The Anatomy of History’s Most Expensive Wedding

World's Most Expensive Wedding at DIWAH.com

Have you ever sat and wondered what the most expensive wedding of all time would be like? We have. So here we are letting you know what the total bill would look like for the grandest wedding EVER.

We’ve found the most expensive of every element of a wedding and pieced them all together for you. So now if your fiance makes any jokes about the cost of part of your wedding day you can say, “At least we’re not paying as much as…!”

If you’ve ever planned a wedding, you know how many different things there are to remember and which are the most important elements to a wedding day.

Of course, the most important element of ANY wedding is love, which is free! However, right now we’re going to be extremely materialistic and talk about the dress, flowers, the cake, the cars and everything in between.

The World's Most Expensive Wedding Infographic at DIWAH.com

Table of Contents

Use this to quickly jump to the chapter of your choice:

Chapter 1: Dressing the Bride
Chapter 2: Dressing the Groom
Chapter 3: The Venue
Chapter 4: The Flowers
Chapter 5: The Food
Chapter 6: The Transport
Chapter 7: The Favours

Chapter 1: Dressing the Bride

Every bride wants to look her total best on the wedding day, from finding the perfect dress, right down to looking completely flawless from every angle.

DressWedding Dress

No bride is complete without a dress (or a suit, depending upon tastes) and every bride wants to look their absolute best for the big day, so it’s no wonder celebrities and the rich people of the world are willing to spend a tidy sum to look amazing. Dresses can be designed for haute couture kings and queens or completely encrusted in diamonds, the options are almost endless!

Some of the most expensive dresses will make your eyes water, especially this one:

  • Created especially for the Luxury Brands Lifestyle Bridal Show, this extravagant gown was showcased in 2006, in other none other than the Ritz Carlton, Rodeo Drive in Marina Del Rey, California. The product of a collaboration between the famous Martin Katz Jewellers and couture wedding dress designer Renee Strauss, the dress was adorned with 150 carats’ worth of shimmering diamonds. The stunning result was worth an astonishing $12 million (£7.4 million), the most expensive wedding gown to ever be made and sure to give any bride the most glamorous, regal fairytale look she could dream of.
  • There have been a plethora of amazingly costly wedding gowns created by designs, including the $8.5 million Yumi Katsura strapless dress worn Egyptian actress Somaya al-Khashab on the runway in 2015, which was covered in 1000 pearls, a 5 carat white gold and an 8.8 carat green diamond. However, the most expensive wedding dress to actually be worn by a bride to walk down the aisle on her big day so far was seen at the nuptials of reality star Kim Kardashian. At $500,000 (£300,000) it’s nowhere near the staggering price of the Katz and Strauss gown but is one of the highest prices for a bridal dress that has been worn for a wedding. The long-sleeved ensemble featured beautifully intricate, sheer lace and was designed by close friend of the family Riccardo Tisci, creative director of Givenchy.

Shoes

You can’t very well walk down the aisle without your special wedding shoes now can you? We’re thinking diamond encrusted Louboutins or the finest satin Jimmy Choos. Many brides shell out more on the shoes than the dress, to create a look that really wows. Here are the most expensive pair of shoes around:

  • Wedding ShoesJust like the dress, the most expensive wedding shoes ever made has never actually been worn by a bride or to a wedding. The Rita Hayworth heels designed by Stuart Weitzman are made from chic satin in burnt sienna and embellished with diamonds, rubies and sapphires for extra sparkle. Costing an amazing $3.1 million, these beauties were inspired by famous Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth and worn by her in the classic film The Shawshank Redemption. Despite being designed as bridal shoes, their only other outing was to an Oscar nomination ceremony in 2006, worn by Kathleen York. They now belong to Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, daughter on muse Rita Hayworth.
  • Kim Kardashian makes it into the list again with Balmain heels worth $40,000 to complete her 2014 bridal outfit, worn during her wedding to Kanye West – the reality star is well known for her expensive tastes and the big day was definitely no exception. Another pair of hugely expensive wedding shoes belong to Amal Alamuddin, who wore custom designed Oscar de la Renta heeled pumps to match her dress during her wedding to George Clooney in 2014. The ornately detailed, ivory bridal shoes of Princess Diana in 1981 also make the list; the Clive Shilton low heeled pumps have been on display in museums around the world in the years since the iconic nuptials. Embellished with over 500 sequins, 150 pearls and an appliqued heart on the toes, they also featured hand painted motifs of flowers, leaves and golden hearts on the soles.

