Weddings are among the most anticipated events in everyone’s lives. Although ceremonies and traditions may differ from culture to culture, almost all weddings are basically the same. It is a momentous occasion where two persons unite and become one in the eyes of men and God, a celebration of life and love, the start of a lifelong commitment.
Wedding ceremonies can be simple and subtle. But for the elite few, weddings should be lavish and grand. Such displays of extravagance can sometimes break the proverbial ceiling and set all-time records. The average wedding cost in the United States is about $25,200. American couples ideally spend somewhere between $18,900 and $31,500.
#10 Christina Aguilera & Jordan Bratman – $2.2 million
Music siren Christina Aguilera and music label executive Jordan Bratman got married in 2005. Aguilera and Bratman, then aged 24 a 27 respectively, held the ceremony in a tent erected in the middle of a vineyard in the Napa Valley. The wedding came after Bratman’s very romantic proposal where he filled a hotel room with rose petals, balloons, and gift boxes, one of which contained the ring.
Aguilera wore an expensive Christian Lacroix gown when she walked the aisle. However, the couple had a tumultuous phase five years later. They attempted to reconcile for the sake of their son Max, who was then aged two. But they split anyway and divorced in 2010.
#9 Elizabeth Hurley & Arun Nayar – $2.6 million
British model-actress Elizabeth Hurley tied the knot with Indian businessman Arun Nayar twice. The first was in 2007 which was held at the Sudeley Castle in England. The second time was at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, which was done in accordance to Nayar’s Hindu tradition. The couple even flew in Elton John to perform.
4 years later, the couple split right after images of Elizabeth kissing Australian cricketer Shane Warne circulated. The subsequent divorce proceeding is probably one of the fastest. The judge only took 92 seconds to determine that their marriage had “broken down irretrievably”.
#8 Paul McCartney & Heather Mills – $3.6 million
Music legend Paul McCartney and entrepreneur Heather Mills got hitched in 2002 at the castle in Ireland. The ceremony was attended by 300 guests, who then had to put up with a vegetarian menu at the lavish reception that followed.
The marriage did not last long as the couple split four years later and finally ended their marriage in 2008. The worst is that the divorce was costlier than the wedding itself, with McCartney ordered by the court to pay Mills around $27 million as a one-off payment and another $13million in assets.
#7 Elizabeth Taylor & Larry Fortensky – $4 million
Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor met construction worker Larry Fortensky in a rehab facility where both checked in for their drug problems. In an interesting and unique love story that captured a lot of people’s attention, the couple married in 1991 at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. The ceremony was a star-studded event with celebrities like Liza Minnelli, Eddie Murphy, and Macaulay Culkin among the guests.
Prior to the wedding, Fortensky signed a prenup where he would only get $1 million should the couple split, provided the marriage lasted 5 years. After five years had passed, the two did separate but remained good friends until Taylor’s death in 2011. The actress left Fortensky $800,000 as indicated in her will.
#6 Liza Minnelli & David Gest – $4.2 million
Singing sensation Liza Minnelli married concert promoter David Gest in an extravagant ceremony on New York’s Fifth Avenue in 2002. The guests included the whole Jackson Five, with Michael Jackson as the best man. Elizabeth Taylor was the matron of honor. Queen guitarist Brian May, Liam Neeson, Joan Collins, Gloria Gaynor, Anthony Hopkins, Mia Farrow were among the superstars who attended the elaborate wedding.
The couple did not last though, as they split in just over a year. They filed for divorce five years after, which was branded as the “dirtiest” in Hollywood. Gest complained that Liza would beat him after she had too much alcohol.
#5 Chelsea Clinton & Marc Mezvinsky – $5 million
If you’re the daughter of the former president of the United States and former US Secretary of State, chances are your wedding will be far from simple. And that is just the case for Chelsea Clinton, daughter of ex-US President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton. Chelsea married investment banker Marc Mezvinsky in a grand wedding ceremony at the Astor Courts in 2010. The venue provided a serene and romantic view of the Hudson River.
Just recently, the couple announced that they are expecting their first child.
#4 Wayne Rooney & Coleen McLoughlin – $8 million
Footballer Wayne Rooney of the Manchester United and Coleen McLoughlin made their vows at the Abbey of Cervara near Genoa in Italy in 2008. Serenading the couple and the guests were the Irish boyband, Westlife, which cost $670,000. Romney chartered five private jets to fly 64 of their guests to the wedding. While the ceremony was lavish, the couple had little help in paying the bills as a magazine offered $4.2 million for the exclusive rights of the wedding photos. Today, Wayne and Coleen are happy with their married lives and are now raising two boys.
#3 Prince William & Kate Middleton – $34 million
The first of the two royal weddings in the list, Prince William made Kate Middleton his wife in 2011 in what was dubbed as “The Wedding of The Century”. Done the regal way deserving of England’s future King and Queen, the ceremony was held at the Westminster Abbey. After which, the couple paraded through the streets of London in a horse-drawn carriage. It is great to see that the couple is still together and is now with a son and expecting their second child.
#2 Vanisha Mittal & Amit Bhatia – $66 million
Vanisha Mittal is the daughter of Lakshmi Mittal, one of the richest men in the world. Not surprisingly, her wedding to Amit Bhatia is one of the most extravagant ever. The wedding was held at the historic 17th century Chateau Vaux le Vicomte near Paris in 2004. An engagement ceremony prior to the wedding took place at the Palace of Versailles.
International recording artists and actress Kylie Minogue was paid $330,000 to perform for just half an hour. After which, a firework display was launched from the Eiffel Tower. The marriage did not last long as the couple called it quits in early 2013.
#1 Prince Charles & Diana – $110 million
Though their wedding took place decades ago, no other wedding has come close to Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s. Witnessed personally by 3,500 people and broadcasted to 750 million TV viewers from around the globe the Royal Wedding between Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981 is simply the most expensive wedding ever.
Princess Diana’s wedding gown was covered in 10,000 pearls an had a 25-foot train. She was chauffeured in a glass coach from her place to the cathedral. However, the marriage suffered greatly as both Charles and Diana participated in flirtations with other people. The royal couple divorced in 1996, a year before Diana met her tragic end in a car crash along with her lover, Egyptian businessman Dodi Fayed.