Royal weddings don’t come cheap. Prince William and Kate Middleton’s big day, for example, carried a hefty price tag of $34 million, US Weekly reported. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s estimated wedding expenses have not been confirmed by Kensington Palace — that would be quite garish. Nevertheless, the royal family issued a statement clearing up the matter of who exactly foots the gigantic bill — British taxpayers can rest easy knowing it’s not them. “The Royal Family will pay for the core aspects of the wedding, such as the church service, the associated music, flowers, decorations, and the reception afterwards,” the statement read.
Bridebook, United Kingdom’s number one wedding planning website, has done the dirty work of counting costs. By analyzing over 170,000 weddings and reviewing 70,000 wedding industry suppliers’ price estimates, the site discovered the estimated costs of “core aspects” of the next royal wedding. According to their extensive calculations, they theorized the big day to cost £32 million ($45 million). A significant chunk — over $42 million — is expected to go toward security costs. What about the other $2.7 million? Keep reading, and get ready for the most glamorous math you’ve ever seen!
The seemingly simple invitations
Harry and Meghan’s invitations were fairly traditional as far as wedding stationery goes. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking traditional equates to affordable. Kensington Palace shared a photo of the royal invitations, naming the company who created them, Barnard and Westwood, and included a brief description: “They feature the Three-Feathered Badge of the Prince of Wales printed in gold ink.”
Although Bridebook originally estimated the cost of stationery to be around $28,000, that figure is likely higher — much higher. This is because the couple opted to use Barnard and Westwood, which sells 200 piece bespoke stationery sets exceeding $14,000. Then, after you add in the “Three-Feathered Badge of the Prince of Wales” with gold ink for all 4,000 guests and the cost easily skyrockets to around $281,000. The VIP invitations alone (sans gold embellishments) are estimated to cost $70,000 or more.
Compare that to the average cost of wedding stationery, which is around $750 for 150 guests according to theweddingreport.com (via Brides). You certainly can’t classify Harry and Meghan’s invitations as a good bargain.
Those venues, though
The venue is an important part of any wedding. Unlike “regular” people, Harry and Meghan don’t have to enter their names on waitlists or put down a security deposit. That’s not to say the ceremony and reception are free — no way.
Harry and Meghan will say “I do” at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, as confirmed by Kensington Palace. To do so, they will have to pay a fee of $245 — chump change for this royal couple. The receptions — yes, multiple — are going to cost quite a bit more. A statement issued by Kensington Palace announced that the first reception will be held in the Great Hall of St. George’s Chapel. Afterward, the couple will have “a private evening reception” for friends and family, a secondary statement confirmed.
Bridebook gave estimates for reception costs if the couple were to choose a “luxury marquee,” or tent, in the Upper Ward of Windsor. If Harry and Meghan opt for a glass marquee as Pippa Middleton did, the cost could easily exceed $421,000. Add the costs of catering, additional security, and marquee staff, and you’ve easily tacked on another $70,000 — at least.
From lighting to dance floors — the decoration expenses
Decorating a massive estate like Windsor Castle is no easy — or affordable — feat. According to The Telegraph, the Lord Chamberlain’s Office at Buckingham Palace has the task of organizing royal weddings. Harry’s private secretary, Edward Lane Fox, helps in the organizing as well. Together, they oversaw the production and sending of the royal wedding invitations. They will also oversee the nuptials, the overall schedule of the big day, and the royal household staff.
Although Lord Chamberlain’s Office and Edward Lane Fox are responsible for a whole lot regarding the upcoming wedding, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to do everything themselves. That may very well be impossible — even for people as skilled at planning weddings as these folks. Bridebook contends that a top London agency, like HRP Production Solutions, could be tasked with everything from lighting to furniture to even dance floors. The cost? Oh, just about $182,000. NBD.
The cost of catering
What’s a beautiful wedding without great food? Guests at Harry and Meghan’s wedding likely won’t have to choose between chicken, beef, or fish. In addition to having a dinner reception, a statement issued by Kensington Palace confirmed there will also be a lunch reception. According to Bridebook, members of the public who are invited to Windsor Castle — all 2,640 of them — will also be served “a hot tea and a snack.” At just $14 a head, even the snacks add up.
Not to mention, hiring the best of the best caterers in London will easily up the total. With rates of about $140 per guest for lunch and up to around $420 per guest for dinner, the catering costs for this wedding are going to be nothing short of astounding. If you dream to plan a similar wedding someday, just know you’ll need to save around $400,000 — just for food.
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