According to Business Insider, the average cost of an American wedding in 2018 is $33,391. Yikes. For some people, that’s an entire year’s salary blown in just one day. It’s enough to make some people want to elope and put that money towards a down-payment on a house, instead.
Nevertheless, for the rich and powerful people in the world, weddings that cost tens of thousands of dollars would never be lavish enough for their taste. Get ready to clutch your pearls because the cost of these 40 luxury weddings will knock your socks off. We still start with the “cheap” six-figure weddings- all the way up to ceremonies that cost over $100 million.
40. Madonna and Guy Ritchie
Madonna needs no introduction. However, some readers may need to a reminder that Guy Ritchie is the acclaimed director. He is known for his early 2000s movies Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and the Robert Downey Jr. hit film, Sherlock Holmes. The power couple married shortly before he rose to prominence in 2000, spending an estimated $2.1 million on their extravagant nuptials, which would be well over $3 million today. The couple booked an entire Scottish hotel for the wedding due to Ritchie’s British nationality and heritage. Madonna reportedly spent at least $80,000 on a wedding gown designed by friend Stella McCartney.
The couple only ultimately remained married for eight years, but they had one child together and adopted another. Here is an unusual turn of events from many other celebrity divorces. Usually, the man pays out an extraordinary sum as in Paul McCartney’s split from Heather Mills. However, Madonna was worth far more at their divorce and reportedly paid millions to Ritchie in the separation. While Ritchie’s career has stalled somewhat from its heyday in the early 2000s, he is still releasing film and television productions. Madonna continues to tour and release new albums as well as working on other creative projects.
Tween girls everywhere were heartbroken when the Jonas Brothers split up the act. They were no doubt heartbroken all over again when announcements came that Nick Jonas would be marrying Indian actress and singer Priyanka Chopra. As is common in marriages where the partners have different cultural backgrounds, they had no fewer than three wedding ceremonies, including both a traditional Christian ceremony for Jonas’ family and an Indian Hindu traditional ceremony for Chopra’s. The young power couple spared no expense on any rituals or pre-parties, spending an estimated $61,000 on parties before the wedding even began.
The couple’s wedding was at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, India, which only the wealthiest and most elite can rent at an estimated cost of $60,000 per day. Many sources estimate the combination of the three nuptial ceremonies cost the couple at least $800,000, which wouldn’t necessarily make it the most expensive celebrity wedding. However, it’s undoubtedly a massive sum for two relatively young entertainers. However, it probably shouldn’t be surprising since Chopra is widely regarded as one of India’s highest-paid entertainers. The Jonas Brothers indeed made a mint off of their tours and merchandise.
Sure, Wayne Rooney is likely not a household name to many in the United States. However, in the UK, he is a beloved footballer, or soccer player, with the famous and incredibly popular Manchester United. He can boast of fans around literally the entire world. He decided to tie the knot with English TV personality and author Coleen McLoughlin. She was a beloved “girl next door” figure in the UK. The wedding was destined to be an extravagant and memorable affair. The lavish ceremony and celebration cost an estimated $8 million thanks to the isolated location and luxurious accommodations.
The couple was married at the Abbey of Cervara near Genoa, in Italy. They hired the famed Irish boy band Westlife for the ceremony, which cost $670,000 alone. They also chartered an entire fleet of private airplanes to fly guests into the luxe Italian countryside. The star-studded wedding, of course, also enjoyed all of the trappings of traditional millionaire weddings with walls and walls of fresh flowers. They enjoyed a towering cake made by luxury cake designers, and all of the best food and drink money can buy. Helping them pick up the tab, in true celebrity fashion, was a magazine that paid them over $4 million for exclusive photo coverage of the event.
Of the many royal weddings on the list, this is likely the most memorable one for current readers. In her role as a commoner, Kate Middleton, albeit a millionaire commoner, once again fulfilled the role of a magical unassuming princess in the fairytale romance wedding to a handsome English prince. People have widely praised Middleton for her sense of style, her beauty, poise, and grace only added to the spectacle around the regal affair. It was commonly dubbed in the British media as the “wedding of the century” since William is the heir apparent after his father, Prince Charles of Wales.
The televised wedding ceremony cost the royal family over $34 million. Much of which was on hiring extensive private security to protect the prince and soon-to-be princess from crowds and paparazzi. That is an incredibly sore subject for the prince due to his mother, Princess Diana’s, death. She perished after a car accident while being chased by French paparazzi. As is the tradition in the royal family, the ceremony was held in the famous Westminster Abbey. Afterward, the royal couple paraded through London’s streets to the massive gathered crowds by horse-drawn carriage. The bride wore a beautiful designer gown with an unbelievably long train, which undoubtedly had quite the price tag.
If you thought social media and reality TV-type influencers were a uniquely American phenomenon, you’d be entirely wrong. Angelababy, whose real name is Angela Yeung Wing, is often called the “Kim Kardashian of China.” The Shanghai-born Angelababy began as a model and appeared on numerous television programs before becoming a social media sensation and influencer. Huang Xiaoming is also a household name in China, where he is an actor, singer, and model. With those backgrounds, it’s no surprise that the gorgeous young Chinese power couple had a lavish wedding that put even some royal weddings to shame with its massive $31 million price tag.
