For every couple it’s the most important event in their relationship, and everyone hopes that it will last forever. For millions of people around the World there are years of saving and tight budgets in order to afford that one special day, but for the rich and famous there are no need of such measures. The wealthy can afford to design a customized wedding with all the extravagance of an award ceremony and cater for hundreds of guests, but, with inflation taken into account, which weddings have been the most expensive ceremonies of modern times? Read on to find out.
#10 – Paul McCartney and Heather Mills – $3.9 Million
After the sudden death of his wife Linda, in 1998, after almost thirty years of happy marriage, former Beatle and musical legend Paul McCartney became engaged again, to model Heather Mills. The media speculated endlessly on the wedding arrangements, but Paul insisted on secrecy and managed to keep the press away from the ceremony, that took place in June 2002, by renting a remote castle in Ireland as the venue for the wedding. The pair tied the knot in a seventeenth century chapel in front of 300 friends and family. The Indian themed wedding began when the bride walked down the aisle to the strains of a specially composed song, entitled ‘Heather’ that her husband had written for the occasion, and continued after the ceremony in the private grounds of the Castle Leslie Estate. After the details of the venue leaked to the press a few days before the event a large number of fans were waiting outside the Castle hoping to meet the new couple, and the newly weds eventually delighted the crowd by stepping outside to greet their well-wishers. Unfortunately the marriage ended in an acrimonious divorce in 2008, with much mud-slinging taking place in the tabloids, most of which appeared to be coming from Heather’s side.
#9 – Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky – $4.35 Million
If practice makes perfect, then it’s little surprise that by 1991 Elizabeth Taylor was getting pretty good at getting married. The actress and former sex-symbol took part in her eighth wedding ceremony in that year, marrying construction worker Larry Fortensky, who strangely enough was only her seventh husband, as she had previously married actor Richard Burton twice. The lavish ceremony was held in Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch and was a high-profile event that came complete with several paparazzi helicopters circling overhead, hoping to catch a long-range picture of the newly weds. Guests included former first-lady Nancy Reagan, Liza Minnelli, Eddie Murphy and of course Jackson himself. The couple divorced after five years of marriage and despite some harsh, and somewhat unjustified criticism of Fortensky himself, the pair remained friends until Elizabeth Taylor’s death in March 2011. Taylor’s will left Larry $800,000 after her death but despite that legacy, and a generous divorce settlement, Larry has suffered from ill-health since an accident in 1999, is unable to work and is suffering from financial problems now in 2018.
#8 – Liza Minnelli and David Gest – $4.61 Million
Another one of Michael Jackson’s close circle of showbiz friends tied the knot in 2002 when Liza Minelli married TV Producer David Gest at the five-star Regent Hotel in New York City. There were a wealth of celebrities amongst the 850 guests, including Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor, who were best man and maid of honor respectively. There was much gossip about the union in the press before and after the ceremony, with some doubts cast upon Gest’s sexuality and motives for marrying Liza, but he insisted he was financially wealthy in his own right and had no need of her money. Unfortunately the couple, who declared themselves ‘smitten’ with each other on the day of the wedding soon came to regret their decision, and a bitter divorce battle ensued. Accusations in the press ranged from Liza’s assertions that Gest had stolen money from her to Gest claiming that Minelli had physically assaulted him, been addicted to alcohol, and had even been responsible for giving him a sexually transmitted disease. Lawsuits were launched by both parties before eventually a divorce was finalized in 2007. In later years David Gest asserted that he had only wanted Minelli to get clean and free from addiction, she in turn had little to say on the matter at all, other than to announce she would never marry again in 2008. David Gest died on April 12th 2016 aged just 62.
#7 – Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky – $5.44 Million
When the daughter of former President Bill Clinton, and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton married investment banker Marc Mezvinsky in July 2010 at the exclusive Astor Courts Estate in Rhinebeck, New York, the cost of the lavish ceremony exceeded $5 million. The event, which was held in closely guarded secrecy, was attended by many high-profile guests, from both the World of politics and several A-list celebrities, and the price tag is believed to have included $750,000 for catering, $250,000 for flowers and $250,000 just for the rehearsal. The couple remain happily married to this day and have two children, a daughter Charlotte born in 2014, and a son Aidan, who was born in June 2016.
