Lots of little kids dream of their wedding day, and the sky is the absolute limit. Some people — mainly really, really rich people — have the means (and motivation) to make their fairytale dreams come true. While the marriages that resulted from some of these lavish affairs may not have lasted, the memory of their extravagant wedding certainly did. Here are the most over-the-top weddings ever.
Prince William and Kate Middleton
One of the most talked-about events ever, Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011 was over-the-top in a way that all royal weddings should be. The bride was blushing in an Alexander McQueen gown that cost over $400K. The wedding cake and groom’s cake (chocolate cookie, requested by the Prince himself) cost about $80,000, and were baked by Fiona Cairns and McVitie’s Cake Company, respectively.
Approximately $800K worth of flowers adorned Westminster Abbey. While the couple’s families paid for the details like dresses, cakes and flowers, the English government covered the cost of security, which allegedly ran somewhere in the multiple millions. Considering the couple had a guest list of 1,900, lots of security was needed. Between the dresses, cakes, two receptions, the ceremony itself and the security, the total bill came to an estimated $26 million. Still, it was a storybook wedding for the ages, and our adoration for the young royals has yet to ebb.
Prince Charles and Diana Spencer
July 29, 1981 saw the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles — a wedding broadcast that drew in 750 million viewers around the world. And that was just the global television audience.
There were 2,500 people in actual attendance, including then-first lady Nancy Reagan, prime minister Margaret Thatcher, almost all the reigning European monarchs, and a host of other distinguished guests. Diana’s dress was straight out of a fairytale, designed by Emmanuel, made of antique lace and taffeta complete with a 25-foot train. Adjusted for inflation, the whole thing cost $110 million, and might be one of the most expensive weddings ever.
Nearly 15 years later, the royal couple divorced in 1996. Diana would die in a car crash the following year.
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Welsh beauty Catherine Zeta-Jones and iconic movie star Michael Douglas had a lavish wedding at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, in November of 2000. Zeta-Jones wore a form-fitting gown designed by Christian Lacroix. Jack Nicholson, Meg Ryan, and Goldie Hawn were among the 350 star-studded guests in attendance, as a 40-person Welsh choir performed during the ceremony.
The reception featured live performances by Bonnie Tyler, Art Garfunkel and Jimmy Buffet, and a full dinner included foie gras, lobster, and Welsh lamb. It’s estimated that the wedding cost $1.5 million. At this exclusive event, guests were required to present their invitations at the door so that security could confirm their authenticity, proven by an embossed hologram.
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries
Kim Kardashian was married once before her marriage to NBA star Kris Humphries, but that one wasn’t on television. Kris and Kim’s August 20, 2011 wedding was filmed for E!, and aired the following October. It was called “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event” and it drew over eight million viewers.
The matrimonial color scheme was black and white, with the event taking place at a Montecito, California private estate. Kim had several wardrobe changes — all of which, were custom Vera Wang gowns. Robin Thicke sang a mashup of “Let’s Stay Together and “Angels” during the first dance, and later, the couple cut into a six-foot tall wedding cake. The pair was married for 72 days before the bride filed for divorce.
Kim Kardashian and Kayne West
The third time must have been the charm for Kardashian, who wed rapper Kanye West in Florence, Italy, on May 24, 2014. The wedding took place at a 16th-century fortress, and the couple honeymooned in Paris. The wedding, not including the honeymoon, cost $2.8 million and was jam-packed with celebrities.
Kim’s brother, Rob Kardashian, skipped the wedding, as did Anna Wintour, and Jay Z and Beyonce. Kanye surprised Kim at the rehearsal dinner — with an performance by Lana Del Rey, and on the day of the wedding, with the couple decked out in Givenchy, Andrea Bocelli serenaded the bride as she walked down the aisle. At the reception, John Legend performed his hit, “All of Me,” amidst the Vanessa Beecroft sculptures on display, as an art installation. And, three years later, Kimye is still going strong!