Just Angelababy’s wedding gown cost more than probably hundreds of regular weddings combined. She wore a custom Dior fashion house gown that featured a 10-foot long lace train, and over 100 hand-cut Chantilly lace rose appliques. The couple also enjoyed a 10-foot tall wedding cake that featured a literal working carousel in the middle. They treated their guests as lavishly as themselves, giving out guest bags to all invited that included luxury items like cell phones instead of the usual tchotchkes and candy bars given out at traditional weddings. The entire wedding venue was also decked out in roses to match the Chantilly lace dress.
Russia makes its first appearance on the list with the staggeringly expensive wedding of a Russian energy billionaire oligarch’s daughter to the relatively poor son of only a mere millionaire. The marriage of two names that certainly aren’t household names outside of Russian tabloids cost an estimated $10 million. The wedding was at some of the most exclusive US hotspots. The couple managed to rent out the luxe Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles that is most famous for hosting The Academy Awards every year. Their entertainment was star-studded enough to be worthy of the luxurious Oscars venue.
Instead of hiring a local DJ like most ordinary folk, the Russian oligarchs hired Jason Derulo and Lady Gaga to serenade them during the nuptials and reception, which cost an estimated $2 million alone. As if a theatre that hosts the Oscars isn’t fancy enough, the couple glammed it up with a golden aisle for the bride to walk down and walls upon walls of the freshest flowers that cost over $500,000 themselves. That indeed wasn’t a wedding to miss between the historic surroundings and the star-studded entertainment, so it’s genuinely disappointing none of us managed to secure an invite.
The absolute legend of basketball and beloved Space Jam star to millennials married his second wife, model Yvette Prieto, in a lavish ceremony in April 2013 at a staggering estimated price tag of over $10 million. The wedding was at the exclusive Bear’s Club in sunny Jupiter, Florida. It featured an impressive 300 person guest list that included notable figures like Spike Lee, Tiger Woods, and many more. The bride wore a custom J’Aton Couture gown that was studded in costly, blinding Swarovski crystals, which undoubtedly fetched quite a tidy sum. Jordan wore a classic tux, but at his height, it almost definitely cost extra.
The entertainment portion of the wedding was truly impressive and no doubt a large part of the cost since it featured hitmakers, including Usher, Robin Thicke, and K’Jon. As with basically all luxe wealthy weddings, the affair also featured stunningly crisp, fresh white roses in the bouquet and decor and the best food and drink that Florida’s trendiest caterers can offer up. Feeding 300 people only the best victuals costs a considerable amount of money and no doubt was a large portion of the $10 million. The couple is still happily married and has a pair of identical twins together.
Russia makes another appearance on this list with yet another oligarch sliding in with a staggering wedding cost that included $8 million on just the 70-carat diamond engagement ring alone, which dwarfs the slim model’s tiny hand. Tsaritsina was famous before the wedding in her own right as an Instagram influencer famous for sharing a constant stream of photos in bikinis at luxurious locations like Dubai and around the world. The significantly older oligarch felt the need to go above and beyond for his staggeringly beautiful young bride, spending millions on a lavish wedding that puts most to shame.
The blushing bride wore several custom couture dresses throughout the wedding, changing from an off-the-shoulder gown worn during the ceremony to a more modest gown and veil for the reception. They enjoyed an eight-tier cake that was hanging from mid-air as well as an entire group of trained acrobats. They were serenaded by a Russian Eurovision contestant as well, adding to the pricey entertainment budget. The luxurious couple is still married. Both have continued to share Instagram photos of their jet-set life that often feature beaches and relaxation despite his status as a financial leader.
He is the son of an Armenian-born and Russian-based billionaire. Sargis Karapetyan didn’t even have to consider the price of the lavish wedding he wanted to throw to celebrate his marriage to Russian socialite, model, it girl, and social media influencer Salome Kintsurashvili. Karapetyan’s family is estimated to be worth almost $5 billion, so their wedding’s $2 million price tag comes in as one of the more modest on the list despite still being full of beautiful extravagance. The beautiful bride wore three custom dresses throughout the wedding and accessorized like true royalty with a glittering custom Tiffany & Co. diamond tiara.
The wedding also featured the traditional walls and walls of fresh flowers as well as luxuriously arranged floral centerpieces. The entire reception hall was landscaped and decorated to look like a lush woodland forest. They also had an incredible entertainment lineup featuring many Russian favorites and the US band Maroon 5, who performed an entire live show, estimated to cost between $500,000 and $800,000 just for them. The cake almost touched the chandeliers in the ballroom and undoubtedly easily fed the nearly 500 guests who reportedly attended. The wedding was exclusive. However, they also widely shared on Instagram, giving everyone a peek at their lavish lifestyle.
