The average cost of a wedding in the U.K. is nearly 18,000 pounds, or $24,000. But of course, a royal wedding is anything but average. Kate and William's 2011 wedding reportedly cost around $34 million, and an estimated $8 million alone went to security. Yes, security. So, how much will Harry and Meghan's wedding cost in comparison? "I estimate the dress, bridesmaids’ dresses, invitations, flowers, drinks, food, music, and entertainment will be around 20 million pounds," says MarieClaire.com's exclusive royal wedding expert Caroline Castigliano.
Those 20 million pounds, a.k.a. $27 million, doesn't even include all of the security Meghan and Harry are expected to hire (more on that below). Here, a breakdown of the major costs surrounding the big day.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will have two receptions after their wedding ceremony at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle—a luncheon hosted by the Queen for all of the wedding guests and a private reception in the evening for 200 of the couple's closest friends and family hosted by Prince Charles. Per a statement via Kensington Palace, the family "will pay for the core aspects of the wedding, such as the church service, the associated music, flowers, decorations, and the reception afterwards."
It's unclear what the actual service at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle will cost, but the royal family will likely pay for a tent-like structure called a "luxury marquee" (see photo below) later in the evening during the private reception at Windsor Castle. Bridebook, a renowned U.K. wedding planning app, estimates this marquee will cost close to 350,000 pounds ($475,000). As for the first reception immediately following the service at St. George's Hall, no word on whether the royal family has to secure this at an additional cost since, you know, they're the royals.
Kate Middleton's wedding dress reportedly cost around $434,000, and many royal watchers are expecting Meghan's will either cost the same or less. However, since there will be two different receptions she'll need two different outfits—and that will most definitely add up.
Harry and Meghan have chosen floral designer Philippa Craddock to create their church flowers. According to Bridebook, these florals, along with any placed in the two separate locations of the receptions, are estimated to cost around 110,000 pounds ($149,000). Though there's no telling for sure whether or not both receptions will be adorned with flowers. But, probably.
Harry and Meghan will have at least 800 wedding guests present during their first reception, which means there needs to be a lot of cake to go around. Their lemon elderflower wedding cake designed by Claire Ptak, a London-based pastry chef from California, is estimated to cost about 50,000 pounds ($68,000). Plus, they'll have to spend an additional amount on whatever dessert they choose to serve at the private reception in the evening.
The Spice Girls were rumored to perform at the wedding, though Kensington Palace has yet to confirm or deny this. They did, however, confirm that there will be music "under the direction of James Vivian, Director of Music, St George’s Chapel, including the Choir of St George's Chapel, and a selection of choral groups, soloists, and musicians." We estimate this will cost at least five figures, depending on who's also performing at the receptions.
Inevitably, Meghan and Harry will hire a caterer for both the luncheon and the evening party. According to the Telegraph, the royals have reportedly hired Table Talk—a London-based event caterer also used by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as Pippa Middleton. No word on how much that company charges for an event of this nature, but Bridebook suggests between the first wedding guest reception and private reception food will cost 286,000 pounds ($388,000).
Remember how much Will and Kate paid for the security at their wedding? As for Meghan and Harry, "This all depends on what is included. The security for a royal wedding is vast—Harry and Meghan’s security will go into the millions with undercover police," explains Castigliano. "All of this will need rehearsing well beforehand to ensure it runs smoothly the day of."
Add all of this up—including other additions like the ring, the bridesmaid dresses, invitations, and actual decorations—and you're looking at a total of at least $34 million.