Accessories

Whether you’re donning your finest diamonds, or wearing that jewel encrusted veil, accessories will play a part in your big day somehow. Many people in the world of money and finery really make a statement with their accessories, the statement of “look how much money I have!” So let’s have a look shall we?

Veil

The veil is a traditional part of the bride’s wedding ensemble and can be expensive. Many brides opt for this piece to achieve a fairytale princess look, closely associated with her wedding day. While the veil is often beautifully simple, some brides go all out, significantly increasing the price they are willing to pay.

  • In 2009, Lebanese bride Sandra Mechleb walked down the aisle proudly displaying her wedding veil, which was over 11ft (3.358m) long. This record was beaten in 2014 by a crystal and pearl encrusted Rozana Hospitality wedding veil that was over 15ft long (4.86m). Termed the world’s longest wedding veil and was presented at the opening of the Perfect Wedding Show in Sharjah, UAE. While the costs of these exquisite accessories have not been officially released, one thing we can know for sure is that there was definitely a significantly large price tag attached to both of these veils that the average bride probably would not expect.

TiaraTiara

One of the more traditional wedding hairstyles is an updo or chignon, which can be adorned with elegant hair accessories to provide extra embellishment to the look of the bride on her big day. A bride usually goes for something sparkly, such as a tiara or headband, which can sometimes be worth more than the entire itself if you’re a celebrity or royalty choosing real diamonds…

  • For her wedding in 1960, Princess Margaret supposedly wore her own tiara, part of the crown jewels. Estimated to be worth around £1.7 million, this staggering hair accessory captured attention and was worn by the princess in later years at a variety of events. The jaw-dropping price of this piece is not the only hair accessory from the crown jewels to be worn by a bride on her wedding day. The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was loaned the Cartier Halo tiara to wear for her wedding by the Queen. Inherited from her mother, who originally received it as a gift, the Queen’s breathtaking Halo tiara is currently on display in Paris and today is – literally- priceless. Royals from around the world have showcased shimmering tiaras and hair accessories on their wedding days worth more than you could ever imagine…
  • When Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta Jones married fellow actor Michael Douglas in 2000, she embellished her hairstyle with a charming diamond tiara costing $300,000. The price tag might not match the unimaginable costs of the crown jewels donned by royal brides, but it’s certainly not small.

Jewellery

Of course, there’s one piece of jewellery that matters the most on the big day and that is ‘The Ring!’ The bigger the better is the motto of some of the rich and famous (and also the not so rich and famous sometimes) but we can’t all afford a De Beers beauty or a charming Cartier cushion-cut. The ring isn’t all that some brides worry about, there’s the earrings, the bracelet, the necklace and any other items of jewellery you could possibly imagine.

Wedding RingThe Ring

When you announce to your loved ones that you and your partner are getting married, one of the most talked about items is the ring. On your wedding day, you and your partner will exchange wedding rings, which every bride knows must match your engagement ring. Couples spend a lot when picking out an engagement ring; traditionally you spend around 2-3 months salary on the ring, which, unbelievably, pales in comparison to our most expensive ring on the list. So next time you’re looking at that chunky ring in the shop window, remember to tell your partner “that price is nothing compared to…”

  • After getting engaged to each other for the second time in 1969, Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor a 69.42 carat diamond ring from Cartier, worth a magnificent $8.8 million. The jaw-dropping diamond was cut by famous jeweller Harry Winston into a pear shape, before being converted from a ring into a necklace for Taylor, as she found it too heavy to wear on her finger. At approximately 13.884g, we can easily imagine why. Cartier purchased the stone for just over $1 million before Taylor and Burton bought it and had it set into a platinum ring, with two smaller diamonds on either side. Compare this to sapphire engagement ring worn by Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, which comes in at a fraction of the price, worth $38,488 (£30,000).

Necklace

If you’re wearing a simple, Grecian style wedding dress (or even if you’re not), a dazzling, delicate or chunky necklace can complete your beautiful bridal look and add a bit of elegance and individual personality. Draping yourself in jewels can add sparkle to the blushing bride, as well being considerable pricey.

