Modern weddings as we know it starkly resembles the white wedding theme that originated in 20th Century England. Queen Victoria was not only an empire builder but also a cultural trendsetter. Considering how her wedding (1840) shaped the world’s perception of traditional modern nuptials, the royal weddings that followed still garners a popular global audience.
This May 19, 2018, the American actress Meghan Markle will officially join the most important family in the United Kingdom as the wife of Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales. His wedding could never be as extravagant as that of his beloved parents’ $110 million-worth marriage in 1981.
So how much is spend for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding? Here’s a detailed estimated budget and cost breakdown:
SECURITY ($42 Million)
This conservative projection was derived from the 2011 Royal Wedding (Prince William and Catherine Middleton) security budget. This figure will be shouldered by the nation’s taxpayers.
Yet unlike the previous expenditure, the actual cost may likely increase a couple million pounds more.
Each of the couple’s unique personal background makes them a high-value target in the eyes of terrorists.
Prince Harry, for instance, established himself as an accomplished combatant throughout his two deployments in Afghanistan. He patrolled hostile zones, defended field bases against Taliban assault, and maneuvered Apache helicopters. His notoriety among the Taliban brings no shortage of possible sympathetic hostiles who would want to ‘avenge their brothers-in-arms.’
It is also important to appreciate how Meghan could be the most vulnerable principal under the protection detail. On top of her sensationalised biracial foreign heritage, the most scathing source of public indignation comes from her portrayal of an adulterous protagonist in the popular US legal drama Suits. In fact, Prince Harry publicly decried the harassments issued against her in 2016. Who’s to say that her haters will leave her alone after that?
Nobody is taking any chances when it comes to the safety of the couples, especially since it is rumoured that they prefer riding an open-top carriage following the ceremony. Army snipers will be posted on every rooftop. Several joint police branches will search every shop and apartment several days before the wedding. Lastly, no weekend leave request will be granted. They will also employ high-tech gadgets like an ‘automatic plate recognition technology’ and a ‘drone destroyer system.’
The second most exorbitant part of the wedding budget is the overall cost of food and drink, which way WAY more costly compared to typical wedding caterers. It is safe to say that one can comprehend the magnitude of expenses required to feed the guests simply in terms of all the snacks (sausage rolls and tea) distributed among the public guests. That’s around $14 (£10) per head multiplied by 2,640.
Rumors also abound that Prince Harry and Meghan have already chosen the London-based caterer Table Talk. This plausible guess stems from the fact that it is also the same provider that served during the 2011 Royal Wedding and the nuptials of Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge.
It is roughly estimated that over 17,000 glasses will be filled with fancy liquor during the wedding.
As for the type of drink to be served among guests, the royal family certainly has a luxury of ‘uncorking’ multiple varieties.
The Bollinger is still the most favored by the royal family (for several generations) among the 9 different champagnes bearing their official patronage.
Interestingly, Meghan was also a renowned wine connoisseur whose blog title (The Tig) bears the namesake of her personal favorite. One can expect crates or barrels of Tuscan red Tignanello courtesy of the bride’s preference. It seems every key participant in this wedding has a lofty taste… everyone except Prince Harry himself. Plebs will rejoice knowing that they can afford the groom’s favorite glass of Red Bull vodka cocktail for less than $20.
While all other aspects of the catering are subject to conjecture, the only confirmed statement concerns the variety of their wedding cake and their supplier. Earlier reports claim that Prince Harry preferred an 8-tiered banana cake – a groundbreaking novelty in deviating from tradition. On March 20, however, the couple announced that they will instead have a 6-tiered lemon elderflower cake covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers.
The couple has officially chosen the London-based bakery Violet Cakes owned by a California native pastry chef, Claire Ptak. The renowned baker happened to be one of the featured personalities in Meghan’s blog. The esteem of Violet Cakes is expected to soar even among the British elites. The average national cost of wedding cake is only $582.
VIP weddings would not be complete without live music performance. As for who would perform in the program line-up for the 2018 Royal Wedding, the two most popular contenders are Sir Elton John and the Spice Girls. The millennial generation is betting for Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith to perform as well. But if one would base it on the couple’s intimate social circle, the list of expectations may include Coldplay and Rihanna.
It is unimaginable for key royal events to transpire without courtly heralds and bugle blasts. It is one of the few genuine cultural practices that connect the contemporary period to as far as the early medieval times. Around 20 silver-plated fanfare trumpets stamped with the Royal Coat of Arms are being requisitioned by the Ministry of Defense, from the same supplier that provided for the 2011 Royal Wedding and the 2012 Olympic Games.
