While planning their weddings, couples often find themselves making sacrifices for the sake of frugality.
It’s not uncommon to choose a cheaper venue so you can comfortably afford a catered meal or ask the wedding party to foot the cost of their day-of attire.
For the mega-rich, though, no expense is spared in celebrating their newest chapter.
From couture gowns to bespoke floral arrangements, the most expensive weddings in the world showcase the luxury lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Prince Charles and Lady Diana, $156 Million
When Prince Charles wed Lady Diana in 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, it was rightfully deemed one of the weddings of the century.
The family spared no expense for this royal wedding, with guests feasting on chicken stuffed with lamb mousse and brill in lobster sauce. For dessert, guests could indulge in 27 wedding cakes, including the five-foot, 200-pound centerpiece.
One of the most iconic details was Princess Diana’s wedding gown, an ivory taffeta ensemble bedecked in sequins, ruffles, 10,000 pearls, and a lace square that once belonged to Queen Mary.
After separating for four years, Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, only one year before the princess’s tragic death in a car crash.
Vanisha Mittal and Amit Bhatia, $78 Million
Billionaire heiress Vanisha Mittal and investment banker Amit Bhatia opted for a six-day nuptial ceremony that holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive wedding in the world.
The opulent affair, which took place in 2004, included an engagement ceremony at the Palace of Versailles before the couple said their “I dos” at the Chateau Vaux le Vicomte.
The couple and their guests enjoyed a Kylie Minogue concert and a firework display at the Eiffel Tower to wrap up the occasion. Tres chic!
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, $45 Million
Prince Henry wed Megan Markle in 2018 at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, beating out big brother William’s nuptial price tag by $11 million.
Similarly to his sibling, Prince Harry’s wedding budget mostly went to security protocols, which included $40 million worth of rooftop snipers, drone destroyers, and other military-grade protective protocols.
That doesn’t mean the couple didn’t get to splurge on the fun stuff.
Markle’s satin boatneck Givenchy gown and veil came at the costly sum of $276,000. Her platinum and diamond tiara, which once belonged to Queen Mary, is worth more than $2 million.
The $344,000 reception lunch menu included canapes and a rustic sponge wedding cake drizzled in elderflower syrups harvested from the Queen’s Sandringham estate.
After stepping down from their royal positions, the couple launched a Netflix docuseries about family life.
Prince William and Kate Middleton, $34 Million
Perhaps the most memorable expensive wedding of the 21st century, Prince William, son of Princess Diana, and Kate Middleton’s Westminster Abbey wedding was the modern iteration of the groom’s late mother’s nuptials 30 years earlier.
The flowers alone cost $800,000, nearly twice the ticket price of Middleton’s iconic $434,000 Alexander McQueen gown. However, the most considerable expense was the $32 million worth of security personnel the crown paid to protect the newlyweds.
Prince William and Kate Middleton ended their sumptuously traditional nuptials with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of London, waved on by celebrity guests, including Sir Elton John and Guy Ritchie.
The couple has three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
Aleksandra Kokotovic and Andrey Melnichenko, $30 Million
When former Miss Yugoslavia and Serbian model Aleksandra Kokotovic wed Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko in 2005, no expense was spared to treat guests to dinner and show they wouldn’t soon forget.
Their matrimonial celebration was in Cote D’Azur on the French Riviera, and rumors have circulated ever since that Melnichenko paid for a Russian chapel to be dismantled and rebuilt on-site to host the occasion.
Much of the wedding’s budget went to the entertainment, including performances by Julio Iglesias, Enrique Iglesias, Christina Aguilera, then-fiance Jordan Bratman, and Whitney Houston. Each singer raked in $3.6 million for their vocal talents.
Vikram Chatwal and Priya Sachdev, $20 Million
Vikram Chatwal, of the Hampshire Hotel fortune, married his actress, model, and investment banker wife Priya Sachdev in 2006, during which the couple celebrated with a 10-day extravaganza spanning the Indian subcontinent.
What started with Chatwal proposing with a 10-caret diamond led to a wedding in New Dehli.