Christian Aguilera, a pop icon of the late 1990s, broke many single mens’ hearts in 2005. She married incredibly wealthy music label executive Jordan Bratman in a lavish, over-the-top ceremony that reportedly cost at least $2 million. The singer planned it with the help of a famed planner to the stars, Michael Gapinski. She got a ridiculously romantic proposal that involved an entire hotel room full of rose petals and gift boxes full of treats. And, finally, a ring. Thus, it’s no surprise that he spoiled her rotten for their nuptials as well. In a true testament of human hubris, it featured a winter wonderland theme in the middle of warm Napa Valley, California.
The pop crooner with golden pipes rocked a $30,000 custom gown that could buy most people a brand new, fully-loaded car. Entire birch trees were carted in for the event to compliment the winter wonderland thing, as well as thousands of yards of white faux fur, handmade tree-branch chandeliers, and more amaryllis, roses, and hydrangeas than one could count. In the middle of the winter wonderland, the beautiful ceremony featured numerous Jewish customs to honor her husband’s faith. Unfortunately, the couple only lasted six years before divorcing, although they left a snowy memory behind for wedding workers in the normally snow-free Napa Valley.
Do you know this young lady? Heart Evangelista is a socialite and actress from the Philippines who is one of the many women who inspired Crazy Rich Asians. Her husband, Chiz Escudero, is a lawyer and senator. Their wedding was a gorgeous ceremony on Balesin Island. The minimum cost for running a wedding on Balesin is 9 million pesos, or $115,000. Add on the designer gown’s costs, guest accommodations, and custom-made sails to a fleet of boats on the water. Don’t forget fireworks and walls upon walls of flowers. Their wedding would have easily cost at least one million US dollars, if not considerably more.
The couple remains married. Evangelista is now the first lady of the province of Sorsogon in the Philippines. Her husband won his election as governor of the region in 2019. Evangelista was quite wealthy even before her marriage to the successful lawyer and politician, thanks to her Chinese-Filipino father’s status as a restaurant magnate. She also began acting and modeling as only a teen, which increased her personal wealth. Escudero is the son of two famous politicians. His father was an agriculture minister during the infamous Marcos era of the Philippines. Also, his mother is a current congresswoman in the same district over which he serves as governor.
David and Victoria Beckham were married on July 4th, 1999, with much public fanfare since both are icons of British media and public imagination. The ceremony was in the Luttrellstown Castle in Ireland. They had already had their first baby, Brooklyn Beckham before they were married, and he was their adorable tiny ring bearer. The pop singer and footballer would be one of the wealthiest power couples in existence as they built their business empires. In 1999, their ceremony cost $800,000. Some people estimate that with inflation, it would have cost $12 million today.
David continues to give Victoria Beckham new engagement rings so that she has options on what to wear. Her collection is said to be worth nearly $10 million. The power couple continues to thrive and stay happily married. They have four children together and have continued to be successful in many ventures. With David having had a stellar soccer career and Victoria launching numerous fashion, fragrance, and makeup brands that have done well. Both Beckhams have been appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire; David for his athletic success, and Victoria for her cultural and entrepreneurial work.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, it was still scarce for celebrities to drop big bucks on a wedding of royal proportions. Brad and Jen, of the famed Bennifer, changed that in the year 2000. Jaws dropped when they heard that the couple spent $1 million to get married by the ocean at sunset in Malibu, California. Security cost them $100,000 alone to keep out any paparazzi and rubber-neckers that were trying to take a peek at the exclusive private event. They spent $75,000 on flowers from Beverly Hills. After the ceremony, they had live music and fireworks.
Many thought they were the Hollywood couple who be together forever due to their popularity and seemingly blissful relationship. Thus, their split shocked people. Yes, Pitt’s relationship with Angelina Jolie developed on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Pitt and Jolie went in a very different direction for their wedding day, opting for a small family-only wedding with Pitt borrowing a suit and Jolie wearing a veil decorated by her children. Magazines were given access to the wedding and shared gorgeous photos of the intimate event. Unfortunately, this couple also eventually split after several years of marriage.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner took advantage of Donald Trump’s many properties to have their wedding ceremony. Out of all of his locations, they opted for the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Ivanka wore a custom-made dress by Vera Wang, and her ring was bespoke by her own jewelry company, Ivanka Trump Jewelry. For their honeymoon, they went on an African safari. When all was said and done, their wedding would be worth an estimated $1 million. It should be no surprise that any Trump would want a lavish, outrageous wedding complete with plenty of public attention and media.
At the time of their marriage, Trump and Kushner were just two wealthy kids getting married. They had not yet stepped fully into the spotlight as advisers to the President of the United States, a role that they would both head-scratchingly assume shortly after he won in 2016. Kushner’s father was famously successfully prosecuted for fraud, tax evasion, and witness tampering by former governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, which he argued led to his being fired from the Trump election team in the form of retaliation for sending Trump’s son-in-law’s father to prison. Ah, the tangled webs people weave.
Michael Douglas proposed to Catherine Zeta-Jones with a $1 million 10-carat diamond engagement ring. Their wedding ceremony took place at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, and Douglas claimed that he was willing to spend any amount of money to make sure Jones had her perfect wedding. In total, the ceremony cost an estimated $1.5 million and was a star-studded event filled with their famous Hollywood friends. Despite the massive 25 year age gap between the Welsh Zeta-Jones and American Douglas, they have been happily married for over twenty and have had two children together.
