Cost of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Wedding and Who Pays for It
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged in November 2017. Since then, plans were put in place for their wedding to take place on Saturday, May 19, 2018.
No doubt the wedding and two receptions will cost a lot. So, who pays for the wedding and how much will it cost?
Kensington Palace is Paying for Wedding
Let's get the easy question out of the way first. The expense of a wedding is usually taken care of by the bride's family. However, Kensington Palace is picking up the tab for the royal wedding. The event is expected to bring in ten times more money than the wedding will cost. The money accumulated from tourism and merchandise sales will be put back in the British economy.
Queen Elizabeth is hosting the first reception for the 600 guests following the ceremony. Prince Charles is hosting the evening reception for his son and new bride at an undisclosed location. The private reception is for about 200 guests that include only family members and close friends.
Cost of the Royal Wedding
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding will cost over a thousand times more than a traditional wedding. Even though Prince William had more guests at his wedding in 2011, Prince Harry's wedding is expected to cost much more.
According to experts, the average cost of a wedding for couples in the United States and the United Kingdom is around $34,000. That is a huge expense for a one-day affair. The royal wedding of the year will cost much more.
The estimates of the wedding are based on Bridebook, a trusted wedding resource guide.
Kensington Palace also paid for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding in 2011. The total cost for their wedding was $34 million. The only thing Middleton paid for was her six-figure Alexander McQueen dress. Meghan Markle is reportedly paying for her own dress also.
Markle and Prince Harry's wedding will cost in excess of $45.8 million, based on Bridebook's estimation even with the freebies. Most of that amount has been budgeted for security.
The service, music, cake, flowers, decorations, and two receptions will be paid for by the royal family.
The venue usually takes up much of the wedding budget. That is not the case with Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding. The use of St. George's Chapel for the ceremony is free, and St. George's Great Hall for the reception is also free.
Even though the chapel and the reception hall are free, there will be a $500,000 cost for the large glass event tent that will be used to host guests on the grounds.
Transportation is free and is provided by the Queen's fleet of Rolls-Royces, Daimlers, and Bentleys.
Security for the event is not cheap. It is estimated to cost about half of the budget to protect the royals and their guests during the entire day. The state is paying for that much-needed service.
Senior Media Officer for the Thames Valley Police Headquarters James Williams told Cosmopolitan that security will include protecting the bride, groom, and thousands of guests and onlookers.
On hand will be snipers, undercover police, military technology, and security drones.
Price for Wedding Dress
Meghan's wedding dress will have a six-figure price tag. It is estimated to cost between $420,000 to $560,000. It is speculated the bride will pay for her own dress like Kate Middleton paid for her own $434,000 dress in 2011.
Kate's dress had a nine-foot train that didn't cause a problem in the larger venue of Westminster Abbey. St. George's Chapel doesn't have space for Meghan to have a train that long.
Since there will be two different receptions, Meghan might change into two other dresses.
The wedding bands are valuable, but they are not part of the wedding budget. They are made with gold taken from the Royal family's Welsh vaults. The rings are valuable at $8,600.
Wedding Party Attire
Prince Harry and Meghan's attire are not included in the $21,000 that has been budgeted for the wedding party attire. The fee includes outfits for the children bridesmaids, page boys' and others.
Hair and Makeup Team
Even though Meghan enjoys doing her own makeup, a hair and makeup team will be available to keep the bride and the wedding party looking their best throughout the ceremony and receptions. The cost is about $14,300.
Food and Drinks
The cost of food and drinks is estimated to be $686,000. The royal family favors very expensive champagne, wine, and whiskey. Their favorite champagne is Bollinger which costs almost $115 a bottle. Based on that price, approximately $195,000 will be spent on champagne alone.
Bridebook estimates that the food for the two receptions will cost about $388,000. It will be provided by Table Talk, a London-based event caterer.
An additional $36,000 reportedly will be paid for sausage rolls and hot tea for the 2,640 invited members of the public who will be on the ground.
California-based pastry chef Claire Ptak is responsible for baking and designing the lemon elderflower cake covered with buttercream and fresh garden roses and peonies from the gardens of Windsor Park scattered on top. The cost is $71,600.
An additional fee will be paid for whatever dessert that will be served at the second private reception.
Invitations and Wedding Favors
The British printing company, Barnard and Westwood, made the invitations featuring the Prince of Wales badge printed in gold ink and sent them out in March.
The cost of the invitations and personal wedding favors for all the guests cost $290,800.
The organist, St. George's choir, other choral groups, musicians, and soloists will be paid to perform at the ceremony. A live band will perform at the receptions along with a DJ. The Ministry of Defense ordered $129,000 worth of personalized, silver-plated trumpets for the event.
The total cost for music is estimated to be $430,000 and could be more depending on who is performing.
Production and Decorations
A top London production company will decorate the hall at Windsor Castle for the first reception. This includes lighting, dance floors, bars, and seating. The production company is charging for transforming the room into a seating area, dance floors, bars, lighting, and decoration the facility. The cost is $186,000.
One of London's top florists, Philippa Craddock, is in charge of the floral displays for the chapel and the outdoor glass tent.
The same florist is responsible for the bride's and bridesmaid's bouquet. The combined total for flowers is $157,600.
Prince Harry and Meghan have thought of everything. They wanted their guests to be a major part of their special day. They have arranged for a photo booth, children's entertainers and fireworks to keep hundreds of guests entertained throughout the reception. The estimated cost for entertainment is $78,800.
Photos and Videos
The event calls for a private wedding photographer and videographer because the press is not allowed inside the reception. They will be on duty the entire day, and the combined cost for both of them is estimated to be $24,300. The cost will be more for individual photo books.
Fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski will take the official photographs at Windsor Castle.
There is a $50,000 fee for luxurious toilets that will accommodate thousands of people at the wedding and on the grounds.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding will be one of the top 10 most expensive weddings of all time.
Prince Harry's Wedding Costs More Than Prince William's
Prince Harry's upcoming wedding will be on a smaller scale than Prince William's wedding because of his position in the line of succession. At the time, William was and still is second to the throne. Harry is now sixth to the throne because of William's three children. William's wedding was a state event.
William and Kate's wedding cost less than Harry and Meghan even though they invited more guests to fill Westminster Abbey. Their wedding cost $34 million in April 2011. The price of things has gone up in seven years.
Even though the newlyweds are not going on a honeymoon right away, the cost has been estimated to be $172,000 depending on where they are going. Markle is paying for the honeymoon as a gift to her new husband.