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
Ah, TomKat. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were married on November 18, 2006 at Odescalchi Castle — a former 15th-century armory. Guests enjoyed candlelit ambience, as the couple wed, both in Armani. Katie had two custom gowns created by the famous designer, one covered in Swarovski crystals.
The pair was married in a “double ring” ceremony true to Scientology tradition, and afterwards, Andrea Bocelli performed. With a five-tier cake, and a stunning fireworks display, the whole thing cost an estimated $3 million — and was Katie’s dream wedding — right down to the groom. Two years before, she told Seventeen that, as a little girl, “I used to think I was going to marry Tom Cruise.”
Less than six years later, the pair split.
Vanisha Mittal and Amit Bhatia
When the daughter of one of the richest men in India gets married, you can bet it’s going to be one heck of a wedding. Vanisha Mittal, daughter of Lakshmi Mittal, wed banker Amit Bhatia in 2004, at the 17th-century estate Vaux le Vicomte. (They got the party started with an engagement celebration at, oh, The Palace of Versailles).
Guests received an invitation that was 20 pages long, in a silver box, along with their airline tickets to Paris. Mehndi artists were flown in, as were set decorators. Decorations included fiberglass elephants, minarets and lots and lots of pink. The whole affair was diamond-studded and guests were provided with beauty treatments and more. A grand total of $60 to $78 million is reported, and the couple had three kids together before they split.
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
The former Beatle married Heather Mills on June 11, 2002. The wedding took place at a castle in Glaslough, Ireland. Mills designed her off-white dress herself, and her bouquet contained 11 pink McCartney roses, named after her beau.
The menu was entirely vegetarian, and many famous musicians attended, including bandmate Ringo Starr, Chrissie Hynde and David Gilmour. The wedding cost $3.2 million and was an intimate affair, though helicopters circled overhead, trying to catch a glimpse. Mills and McCartney later divorced in 2008, in what was also a shockingly expensive event.
Liza Minnelli and David Gest
In March 2002, Liza Minnelli married producer David Gest at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. Guests included Donald Trump, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and a number of other celebrities. Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson served in the bridal party.
The bride wore a Bob Mackie gown with a tremendous train, and a bright white full length mink coat gifted to her by fur dealer Dennis Basso. Natalie Cole sang “Unforgettable,” and allegedly, Tony Bennet and Stevie Wonder also performed. 850 guests watched as the couple exchanged vows and had an over-the-top first kiss that Joy Behar said looked like “he sucked her lips right out of her face.”
With a 36-member bridal party, the grand affair cost $3.5 million. 16 months later, the couple filed for divorce, finalizing it in 2007. Gest passed away in 2016.
Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlin
Famous Manchester United player, Wayne Rooney, and Coleen McLoughlin, his childhood sweetheart and model/philanthropist, wed in a rainy ceremony in Italy, in 2008.
The Telegraph reports that the entire wedding — that took place at a 17th century Italian villa — cost over $6 million, with OK! allegedly shelling out $3 million-plus for exclusive photo rights. The bride wore Marchesa and arrived at the ceremony in a luxury yacht. The couple has since had three sons and are two of the UK’s favorite celebrities.
Khadija Uzhakhovs and Said Gutseriev
A billion dollars for a wedding? Why not! When Said Gutseriev and Khadija Uzhakhovs wed at Safisa Restaurant in Moscow, the sky was the limit. With a 600-person guest list, the couple wanted the day to be unforgettable.
They carpeted the walls and ceiling of the restaurant’s foyer with flowers, hired Jennifer Lopez (— and Sting, and Inrique Englesias) to perform, and presented a nine-tiered cake that was taller than the bride. The bride wore a bead-encrusted Elie Saab gown that is rumored to have cost $1 million, along with diamonds galore on her ears, head, wrists and neck. The wedding favors were inscribed gold boxes to provide a forever keepsake for the opulent event.
With this bling, I thee wed
Weddings are important events, no matter how much you spend on them. These wealthy newlyweds may have featured a little more bling than the average couple, but why not go all out for your own special day? Or, in some cases, days? Here’s hoping the sparkle lasts for a lifetime.