Royal Wedding Costs vs Average Wedding Costs

I usually try to write articles that enable readers to make better financial decisions. Today’s article about wedding costs is going to be the exception. The value of this post is simply to give you something to gossip about with your friends. After all, what is life without a bit of gossip? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s May 19 wedding was a monumental event—not just in the UK—but across the world. I must admit, I did not see the Royal Wedding, but 3 billion other people tuned in worldwide. That is probably more than the combined audience of every episode of Suits (Megan Markle trademark role). There were also an estimated 8,000 street parties across the UK.

How much does the average wedding cost?

The average wedding in the United States now costs around $33,500, according to The Knot’s 2017 Real Weddings Study. I am not sure whether you are gasping or saying “That’s not too bad,” but keep in mind that number does not include the engagement ring or the honeymoon. Here are some other key statistics for average weddings in the United States as of 2017:

  • Most expensive wedding location: Manhattan, $76,944 (average)
  • Least expensive wedding location: New Mexico, $17,584 (average)
  • Average cost of a wedding dress: $1,509
  • Average age: Bride, 29.2; Groom, 30.9
  • Average number of guests: 136
  • Average length of engagement: 14 months
  • Most popular months to get married: September (16%), June (15%), and October (14%)
  • Percentage of destination weddings: 25%

The Royal Wedding Costs:

Before I get into the cost of the dress, ring, and everything else, I wanted to share the most surprising stat: $47,000 for toilets. I am guessing they didn’t go with the standard porta-potties. All of the numbers below are in dollars (we converted from pounds). The total cost was estimated at $45 million by, a popular wedding planning app. Kensington Palace covered the cost of the wedding, which seems reasonable when you consider that $40 million of the total cost was for security. Here are the numbers that you really want to know:

  • The Dress – The actual cost has not been released but estimates range from $135,000-$400,000.
  • Hair and Makeup – $13,000 (I think Harry did his own)
  • Guests – 800 at the ceremony, 200 at the after party, 2,640 public guests at Windsor Castle get to see the royal couple arrive.
  • Bar Tab – $250,000 (that’s a lot of champagne)
  • Cake – $65,000. I was figuring with 800 guests, that breaks down to over $80 per person for cake!
  • Flowers – $150,000
  • Trumpets – $120,000. Apparently, 20 trumpeters are needed to sound the royal announcement.
  • Honeymoon – $100,000-200,000. Harry and Meghan were rumored to be going to Namibia, but the top-secret destination looks like it has changed to the Royal Retreat in Alberta, Canada. The royals delayed their honeymoon to attend Prince Charles’ 70th birthday celebrations.

Trends in Wedding Costs:

There’s a current trend toward inviting fewer guests, but spending more per guest in order to create a unique and memorable experience. I think Meghan and Harry were clearly trying to embody this trend.

Wedding costs have continued to increase; however, the tradition of who foots the bill hasn’t changed much. On average, the bride’s parents contribute 45% of the overall wedding budget; the bride and groom contribute 41%, and the groom’s parents contribute 13%. Suffice it to say that Meghan’s parents did not contribute 45%, but reportedly, the bride is picking up the tab for the honeymoon and her two dresses.

Final Thought

I send my best wishes to Meghan and Harry. May they live happily ever after…and never fight about money. ????

See Images of the Bride (Meghan Markle), Prince Harry, and The Royal Wedding.