Aside from live music performance and dancing, the upcoming union of Prince Harry and Meghan will also feature other amusements. Among the most expected public displays would be an exhibition by the Royal Air Force – Prince Harry’s ‘second family.’ Fireworks will also be another guaranteed live show.
Photography & Videography: $75,000
If ordinary couples are keen on hiring professional photographers and videographers to make them look good, imagine it at the scale of ‘royal sophistication.’ Among Britain’s top photographers expected to land the commission list is the Dorset-based pro named Millie Pilkington – the woman behind the glamorous snapshots of Prince William and Kate Middleton. No doubt the highly experienced royal photographer and leading Shutterstock contributor, Tim Rooke, is included in the roster considering his work with the groom’s mom (Princess Diana) since 1990’s.
Luxury Glass Marquee: $490,000
The 2018 Royal Wedding will be held at Windsor Castle, with the late evening reception convened 2 miles away at the nearby Frogmore House. Considering that both venues are properties of the royal family, one would question the enormous budget poured for using the location. While the venues are free of charge, the luxury glass marquees needed to comfortably confine wedding guests entail a very luxurious cost.
Church Fees: $189
This is a standard overall bill for every prospective couple will have to pay in order to celebrate traditional wedding ceremonies at St. George’s Chapel. Just like every citizen of the United Kingdom (or member of the Church of England), Prince Harry and Meghan are required to pay the church fees. But considering the wealth of the royal family and Meghan’s annual income as a famous American celebrity, this figure is only indicated for transparency’s sake.
For The Bride
Bridal Dress: $421000
Hair & Makeup: $15000
Lucky are the common brides and grooms wedded to a royal family. But Meghan Markle demonstrates how she’s more than just the lucky chosen one by shouldering three-fourths of the entire budget for the wedding attire. As an independent and creative woman, over 91% of Britain’s dressmakers expect Meghan to create her own design.
All brides expect a significant budget for getting dolled up. Again, one can imagine the extent required to satisfy royal standards.
Curiously, Meghan has her own unbreakable cardinal rule for cosmetic styling. The soon-to-be princess wants a laid-back appearance that accentuates her cherished freckles, and laidback appearance with freckles she’ll get (even at a hundred times the average cost of wedding make-up in the United States).
For The Groom
Groom’s Wear: $12000
Wedding Rings: $8500
As a man who took his military career seriously, Prince Harry may have more than just a passing interest regarding his appearance in his formal soldierly outfit. It is highly likely that he’d spare no expense in having a tailor-made Royal Air Force uniform. The fact that he may likely acquire his fiancée’s sophisticated style means he’ll be buying more than one elegant suit – a budget that entails eleven times the average cost of wedding attire in the United States.
While the cavalier groom is known for flaunting his neglect for pomp and trifles, his intent on marrying Meghan is conveyed with a very serious note. A practice dating back to the 1923 Royal Wedding of his great-grandparents (Duke and Duchess of York), Prince Harry will carry on the custom of giving a wedding ring fashioned from Welsh gold. Both the gesture and the cost vividly demonstrate his seriousness.
For The Entourage
Bridesmaids’ Outfits: $7000
Young Entourage Outfits: $2000
Aside from the bride and the groom, the wedding entourage will also look their best. It is important to consider the fact that the average cost of a bridesmaid’s dress is roughly £1,000, with the traditional number of bridesmaids to be anywhere between 3 to 5 women. Among the personalities rumored to be included in the closest circle includes the Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, American tennis champ Serena Williams, Jewish designer Misha Nonoo, and Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney. Whether or not Pippa Middleton will fill the last role is yet to be confirmed.
While Pippa Middleton’s key participation remains unclear, her nephew (Prince George) and niece (Princess Charlotte) will take the center stage as the principal page boy and flower girl respectively. Meghan herself is rumored to have been very much endeared to the royal tots.
Public Invitations: $280,000
VIP Invitations: $70,000
Traditional weddings are oftentimes best conveyed by the elegance of the couple’s wedding invitations. As far as the British people are concerned, no one represents both tradition and elegance better than United Kingdom’s ruling household. It was recently announced that the royal family has chosen the London-based fine printing and book-binding specialist known as Barnard & Westwood Prints.