#6 – Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlin – $8.82 Million
Wayne Rooney is an English soccer player, captain of the national team, and arguably the most successful England team player in history. When the sportsman, who earns about $17 million a year from playing soccer alone, married his childhood sweetheart Coleen McLoughlin in 2008 he was more than able to splash out on the event. The bride’s dress cost $350,000, with another $85,000 spent on eight trips to New York to fit it. Sixty-four guests were flown from England in five private jets for the ceremony, which took place in the historic, and stunningly beautiful Castello Brown in Italy, which dates from the 16th century. The actual venue was a 700 year old former abbey, which was unconsecrated, requiring Coleen, a strict catholic to undertake a low-key ceremony beforehand to make the marriage official in the eyes of the church. Despite allegations of extra-marital affairs levelled at Rooney in the press, the couple remain happily married today in 2016, and their third son was born in January of this year.
#5 – Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries – $10.88 Million
When reality TV star Kim Kardashian married professional basketball player Kris Humphries on August 20th 2011, there was no need to keep the details secret for long. The whole ceremony, and preparations for the event, were the subject of a two-part TV special that aired on the E! Network in October 2011. The program drew an average of over 4 million viewers who marvelled at the over-the-top celebrity filled event that took place at an estate in Montecito, California. Unfortunately the marriage lasted just 72 days, with Kardashian filing for divorce on Halloween 2011, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’, which appeared to be news to Kris Humphries, who released a statement declaring his love for Kim and asserting that he would do anything to reconcile with his wife. The legal proceedings concerning the divorce dragged on for over a year, and more than seven times as long as the union had lasted, until the couple finally had their divorce finalised on April 19th 2013.
#4 – Prince William and Kate Middleton – $35.87 Million
The Royal wedding in April 2011 of Prince William and Kate Middleton was full of the sort of pomp and ceremony for which the British royal family are well known. The event took place in the historic Westminster Abbey in London and was viewed by an estimated global audience of 1 billion. The security costs, including those of policing the three mile long wedding procession through central London are believed to have been at least $20 million, and the cost of the ceremony, attended by 1,900 royals, heads of state and World leaders is believed to have cost $8 million alone. Prince William, who is second in line to the British throne has since had two children with Kate, Prince George, in 2013 and Princess Charlotte, in 2015.
#3 – Vinisha Mittal and Amit Vhatia – $75.38 Million
Every father wants to make sure that his daughters special day is as magical and memorable as possible, but when that father happens to be the Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, who at the time of his only daughters wedding in 2004, was the sixth richest man in the World, you can be sure that the ceremony is going to be both lavish, and exceptionally expensive. Vanisha married investment banker and entrepreneur Amit Bhatia in a ceremony that was filled with excessive gestures. The invitations to the ceremony were delivered in silver-plated cases to the more than 1,000 invited guests and Kylie Minogue sang at the reception. Although Amit is reputed to be a workaholic, and there have been rumors of divorce being discussed between the two, they are still together today in 2016, although they protect their privacy and refuse to discuss personal matters with the media.
#2 – Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer – $125.3 Million
When the thirty-three year old Prince of Wales, first in line to the British throne, finally got married in 1981 the establishment seemed to utter a collective sigh of relief. His marriage to twenty year old Lady Diana Spencer, herself a minor member of the British royal family, was labelled as The marriage of the Century and ‘A fairytale Wedding’ by the more excitable elements of the British press. The ceremony took place in St Paul’s Cathedral in London and was attended by 3,500 guests, including then First Lady Nancy Reagan. The cost of the royal wedding catapulted due to the increased security arrangements that were installed due to concerns over a terrorist attack during the Royal procession, which travelled over three miles through central London, but the event eventually went ahead without any problems at all. The couple had two sons, William in 1982, and younger brother Harry two years later. The couple divorced acrimoniously in 1996 and Diana died in a mysterious car accident in Paris the following year, alongside new partner Dodi Al Fayed.
#1 – Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Princess Salama – $261.1 Million
When the Crown Prince of Oil-Rich Abu Dhabi married Princess Salama in 1981, his Father, the first President of the United Arab Emirates ensured that it would be a wedding that no-one could forget. At a cost of $100 million, which is over $261 million with inflation taken into account, a 20,000 seat stadium was built to accommodate the guests for the week-long festivities. The groom visited every town in the emirate during the week and paid for a wedding feast at every location, so the entire country essentially enjoyed the event. Wedding gifts for the bride were delivered by 20 jewel-encrusted camels, in the kind of opulence that even the British Royal family couldn’t hope to equal.