  • Arathi Pillai, daughter of one of Kerala’s richest individuals, went all out during her 2015 wedding, pairing her rich, ruby red and gold sari with a six-tiered, chunky diamond necklace, with a matching headdress, belt, earrings and bracelet.She shimmered and shone with every move she made, showing off the INR 20 Crore price tag (approximately over £2 million).

Bracelet

A bracelet can add a touch of class, especially when matched to a bridal necklace. Made with diamonds, even the simplest piece can cost a lot. A bracelet is often a perfect present to give to a bride on her wedding day, with the bridal jewellery worn by royals costing the most.

  • Queen Elizabeth II is an example of a bride receiving a divine bracelet as a gift on her wedding day. A present from husband Prince Philip, the beauteous diamond and platinum bracelet was made from the dismantled jewels of a tiara that had previously belonged to his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg. The stunning bridal bracelet has been passed down to other royal women for special occasions and has a priceless value.

Earrings

Complement a bridal updo with jewelled earrings that frame your face and highlight your true beauty on your wedding day. Some brides took this style to the extreme with gorgeously delicate, diamond or pearl embellished earrings that enhanced their bridal beauty but also broke the bank.

  • The priceless jewels of royalty on their wedding day makes our list once again, with the diamond earrings work by Princess Diana on her wedding day in 1981. The sophisticated pieces once belonged to her mother and were passed down to Diana especially for her wedding. The central, pear-shaped diamond in surrounded by 50 other, smaller diamond jewels, making the estimated value of these bridal earrings skyrocket. They now reside in a museum exhibition dedicated to the princess called Diana: A Celebration, based in Kansas and touring the world.

MakeupWedding Makeup

As well as the hair, makeup is another luxury which brides often splash out on for the wedding day; the lips, the eyes, the nails… makeup completes the outfit, so getting it right is ever so important. Who would you trust to get your makeup look right for that special day?

  • Anu Mahtani made sure she looked her best on her big day when she married Sanjay Hinduja – an Indian billionaire from one of Britain’s richest families – in a fabulous ceremony that took place in Udaipur in 2015. The bride ensured she looked radiant at the extravagant wedding by hiring the director of makeup artistry in India for the brand MAC, Mickey Contractor to make her over, adding another £3000 to the couple’s already huge wedding bill.
  • An entire Glam Squad was hired to handle the makeup and hair of the guests and the bridal party for the 2014 wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, costing the couple a total of £65,000.

Chapter 2: Dressing the Groom

When it comes to wedding outfits, the focus is often on the bride and her dress; however, we know that what the groom wears is equally as important, as he has to look his best for the photographs alongside his future spouse.

Groom's Wedding SuitThe Suit

Whether you opt for a tuxedo, morning suit or tails, the suit you wear will be the main focus of wedding look. While some grooms choose to dress up, others decide to go more casual, for an individual style of their own. Many try to match the bride or the colour scheme of the wedding, with accents of colour in their ties and accessories. Some people think the groom’s outfit is simple, but we’ve found one that took wedding couture to a new level.

  • The Stuart Hughes Diamond Edition wedding suit comes in at an astonishing £600,000 (almost one million dollars). The deep, dark grey ensemble is embedded with nearly 500 miniature diamonds, totalling an unbelievable 24 carats (a lot more than the average bride’s engagement ring). The luxury suit took over 600 hours to make, meaning only three were ever produced in 2010. The public was notified that at least one of the diamond edition suits were sold, to an anonymous Frenchman.
  • If you were looking to really go all out and wanted some unique extra features to show off, the Diamond Armor Suit was made by the Swiss company Suitart in 2014. This diamond studded, black suit looks perfect for an over the top wedding and includes NATO certified bulletproofing, its own air conditioning system, water and stain proofing, as well as a complementary matching 24 carat gold silk tie and watch. The amazing technology in this suit will set you back $3.2 million, although it was not designed specifically for weddings.

The Shoes

A lavish wedding suit is not complete without similarly expensive shoes. Traditionally the groom often wears simple, polished black dress shoes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be just as costly that diamond encrusted suit you’ve got your eye on.

  • The sleek, patent black Testoni men’s shoes can be worn with whatever type of wedding suit you choose, adding a touch of class and sophistication to your trip down the aisle. The designer Moro Monk Strap shoes are one of the brand’s most expensive creations, costing $38,000 to complete your outfit. Although not designed for weddings, these make the perfect expensive addition to any groom’s outfit

Cufflinks

A wonderful gift to give your groom on your big day to show howCufflinks much you care is a pair of cufflinks, to wear especially with his wedding suit. Cufflinks accessorise a groom and can range from an elegant and simple style to large, gleaming diamonds and costly gems.

