The statistics of William and Kate's royal wedding are astounding. A
reported 24 million people tuned in to watch, 2 billion expected to hear news, and the ten bells of Westminster Abbey rang for three straight hours. In total, the wedding cost $34 million.
wedding's symbolic significance justified its opulence. Kate was officially entering the ranks of British royalty. William was aligning his place as the king-to-be. A dynasty sighed and patted itself on the back.
Even though the celebrities on this list don't hold such grand societal importance, they pretend to be Will and Kate when it comes
to their wedding ceremonies. We're talking seven-foot cakes, Swarovski-encrusted flower bouquets, and shutting down entire Italian villages. We're talking wedding dresses the cost of of a down payment on a house.
Here are the highlights of the most expensive celebrity weddings.
Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes Cruise and Holmes' 2006 wedding wasn't legendary because it cost $3.5 million, or because it took place in a castle outside of Rome, or because Holmes' Armani wedding dress was entirely encrusted in Swarovski crystals. The star-studded wedding generated interest because of the presence of Scientology — including the so-called " marriage contract" that prevented Holmes from speaking of her relationship. Leah Remini, a wedding guest and former Scientologist, wrote of the wedding in her book Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. Apparently, Holmes was late to the ceremony. Cruise waited for 20 minutes with "that everything-is-great look plastered on his face even as the crowd grew uncomfortable."
Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel After five years of dating, Biel and Timberlake did what all good celebrities do: Rent a luxury villa in Italy, and throw a wedding. This was a wedding week more than it was a single ceremony. They hosted their guests in the Borgo Egnazia resort, where the wedding was held, for a few days. Festivities included fireworks during a pre-wedding beach party, a trip to a grotto, and watching authentic Italian folk dance in the countryside. The total bill racked up to $6.5 million. But the best things in life come free: Timberlake sang Biel an original song as she walked down the aisle.
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Petra Ecclestone & James Stunt When two billionaires get married, odds are the ceremony will feature a certain sheen of opulence. But this was extreme. In 2011, Ecclestone, a British heiress and daughter of the Formula1 CEO, married James Stunt, a businessman, in the same villa as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes married. Guests sipped Chateau Petrus wine, costing about $6,500 a bottle. The 21-year-old bride wore a $100,000 Vera Wang gown. Ecclestone and Stunt didn't have to choose between a DJ or live band — they got both. Eric Clapton, Andrea Boccelli, and the Black Eyed Peas performed. Unsurprisingly, the 3-day wedding at the Odaescaleschi Castle cost $15 million.
Kim Kardashian & Kanye West At about $2.8 million, the Kardashian-West wedding cost less than West's $3.3 million elaborate proposal. Guests of the extravagant wedding were treated to a jet-setting weekend. The Bachelorette Party was in Paris, as was the pre-wedding brunch at the Valentino mansion, where Lana Del Ray performed. After a night at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, guests jetted off to Florence for the ceremony. The party had all the staples of a great wedding – a photo booth and, of course, a 7-foot cake.
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George Clooney & Amal Alamuddin Sure, George and Amal's 2014 Venetian ceremony was intimate — but that doesn't mean it wasn't pricey. Combine 95 Cipriani hotel rooms, $36,000 worth of water transportation around Venice, 200 bottles of vodka, 250 bottles of champagne, multiple lunches and dinners, and you get a $4.6 million wedding. Also, don't forget that Amal Clooney's custom Oscar De La Renta gown cost an astonishing $380,000.
Chelsea Clinton & Marc Mezvinsky In 2010, 400 of America's most elite political and celebrity figures watched on as the Clintons' daughter married an investment banker. Clinton and Mezvinsky tied the knot at New York's Astor Courts estate. They danced to Etta James' "At Last," they served a 5-foot tall gluten free cake, and they racked up a bill of $5 million.
Elton John & David Furnish Elton John's civil partnership ceremony to David Furnish featured the essential element of any wonderful wedding: A performance of "Your Song." Only this time, John sang it to his longtime partner. The 600 guests at their Windsor wedding drank $300 wine, and cost John and Furnish $1.5 million. In 2014, after England legalized same-sex marriage, the couple decided to have another ceremony. "So for this legislation to come through is joyous, and we should celebrate it. We shouldn't just say, 'Oh, well we have a civil partnership. We're not going to bother to get married.' We will get married," John said. Their second wedding was heavily documented on Instagram — all of us were invited.
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Salma Hayek & Francois-Henri Pinault If it's a celebrity wedding in Venice, you know it's going to be lavish. In 2009, Salma Hayek married her French billionaire boyfriend at the La Fenice opera house. The weekend-long bonanza included a masked ball at the historic Punta Della Dogana and a performance by Bono. Guests wore their black and gold masks as they walked to the opera house for the ceremony.
Paul McCartney & Heather Mills Sure, McCartney has called his marriage to Heather Mills " the mistake of the decade." But the $3 million ceremony at a 17th-Century chapel in Glaslough, Ireland, seemed fun enough. Despite helicopters fluttering overhead, the guests danced, drank, and dined on the ceremony's solely vegetarian fare.
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