I spent many hours in my formative years devoted to dreaming about marrying a prince. I'd have the fluffy gown, ladies in waiting, my sister would fix my train upon entering Westminster Abbey — it would be glorious. Things didn't go quite to plan, but there is another American girl about to waltz down the aisle of St. George's Chapel to marry a real live prince. I'm beyond pumped for this wedding, but being a frugal American, I also must wonder, how much does the royal wedding cost? It's probably much more than my elopement at Staten Island Borough Hall.
Traditionally, weddings are paid for by the father of the bride. This being somewhat unique circumstances, the tab will be picked up by Kensington Palace. "As was the case with the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, 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," Kensington Palace is quoted as saying in TIME. According to Business Insider, the only wedding article paid for by the most recent bride of the house of Windsor — Kate, The Duchess of York — was her Alexander McQueen gown, which hovered somewhere in the six figure range. That in itself was at least more than three times the average cost of an American wedding, which according to Fortune, is about $35,000. The entire wedding for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is estimated to cost somewhere around £32 million or $34 million, Business Insider noted. If you're doing the math, that's nearly 1000 times the cost of the average American wedding. (Or roughly infinity times what I spent at City Hall.)
Kensington Palace is really making it rain for this shindig. Consider how much is required to pull off such an astonishing feat. I mean, for me or you, we could really do it up at the local catering hall or country club, and likely it would go virtually unnoticed by pretty much everyone else. Heck, some of the people any of us would invite would look at the invitation and think, "Do I care enough about these people that I'm willing to put on Spanx and buy pricey forks? Nah. I'll send them a gift card." But the British royals? It's estimated that just the security alone will cost Kensington £30 million, reported The Express.
That means that the actual wedding itself, all the flowers, and the royal circus of children required at any British royal wedding are only estimated to cost about £2 million. Let's be honest, there have been plenty of multi-million dollar weddings in the United States. Those weddings just don't require street closures, enormous parades, or the safety of the Queen and her Royal Knight of the Garter.
So what's the breakdown of all these pounds? According to Business Insider, the food and drink is one of the pricier bits of the Prince and Meghan's day. It's estimated that it will cost $686,000 (£479,000). They're not having rigatoni served buffet-style. Nope, they're getting the full chef's treatment catered via Table Talk, noted Esquire Magazine. Judging by their website, this isn't what Americans think of as British food. No bangers and mash or full breakfast. It's all seasonal, curated, small plates of food that looks like it is definitely fit for a prince.
The wedding dress is likely the second most expensive bit of the day, estimated to cost nearly half a million dollars, noted Bride Book. The rest of the cost of the wedding will be down to decor and entertainment. Because they're having the wedding at St. George's Chapel and the reception at the palace, location costs aren't a concern. But you know what is a concern? Figuring out the best snack to eat while I watch the Royal Wedding on May 19. I'm thinking tea.