Fit for an actual prince and princess, a royal wedding is a lucrative event for England as well as the social event of the year. For 2018, the spotlight is on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who wed on May 19, 2018.
In the U.S., the average wedding costs an outrageous sum, but that’s just a fraction of the tab for royal nuptials.
Click through to see how much royal weddings could potentially cost.
Estimated cost: Likely free
The royal wedding will take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, a popular place for money-making royal nuptials. The marriage of Prince Harry’s father and stepmother, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, was blessed with a service at the church after their wedding at Windsor Guildhall, reported Harper’s Bazaar. Prince Harry was also baptized in the church in December 1984.
Selecting the centuries-old, grand, Gothic-style chapel likely helped keep the royal wedding cost down because it’s owned by the Crown Estate, which belongs to the reigning monarch — Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry’s grandmother.
Estimated cost: Approximately $400,000
All eyes will be on wealthy former actress Meghan Markle’s dress at the royal wedding. In January 2018, Us Weekly reported the bride-to-be had chosen a designer to create her custom wedding dress, but only five people knew which fashion house got the job.
How Much Kate Middleton's Dresses Cost
Markle’s sister-in-law Kate Middleton — one of the richest princesses in the world — wore two custom gowns designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen on her wedding day, according to The Sun. The gown she donned to marry Prince William cost $434,000, according to CBS News. A price for the second gown, worn at the couple’s intimate evening celebration, wasn’t publicly revealed.
Estimated cost: Approximately $2,500 per dress
Markle will have bridesmaids but not a maid of honor, Elle reported. She could spend around $2,500 per dress, if not more, based on the estimated cost of Pippa Middleton’s maid of honor dress at William and Kate’s wedding.
How Much Kate Middleton's Bridesmaid Dresses Cost
For Middleton’s royal wedding in April 2011, her sister Pippa Middleton was maid of honor, and just like the bride, she wore Alexander McQueen. Her dress was likely custom-made, but Cosmopolitan found a similar style from the designer for $2,565.
Estimated cost: Approximately $800,000
Flowers are a key component of most wedding budgets, and as expected, royals go all-out. Floral arrangements for the wedding will be provided by florist Philippa Craddock and the Crown Estate gardeners, according to an official release from Kensington Palace.
More than just the bride’s bouquet, flowers for the occasion will certainly make a dent in the royal wedding cost.
How Much Flowers for Prince William and Kate Middleton's Wedding Cost
Flowers for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding totaled an estimated $800,000, reported E! News.
Estimated cost: Likely more than $32 million
The most expensive royal wedding cost of all, the security for keeping Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their guests safe at their wedding is of the highest importance.
Despite opting to wed in the more secluded country setting of Windsor Castle — rather than Westminster Abbey in Central London like Prince William and Kate Middleton — the wedding could be the most heavily guarded in royal history, according to the Daily Express.
How Much Security for Prince William and Kate Middleton's Wedding Cost
At William and Kate’s royal wedding, 5,000 police officers were on duty, but the higher threat of terrorism in 2018 creates an even greater need for security, reported the Daily Express. His brother’s 2011 nuptials racked up a security bill of $32 million, according to CBS News, so Harry and Meghan could be on the hook for even more.
Estimated cost: Unknown, but possibly around $324,000
St. George’s Chapel has a seating capacity of approximately 800, according to Forbes. So it’s estimated that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will spend $324,000 on favors, as of May 16, 2018, based on how much William and Kate spent on their favors.
How Much Party Favors for Prince William and Kate Middleton's Wedding Cost
Prince William and Middleton gifted each of their guests a limited-edition scarf, custom designed by India-based apparel company Centex, according to Us Weekly. The price of each one is unknown, but the publication revealed the company’s scarves retail for up to 300 pounds — which is about $405, as of May 16, 2018.
Estimated cost: Unknown
A royal wedding doesn’t have to rely solely on a band or DJ to entertain guests. Prince William and Middleton had pop star Ellie Goulding perform at their wedding reception.
Prince Harry and Markle’s musical entertainment are set to include the Choir of St. George’s Chapel; 19-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason; Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir; a wedding orchestra, conducted by Christopher Warren-Green; Elin Manahan Thomas; trumpeter David Blackadder; organ player Luke Bond; and state trumpeters, according to an official release from Kensington Palace.
An invitation to perform at a royal wedding is an extremely high honor, so it’s unknown if the gig is a paid one.
Estimated cost: Approximately $80,000
The wedding cake for Prince Harry and Markle’s nuptials will be created by baker Claire Ptak, according to an official release from Kensington Palace. The cake will be a lemon elderflower cake incorporating “the bright flavors of spring.” It will be covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers, according to a tweet from Kensington Palace.
How Much Wedding Cake for Prince William and Kate Middleton's Wedding Cost
Prince Harry and Markle’s cake is a departure from the one served at Prince William and Middleton’s wedding, which was more traditional. The Los Angeles Times reported Prince William and Kate Middleton had an eight-tiered wedding cake, covered in 900 sugar-paste flowers.
Along with a chocolate cookie groom’s cake, the two cakes at Harry’s older brother’s royal wedding totaled $80,000, according to E! News. So, it’s possible that Prince Harry’s wedding cake is in the same ballpark.
Estimated cost of Kate Middleton’s wedding tiara: Borrowed
It wouldn’t be a royal wedding if the princess bride didn’t wear a tiara. Middleton wore the Cartier Halo Scroll Tiara, which she borrowed from Queen Elizabeth, on her own wedding day. Middleton’s tiara didn’t add a dime to her royal wedding cost because it was her “something borrowed.”
Estimated cost: Unknown
Luxury caterer Table Talk might have been hired to feed guests at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, speculated Food & Wine. One of the few caterers to hold the coveted crown listing — i.e., allowed to cook and serve food in Historic Royal Palaces — the company was hired by Prince William and Middleton for their wedding, as it was for Kate’s sister Pippa for her May 2017 nuptials, reported Hello Magazine.
Catering expenses weren’t revealed for either Middleton wedding but will likely add a significant amount to the royal wedding cost.
Click through to read more about how rich Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the British royal family are.
Photos are for illustrative purposes only and might not feature the actual items and events described.
Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.