Here’s Why Meghan Markle & Prince Harry’s Wedding Was Among Most Expensive of All Time
The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was groundbreaking in many ways — including the cost. Reports say it ran $46 million, eclipsing the $34 million price tag when future king Prince William wed Kate Middleton in 2011. While the royal family paid for Harry and Meghan’s church ceremony, flowers, and receptions, Meghan reportedly footed the hefty bill for her dress (see page 3).
Here we’ll break down the major costs of Harry and Meghan’s wedding, which is among the 10 most expensive of all time. See the one major thing that made it so pricey, which you may not have even considered (page 8).
1. The church flowers
- Cost: $130,000
Cream and white flowers and lush greenery adorned St. George’s Chapel, both inside and out. These included locally-sourced peonies and garden roses, as well as birch and beech branches. White garden roses were a favorite of the late Princess Diana.
Garlands inside the church climbed the organ loft above the guests’ seats. Florist Philippa Craddock provided the flowers. Her company is the regular supplier for Kensington Palace.
Next: Custom made, one-of-a-kind instruments
- Cost: $430,000
An organist and choirs performed at the ceremony, while a DJ and live wedding band made music at the reception. Word was Britain’s Ministry of Defense had $129,000 worth of personalized, silver-plated trumpets created for the event.
The royal trumpeters played at the church to announce the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II. They also played fanfare when Meghan started her walk up the aisle.
Next: The dress was a closely-guarded secret.
3. Meghan’s wedding dress
- Cost: An estimated $515,000
The style and designer of the dress was a carefully-guarded secret until the moment the bride stepped out of the Rolls Royce to enter the church. She wore a simple, elegant Givenchy gown with a show-stopper of a veil, 16 feet long and embellished with 53 flowers representing each of the Commonwealth countries.
The three-quarter sleeve, boat neck gown was estimated to cost the former Suits star $515,000. She completed her look with a diamond bandeau tiara, made in 1932, on loan from the queen.
Next: Price of the cake and why it broke with tradition
4. The cake
- Cost: An estimated $7,000
The couple chose to forego the traditional royal wedding fruit cake for a fresh elderflower and lemon cake with buttercream frosting. It came from the London bakery of former California native Claire Ptak. She adorned the confection with a mix of 150 fresh flowers, including peonies and roses.
Ptak and six other bakers spent five days baking and icing each tier in Buckingham Palace. Each layer was transported individually to Windsor Castle, where they were assembled on site the day of the wedding.
Next: A feast fit for royalty
5. Food and beverages
- Cost: $680,000
The 600 who attended the church ceremony partook of a private lunch reception. There they dined on bowls of food and canapes, made from classic seasonal produce. The portion sizes were designed to be eaten in two bites and allow the newlyweds to talk with as many guests as possible.
Later, 200 close friends and family attended the more intimate evening reception, with an organic, sit-down dinner from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Featured was a specialty cocktail called “When Harry Met Meghan,” made with ginger and rum. Guests were also treated to late night “dirty burgers” and cotton candy.
Next: A custom-built glass marquee just like Pippa’s
6. Evening reception
- Cost of glass marquee: $400,000
In addition to the food at both receptions, the royal family built a pricey glass marquee outdoors for the evening reception, reports said. This smaller of the two wedding parties took place at Frogmore House, a 17th century residence in Windsor. The custom-built marquee — similar to the one Pippa Middleton had for her wedding — cost $400,000, reports said.
Next: What they paid to document their day
- Cost: An estimated $24,000
The bride and groom selected photographer Alexi Lubomirski for their professional wedding shots. Kensington Palace released three of them to the public after the wedding: two indoor photos of the newlyweds, family, and bridal party, and another black-and-white snap of the couple on the castle terrace.
Lubomirski also took the couple’s engagement portraits. “This has been a beautiful chapter in my career and life, that I will happily never forget,” he said.
Next: The priciest expense of all
8. Security measures
- Cost: $40 million
The British government sure paid a pretty penny for security measures on the wedding day. Some 3,000 police officers flooded Windsor, with a focus on four main threats: terrorism, royal obsessives, public protests, and crimes of opportunity (like pickpocketing).
During the couple’s post-wedding ride through the streets, four mounted police officers escorted the carriage. Six others patrolled the crowds. In keeping with British tradition, most police officers on the street did not carry firearms, although some did.
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