More than 1,000 guests hopped chartered flights to attend blow-out events, including a white party in Udaipur, complete with 50,000 kilograms of jasmine and a painted elephant for entertainment.
There was also a pool party with painted camels, a masked ball, fire dancers,
the island-based Fantasia Masked Ball, and a mermaid pool party in an 18th-century fort.
When the day finally came for the Sikh ceremony, Bill Clinton made a heartfelt speech expressing his best wishes for the couple, followed by a dance party until dawn.
Unfortunately, the couple divorced in 2011.
Margaret of York and Charles the Bold of Burgundy, $200 Million
With the Black Death a century behind them, the people of Burgundy needed something to celebrate, and what better way than one of the most expensive royal weddings in history?
Margaret of York hailed from a long line of nobility, including her great-great-grandfather King Edward III. Two of her brothers would later claim the crown as the future King Edward IV and King Richard III.
She sailed across the English Channel to meet her beau for the first time on June 27, 1468. The couple said, “I do” in Flanders a mere six days later, on July 3, 1468.
The Burgundians gathered to greet their new Dutchess, carried by a team of white horses, while dancers and trumpeters heralded her arrival. Her wedding attire consisted of a gown trimmed in ermine fur and a pearl-and-pearl-encrusted golden crown.
The Medieval wedding reception was a jubilant, four-day party worthy of Arthurian legend. The bridges and canals were bedecked in flowers, while wine spurted from stone-carved pelicans and archers.
As a gift for his new bride, Charles the Bold arranged the Tournament of the Golden Tree, a jousting competition that also told a highly-detailed story honoring Margaret.
Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlin, $15 Million
Manchester United soccer star Wayne Rooney’s wedding to Coleen McLoughlin in 2008 had all the extravagant elegance you’d expect from one of the most expensive weddings in the world.
The celebrations took place across three venues: the 17th-century Villa Durazzo for the ceremony, a Portofino abbey for the reception, and an extravagant yacht for the multiday afterparty.
The most significant expenses included hiring Irish band Westlife for $670,000, five private jets and luxury accommodations for their guests, and McLoughlin’s $20,000 Cindrella-style Marchesa dress.
The Rooneys are still very much in love and have four sons together.
Delphine Arnault and Alessandro Vallarino Gancia, $7 Million
When the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennesey heiress Delphine Arnault married Alessandro Vallarino Gancia, the heir to an Italian wine legacy in 2005, it came as no surprise that it was one of the most expensive weddings in the world.
Their guests gathered together in Gironde at the Roman Catholic Cathedrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Bazas, including the former First Lady of France and German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.
For the reception, the bride’s family graciously hosted at the Château d’Yquem vineyard in Bordeaux, adorned with 5,000 white roses and featured a Moscow choir for entertainment.
They enjoyed a meal of caviar, foie gras, and harvest-themed small plates with glasses of Dom Perignon and Château d’Yquem.
Arnault, the newest CEO of Dior and the daughter of the world’s richest man Bernard Arnault, split from Gancia in 2010.
Liza Minelli and David Gest, $3.5 M illion
Liza Minelli married David Gest in 2002 at New York’s Marble Collegiate Church, in one of the most star-studded ceremonies in Hollywood history.
It was a fairytale romance that started with “I love yous” exchanged within 48 hours of meeting, followed by Gest popping the question with a 3.5-caret Tiffany ring.
The wedding party was eclectic, with Elizabeth Taylor, Marisa Benson, Martine McCutcheon, Michael Jackson, and Tito Jackson serving in featured roles.
Amongst the 650 attendees were such famous faces as Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, Mia Farrow, David Hasselhoff, and Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, Tony Bennet, and a 60-piece orchestra provided entertainment while guests enjoyed $500,000 worth of flowers and a $25,000 rose-adorned cake.
Minelli and Gest only remained together for 16 months, officially divorcing in 2007 after years of court battles.
Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky, $1.5 Million
Dame Elizabeth Taylor had been married seven times before settling down with construction worker Larry Fortensky in a lavish affair.
The dress alone–a lacy yellow Valentino gown with a plunging, off-shoulder neckline and multi-tiered skirt–cost $25,000. Still, much of the cost went towards a 100-person security detail to keep out any curious interlopers.
