis last month in a primrose yellow wool silk tailored coat by Alexander McQueen - the same designer she wore for her own wedding in 2011. It was matched with a Philip Treacy hat and shoes by Jimmy Choo.

Seen the Duchess of Cambridge's outfit somewhere before? Photo / Getty Images
Seen the Duchess of Cambridge's outfit somewhere before? Photo / Getty Images

However style mavens were quick to point out she's worn it in public at least three times – once at the christening of Princess Charlotte in July 2015 and once at the Queen's birthday in June 2016.

HEADING TO THE RECEPTION

Now husband and wife, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took a carriage ride, waving at the tens of thousands of excited well-wishers lining the streets of Windsor. As guests walked the short distance from the chapel to the reception, the royal couple gave the public their first look at them as a married couple.

ADORABLE BRIDAL PARTY

The bridal party of ten children put on an adorable display of royal cuteness walking down the aisle with Meghan Markle.

The group of ten children arrived in three separate cars managed by their parents, including the Duchess of Cambridge and Jessica Mulroney. It included Princess Charlotte and Prince Harry's goddaughters Florence van Cutsem, and Zalie Warren. Meghan's goddaughters, Remi and Ryland Litt were also part of the bridal party.

Jessica Mulroney's children Ivy, Brian and John Mulroney were part of the crew, along with Prince George and another of Prince Harry's godchildren, Jasper Dyer.

The bridesmaids outfit were designed by Givenchy, from Clare Waight Keller who also made the dress. Each was given personally monogrammed white leather Aquazurra shoes by Meghan as a keepsake.

The pageboys wore a mini-version of Prince Harry and Prince William's outfits with their initials embroidered on the shoulders.

DID HARRY REALLY SAY THAT?

Many watching at home were convinced that Prince Harry told his soon-to-be bride "I'm shitting it" as they stood next to each other in the church. We're not convinced. See what you think:

NEWLY MARRIED

Harry and Meghan are now husband and wife, both beaming with happiness as they recited their traditional vows to each other and exchanged wedding rings.

HARRY'S WHISPERED WORDS

With the world watching, Prince Harry's still managed to steal a few private moments with his bride, the pair exchanging a few softly spoken words. At least one utterance was picked up by those watching: "You look amazing," as he first laid eyes on her inside the chapel.

SCENE-STEALING PREACHER

Bishop Michael Curry's lively speech has got viewers talking - it was either a much-needed injection of power and passion or a rambling, 'WTF' moment, depending who you ask.

At various points in his rather lengthy speech, those inside the chapel could be seen smirking and stifling giggles - and that includes several members of the extended royal family:

Bishop Curry's speech started with an impassioned testament to the power of love, then somehow meandered into topics including a brief description of the industrial revolution. It was certainly memorable.

THE DRESS

Markle's wedding dress was designed by British designer, Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy and contains an incredible hidden tribute to Commonwealth nations in the veil.

Kensington Palace said Meghan chose the designer for her "timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring, and relaxed demeanour."

The clean lines of the dress included an open neckline to frame the shoulders, made in a double silk fabric in white to bring a sense of "fresh modernity".

Meghan also chose to have all 53 countries of the Commonwealth included in the veil design through floral emblems.

The veil is five metres long and handmade, with designers washing their hands every 30 minutes. In addition to the Commonwealth flowers it includes Meghan's favourites, Wintersweet, which grows in front of Nottingham Cottage, and the California Poppy, representing her home state.

SURPRISING MOMENT

The Dean of Windsor David Conner was officiating the wedding, including asking the always-nail-biting "If anyone present who knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry, to declare it now?" Mercifully, the chapel was silent (we had visions of Samantha Markle busting through the church doors but it wasn't meant to be).

Amid the pomp and solemnity, one part of the Dean's opening speech caused a stir: "The gift of marriage brings husband and wife together in the delight and tenderness of sexual union."

If you didn't expect to hear talk of Harry and Meghan's delightful, tender sex life at this wedding, you're not alone:

In an historical moment, Martin Luther King was quoted during the Address of Service, delivered by Reverend Curry.

During the ceremony, he told the crowd that "Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: 'We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.'"

The choir also sang a cover of Ben E. King's classic hit Stand By Me.

It was just another modern element to what was a significantly non-traditional royal wedding, with Meghan walking herself partway down the aisle at St George's Chapel, before being joined by Prince Charles on her way to her groom.

MEGHAN ARRIVES

It's one hell of a dress, with a metres-long train that her pageboys appeared to at first struggle to get in order on the steps of the church.

THE QUEEN ARRIVES

The Queen wore a lime, lemon, purple and grey printed silk dress by Stewart Parvin, and a hat by Angela Kelly.

FIRST GLIMPSES OF MEGHAN

The crowd of people on Windsor streets who had waited and waited for their spots were not disappointed and had uninterrupted views of the royal couple's carriage procession.

HARRY MAKES AN ENTRANCE

A somewhat nervous-looking Prince Harry arrived at the chapel on foot, walking alongside his older brother and best man, Prince William.

The brothers arrived at the chapel wearing the frockcoat uniform of the Blues and Royals.

Prince Harry's coat is made from blue doeskin in a single-breasted style and took one person a whole week to complete. It has the rank of Major with large gold embroidered crowns.

The badge on the left chest is Pilots' Wings attained whilst serving with the Army Air Corps for flying Apache helicopters. He is also wearing four medals and a white buckskin waist belt.

Prince William wears the same uniform as the Groom, also to the Rank of Major. The Wings are those attained flying helicopters whilst serving with the RAF, the two medals below from left to right are: Queen's Golden Jubilee and Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

After 'What will Meghan wear?', the biggest question being asked by royal watchers was about whether Harry would shave his scruffy beard for the big day.

