Millions of people watched the royal wedding Friday, but the Charlotte Symphony's Christopher Warren-Green - who conducted much of the music - was mainly concerned about just one person's verdict.
Warren-Green got his answer when he made his way to the groom's father, Prince Charles, during the reception afterward at Buckingham Palace.
"I've never seen him so thrilled. He kept saying that everyone was raving about the music," Warren-Green said Saturday.
The wedding was the latest in an array of royal events, public and private, that Warren-Green has taken part in since Prince Charles first invited him to conduct for one in 1981. Friday's ceremony climaxed weeks of talks and preparations involving the royal family, Warren-Green, and other musicians who took part.
During the talks about the choice of music, Warren-Green said, he noticed the family was gravitating toward gentle, melodious pieces - part of a pastoral streak that has long been prominent in British music - rather than formal-sounding 18th-century fare that might be picked for a big event. But he didn't quite understand why until he found the pastoral motif continued inside Westminster Abbey, which was decorated with maples.
"When I saw the trees in the abbey, I thought, 'Now I see. They're theming it to the softer, pastoral (aspect of the) British landscape. It's a celebration of the British countryside.'"
The theme carried through to the reception, he said. Buckingham Palace was decorated with lilies of the valley and other flowers and trees. The wedding cake's icing represented plants with British symbolism - such as the thistle, representing Scotland. Flower designs were embroidered into Catherine Middleton's wedding dress, too.
When he realized that the dress had floral decorations, Warren-Green said, he finally understood what she had meant during a planning session when she brought up a top-secret subject.
"Catherine said to me months ago, 'It all ties in - even the dress,'" Warren-Green recalled. "I thought (at the time), 'I'd better keep quiet about that one.'"
During the ceremony, Warren-Green and the orchestra were in the organ loft about midway back in Westminster Abbey, above the congregation.
He depended on cues from the abbey's organists to know when the music should begin. Video monitors helped him synchronize with the choir on the main floor and with ceremonial trumpeters elsewhere in the church.
Everyone's focus was on the ceremony near the altar, of course. But the throngs outside the abbey - listening in on loudspeakers - sometimes chimed in.
"When (Prince William and Catherine) said 'I will,' the crowds cheered," Warren-Green said. "Everyone sort of smiled inside the abbey, because we could hear them. And when the archbishop pronounced them man and wife, there was a huge roar. And we could all hear it inside."
In addition to conducting much of the music during the ceremony, Warren-Green had conducted a series of orchestral works - not heard by TV audiences - as the congregation gathered. When his work was finished, he said, "I left the abbey feeling like I had been hit by a train - exhilarated but bruised."
Even through the lunchtime reception took place in Buckingham Palace, Warren-Green said, it had the air of "a family wedding."
"The queen just sort of walked in - just popped through a door and started to chat," Warren-Green said. "There was no big officialdom."
Warren-Green and the orchestra had played a stately march that accompanied Elizabeth II's more-conspicuous procession into the wedding. When she spoke with Warren-Green at the reception, he said, "she said she didn't know what she was processing too, but she liked it." (It was the march from "The Birds" by Hubert Parry, an early 1900s composer who's one of Prince Charles' favorites.)
Because the bride and groom were busy with ceremonial duties during the reception, Warren-Green said, he didn't try to speak to them. But when the newlyweds got into one of Prince Charles' cars to make their getaway, Warren-Green had a prime vantage point near the convertible and its owner.
"I was standing by the back wheel of that Aston Martin when it took off," Warren-Green said. "The Prince of Wales said, 'Nobody shoved anything up the tailpipe, have they?' And I said, 'No. No potatoes.'"