Expensive celebrity weddings are no rare thing, especially given the typically high divorce rates of actors and actresses. However, the Zeta-Jones and Douglas marriage attracted a great deal of publicity and public attention due to their age gap. Zeta-Jones was marrying the 55-year-old esteemed actor at a relatively young 30 herself. The couple was the subject of many jokes on news programs and especially shows like Saturday Night Live due to the age gap, but they didn’t let the poor taste jokes slow them down since they’re still happily married many years later.
John and Jackie Kennedy both came from old money families in New England, so it only made sense that they would have an elegant wedding. JFK proposed to Jackie with a ring filled with 8 carats of diamonds and emeralds. They were married in Jackie’s hometown of Newport, Rhode Island. Kennedy was a Senator at the time, so their guest list was massive. Eight hundred people were allowed to attend the ceremony at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and 1,500 guests came to the reception. The guest list included diplomats and other politicians. The ceremony was so big that one guest compared it to a royal coronation.
After getting married in a church, guests showed up at the oceanfront Bouvier mansion in Newport. Technically, the couple didn’t do anything crazy or over-the-top for the ceremony, especially compared to modern celebrity couples. However, the sheer number of people invited to the wedding would have pushed the cost to the modern-day equivalent of a million-dollar wedding. They spend some time at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City before spending two weeks sailing in Mexico for their honeymoon. Their marriage went on to be the stuff of legend. Why? Due to both John’s reportedly constant infidelity and his tragic assassination in front of his wife.
When she was young, Katie Holmes had a crush on actor Tom Cruise. Unlike most childhood crushes, she grew up and married him at the gorgeous Odescalchi Castle in Italy. Opera singer Andrea Bocelli sang for the 150 guests during dinner. Going along with the Italian theme, Giorgio Armani designed both Katie’s dress and Tom Cruises’ suit. They also invited the designer to be a guest at the wedding. Celebrities were proud and excited to get an invitation to this event, and even years after it happened, people are still talking about the opulent, star-studded $3 million affair.
The couple had an adorable daughter named Suri, and she was present at the wedding since she was born before they said their “I do’s”. They divorced after a few years. Holmes had to enlist numerous lawyers and secretive strategies like burner cell phones to ensure the divorce went through safely due to Scientology’s pernicious influence behind the scenes. Cruise is an enthusiastic follower. Due to Cruise’s devotion to the relatively new and controversial faith, Holmes secured full custody of their daughter. He reportedly has visitation rights but does not use them due to his daughter not being a Scientologist.
Gay marriage did not become legal in the United Kingdom until 2014, but that didn’t stop Elton John and David Furnish from having an epic wedding as soon as they could apply for a “civil partnership” in 2005. The actual ceremony was very low-key, with only their parents as witnesses in the courthouse partnership. Afterward, they threw a party of Great Gatsby proportions in Elton John’s mansion. The star-studded celebration reportedly cost $2 million. While it’s unfortunate that the loving couple had to wait for over a decade to legally partner and celebrate their relationship, it’s lovely they had the opportunity to.
A common and popular argument in the United States during the push for LGBTQIA+ marriage equality was the consideration of how much money the sudden boon of gay weddings would put into the economy through dress and tux costs, cake making, venue rentals, and more. While those arguments, of course, pale in comparison to the human rights argument, Elton John and David Furnish certainly lived up to the predictions when they spent so much on their lavish partnership party. Undoubtedly the US wedding market did see an uptick in sales in 2015 after gay marriage became legal in all US states.
Arun Nayar is a wealthy Indian businessman, heir to a German textile company and founder of his own high-tech company, and Elizabeth Hurley is an English model and actress. You may recognize her from her roles in Bedazzled and Austin Powers. She alsohas her own swimwear line with Harrods in England. They had two weddings- one in a castle in England and one in India. When they arrived at the airport in India, a mob of paparazzi photographers swarmed them. Nayar spent $2.5 million between these two elaborate weddings, but they still got divorced a few years later.
Even among regular people, it is relatively common to have multiple weddings if the two partners come from cultures with significantly different wedding traditions. In Hurley’s and Nayar’s case, they had a traditional British Christian nuptial and a traditional Indian Hindu wedding to accommodate both families and both partners’ traditions. While most people, of course, don’t spend millions on their two weddings, there is still often at least an informal ceremony that celebrates both cultures coming together. Even within the US, it is not uncommon to see Christian and Jewish wedding celebrations to honor both partners’ faiths and cultural histories.
Paul McCartney is famous for being one of The Beatles, and Heather Mills is a model and activist that he met at a charity event. Many people objected to their wedding because Paul McCartney was still grieving his first wife’s death, noted photographer and animal rights activist Linda Eastman McCartney. She had recently died after a battle with cancer. Some people also thought the two were simply an odd coupling that would not last. The two were married in a remote 1,000-acre estate called Castle Leslie in Ireland in 2002. It cost a whopping $3 million.
