Zara's VERY merry wedding knees-up: A vodka fountain, takeaway chips and why Tindall didn't reach bridal suites until 2pm

By Rebecca English, Rebecca Evans and David Wilkes

Dishevelled but happy: Zara leaves Holyrood House the morning after the wedding party, while Mike Tindall, still in his morning suit well into Sunday, takes stock of the impressive surroundings

Even by their own spectacular standards, it was one heck of a party.

After a night of hard-drinking revelry with their wedding guests, Mike Tindall and his royal bride Zara Phillips did not arrive back at their suite in the Palace of Holyroodhouse until 2pm yesterday.

While Zara had managed to change into her favourite flip-flops, skinny jeans and a baggy linen top, Tindall was still wearing his morning suit and had clearly not been to bed.

The dishevelled features of many guests bore testimony to the excesses of Saturday night. Prince Harry’s eyes looked as baggy as his denim shirt and jeans, while Zara’s brother Peter spent 15 minutes trying to work out how to get his golf clubs, daughter Savannah’s push-chair and wife Autumn’s hat box into the boot of his car.

Well groomed: What a contrast! A perfectly coiffured, delighted Mike and Zara leave Canonbury Kirk en route to
Holyrood House where the revelry that would continue well into the following afternoon got underway

He then accidentally drove off with Tindall’s kit bag and had to bring it back ten minutes later.

Despite the presence of the Queen and every senior member of the Royal Family, Saturday’s wedding had got off to a less than auspicious start when the broken-nosed groom turned up to church chewing on a piece of gum accompanied by his best man, fellow rugby player Iain Balshaw, complete with black eye after falling off his moped.

And the post-ceremony reception, held at the 12th Century palace, Her Majesty’s official residence in Scotland, was even less regal. Guests knocked back ice-cold shots from a vodka fountain while morning-suited revellers nipped out for takeaway chips in the early hours.

Fortunately, the Queen had already left in order for the ‘young ones to let their hair down’ – a gesture she might well live to regret when she gets the cleaning bill.

And it wasn’t just the youngsters who over-indulged. Zara’s father, Captain Mark Phillips, was found snoring in an armchair in his hotel bar at 2.30am.

As one royal source said: ‘It was just a family knees-up. Your archetypal wedding, really. Except with a lot of royals and rugby players. And a lot of drinking. In fact make that a hell of a lot of drinking.’

Here, we reconstruct the events of a very untraditional royal wedding.

All partied out: Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie take home a flower arrangement each

The groom’s £350 shoes

The England rugby player, his best man Iain Balshaw and ushers had their morning suits made to measure by Savile Row tailor Cad & The Dandy to accommodate their imposing bulk. They wore £350 Oliver Sweeney shoes.

Celebrity guests

Every senior member of the Royal Family, plus a smattering of showbusiness faces including TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher and Coronation Street actress Katherine Kelly, 31, who plays Becky McDonald.

Also present were motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart, whose wife, Lady Helen, is Zara’s godmother, and equestrians including William Fox-Pitt.

A rousing Jerusalem

On the front of the order of service were the initials Z and M entwined in italic script. The hymns included Jerusalem which, according to one source at the church, ‘was a big hit with all the rugby boys’, as well as Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer and Amazing Grace. One woman guest told the Queen how wonderful it had been to hear such a loud rendition of Jerusalem. ‘Well, we’ve had enough practice at it,’ the Queen replied.

As well as religious readings, Princes William and Harry read jointly from Zara’s favourite childhood novel, The Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real by Margery Williams.

The tomboy bride

Zara’s £3,000 off-the-peg dress by the Queen’s favourite couturier, Stewart Parvin, garnered a mixed reception.

Most thought the sporty tomboy, who arrived seven minutes late for the 3pm ceremony at Canongate Kirk, looked refreshingly feminine and were delighted that she had plucked it off the rails of her local boutique (the White Room in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire).

In particular they loved her choice of full-length cathedral veil which was perfectly set off by her elegant chignon and the Queen’s Greek-inspired ‘Meander’ tiara, given to her as a wedding present by her mother-in-law, Princess Andrew of Greece, Queen Victoria’s great-granddaughter, and passed on to Princess Anne in 1972.

Some, however, thought the ivory silk faille and duchess satin gown a little, well, ‘meringuey’.

