The world watched the footage of royal fam Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Westminster Abbey wedding with bated breath. We swooned over Kate’s $434,000 gown as she walked down the aisle. We drooled at the sight of their $80,000 buttercream wedding cake and chocolate cookie groom’s cake.
In total, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s nuptials cost $34 million. Business Insider estimates the average cost of weddings in the the U.S. to be much less — over $30K in fact. That’s still expensive… We’ll tell you about how celebs did flowers, gowns, and cakes and give you the budget version below!
1. Celebrity Style: Transportation Former Beatles bass player Sir Paul McCartney and his beau (at the time) Heather Mills shelled out the big bucks to travel to their destination wedding. For a chartered aircraft from London in England to Belfast in Northern Ireland, the rock n’ roll couple paid a whopping $12,500. [caption id="attachment_17209" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Ralph Orlowski/Getty[/caption] This is according to E! News, based on a one-way price quote from aviation company Private Fly (they adjusted it to account for inflation as of 2016, when the article was written.) That’s a lot to shell out for a one hour and 25-minute flight. Perhaps it’s worth the cost to avoid raging McCartney fans in economy class?
2. Budget Style: TransportationTo save on your transportation to a destination wedding, you can obviously do what the non-celebs have to do… Fly economy! It’s kind of a burn sometimes with the lack of leg room, cramped seats, and god-awful airplane food. But hey — it’s way, way cheaper than a $12K private jet. [caption id="attachment_17210" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Pixabay/Pexels[/caption] To save yourselves and your guests a headache, you can just not have a destination wedding. It makes sense if most of your friends and family are in your city already. Planning a destination wedding (especially in a faraway or expensive country) will for sure eliminate potential guests that can’t afford travel.
3. Celebrity Style: DecorationsFor pop star Christina Aguilera’s wedding to music exec Jordan Bratman, wedding planner Michael Gapinskihe pulled out all the stops when it came to decorations. A luxury reception tent was pitched in Napa Valley and draped top to bottom with white hydrangeas, roses, birch trees, amaryllis, and chandeliers made of branches. [caption id="attachment_17211" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Raffaele Fiorillo/Wikimedia Commons[/caption] InStyle estimates the wedding costs $2 million! For a multi-millionaire, that’s just a drop in the bucket. The couple ended up divorcing in 2010 after five years, but Christina has been cordial when speaking of her ex. If you don’t have a lot of money but a lot of time, making your own decorations is a good option.
4. Budget Style: DecorationsYou can make your wedding reception look like $2 million without spending the $2 million. You can either instruct your wedding planner to use cheaper materials like white Christmas lights, ribbons, candles, feathers, and more. Your wedding planner might even have connections within the industry to get bulk items at a discount. [caption id="attachment_17212" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Ibrahim Asad/Pexels[/caption] You can go about decorating without your wedding planner’s help. Aka, Do-it-yourself (DIY)! You and friends can have a decorating craft party and make things like drink flags, flower wreaths, marble votives, and more. You can do this as your bachelor or bachelorette parties or just have a craft party!
5. Celebrity Style: VenueActors Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise got married in a venue that’s every little kid’s dream: a castle! To rent the Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, Italy, it’ll cost you $50,000. The couples’ lavish wedding didn’t actually spend a dime on venue rental — the fee was waived as a gift to the couple. [caption id="attachment_17214" align="aligncenter" width="714"] Jay Tamboli/Wikimedia Commons[/caption] Odescalchi Castle has been the site of many movie sets including Coco Chanel, Medici: Masters of Florence and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. A suitable location for a silver screen king and queen! The multi-level castle has gorgeous views of the Bracciano Lake and a museum with 16th-century art. The location is a dream, but not affordable…
6. Budget Style: VenueWedding venues can be very expensive to rent, but there are a couple tips and tricks you can use to try to save some cash. For example, booking your wedding on an offseason instead of prime time like a Saturday in June, have your ceremony in a public park or city-owned venue, or do a courthouse wedding. [caption id="attachment_17215" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Jeremy Wong/Pexels[/caption] It might also work to host your wedding at a house or someone’s backyard or “blank canvas” venue (e.g. an industrial space or loft). Proceed with caution, however. These locations aren’t set up for events, meaning they don’t have tables and chairs. You might be spending a pretty penny renting all those items.