Unfortunately, their nay-sayers were right because they separated in 2006. During the divorce, Mills tried to go after him for $150 million, and McCartney paid out $30 million. The divorce was incredibly acrimonious and was followed intensely by the media, much of which painted Mills as a cruel gold-digger who was simply trying to gain fame and, most importantly, fortune through her marriage and subsequent relatively quick divorce from McCartney. Mills quickly became one of the most hated celebrities in the UK. Much attention was given to how the media portrayed her. They built her image through non-stop coverage during their bitter divorce.
Actress Salma Hayek met the billionaire French CEO of Kering, Francois-Henri Pinault, in 2006. A month after getting pregnant with his baby, the two became engaged. They had a small and quiet wedding ceremony on Valentine’s Day in the City Hall of Paris. In 2009, the couple decided it was time to have a large wedding ceremony. So, they got married in an Italian opera house called Teatro La Fenice. Their three-year-old daughter was their flower girl. They invited 150 celebrity guests to party in a masquerade ball in the center of Venice. This Italian affair cost $3.5 million.
They renewed their vows yet again in 2018 in the exotic tropical getaway of Bora Bora. That makes three weddings in total for this couple, proving that at least some people are genuinely committed to sticking together. Thankfully for Pinault, Hayek is a very far cry in real life from her hilarious 30 Rock turn as Eliza, la viuda negra, or “black widow,” a jealous, husband murdering woman. Pinault was the first marriage for Hayek and only his second marriage, so they were ideal for each other. Pinault continues to serve as the CEO of the Kering group, which specializes in luxury goods.
Actress and singer Liza Minnelli is known for being eccentric, and her wedding to David Gest was no exception. He was her fourth husband and seven years younger than she was, but he didn’t let that stop her from being excited to get married again. They invited 850 guests to their ceremony at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. Michael Jackson was Gest’s best man, and the star-studded guest list included names like Elton John, Donald Trump, and many more. When all was said and done, it cost them $3.5 million. Sadly, the couple had many issues, and their marriage only lasted 16 months.
While it may be surprising to see a star noted for her philanthropy regarding AIDS and LGBTQIA+ equality inviting Donald Trump to her wedding, he was a large part of the Hollywood and New York entertainment scenes in the early 2000s. People did not consider him openly hostile to people’s rights, as he has since come to throughout his presidency. He was on the cusp of widespread celebrity with The Apprentice to begin airing in only a couple of years. He was mainly known for pop culture jokes about his hotels, bankruptcies, and famous marriage to Czech model and entrepreneur Ivana Trump.
An 18-year old Russian heiress named Irene Belenova married Daniel Kenvey, 18, in an elaborate ceremony paid for by the bride’s billionaire father. The wedding included a live performance with Mariah Carey and Elton John at the Landmark Hotel in London. Instead of sitting back and enjoying the music, Irene jumped up on stage in her wedding dress to dance next to Mariah as if she was a backup dancer. The entire ceremony reportedly cost $4.5 million. The bride told the press that this huge wedding was just to “piss off her ex-boyfriend”, and that quote ran in nearly every headline. Hopefully, she was just joking because the couple is still together.
The billionaire Russian wedding is evidence of just how quickly societies can change. The former USSR only dissolved in 1991 and ended decades of authoritarian communist rule resulting from the Russian Revolution. When the USSR fell, many were poised to quickly privatize and purchase all of the previously nationalized industries such as manufacturing, natural gas, and more, allowing for the rapid explosion of billionaire oligarchs in the country, including President Vladimir Putin. While such a lavish wedding would have been unthinkable in Stalin’s era, capitalism has quickly flourished and run rampant in the country, allowing for such excesses.
George Clooney was married once and divorced in the ’90s, and the movie star was in no hurry to get married again. Nevertheless, when he met diplomat and human rights advocate Amal Alamuddin in 2014, they took things slow at first. They were friends for a while before he asked her out on their first date. Their unique relationship needed an equally special ceremony. They had an Italian destination wedding in Venice, where they paid for their guests to stay in the luxurious Cipriani Hotel. A team of boats brought them to The Aman Hotel, which is where the main event happened.
They had booked space in both hotels for three days while they had the bachelor and bachelorette parties before the ceremony. The wedding outfits were custom-designed by Giorgio Armani and Alexander McQueen. All in all, the three-day event cost them $4.6 million, which is a small price to pay for true love. The couple continues to thrive and stay busy, with the media happily following their work and travels. The media had a spirited debate over which of the two should come first in the headlines. Many say it should be Amal Clooney, whose husband is actor George, instead of his name coming first. Why? Due to the philanthropic nature of her work and her extensive education.
In 2010, Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky were married at a luxurious estate in upstate New York. Chelsea wore a strapless gown designed by Vera Wang, and they had both a rabbi and minister there for the ceremony to honor both her Christian heritage and his Jewish tradition. Since Chelsea is the daughter of former President Bill Clinton, the family needed to pay for much security to keep their guests safe, in addition to the lifetime Secret Service protection that only applies to the direct family. The whole event’s cost was $5 million, which isn’t much for the wealthy Clintons.