  • If you’re looking the world’s most expensive cufflinks to wear on your wedding day, get yours from luxe brand Jacob & Co. Their extensive range of expensive cufflinks and jewelled accessories if truly stunning; the most expensive pair in their catalogue are the Emerald Cut Canary Diamond Octagon cufflinks, coming in at a staggering $4,195,000. If you can afford these gorgeous pieces, you can adorn your wrists with a central 10.76 yellow Cape diamond and an 18 carat gold surround, resulting in approximately 21.29 carats worth of diamonds.

Chapter 3: The Venue

The Wedding VenueThe venue is often the most expensive part of the average wedding,
from a traditional church wedding or a hotel to an outdoor garden ceremony or a holiday wedding on the beach. Where you choose to get married serves as a backdrop for your photographs and creates your dream atmosphere. Weddings can sometimes involve several different venues, for the ceremony itself, the reception and the evening after party celebrations. The stars are known to splash out a fortune for the perfect wedding day and a picturesque venue is at the top of their list.

  • Italy’s scenic Odescalchi Castle is a glamorous and grand setting for a regal style wedding; located near Rome, the medieval castle and its grounds have hosted numerous celebrity nuptials, racking up an enormous bill for their special day. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes married here, as did Martin Scorsese and Isabella Rosellini; however, it was the wedding of Petra Ecclestone and James Stunt in the 15th century venue that tops the list at £310,000 to hire the magnificent Italian castle, including catering and accommodation for the hundreds of guests over a three-day celebration in 2011.
  • While the exact fee paid for this luxury was not revealed, the 1981 Dubai wedding of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Princess Salama was held in a stadium that was built entirely from scratch especially for the wedding. The construction had to accommodate 20,000 guests for seven days and will have been responsible for an enormous chunk of the vast £60 million wedding budget.  

Chapter 4: The Flowers   

Flowers help to add a magical feel to any wedding, from the bride’s bouquet and the boutonnieres to the table centrepieces and decorating the venue. Fresh flowers can be expensive, particularly if you have a particular colour scheme, theme or flower in mind. See the lengths other couples have gone to add finishing touches to their special day.

Bride’s BouquetWedding Bouquet

The bride’s bouquets has to last all day until she is ready to throw it to the waiting guests. Have you ever caught one? If you’ve caught the bride’s bouquet you might be wondering just how expensive wedding flowers can be…

  • The gemstone bouquet was the costliest recorded and is now on display in the Ruby Plaza in Vietnam. Containing 90 gemstones, nine diamonds and a sumptuous star shapes ruby amongst the creamy white and scarlet red blooms, this floral work of art was priced at £250,000 – enough to buy you and your new spouse a new marital home.

Floral Decorations

With the aisle of the church lined in romantic roses and bespoke floral arrangements taking centre stage on every table at the reception, the floral decorations can add a considerable amount of money to your wedding budget although some couples have taken the fairytale look to the extreme.

  • Reality star Kim Kardashian has been featured on our list a lot, only this time, it’s for her 2010 wedding to basketball star Kris Humphries. A massive £1.3 million of the budget was spent on the flowers alone, with yards of charming white roses decorating the venue and the bride’s bouquet. While the marriage was one of the shortest on record, the amount spent on flowers made it one of the highest to be recorded on this list.
  • Lana El Sahely and husband Ali Awada married in an extravagant 2014 wedding that made their dreams come true. Part of this could be because the $1 million budget they had for flowers to decorate their venue. Yes, you did read that correctly – the one million dollars was for the flowers alone, nowhere near the total bill for their lavish day. Their 7 tiered cake was made entirely from orchids, while the walls of the reception venue were lined top to bottom with thousands of fresh, white orchids and LED lights, which also adorned the tables for their 1600 guests and the bride’s bouquet.

Chapter 5: The Food

Your day isn’t complete without delicious food to keep your guests happy throughout the celebrations. It’s not a party without your favourite treat, whether you choose a sophisticated, traditional sit-down meal, an Italian feast or a help yourself buffet, the catering is another one of the pricier elements of a wedding.