Fortunately, the couple saved a bit of cash on the venue. The bride’s good friend Michael Jackson hosted celebrity friends, like Eddie Murphy, Macaulay Caulkin, Brooke Shields, and Nancy Regan, at his Neverland Ranch in California.
The couple divorced in 1996, though they remained close until Taylor died in 2011.
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, $3.6 Million
Former Beatle Paul McCartney married model Heather Mills at San Salvatore’s Church, a 17th-century chapel, in Glasgow, Ireland.
While the dress code was casual, the bride looked anything but in a lacy ecru dress and a $40,000 diamond and sapphire engagement ring.
The reception was an intimate, simple affair, with a vegetarian Indian menu, a troupe of Indian dancers, a 10-piece Celtic band, and a spectacular fireworks show.
McCartney and Mills had a contentious divorce in 2008.
Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar, $2.5 Million
Elizabeth Hurley’s fairytale wedding to entrepreneur Arun Nayar was only the beginning of their week-long newlywed revelry.
Following their Christian ceremony at the medieval castle Sudely of Gloucestershire, England, the couple traveled to Umaid Bhawan Palace in India for a Hindu celebration.
In Gloucestershire, Hurley stunned in a Versace chiffon gown topped off with a diamond tiara. Guests were treated to a short Bollywood-style film starring the couple, a lavish five-course meal, and a four-tier wedding cake.
The Indian ceremony included dancing, singing, Hindu sacred ceremonies, dancing horses, and an overnight sleepover in the desert for more than 200 guests.
Hurley and Nayar ended their marriage amicably in 2011.
Hatice Sultan and Muhaship Mustafa Pasa, Unknown Cost
The next time someone laments the cost of modern weddings, point them to the marriage of Hatice Sultan and Muhaship Mustafa Pasa in the 17th century.
For 18 days, Edirne Palace and its surrounding lands were transformed into a forest of silver-leaved trees made of metal and wax. One of the trees was 25 meters long, requiring a team of 200 enslaved people to drag the arboreal colossus through the streets.
Amongst the faux flora, the newly joined royal houses enjoyed wrestling competitions, fireworks, live theater, and acrobatic performances on tightropes hung between the Salimiye Mosque’s towers.
The most lavish expense, however, came in the form of bridal gifts, including a veritable horde of diamonds, copperware, tapestries, and various dishes made of gold.
Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal, $100 Million
As the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the world, Isha Ambani’s wedding to businessman Anand Piramal was unsurprisingly one of the most theatrical displays of marital bliss ever recorded.
The festivities began with an engagement party in Lake Como, Italy, where John Legend performed his song “All of Me.”
Then, Ambani and Piramal jetted off to Udaipur, India, for the pre-wedding celebrations before setting off for the bride’s hometown of Mumbai for the big day. The streets leading to the venue were lined with marigolds, as was the inside of the Antilia, where they engaged in traditional Indian marital ceremonies.
The bride’s dress was a gorgeous hand-embroidered ghagra with floral panels, complemented by her 20-meter tulle dupatta, a traditional bridal veil. Ambani also wore her mother’s scarlet wedding sari draped over her shoulder.
Former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee attended, as did fellow wedding day big spender Priyanka Chopra. Queen Bey herself graced the bride and groom with a private performance.
The happily married couple recently welcomed their twins, a girl named Addiya and a boy named Krishna, into the family.
Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra, $800 Thousand
Actors Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra’s marital bliss began in 2018 with a three-day, two-ceremony wedding in Jodhpur, India.
While their budget was within the million-dollar mark, they still managed to rack up quite the bill in venue alone. The couple rented out the entire Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace for their ceremonies and guest accommodations for more than $460,000.
To kick off the festivities, Chopra’s family hosted the pre-wedding Hindu rituals, including the now iconic Sangeet dance-off competition, telling their love story. Catering for these festivities tacked on an additional $61,000.
While the exact costs of Chopra’s wedding attire are unknown, each piece was handmade with intricate details by haute fashion houses.