7. Celebrity Style: Car to the VenueDavid and Victoria Beckham’s bridal party rented a vintage Bentley for their transportation to and from their venue. This put the soccer star and pop star back $2,395. That’s enough to BUY a cheap used car. However, that just barely scratches the surface of your wealth if you’re world famous and multi-millionaires. [caption id="attachment_17216" align="aligncenter" width="475"] Vtornet/Wikimedia Commons[/caption] Most people want to make a grand entrance on their special day. A vintage Bentley, a limo, or maybe a horse and carriage will make you feel like the glamazon you are. Although appealing, it can really set you back. It might only be a 30-minute ride or less. Is an over $2K car rental worth it?
8. Budget Style: Car to the VenueThe obvious choice would be just to have a friend drive you to the venue. Or use your own car if you don’t care about feeling like royalty. There are less expensive options other than a vintage Bentley if you’re craving that grand entrance. You can rent an Audi A4 for $59 a day through the company Silvercar. [caption id="attachment_17217" align="aligncenter" width="720"] marius muresan/Unsplash[/caption] Audis aren’t Bentleys but they’re still a luxury car, no? There are options for limos to transport your entire bridal party but that can rank up the costs. Prepare to spend $75 to $200 an hour for one. If you’re looking for a more quirky, vintage vehicle, there are companies that specialize in these cars at lower prices.
9. Celebrity Style: DressAt the royal family wedding in April 2011, everyone was gushing over Kate Middleton’s dramatic wedding dress. Designed by Alexander McQueen creative director, Sarah Burton, the dress itself rang in at $434,000. The Duchess of Cambridge walked down the aisle at Westminster Abbey in a floor length gown and nearly nine-foot-long train. [caption id="attachment_17218" align="aligncenter" width="720"] William Robbie Dale/Wikimedia Commons[/caption] There’s so much emphasis placed on the dress during the wedding planning phase. There are even entire TV shows dedicated to finding the perfect dress that’ll “make you feel like a princess” like Say Yes to the Dress. All of these dresses can rank up a massive credit card bill, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
10. Budget Style: DressMoneycrashers estimates the average wedding gown in the U.S. to cost over $1,200. Seems a lot to spend on a dress you’ll only wear once, huh? The site recommends several alternatives in order to save money. For example, buy second-hand gowns on sites like OnceWed, sample sale blowouts at boutique wedding stores or retail wedding lines. [caption id="attachment_17219" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Irina Kostenich/Pexels[/caption] Stores like Anthropologie sell gowns from $160 to $4,000 and J. Crew sells gowns from $450 to $2,200. The lower end gowns are considerably cheaper than the nation’s average. Some brides even rent a dress or go non-traditional! Get a thrift store buy, borrow your mother’s gown, etc!
11. Celebrity Style: TuxElton John is no stranger to celeb weddings — he’s serenaded both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and David and Victoria Beckham at their weddings. When John and his beau, David Furnish, tied the knot in 2005, they dropped $10,000 on two designer tuxedos so they could look equally dashing. [caption id="attachment_17220" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Chris Jackson/Getty[/caption] They did indeed look dashing as they sipped on pink champagne and snacked on fine caviar. (For all 600 of their guests, the couple paid $130,000 for the luxury snacks and drinks.) So $10K is a bit much for a tux if you’re not the international superstar that Sir Elton John is.
12. Budget Style: TuxAccording to WeddingWire, the average cost of tuxedos are considerably lower than wedding gowns at $200 to $499. Still, that might be a lot to spend if you’re only going to be using that tux for one day. Very few people will need a tux for something other than a wedding. [caption id="attachment_17221" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Heather Miller/Unsplash[/caption] Look into renting a tux — WeddingStats.org says the average cost to rent one is $196. A better investment yet would be to buy a nice suit. It’s a good thing to have in your closet for important events later down the line. Just like tuxedos, you can also rent suits!
