Wes Moss: The cost of the royal wedding — and yours

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here Monday mornings.


With all that’s happened over the last week or so – from the death of Bin Laden to a report showing nearly half of all Americans are struggling due to higher gas prices – that little wedding in London 2 billion of us watched may seem like the distant past; however, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to talk about its magnificent cost – in the middle of a debt crisis that continues to engulf Europe.

Remember all those headlines about fiscal irresponsibility and government waste from Greece to Ireland to Portugal to Great Britain?

The British must not read the papers. Their government just threw a blowout wedding party that would make even Donald Trump jealous.

I know what you’re thinking: So what? Surely, the price tag for one measly wedding can’t be more than a blip on this already-messy fiscal radar screen, right?

According to the International Monetary Fund, the United Kingdom’s gross domestic product is around $2.3 trillion per year. So giving everybody a day off to celebrate the royal wedding costs the British economy about $9 billion.

And we’re just getting started:

Public services and security: $35 million

Parties and the honeymoon: $20 million

Bride’s dress: $50,000

Maid of honor’s dress: $33,000

Total: $9,055,083,000

That’s about 300,000 times what the average American wedding costs: between $25,000 and $30,000.

Friday’s bash in London was a nice wedding, horse trip and all. But I’m not sure it was worth $9 billion — more than the total GDP of The Bahamas. I hope Will and Kate send the British people a nice thank-you note, maybe even bring them a souvenir from the honeymoon.

Are you thinking about how much that wedding you just went to in Atlanta cost? Planning on getting married in the next year or so? I’ve found important (and fun) tool that will help: the Wedding Cost Estimator.

Other good links:

• Bargain Hunter: How frugal brides and grooms get creative

Clark Howard: Don’t go into debt for your wedding

What do you think: Can you still have a “royal” wedding here in the United States for less than $25,000? Is the cost worth the occasion?

– By Wes Moss, for Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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Atlanta Bargain Hunter: Twitter | Facebook | Email

18 comments Add your comment


May 9th, 2011
8:38 am


May 9th, 2011
8:59 am

We did my daughter’s wedding in Feb. (off-month) on a Friday (off-day), including EVERYTHING – dress, tux, DJ, even a full meal at the reception with a choice of meat – for under $8K. The most expensive item (and the only one that was at full retail) was the cake at $475 but it was gorgeous and worth every penny in every bite! The key was doing the wedding when the vendors were starving for business. A less expensive wedding CAN be done… you just have to be willing to do it. If you’re willing to cough up the money, there are certainly people out there who are willing to take it!


May 9th, 2011
9:07 am

I don’t get it, what a waste. Think of what they could have done with that kind of money. Morons…


May 9th, 2011
9:09 am

My Sister’s last wedding (her 5th – ahem) cost around $900.00. Most of the stuff came from Wal-mart and the Dollar Tree. LOL


May 9th, 2011
9:10 am

Get over your WEALTH ENVY.
Go earn your own Money or “Title”.


May 9th, 2011
9:13 am

I think your numbers are a bit off. Plus, the bride’s parents paid for quite a bit of the wedding items – including the dresses, so since they are multi-millionaires themselves…


May 9th, 2011
9:30 am


Wealth Envy – I could care less. And like they earned their Money…Give me an effing break.


May 9th, 2011
9:35 am

I also heard that outside of security, the majority was paid for by the families. So, that number is inflated. Also, if you didn’t give the country a day off, the people were going to take it anyway (or at the very least be unproductive at work while watching it) and it would have been a nightmare on the streets.


May 9th, 2011
9:42 am

How much revenue did it bring to the country though? The BritMania that it has caused surely has picked up the “local economy.” Think about the $$$ in tourism, memorabilia, and increased production from a higher morale of your citizens to start. Can your $900 wedding do that?

To even compare an average American wedding to a royal ceremony is just stooopid. Mind ya bizness and carry on.


May 9th, 2011
9:44 am

The wedding business is unbelievable. All for one day. It’s such a glorified American (and I guess also, non-American) event that is a huge boom for the few suppliers in the industry. The average wedding costs people 10-25K!!!! For one weekend! Too many Americans are about Keeping up with the Jones’. Hopefully nobody bankrupts their retirement to Keep up with the Royal Family!


May 9th, 2011
9:49 am

Of course you’re leaving out the benefits. England generates a lot of revenue from tourism and the Royal Wedding was one of the biggest advertisements ever and I doubt they had to pay to get the wedding on the TV.

Also I’m sure not everything shut down. The Hotels were still open and I’m sure the pubs were.

Actually I’d be willing to bet in the long run the Royal wedding gave the English economy a nice boost.


May 9th, 2011
9:54 am

Worth every penny. What you people don’t understand is that spending on the wedding didn’t take money away from any other cause. If that money wasn’t spent on the Royal Wedding, it certainly was not going to be spent vaccinating babies, providing food for the poor, or sending a man into space.

Osama: Killed in a Drive-By Shooting (Chicago-Style)

May 9th, 2011
9:55 am

Think about all the money wasted on Charles & Diana when they were only miserable together and got divorced AFTER all the money thrown away on their “wedding.”

A wedding does NOT make a marriage.

Granny Gah

May 9th, 2011
10:21 am

I totally agree with Ghostrider! What a WASTE of $$$! My parents gave us the choice of a large wedding, or the money they would have spent. We took the money, got married at Decatur courthouse, and used the money for the down payment on our first house. We celebrated later with a party in the new house. More intimate and a lot more fun. No worries or stress, and our friends enjoyed it.


May 9th, 2011
10:27 am

@ Granny Gah

Thanks Granny — My wife and I got Married in Las Vegas April 28th. 1986, we just celebrated our 25th. annv. and it cost less than $1500.00 including airfare. Spending Millons upon Millons does not make a Marriage.


May 9th, 2011
2:29 pm

Just like Ghostrider, hubby and I spent $1500(hotel,airfare,wedding) and got married in Vegas. We’re still going strong. Unfortunately, most of my friends that had pricey weddings are now divorced or well on their way to divorce.


May 9th, 2011
4:19 pm

@ Alecia

What Wedding Chapel did you get married at? We got Married at We’ve Only Just Begun. Just curious.


May 10th, 2011
11:16 am

The $9 billion for the day off – oh well, they can probably catch up over a year, just work harder. There are a few national days off for various holidays anyway. All other expenses are not going anywehere outside of GB. The cost of dress goes to the dressmakers’ pockets, the cost of parties to other various party planners and cake cooks, etc. Families of all the workers at the wedding will definitely benefit from that expensive wedding. Instead of the Royal family holding on to this money somewhere on their accounts, they actually benefitted the Brittish economy.