During the Mehendi henna ceremony, Chopra donned a Khosla Jani 48-paneled organdy sherwani with a kaleidoscopic display of colorful silk.
For the Hindu ceremony, she sparkled in a crystal and organza flower-covered scarlet lehenga by Sabyasachi, who also designed Jonas’s hand-quilted silk sherwani, dupatta, and safa.
As for the Christian ceremony, Chopra chose a sheer, high-neck Ralph Lauren gown covered in floral embroidery, seed beads, and Swarovski crystals. The strapless sheath she wore underneath consisted of more than two million mother-of-pearl sequins.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, $2.8 Million
While “KimYe” might be over, their elaborate wedding remains one of the most over-the-top examples of celebrity unions.
Big ticket items include the $400,000 venue, $500,000 Givenchy dress, and a $500,000 marble table with each guest’s name engraved at their place setting.
The generous couple also paid for all travel and accommodations.
Of course, weddings between two of the world’s biggest celebrities would only be complete with equally red-carpet-worthy entertainment, so their loved ones watched live performances by John Legend and Lana Del Rey.
After a lengthy separation, the couple divorced in November 2022. They share custody of their four children.
Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma, $6 Million
Cricketer Virat Kholi and actress Anushka Sharma kept the guest list small, with only 42 loved ones joining them at the 800-year-old Borgo Finocchieto Tuscan villa in 2017.
Despite the intimate attendance numbers, they spared no expense in transforming the location into a fairytale, with every detail carefully curated by wedding decorator Devika Narain.
The villa featured a lavender, pink, and blue canopy of flowers and hanging candle lanterns for an unbelievably romantic ambiance. These elaborate arrangements required 45 days of working with flora shipped from Holland.
For the reception lunch, the couple shared a meal catered by the luxury Italian eatery Cittamani. The menu included paneer-stuffed ravioli, roti-wrapped porcini mushrooms, and other Indian fusion dishes.
One of the most stunning details of the storybook setting was Sharma’s bridal lehenga. She chose a hand-embroidered piece from Sabyasachi. The rhinestone-encrusted gown had gorgeous lotus flowers, birds, and butterflies stitched in silk.
Kohli and Sharma’s fairytale romance has since been joined by their daughter Vamika.
Marc Mezvinsky and Chelsea Clinton, $3 Million
Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former president Bill Clinton and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, wed investor Marx Mezvinsky in 2010.
They choose the elegant Astor Courts in the quiet village of Rhinebeck, New York, for their private function. The sprawling estate, which cost $125,000 for the day, was adorned with $45,000 worth of roses and hydrangeas.
The event saw many upper-crust invitees, including Vera Wang, who designed Clinton’s $15,000 dress, Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Streisand, Steven Speilberg, and Barack Obama.
The couple shelled out $400,000 on air-conditioned tents to ensure that every guest was comfortable while they indulged in St. Regis Hotel catered meals and a five-foot-tall, $10,000 gluten-free wedding cake.
The Mezvinky family has grown by three children since their wedding day.
Yvette Prieto and Michael Jordan, $10 Million
Basketball star Michael Jordan is no stranger to breaking records, so when his 2013 marriage to Yvette Prieto included a 40,000-square-foot tent, it was hardly a surprise that it earned the title of the largest tent in wedding history.
The ceremony was held in Palm Beach at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the Sea, during which Prieto looked every part of the princess in a J’Aton Couture silk lace gown dripping in Swarovski crystals.
The 2,000-person reception at Bear’s Club guest list included the likes of Spike Lee and Tiger Woods. They enjoyed entertainment by Robin Thicke, Usher, and the 18-piece band The Source while feasting on a seven-tier, sugar-encrusted wedding cake.
Jordan and Prieto are still married and celebrated the birth of twins Victoria and Ysabel in 2014.
With big-money weddings most folks can only dream of, these couples rightfully earned their rank amongst the most expensive weddings in the world.
It’s easy to feel envious of private jets and million-dollar Michelin Star meals when we’re busy carefully balancing our wedding cost with our budget.
Just remember that money doesn’t make the marriage—love, open communication, and honesty do.
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