Among the principal reasons for being selected includes their years of familiarity with royal calligraphy tradition. They chose the Three-Feathered Badge of the Prince of Wales as the featured gold ink design. Keen on emphasizing the union of two distinct legacies, Barnard & Westwood cleverly advertised their craftsmanship as ‘using American ink on English card.’ Prince Harry and Meghan have invited a total of 800 guests for ceremony and lunch reception, 600 delegates for the private dinner and over 2,640 members of the public. On comparison, we have the national cost average of just $716 for wedding invitations.
It seems overkill for beautifying the already resplendent architecture of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Upper Grounds and the Frogmore House landscape. However, the trappings of the ruling celebrity rarely fail to dazzle the public that it somewhat becomes their stately duty to make a positive memorable impression throughout the succeeding generations.
The Lord Chamberlain’s House and Prince Harry’s private secretary (Edward Lane Fox) oversees the major developments of the upcoming 2018 Royal Wedding. However, the task of organising every minute details for the setup of the lighting, sound system, and furniture is single-handedly performed by England’s top events planners and designers. According to Bridebook, the London-based agency called HRP Production Solutions is selected as the principal contractor.
As with every wedding, flowers, though cheaper, always do the trick in bringing an edge to the already beautiful venue surroundings. For the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, the royal family has appointed the self-taught expert Philippa Craddock to be in charge of creating the floral displays. A team of florists from the Buckingham Palace and St. George’s Chapel will be assisting her grand task.
To complement the theme colors white and green, the décor setup will include birch and beech branches, foxgloves and white roses. However, it is rumored that peony will take the center stage as the wedding’s principal bloom. Every stem and bouquet will be sourced from the verdant foliage of Windsor Great Park and The Crown Estate. The Royal Park will also color the venue with pollinator-friendly wild plants.
If one would describe the newest royal couple: Meghan Markle can easily pass for a genuine woman of the world while anyone endeared to Prince Harry’s relative oddness would probably remember him as ‘the rugged royal.’ Such stereotype profiling may probably give any imaginative mind a vivid theory concerning which part of the world the newlyweds will start their couple’s adventure.
The online Daily Telegraph pretty much beats every avid theorist into writing and publishing the list of possible honeymoon destinations. Interestingly, nearly every place in the list is characterized by a warmer climate – if not for the majority of them being quintessential tropical beaches. Here are among their 11 rumored honeymoon destinations:
- Africa: Botswana, Malawi, Rwanda, and Seychelles
- Asia-Pacific: Hawaii, Philippines, and Turkey
- Americas: Barbados, Brazil, Mexico, and Nevis
- Europe: Italy (Salermo and Tuscany)
The extent of preparation made by the royal family for this wedding tends to anticipate any type of ‘emergency’ (or ‘call of nature’ for a less subtle euphemism). To add a more comical note: guests are advised to “keep calm, and just let thyself go.” Nearly 50 thousand dollars are relegated to managing the most ‘ungraceful bodily functions’ with more sophistication. Indeed, all VIP guests are to be courteously ushered towards the luxury restroom trailers ‘when the need for it arises.’
Wedding Favors: $4,000
The lowest portion of the wedding budget goes to the wedding souvenirs which will be distributed to the guests. Prince Harry once fondly presented to his fiancée a hand-crafted artifact from Botswana – which eventually inspired the lovebirds to embark on a holiday in that humble African nation. Avid fans are given to assume that such low-cost sentimental trinkets will become a token of their appreciation to the principal invitees.
As for the wedding gift that the bride and groom would ask from their visitors, the couple prefers cash that goes directly to one of their charitable foundations. Such a gift brings great value to every dime/pence that fund their noble causes. One of the many reasons that truly endeared them to the common folk is their generosity. On top of being relatively down-to-earth, both Prince Harry and Meghan have established themselves as career philanthropists.
What Britain Earns Back?
The royal family basks in great wealth and global popularity. Ironically, however, not one among its members is listed in Britain’s top 25 richest people. All their fortunes combined only generate a total net worth of at least $1.1 billion. So how come the experts project the total earnings from the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to potentially surpass the entire royal family’s net worth in a span of less than one year?
Before getting any further on the breakdown of projected return on investment for the 2018 Royal Wedding, it pays to understand how money is being generated by the members of the ruling household. Contrary to popular impression, the members of the royal family are not exempted from ‘earning their keep.’
In fact, the biggest piece of the steady annual income acquired by the king or queen comes from their Sovereign Grant – which only amounts to 15% of the entire profit generated from running the Crown Estate (the oldest real estate company in the world). The British government spends up to $368 million every year to finance the lifestyle of the monarchs. For important public events, the taxpayers are willing to shoulder more than five times the aforementioned value. But why?