13. Celebrity Style: FlowersWhen Beyoncé married Jay Z, she had 70,000 of her favorite flowers (white orchids) flown in from Thailand. Sure, orchids grow all over the world — why ship them from Thailand? Because that’s what Queen Bey wanted. What the Queen wants, the Queen gets! The fact they were ordered last minute too shows us what kind of power she has. [caption id="attachment_17222" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Christopher Polk/Getty[/caption] Footage of their New York City wedding in 2008 was shown in their concerts so fans got to take a peek at some of the lavish decorations. There aren’t very many photos of the ceremony either as attendees were also reportedly not allowed to bring their BlackBerrys. (It was 2008, remember?)
14. Budget Style: FlowersNot everyone needs to ship thousands of flowers from a foreign country for their weddings. That’s much too much for the average couple’s wedding budget. The Knot reported in a 2014 survey that brides spent on average $2,141. That’s may be much less than what Beyoncé paid for her flowers but it’s still a lot! [caption id="attachment_17223" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Leah Kelley/Pexels[/caption] Working directly with a wholesale florist and bringing on friends to assemble bouquets will save you a ton of cash. You can also opt to limit flower decorations — only buy bouquets and boutonnieres, and skip on things like aisle runners and table flowers. Consider the type of flower too as their prices also vary.
15. Celebrity Style: DrinksWhen George Clooney married renowned human right lawyer Amal Alamuddin, the two pulled all the stops on the drink selections. Their guests were treated to 250 bottles of champagne at $50,000, 200 bottles of Grey Goose vodka at $80,000 and 600 bottles of Casamigos Tequila which Clooney co-owns. [caption id="attachment_17224" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Wikimedia Commons[/caption] We’re assuming Clooney didn’t pay for his own tequila but if he did, it would have cost $30,000 according to E! News. The beverages made up a good portion of their wedding costs, which totaled up to about $4.6 million. Another big cost was the 95 rooms rented at the Cipriani hotel — almost $3 million.
16. Budget Style: DrinksChoosing a BYOB venue is probably best for saving on alcohol prices. Traditional venues usually require couples to pay set prices for booze which can really add up. Getting married at a venue that allows you to bring your own drinks is much more economical. You can purchase wine, beer, liquor, soda, etc, in bulk. [caption id="attachment_17225" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Kats Weil/Unsplash[/caption] Southern Living also advises paying per head rather than per drink. They calculate this’ll come out to be $20 per person. If you do per drink, folks taking advantage of the open bar will make a dent in your wallet. The magazine also recommends limiting liquor to cocktail hour if you’re worried about the costs.
17. Celebrity Style: CateringFormer *NSYNC star and singer Justin Timberlake and actress Jessica Biel had an extravagant wedding with equally extravagant catering. The affair was held in the gorgeous Puglia region in Italy because of its ocean views. After the ceremony, in which JT performed an original song for Biel, they chowed down on premium grub. [caption id="attachment_18184" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Frazer Harrison/Getty[/caption] The celebration was moved to an al fresco bar where guests sipped cocktails and hor d’oeuvres of lobster in turnip tops and caprese salads. Dinner, which was comprised of four courses, was served shortly after. You don’t have to pull all the stops like this couple for tasty catering — we’ll say how next.
18. Budget Style: CateringYou can get yummy food at your nuptials without breaking the bank. Huffington Post contributor Shannah Compton Game said she and her beau spent about $700 on her wedding catering. She hired a wood burning pizza truck to make gourmet pizzas for guests. It ended up being half the price of a caterer she says. [caption id="attachment_17227" align="aligncenter" width="720"] rawpixel/Pexels[/caption] Compton Game had her neighbor make appetizers at no cost! It might be hard to find a gracious neighbor like that, but there are ways around spending so much cash on food. “Honestly, if you put your mind to it, you can be both inventive and budget conscious without your guests even knowing,” says Compton Game.
