As royal wedding fanatics counted down the final hours before Prince William and Kate Middleton’s walk down the aisle, the happy couple was toasted last night in the Chicago home of British Consul General Robert Chatterton Dickson at a party that merged English pomp (ladies in hats; men in ties and tails) with Midwestern circumstance (coffee mugs immortalizing the names of the bride and groom, among other wedding swag).

Dickson—who assumed Britain’s top diplomatic post in the Midwest last summer—and his wife Teresa Albor, a Texas-born artist, opened their 61st floor penthouse to a list of about 100 guests including English bankers and executives, Chicagoans with British business interests, assorted expats, and the Baroque Band, a period-instrument ensemble that played a pared-down version of an anthem by Handel (the composer’s music also set the mood for the wedding of Prince William’s parents 30 years ago).

It was a celebration you could easily call “lovely," and it’s hard to imagine what the consulate pays for the apartment’s unbelievable view of the lake. But there was still a refreshing normalness to the overall occasion—the glow of iPhone screens taking pictures of guests posing arm-in-arm, the passed slices of wedding cake (made by students at Kendall College) on paper plates. A party at the Consul General’s house is still just a party. Like the multi-billion pound union of a commoner (albeit a rich one—Middleton’s parents are millionaires) to a prince is only a wedding—right?