Fit for an actual prince and princess, a royal wedding is the social event of the year. For 2018, the spotlight is on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who are set to wed on May 19.
In the U.S., the average wedding has a price tag of $35,329, according to The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study. But that's just a fraction of the tab for royal nuptials. Prince Harry's family will pay for his wedding, according to a statement from Kensington Palace.
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Estimated cost: Likely free
The royal wedding will take place at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, a popular place for 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 should help 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.
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Estimated cost: Approximately $400,000
All eyes will be on Meghan Markle's dress at the royal wedding, and she'll likely have more than one of them, according to Us Weekly. In January 2018, the publication 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.
Markle's future sister-in-law Kate Middleton 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
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's full wedding party has yet to be revealed, but Us Weekly reported that she will have a maid of honor.
For Kate Middleton's royal wedding in April 2011, her sister Pippa Middleton held this top job, 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 weddings, and as expected, royals go all out. Meghan Markle's choice of flowers for her bouquet probably won't be revealed until she walks down the aisle, but the bouquet will likely include a sprig of myrtle, because it's a royal family tradition, according to Glamour.
More than just the bride's bouquet, flowers for the occasion will certainly make a dent in the royal 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, 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 is expected to be the most heavily guarded in royal history, according to the Daily Express.
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 $337,800
Royal wedding attendees don't have to fight over the centerpiece to score a keepsake from the occasion. Prince William and Kate 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 — about $427.
St. George's Chapel has a seating capacity of approximately 800, according to Forbes. So if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spend the same amount on favors, it will cost them $341,600.
Estimated cost: Unknown
A royal wedding doesn't have to rely solely on a band or DJ to entertain guests. Prince William and Kate Middleton had pop star Ellie Goulding perform at their wedding reception, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will likely follow suit with a music star of their own.
Fellow Brits Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and grime and hip-hop artist Stormzy have already volunteered for the gig, according to People Magazine. The publication also reported the groom has connections with many popular bands, including Coldplay and The Killers.
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
A little on the unique side, the wedding cake that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reportedly want is a banana-flavored one, according to The Telegraph. This will likely be the poshest banana cake ever made, considering the Daily Mail 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 Harry's cake will be in the same ballpark.
Estimated cost: Borrowed
It wouldn't be a royal wedding if the princess bride didn't wear a tiara. Her wedding day marks the first time Meghan Markle will be able to borrow jewels from Queen Elizabeth's royal collection, according to the Daily Mail. The publication predicts she'll wear the same Cartier Halo Scroll tiara Kate Middleton donned to marry Prince William.
Obviously, the tiara won't add a dime to the royal wedding cost, because it will be her "something borrowed."
Estimated cost: Unknown
Luxury caterer Table Talk might be 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 Kate Middleton for their wedding, as it was for Kate's sister Pippa Middleton 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.