19. Celebrity Style: CakeRoyal couple Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had a gorgeous wedding as well as a gorgeous wedding cake. The lemon-elderflower masterpiece was considered a little unorthodox because it was only a few layers tall and not the traditional fruit-forward flavors royal cakes usually are. In comparison, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had a 500-pound cake… [caption id="attachment_18203" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Chris Jackson/Getty[/caption] Meghan and Harry’s cake was still very Pinterest worthy with its unstacked and roughly finished look. Photos of it were pinned over and over again by brides-and grooms-to-be, although they could never afford it. You don’t need to spend as much on a cake for your nuptials. We’ll tell how to save below.
20. Budget Style: CakeIvanka’s cake was extremely detailed and intricate both in and out. The Knot says you can save some cash on your wedding cake by keeping it simple. They recommend a few things like ordering real flowers over time intensive sugar flowers, choosing buttercream over more expensive fondant and skipping an outer layer of frosting. [caption id="attachment_17230" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Daniel Frese/Pexels[/caption] In addition to picking cheaper ingredients, you can also opt to make your cakes physically smaller to save money. Serve your guest smaller slices, maybe get cupcakes instead of cake, or order a smaller cake display. Know any bakers? They might be able to get you a friend discount. Use your resources!
21. Celebrity Style: Hotel for GuestsFor Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s 2014 European wedding, they stayed at Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris. E! News estimates each room starts at $750 per night. This five-star hotel sits near historic sights like Champs-Élysées and Tour Eiffel. Guess Kimye wanted luxury and the ultimate French experience. [caption id="attachment_17231" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Jamie McCarthy/Getty[/caption] The famous couple might have footed the bill for any guests that wanted to stay at Hotel George V, but this isn’t feasible for most new couples. $750 a night for a hotel at a destination wedding isn’t feasible for guests either. Travel requirements will yield a lot of “no” RSVPs. Expensive lodging will yield even more.
22. Budget Style: Hotel for GuestsUltimate budgeting would be to not have a destination wedding at all. However, even if you do have a wedding in town, you’ll likely have guests coming in from out of town. The best way to ensure you’ll get more “yes” RSVPs is to send wedding invites out far in advance so people can make travel plans. [caption id="attachment_17232" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Jason Briscoe/Unsplash[/caption] To help your guests out even more, provide tips on lodging in your invitation or get yourself a site on The Knot. This is a handy-dandy free wedding website where couples can handle RSVPs, post your registry and have general information about your event. List budget hotels and mention Airbnb or vacation rentals on your Knot site.
23. Celebrity Style: JewelryAt Catherina Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas’ wedding, the pair ended up spending about $1.5 million according to E! News. One of their expenses was Zeta-Jones’ diamond tiara, clocking in at $300,000. Every bride wants to feel like a princess but Zeta-Jones is paying princess prices for her jewelry. [caption id="attachment_17233" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Wikimedia Commons[/caption] Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton also spent a lot on her jewelry when she married Marc Mezvinsky in 2010. Her diamonds for the Rhinebeck, New York wedding cost her about $250,000 says publication E! News. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but they’re not necessary for every wedding. There are cheaper yet pretty options that are still princess-worthy.
24. Budget Style: JewelryWhere couples end up spending the most is on the wedding ring. The Knot estimates the average ring costs $6,351. The website recommends that buyers be strategic with the different types of rings they’re picking out. For example, you can consider features like the stone and a minimal prong setting. [caption id="attachment_17234" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Levi Alvarez/Unsplash[/caption] You can also consider the stone as some are more expensive than others. For example, pavé diamonds are a good option. These are tiny diamonds that look like crushed ice. Since they’re small, they cost less. You can also buy a vintage ring or one that’s been handed down in the family.