But to be fair to a woman who spends her life in jeans and jodhpurs mucking out horses, she was never going to compete with a certain other royal bride.

And at least she forsook the flip-flops she wore to Friday’s wedding rehearsal for a pair of Jimmy Choos.

Get much sleep? Mike Tindall is seen arriving at The Palace of Holyroodhouse, wearing the same clothes he wore yesterday. Zara Phillips looked radiant in a pair of white jeans and a beige top

The pair emerged a little later and Mike had finally changed out of his wedding gear into something a little more casual

Charles’s speedy exit

Arriving at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in glorious sunshine, the newly-weds and their guests were treated to a rendition of Scotland the Brave by the Royal Scots Association Pipe Band.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh stayed long enough only for a quick glass of bubbly and a congratulatory kiss before returning to Balmoral by helicopter at 5.50pm.

Charles and Camilla left even earlier, after just 45 minutes, to spend a week at the Castle of Mey.

Hat trick: The Countess of Wessex with her wedding hat and husband Edward looking bleary eyed

Princess Beatrice and her boyfriend Dave Clarke leave Holyrood earlier today

A soppy speech

Best man Balshaw jokily described how Tindall’s choice of cars showed how he has moved up in the world since he started dating the Queen’s granddaughter.

‘He’s gone from a Ford Mondeo to an Audi to a Range Rover to a chauffeur-driven car,’ said Balshaw, getting the biggest laugh of the night for a joke he had taken straight off an internet guide to writing wedding speeches. Zara’s father, Captain Mark Phillips, said how proud he was to be part of this ‘triangle’ – a reference to the fact that he, his ex-wife Princess Anne and her second husband Tim Laurence are all neighbours and get on well.

Tindall’s speech was said to have focused on his devotion to Zara. ‘For a tough nut he is actually quite soppy when it comes to her,’ a royal source confided.

Snow leopard cocktails

With the ‘old fogies’ out of the way, it was time for the rest of the guests to let their hair down. At 6pm in the marquee a sit-down dinner included lobster and crayfish cocktail, Scottish venison with dauphinois potatoes and a chocolate fondant with strawberries.

The bride's brother Peter Phillips with his wife Autumn and their daughter Savannah after the celebrations

As well as the usual wine and champagne, guests were offered a potent cocktail known as a Snow Leopard containing amaretto and cachaca with cream, rose water and coffee.

A jazz band played and by all accounts the bride, who was already ‘rather merry’, got up on stage and grabbed the microphone on several occasions.

The real entertainment, however, kicked off just after 10.30pm when revellers took to the dancefloor.

Several hundred green golfing umbrellas had been laid on in case the weather turned and a number of guests began to fence with them on the dancefloor.

Breakfast with Mum

The music stopped but the drinking didn’t. It appears that the bride and groom stayed up at the palace all night with Harry and the other royals.

Tindall was driven to the Balmoral Hotel at 7.45am to have breakfast with his parents, Linda and Phil, who were staying there. Meanwhile Zara showered and changed and then came out to join him, with the couple arriving back together at Holyroodhouse at 2pm.

The couple finally left at 3.45pm in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes E380 which dropped them off at Edinburgh Airport.

Happy couple: Tindall in his suit when he married the Queen's granddaughter, Zara, in Edinburgh on Saturday

The platinum bands

MIke Tindall and Zara Phillips exchanged simple platinum wedding bands which were bought by the groom. Royal brides such as Kate Middleton use Welsh gold handed down through the family, but as a non-HRH Zara had to make her own arrangements. The band matched her exquisite platinum and diamond engagement ring which was also bought by Tindall.

Zara's platinum wedding band, bought for her by her husband, matched her exquisite diamond engagement ring perfectly

Beautiful: Zara makes her way to the wedding reception after marrying the England rugby star

Romantic: Veil and tiara complement Zara's sleek blonde hair

Because this ceremony was not in a cathedral, Zara was able to expose those rather wonderful arms, honed by all those warm-blooded steeds

Married couple: Above all, commentators noted that Zara and Mike, as well as the Royal family, looked relaxed and happy

Not the average family wedding: Prince Harry, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Linda Tindall, Princess Anne and Philip Tindall enjoy the sunshine after the wedding ceremony

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