Like many children of wealthy and politically connected people, Chelsea has spent most of her life out of the spotlight of her father’s presidency, attaining an extensive education at both British and American institutions, eventually obtaining a Ph.D. from Oxford University in International Relations. She has served as a press correspondent and has sat on many boards for charitable and philanthropic causes. Her husband is a noted investment banker who has served as the vice-chairman for Social Capital and is the managing director at TPG Capital. The couple mostly stays out of the spotlight and focuses on work. They live in New York City and have three children.
15. Folarin Alakija and Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar
Folarin Alakija’s mother is a billionaire oil tycoon from Nigeria. He stands to inherit the family business and fortune. It was only pocket change to spend $6.6 million on his wedding to an Iranian supermodel named Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar. Their wedding took place in Blenheim Palace in England, which was the former estate of Winston Churchill. Over one million white roses decorated the ballroom, where Robin Thicke performed live for the wedding guests. At the end of the night, they set off fireworks over the castle.
This lavish wedding made for quite the power couple. Not only is Aakija’s mother a billionaire, but she is also the chairwoman of a Nigerian oil firm and one of the wealthiest women in all of Africa. Her husband is a successful lawyer. Their son stands poised to take over managing the family’s largest investment firm. Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar, who could have rested on the laurels of her good looks, instead received degrees in bioengineering and biomedical engineering, two notoriously tricky fields. In addition to the couple’s lavish wedding in England, they also had a smaller traditional Nigerian wedding ceremony with family.
Before she married Kanye West, reality TV star Kim Kardashian married Kris Humphries at a private estate in California. Remember that? They filmed the entire thing for her reality TV show. Her cake alone cost $20,000, which is enough for some people to throw their entire wedding. They were only married for 72 days, and their wedding cost $10 million. Some people believe that this wedding was one giant publicity stunt, but the couple insists that they really were in love at the time and that it simply didn’t work out. $10 million is certainly a lot for 72 days of marital bliss!
One does wonder how much the Kardashian family earned off the wedding. For celebrities, especially those with active television programs, it’s unlikely they had to spend much of the money on the wedding out of pocket due to brand deals, sponsorships, and more. They also likely made a tremendous amount of money off the viewership of the TV show’s wedding episode and any special promotions surrounding the event. Much like with social media influencers, which the Kardashians only slightly pre-date, events can be a huge income source when you make yourself a brand life.
With her second wedding, Kim Kardashian paid slightly more than her first wedding, with a total cost of $12 million. The bachelorette and bachelor parties took place in Paris, and the rehearsal dinner was at the Palace of Versailles. The ceremony took place in Florence, Italy, where they paid for 200 guests to attend. Kim wore a long-sleeved dress designed by Givenchy. Andrea Bocelli surprised Kim by showing up to sing as she walked down the aisle, which made her burst into tears. Their infant daughter, North West, was sitting in the front gallery to watch her parents tie the knot.
Versailles is always an interesting choice for a lavish, wealthy expenditure like a celebrity wedding. Why? Because of its strong association with Marie Antoinette. She is famous for her line directing France’s hungry to “eat cake” when they couldn’t even afford flour. In turn, she subsequently lost her head to a guillotine for such callousness. While people rarely revolt against the wealthy, it seems to be tempting fate a bit to engage in ludicrous displays of wealth on the site of a woman who lost her head after openly mocking the poor. It does put the protest against lavish Indian weddings in a slightly different light. This union eventually ended with a divorce in February 2021.
Do you know Feiping Chang? She is a Taiwanese-born model and lifestyle blogger based in Hong Kong who became an iconic Instagram star and influencer. She was yet another inspiration for the author of Crazy Rich Asians. The influencer regularly scores substantial sponsorship deals with designer fashion brands like Gucci, which pays out tens of thousands of dollars for a single Instagram photo. She married a wealthy banker named Lincoln Li on the island of Capri, Italy. The couple paid to fly their guests for the three-day event, where they paid for luxury dinners and entertainment. The wedding was stunning; photos of it were posted all over Vogue and many other magazines.
While there is nowhere online that gives an exact number, everyone estimates that a wedding like this would cost several million dollars. However, many influencers can capitalize on all of the day-to-day events of their lives. That goes double for major ones like weddings or giving birth to children. Chang and Li may even have been able to come out ahead after selling photos. Also, she could be getting any endorsements for using items on the big day, and more. When you make yourself the brand, any large event in your personal life can be used to generate a considerable amount of income.
These hip hop moguls tied the knot in 2008 and kept their ceremony small, private, and out of the media. From the photos that have now emerged online, we see a wedding inside a hotel. However, we can’t tell how big they were or how much they spent on the festivities. They also spent their honeymoon at a resort in Paradise Valley, Arizona, which sounds pretty modest compared to some other couples. However, we know that Beyoncé has a $5 million engagement ring, which pushes them into the multi-million dollar bracket on bling alone.
After Beyoncé’s sister, Solange, confronted Jay-Z in a camera-monitored elevator, there was a massive amount of media speculation. It led to accusations of cheating. Furthermore, despite Beyoncé’s Lemonade album, the couple remains seemingly happily married, with both affirming many times in the press that they are still together and happily married. In addition to their daughter Blue Ivy, the couple had twins together in 2018. They came two years after Lemonade dropped and subsequently prompted the height of public speculation around the state of their marriage. It indicates that they seem to be intending to stick it out for the long haul together.
10. Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier
Prince Rainier gave Grace Kelly a 10.47 carat Cartier diamond wedding ring that would cost several million dollars. At the time, her wedding dress cost $8,000. Even by today’s standards, that is a tremendous amount of money. However, considering that they were married in 1956, it is closer to $68,000 after adjusting for inflation. They spent seven weeks sailing on a yacht for their honeymoon. While there is no official number online of how much their wedding cost, it is safe to say that the amount they spent on the celebration is just as much as any of the other royal weddings on this list.
While Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding was dubbed a fairytale-like romance at the time, Grace Kelly’s marriage to the Prince of Monaco was the real thing. Despite being famous and a millionaire, the beautiful blonde actress was a real “commoner” in the royal sense. Her marriage to a prince from the exotic, wealthy European country of Monaco simply seemed to spectators in the 50s as a dream of every little girl come true. Sadly, in a tragedy that would foreshadow Princess Diana’s death, the Princess of Monaco died in a car accident at the relatively young age of 55.
Actress Elizabeth Taylor’s first wedding was when she was 18, and she got married another seven times until age 59. She married Richard Burton not just once- but twice. They got divorced and married again. After her first few weddings, Elizabeth Taylor gave up on the color white and started wearing some colorful dresses. Richard Burton gave her an engagement ring that is estimated to be valued close to $9 million. When we consider how high maintenance she was and many times she got married, it would have cost a lot. It’s safe to say that her wedding expenses over the years have cost anywhere from $10 to $20 million.
Taylor and Burton’s on-and-off-again relationship was the subject of much tabloid attention and speculation throughout their lives. Their romance became inextricable from their roles as Antony and Cleopatra in the 1963 Cleopatra. The film’s over-the-top budget and nature mirrored the outlandish and often abusive, toxic nature of the stars’ relationship. Both struggled with substance abuse, including alcoholism, and have a volatile relationship. Dubbed “Liz and Dick” by the press, their marriage was short. However, it included numerous films and leading an absurdly lavish jet-set lifestyle that was the source of constant media coverage and rampant speculation and gossip.
Adel Sajan is an Indian Billionaire based in Dubai and stands to inherit his father’s investment group. Sana Khan is former Bollywood royalty, so it’s no surprise that they decided to have a wedding on a cruise ship. That way, their guests could enjoy multiple locations as part of an absurdly lavish wedding celebration. It gives a whole new meaning to “destination wedding”! The ceremony started with the Engagement Ceremony at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Once guests boarded their cruise ship, Bollywood performers entertained them. Furthermore, guests enjoyed catered food and drinks during the dance party.
Each guest got their own hotel room onboard the ship, where they got a box full of luxury treats from Harrods, which seems like the rich getting richer since anyone at this wedding could likely already afford to buy Harrods outright. The guests visited Barcelona, Spain, Cannes, France, and Savona, Italy. Since the celebration took place over a few days, the couple also came prepared with new elaborate outfits for each day. When all was said and done, it cost $27 million. The wedding treated guests to a truly outrageous destination experience, the likes of which probably won’t happen again.
Sanjay Hinduhja’s father and uncle are two of the wealthiest men in all of Great Britain thanks to their co-ownership of the multi-billion dollar Hinduja investment group, so it only made sense that he would inherit a lot of their business and banking know-how and make his own fortune. For years, he was considered one of “the most eligible bachelors” in the entire world. Altogether, the family business is estimated to be worth $12 billion. When he married famed Indian fashion designer Anu Mahtani, it only made sense that they would have a multi-million dollar ceremony in Udaipur, India.
They invited 800 guests, many of whom were A-list Bollywood celebrities. Anyone who flew in for the ceremony was picked up at the airport by black BMWs driven by chauffeurs. A boat escorted them to a private island, where the hotel for guests and the wedding ceremony itself took place. Jennifer Lopez gave a live performance, along with dancers and other entertainment, including Arjun Kapoor and Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls. All in all, the ceremony cost $20 million and was one of the most lavish India has seen, although it didn’t quite top the infamous $75 million Indian weddings of Brahmani Reddy.
It’s true that Vanisha Mittal’s father is the richest man in India. He is famed steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, so it was no big issue to fly her and her financier fiance, Amit Bhatia, and guests to Paris, France, for a lavish wedding celebration. Family members often arrange Indian weddings to ensure compatibility in terms of family goals, financial views, and more. The engagement ceremony was at the Palace of Versailles. The guests ate dinner at the famous Jardin des Tuileries, and after dark, the wedding guests enjoyed watching fireworks in front of The Eiffel Tower. When all was said and done, the event cost a whopping $33 million.
While arranged marriages may seem unusual to people in the west, India has a long and relatively successful family-backed matchmaking history. Many young Indian men and women, including those living and working in the west, still turn to family for arranged matchmaking. Why? To avoid the stress and time commitment of dating. Families work hard to ensure the proposed couple will have similar lifestyles and life goals, making compatibility more likely. Many westerners like to criticize the idea of arranged marriages. However, with the United States’ 50% divorce rate, our dating marriage system isn’t working out well.