25. Celebrity Style: Wedding GiftsThe items on Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ wedding registry were priceeeeey. The least expensive item was a $1,115 clock and the most expensive was a $7,500 Baccarat Cosmos extra large vase. They also ordered items like Hermes plates at $304 each and a $375 candy jar. Not quite your average Bed Bath & Beyond registry. [caption id="attachment_17235" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Jason Merritt/Getty[/caption] In total, the couple’s hefty registry was $170,000. Kardashian and her NBA player beau were registered at GEARYS, basically the luxury version of Target, and Williams-Sonoma, a kitchenware store. The pair only stayed together for 72 days with Kim Kardashian filing for divorce. The proceedings took two years to complete.
26. Budget Style: Wedding GiftsHere’s where the bride and groom can get items to fill their new house with or money to fund their honeymoon. But if you’re putting items on your registry like $1,115 clocks, your wedding guests are probably not going to contribute to the registry. Ever notice how all the cheaper items are claimed on the registry first? [caption id="attachment_17236" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Wijdan Mq/Unsplash[/caption] Yep, people want to save money wherever they can. To ensure you get the items you need and not break your guests’ bank, register at cheaper department stores like Target, JC Penney’s and Macy’s. These might not have the same prestige like GEARYS, but they still carry high-quality products.
27. Celebrity Style: Guest ListActress Liza Minnelli and producer David Gest had a guest list of a whopping 850 people. That included singer Michael Jackson as the best man and actress Elizabeth Taylor as maid of honor. Minnelli’s fourth wedding was held at a chic Fifth Avenue venue with tabloid coverage of the star-studded guest list. [caption id="attachment_17237" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Scott Gries/Getty[/caption] John Barrett, Minnelli’s wedding hair stylist, told BRIDES that “Even the stars were craning their necks.” It’s easy to see why, the guest list also included Diana Ross, Mickey Rooney, Elton John, Barbara Walters, the Doobie Brothers, Anthony Hopkins, Joan Collins, and Mia Farrow. But with a massive guest list, comes massive costs…
28. Budget Style: Guest ListJust think about what exactly the costs would entail with an 850 person guest list. WeddingWire says the average cost of wedding catering is $41 per person. Costhelper Weddings says open bars typically cost $15 per person (that’s the low end). You’d be spending $34,850 on catering and $12,750 on an open bar, $47,600 in total. [caption id="attachment_17238" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Fabio Alves/Unsplash[/caption] Over $47K is a lot of money! But a lot of couples feel the pressure to accommodate huge families and all their friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc, on their guest list. The Knot recommends setting expectations about guest lists with all parties involved in the planning and being realistic about the number of guests you can accommodate.
29. Celebrity Style: PhotosLate-actress Elizabeth Taylor’s seventh and final marriage was to construction worker Larry Fortensky in 1988. She sold the photos taken of her wedding to People Magazine for a whopping $1 million. She used the money for a good cause — all $1 million was used to start the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation according to the New York Daily News. [caption id="attachment_17239" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Brenda Chase/Getty[/caption] The wedding was held at Neverland Ranch, the home of Taylor’s longtime friend, singer Michael Jackson. The media intensely covered the wedding — one photographer parachuted to the ranch! Taylor’s seven marriages and her personal life often attracted media attention and public disapproval. Fortensky and Taylor ended up divorcing in 1996.
30. Budget Style: PhotosExpect to spend 10 to 15 percent of your wedding budget on a photographer says the site Woman Getting Married. They estimate the average cost of a photographer in the U.S. to be about $2,500-$10,000, depending on the photographer’s experience and the packages they’re offering. Even the low end is quite expensive! [caption id="attachment_17240" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Bryan Schneider/Pexels[/caption] There are ways around this, for example, hiring a friend that’s a photographer. If you care about the quality of their photos, you’ll want to check out their portfolio and make sure they’ve photographed a wedding before. Friends (especially professional ones) aren’t necessarily down to shoot for free, but they can give you the friend discount!]]>
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