A sold-out crowd of 250 -- many of them in full-hatted regalia -- turned out at 5 a.m. today at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in D.C.’s Foggy Bottom for a royal wedding watch party.

Christy Minors, left, and Mauri Earl react as the royal bride arrives on the big screen as early risers gather to watch the royal wedding at a party. (Bill O'Leary/Washington Post)

Keyana Corliss, 25, a consultant from Arlington, said she was “obsessed with all things royal...and this wedding is the Super Bowl of royal obsession.”

She loved the fact that Kate managed to keep the design of her dress a secret until the last minute. “It just makes it that more fabulous.”

A gasp went through the room when Kate finally emerged in her lace- trimmed wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

“It looks just like Grace Kelly’s!” one onlooker exclaimed.

“My train isn’t as long as that,” said Meredith Kyttle, 30, a Norfolk resident who is getting married in a few weeks.

Carine Krawiec, who owns a bridal atelier in Georgetown, pronounced the dress “a good choice for her...it’s not overdone. It’s simply stated.”

Many guests said the proceedings invoked warm memories of royal proceedings past, particularly Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding 30 years ago.

“My mom woke me up in 1981 for Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding, and that is a lovely memory,” said Karen Tinsky, 36, a lawyer from Chevy Chase.

She hugged her daughter Elle, 4, who was wearing a blue Cinderella dress. “I wanted to create that memory for my daughter.”

Susan Nixon, a native of Britain who owns a public relations firm, turned out in a black Dior hat and said that the day brought mixed emotions.

“This is bittersweet to me,” she said. “It brings back losing Diana. It’s sad she is not here to enjoy it. But I also think it is an uplifting moment for everyone.”