Here is another young couple who are the children of wealthy businessmen. Sonam Vaswani is the daughter of billionaire Sunil Vaswani, one of the world’s wealthiest Indian businessmen and works out of the United Arab Emirates. Navin is the nephew of a wealthy Indian businessman based out of Madrid. They had a traditional Indian wedding at the Palais Ferstel mansion in Vienna, Austria. Bruno Mars sang at their wedding, and gorgeous flowers decorated the ceremony. Photos of their marriage were all over Instagram. They were also shared with Vogue and bridal websites around the world.
The exact cost of their wedding is not public online, but considering all of the other weddings of similar expense, it would not be surprising to learn that it cost over $30 million. The wedding’s Viennese site has long been popular with the ultra-wealthy due to its palatial trappings, rich history, and proximity to Vienna’s most exclusive hotels. Austria is overall a relatively comfortable country in terms of quality of living, so the absurdly lavish weddings are less likely to lead to protests than those in India or other countries where large portions of the population suffer from poverty and starvation.
When compared to Princess Diana’s wedding, Megan Markle and Prince Harry’s ceremony at St. George’s Castle was considered “modest” at $43 million. The vast majority of that money went to paying for a massive security team due to Megan’s intense media scrutiny. Megan’s dress cost over $400,000, which is roughly the same budget they spent on catering. There was live music, too, of course, but when all was said and done, the actual cost of their ceremony was only $3 million, and $40 million paid for police, guards, and high-tech devices to make sure the royal guests were safe.
There was a great deal of consternation in the British media over Megan Markle throughout her and Harry’s courtship, and their wedding was no different. Many in the press criticized her dress and her mannerisms, arguing she was too informal and didn’t fit the fairytale princess’s role that her deceased mother-in-law set. The British press’s hatred of her only increased as they had children and eventually resulted in the couple breaking ties with the royal family and moving to Canada. Many have speculated, especially in the US, that racism played a large role in the British media’s reaction to Ms. Markle, given that she is the first Black woman to marry into the royal family.
India’s mining mogul Janardhana Reddy wanted to give his daughter Brahmani one of the world’s biggest weddings. He was willing to pay any amount of money to make the celebration unforgettable. Instead of paper wedding invitations, gold-plated LCD screens shared information about the wedding. The bride was dripping in rare and expensive jewels, and massive amounts of security had to cover the event to keep the people (and property) safe. The ceremony went on for five days of partying and watching live performances. When all was said and done, the wedding cost an almost unfathomable $74 million.
According to the BBC, the wedding was so expensive that it made people angry. Thousands of people are starving to death in the poorest parts of India. Many believed that the wealthy couple could have donated some of the money to charity. The existence of such extravagance in the face of human suffering typically raises the question of whether it is ethical for people to amass and keep so much. At the same time, so many have little or nothing. As in revolutionary-era France, this question is met with a resounding chorus of “No.” Furthermore, some take violence towards those hoarding of wealth.
In the United Arab Emirates, gender usually segregates weddings. There is a room full of female guests and a room full of male guests. The rich and famous usually have entertainers like singers, dancers, and fashion shows. Due to the requirement for two separate venues and sets of all entertainment and food, it’s essentially like paying for two weddings in one day. It only made sense that their wedding would be the biggest version of a Saudi wedding anyone has ever seen. They held it in a stadium that normally seats 20,000 people. Cost: $100 Million.
There is a rich history of wedding traditions in the United Arab Emirates, with many centuries-old practices. Brides are traditionally lavished with attention and catered to healthy foods and spa-like pampering for forty days before the wedding ceremony. Wouldn’t that be nice? The wedding itself is usually only part of a 7-day celebration that includes the equivalent of an engagement party, a bridal shower, and more. The reason for the gender-segregated celebration is for the comfort of female guests. Many women in the UAE choose to wear the hijab or religious head coverings. They would be unable to freely enjoy the party due to the possibility of being seen uncovered by unfamiliar men.
All around the world, 750 million people turned on their television sets to watch Prince Charles and Lady Diana tie the knot in 1981. They tied the knot at the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Over 600,000 people stood in London’s streets as they tried to catch a glimpse of the ceremony. Diana’s dress had 10,000 pearls sewn into it, and a 25-foot train followed behind her. Her wedding ring was massive, as well. The guest list featured a whopping 3,500 people, and none of them wanted to miss the occasion. Since there were many guests, they bought 27 massive multi-layered cakes to feed everyone.
The wedding’s popularity was primarily due to the couple’s perceived fairytale romance nature. Many people considered Diana close to a “commoner” by many despite her father being an Earl. It was also England’s first royal wedding in many years, and popular culture loves the idea of a woman becoming a princess. The marriage was also noteworthy for being a love match versus any strategic political union. The couple divorced in 1992. However, people still talk about their wedding as one of the century’s most significant events. Considering modern-day inflation, the cost of the same wedding today would cost $110 million.