Well, we have our answer: He did not.

The princes removed their hats as they entered the chapel, and beamed at guests as they walked past the choir.

RECOGNISE THIS A-LIST ACTOR?

It's Bane himself - Tom Hardy, who's arrived looking virtually unrecognisable, sans hair. He's currently playing gangster Al Capone in the forthcoming biographical crime drama Fonzo, hence the bald bonce.

A SPICE GIRL SCOWLS, A MEME IS BORN

Victoria Beckham approached the chapel with her trademark Posh pout fixed in place - remember. this is a woman who hasn't smiled in public since 1996. Still, many couldn't resist poking fun at the rather miserable-looking star on this joyous day:

George and Amal Clooney have also made a surprise appearance - Amal looking stunning in a two-piece mustard yellow ensemble with yellow veiled fascinator, and her husband wearing a very daytime-appropriate grey morning suit.

The Clooneys kindly nipped across from Lake Como for the big event. Photo / Getty Images
The Clooneys kindly nipped across from Lake Como for the big event. Photo / Getty Images

THE RING

The Queen has given Meghan Markle a touching gift in the form of a sliver of Welsh gold for her wedding ring.

Royal tradition dictates brides have rings made from the same nugget of Welsh gold, including those of the Queen, her mother, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, and Diana, Princess of Wales. A "minute sliver" of this is still left and is held by the Privy Purse. The Queen has gifted some of this to Meghan to have her wedding band made by London-based jewellers, Cleave and Company.

Prince Harry will wear a platinum wedding band with a textured finish. Both will be carried into the chapel by Prince William, who is Harry's best man.

THE FIRST A-LISTERS

Oprah Winfrey was among the first guests to arrive at the chapel, walking in alongside Brit-born Hollywood star Idris Elba.

Suddenly we don't care about the royals because OPRAH BLOODY WINFREY IS HERE!!! Photo / Getty Images
Suddenly we don't care about the royals because OPRAH BLOODY WINFREY IS HERE!!! Photo / Getty Images

Harry's pregnant sister-in-law Pippa Middleton looked typically stylish in a mint green patterned floral long-sleeved gown, with a blush pink fascinator and Jimmy Choo heels:

HARRY'S EXES

In a show of solidarity, two of Harry's ex-girlfriends attended the ceremony.

The prince famously dated Chelsy Davy on and off for around seven years until their final split in 2011, and he enjoyed a two-year relationship with English actress and model Cressida Bonas between 2012 and 2014.

Davy wore a two-piece navy mini-dress and matching fascinator, with beige Alaia heels:

ANTICIPATION BUILDS

The crowds along Windsor streets are already full and the atmosphere is electrifying.

Union Jacks, crowns, Harry and Meghan merchandise are everywhere but so are the smiles - this is a moment of history everyone is keen to see.

"We are about to see an American princess," a visitor from Texas told news.com.au. "How could you not be excited?"

Music is blaring from speakers and the sunshine is warming the crowd of thousands after a very chilly morning saw the mercury plunge to just seven degrees.

Loud cries from the crowd are erupting as anyone passes by - police, media crews, even an empty bus- as everyone stakes out their spot waiting for the moment the royal couple make their first public appearance as husband and wife.

The champagne is flowing as people in Windsor wait for the wedding to begin.

"It doesn't matter how long it takes. This is history and there are so many people who would love to be here to see them on their wedding day," Lee Waters, 37, said.

THE VERY FIRST GUESTS

The rather wonderfully named Delfina Blaquier and Nacho Figueras - he's a polo player, apparently - were the first guests to arrive, perhaps realising that getting here super-early will guarantee them ample camera time from the world's media. Smart move, guys.

And Serana Williams is all frocked up and ready to go:

Seeing us off. Flying baby style! @olympiaohanian

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

Williams showed off the finished look to her 8 million followers, looking elegant in a pink outfit with matching fascinator. She posed alongsider her husband Alexis Ohanian, and eight-month-old daughter, Alexis Olympia.

WHO PAID?

The exact cost of the royal wedding is unknown but the bill will be split between British taxpayers and the royal family themselves.

Security and police costs could run into tens of millions and will be paid for by Thames Valley Police, who would not release official data on the subject. The royal family will pay for private elements of the service including catering, flowers and food – with Meghan's dress alone estimated to cost around $180,000. An exact figure for the wedding is virtually impossible to find, however website Bridebook claims it could cost around £32 million ($57 million) all up.

Not everyone is happy about the bill, with activist group Republic launching a petition against public money being spent on it.

Spokesman Graham Smith accused Prince Harry of turning his wedding "into a public parade, costing the taxpayers millions."

"There is nothing inevitable about the public spending money on a royal wedding. If the royals don't want to pay a big security bill they could have had a private wedding in Sandringham or Balmoral," he said.

INSIDE THE CHAPEL

The first pictures from inside St George's Chapel showcased a breathtaking display of flowers.

Huge white pots of white flowers and thick greenery have also been set up on either side of the high altar, where Harry and Meghan will say their vows in just a couple of hours' time.

The archways within the chapel, located inside Windsor Castle, has been decorated with an elaborate wall of white flowers and greenery.

TITLES ANNOUNCED

After much speculation, the palace revealed what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal titles will be. A press release from the palace reads:

"The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel.

Prince Harry thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Ms. Meghan Markle on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex."

AWKWARD ERROR

But the 22-page booklet has a glaring error in it, just hours before the royal couple tie the knot.

Thomas Markle, Meghan's father, is still included as the person who will walk Meghan down the aisle to the high altar.

In fact, Prince Charles stepped in to walk Meghan down the aisle.