Cover Travel back in time as we take a look at the world's priciest weddings. (Photo: Bettmann Archive)

From private Beyonce concerts, to a million-dollar security team, we list out some of the most expensive weddings of all time

It’s no secret that weddings can get expensive. For a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, many people are willing to spend as much it takes to create the wedding of their dreams. While few people can actually afford to throw a lavish wedding straight out of Crazy Rich Asians, the sky’s the limit for the world's ultra-rich to create a wedding filled with extravagant details, couture gowns and Michelin-worthy meals. 

According to a 2021 study, the average couple budgeted around US$22,500 for their big day—but how much are the rich and famous willing to spend to make their special day unforgettable? Here, we list out some of the most expensive weddings of all time. 

See also: Billion-Dollar Separation: 7 Of The Most Expensive Divorces In History

1. Prince Charles and Lady Diana

Rumoured Cost: US$48 million (approximately US$137 million today when adjusted for inflation)

Date: July 29, 1981

Frequently named “the wedding of the century”, Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s wedding took place at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on July 29, 1981. The iconic wedding was attended by 3,500 guests and watched on television by 750 million people.

In true royal fashion, the princess’s dress was a sight to behold—designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel for Alexander McQueen, it featured a 25-foot train, a 153-yard veil and 10,000 pearls. To complete the dress, the wedding shoes were made of silk and accessorised with 542 sequins and 132 pearls. 

It’s not cheap to have a royal wedding. On top of the usual wedding costs, an extra US$600,000 was spent on heightened security measures due to a potential threat by the Irish Republican guerrillas.  

2. Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal

Rumoured Cost: US$100 million

Date: December 12, 2018

The wedding of Isha Ambani (daughter of Mukesh Ambani, the tenth richest man in the world) and Anand Piramal (son of Indian billionaire Ajay Piramal) brought together two of the most high-profile Indian families back in 2018. 

Many of the families’ celebrity friends flew in for the occasion, including Hillary Clinton, Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas, Ariana Huffington and former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee, and plenty were scheduled to keep guests entertained for the week-long event—there was even a private Beyonce concert. To top it all off, the Ambanis also donated enough food to feed 5,100 people for four days as a token of appreciation to the city of Udaipur. 

3. Sushanto Roy and Seemanto Roy

Rumoured Cost: US$75 million

Date: 2004

Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar, Subrato Roy held a joint wedding for his sons Sushanto Roy and Seemanto Roy back in 2004. With a guest list of 11000 visitors, the family served over a hundred different cuisines to guests as well as 150,000 homeless people at the wedding.

4. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Rumoured Cost: US$45.8 million

Date: May 19, 2018

All eyes were on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle when the couple tied the knot in 2018 at St. George’s Chapel. While the bulk of the cost went to security, a hefty amount went towards the PA system used to broadcast what was happening inside the chapel to the public, staff expenses, decor and also Meghan’s Givenchy wedding dress which was estimated to be priced at US$549,939.

See also: Meghan Markle & Prince Harry's Oprah Interview: Everything We Learned In The Tell-All Special

5. Vanisha Mittal and Amit Bhatia

Rumoured Cost: $55 million

Date: 2004

The six-day wedding between Vanisha Mittal, daughter of billionaire Lakshmi Mittal and investment banker Amit Bhatia currently holds the official title of ‘most expensive wedding’ in the Guinness World Records. The wedding included a reenactment of the couple’s courtship and an engagement ceremony at the Palace of Versailles. 

6. Prince William and Kate Middleton

Rumoured Cost: US$34 million

Date: April 29, 2011

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding was held at Westminster Abbey in London in 2011 where the couple had Prince Harry and Kate’s sister Pippa as the best man and maid of honour respectively. 

An estimation of 24 million was spent on security alone while 4 million was spent on flowers. Celebrity guests such as the Beckhams were invited, as was Ellie Goulding, who performed a cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ for the married couple’s first dance. 

See also: This Feel-Good Series Takes a Look Behind the Scenes at Modern Indian Weddings

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