Wedding CakeWedding Cake

Cutting the cake is right of passage for the bride and groom, a moment that everyone looks forward to during a wedding. Over the years, cakes have gotten bigger and bigger, with more tiers, cupcakes and embellishment. Which couple wins the wedding day cake competition?

  • British designer Debbie Wingham created a fashion masterpiece for the wedding of an anonymous Arabian couple that took 1,100 hours to make and totalled around £50 million. The cake resembles a catwalk that is populated by multiple iced versions of the bride wearing various different beautiful gowns. It contained 400 small one carat white diamonds, 73 three carat white diamonds and 73 three carat black diamonds on the catwalk, alongside a 5.2 carat pink diamond, a 6.4 carat yellow diamond and 15 five-carat white diamond in the icing. On top of that, there were 3400 stones, including emeralds and amethyst scattered throughout the cake. It looked good enough to eat – but would you dare?

Catering

No matter how intimate or how large your wedding is, the catering per head will take up a lot of your budget. If there’s no limit to the amount you’re willing to spend you can arrange for a banquet of delectable food for you and your guests to enjoy.

  • The 2010 nuptials between Chelsea Clinton – daughter of former US president Bill Clinton – and Marc Mezvinsky was a grandiose event that makes the list of some of the top ten most expensive weddings. Their guests were treated to $750,000 worth of catering during the lavish day, not including the $11,000 spent on a wedding cake. That’s definitely a lot of food.

Chapter 6: The Transport

Arranging how you’ll get to and from the ceremony Wedding Transportand receptions venues is an important part of your wedding planning. You want to arrive in style and many couples now put on transport for guests, from vintage buses to celebrities hiring a private jet, this is how travel is meant to be done. However, all of this comes at a price (a rather high one)…

The Guests

Weddings today can often include transportation costs for guests, particularly if the venue has its own grounds or the location isn’t near to any major landmarks. Celebrities now have multiple ceremonies in different locations, especially abroad. Those with money to spare make sure their guests arrive in style.

  • The 2007 nuptials between actress Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayer, founder of his own computer company, included a double ceremony, taking place in both Suderly Castle, Gloucestershire and Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur. To make sure all of their guests were in attendance at both wedding ceremonies, the two spent $300,000 on hiring private jets, taking up a chunk of the total $2.5 million cost of the wedding.

Chapter 7: The Favours

Wedding FavoursThe bride and groom are not the only ones who traditionally receive presents at a wedding: they often gift their guests, bridesmaids and groomsmen with small, token presents to remind them of the special day. The wedding favour can be anything from chocolates to customised items that show you care. When it comes to expensive weddings, some couples choose to show off their generosity to remind you just how extravagant their nuptials were.

  • Lucky guests at the wedding of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban in 2006 were given Tiffany Clocks as party favours for the big day, which all together came in at a staggering $80,500. The silver desk clocks from the famous jewellers were each specially engraved with the message “A Moment in Time, 25 June 2006, Nicole & Keith” for guests to remember the ceremony by.
  • Although the total cost of the favours was not specified, guests at the five-day wedding celebrations of Vanisha Mittal and Amit Bhatia in 2005 apparently received designer gift bags filled with stunning jewels. Mittal is the daughter of billionaire steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal and the wedding totalled an astonishing £48 million, meaning the full worth of the precious favours will have formed a large portion of this.

So now you know the anatomy of history’s most expensive bride! Imagine what this wedding would look like with every element combined…

UPDATE

Here’s a quick little update (1st December 2016) so we’re completely up to date with the most expensive wedding to date; in November, a wedding in India costing £59 million ($74 million) hit the news for causing controversy amongst the population of India at the sheer “obscene display of wealth” (summed up by critics). The lavish wedding of Brahmani (daughter of G Janardhana Reddy) featured Gold plated invitations fitted with LCD screens costing around £115,000 (10 million rupees) and the bride was dressed in a sari costing a cool £1,960,000 (170 million rupees)!!!

BUT, earlier this year, March 26th to be exact, Said Gutseriev and Khadija Uzhakhova tied the knot to the tune of $1 Billion dollars (around £789,000,000)! Now that has to be the world’s most expensive wedding or at least a close second. This wedding featured a cake standing at 9 tiers, carried in by 4 men, more flowers and lights than you could ever imagine, a dress costing $26,000 (just over £20,000) and performances from J-Lo, Enrique Iglesias and Sting! The celebrations continued in London where we can imagine the extravagance continued.

by DIWAH

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