As United Kingdom’s principal and central public figures, key broadcasted life events strongly influence the positive economic activities of the people. The more popular the royalty, the more people will revel in his/her wedding. From a financial standpoint, every person who loves the royal couples will be spending money to celebrate their happiness and prosperity. During royal weddings, (almost) every cogwheel in the nation’s economic machine tends to grind and spin with such intense vigor.
Economic Boost Breakdown
As mentioned earlier, economic experts like Brand Finance estimate up to $1.4 billion worth of national earnings directly from the upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It is important to understand that such figure may only represent ‘partial and immediate dividends’ following the 2018 Royal Wedding. The aforementioned projection is summed up from these various aspects of related commercial activities:
1. Tourism: $450 million
While most people acknowledge May 19 as the anticipated royal wedding date, it is easy to overlook the fact that it also falls on the 2018 FA Cup Final. Football happens to be the most popular sport for the English masses and Prince Harry, being close to the hearts of the common people, is one of the most avid followers of the sport. This move may frustrate some patriotic football fans torn between watching the games and watching their ‘warrior prince’ dance with his bride. Yet from tourism industry’s objective standpoint, it’s hitting two birds with one stone. Two glorious events draw more visitors than one.
According to UKinbound, the nation’s estimated annual tourism net income is around $167 billion. The fall of the GB pound following the 2016 Brexit is an encouraging incentive for overseas tourists to visit the United Kingdom. Considering the bride’s American heritage, a significant prevalence of US visitors might be a fine addition to the other tourists from Commonwealth States (e.g. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand). In 2018, VisitBritain estimates a total of 41.7 million visits in 2018, generating an increase of $38.5 billion in the yearly tourism income.
2. Celebrations: $250 million
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding will encourage fans to spend money in solidarity of their favored celebrities. Some will be buying groceries to feast in their homes while watching the televised nuptial. Others will be splurging in the city. Speaking of public celebrations, the most positive economic forecasts can be seen from people exchanging cash in Britain’s pubs.
Watching televised events in pubs is a popular custom among the masses – a tradition that traces itself as far as medieval times. In fact, an article published by Pakistan’s online Tribune states that Britain’s pubs are expected to earn a total of $15 million during Prince Harry’s wedding day. This projection is derived from the fact that opening hours are extended until 1:00 AM.
During the last royal wedding in 2011, food and grocery retailers are able to account roughly $500 million worth of nationwide consumer spending. Apart from basic grocery items, fans of Prince William and Kate Middleton bought extra treats and premium beverages (champagnes and wines), celebrating the royal couple’s dinner rehearsal at the comfort of their own homes.
3. Free Advertisement: $200 million
According to an article published by Money CNN, the upcoming nuptial is considered to be the best free advertising of the British Isles as a tourist destination. There may be differing opinions in terms of the general prognosis of United Kingdom’s travel industry, but the 2018 Royal Wedding has truly succeeded in catching the attention of the global public. Up to 2.5 billion TV viewers around the world will stay tuned at the royal wedding coverage and the 2018 FA Final Cup. The TV aspect, nonetheless, is only the tip of the iceberg. The biggest profit may come from the fashion industry.
In 2015, Kate Middleton has single-handedly brought $205 million to the British economy by setting her own fashion trend. Her two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, have caused an intense commercial turbulence after modeling for the kid’s wear industry – generating a total of $239 million. Hence, the vogue adherents have coined the terms “Duchess Effect” and “George & Charlotte Effect” respectively.
People are looking forward to how the “Meghan Effect” will sweep the nation’s fashion industry following the 2018 Royal Wedding. Even during her engagement, fans were already keeping a sharp eye on her luxurious white coat. A recent article published by Business Insider states that Meghan’s established celebrity status may likely eclipse the influence of her future sister-in-law.
4. Royal Merchandise: $100 million
Since days after the official engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, people were already spending money to express their utmost support. As early as December of 2017, an article in the New York Times has stated that one-tenth of the overall earnings will come from the royal merchandise. Fans of the newest royal couple are emptying stores that sell commemorative t-shirts, portraits, dining sets, and other souvenir varieties.
Days before the year 2018, a British ceramics manufacturer named Emma Bridgewater has sold out commemorative mugs worth $27 apiece online within 24 hours. However, it is not just bargain retailers that get to cash in by epic volumes. As one of the 14 British luxury gift manufacturers that possess royal warrants, the Halcyon Days expect 15% increase in their overall sales all due to the popularity of Prince Harry and Meghan.