The Royal Wedding: What Will It Cost?

Last Updated Apr 28, 2011 9:55 AM EDT

It's being billed as the wedding of the century, but Kate and William's nuptials are not expected to be as lavish an affair as the one between Williams's father and mother, Charles and Diana, in 1981. Mindful of England's high unemployment rate and fiscal austerity program, the royals have pledged to make this a slightly more subdued affair; the only food being served at the Queen's luncheon reception will be canapés, for example. And unlike some other recent weddings of note, the royal wedding will provide plenty of ancillary benefits to the bride and groom's fellow Britons in the form of additional tourism, spending, and publicity (the cost of giving everyone the day off is another matter, however).

Here's a list of some of the more interesting costs and benefits associated with Friday's Royal Wedding (figures were calculated at an exchange rate of 1.65 U.S. dollars to the pound):

Estimated total cost of the Royal Wedding: $34 million
Estimated total cost of Charles and Diana's wedding (today's dollars): $110 million
Average cost of a U.S. wedding: $27,000
2010 property income for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles: $50 million
Cost of Kate's wedding gown: $434,000
Average amount spent on a wedding gown in the U.S.: $1,099
Cost of two wedding cakes: $80,000
Average amount spent on a wedding cake in the U.S.: $540
Number of guests for the Queen's luncheon reception: 600
Number of guests for Prince Charles's dinner reception: 300
Cost per bottle of wine to be served at the luncheon reception: $14 to $23
Cost per bottle of champagne to be served before the dinner reception: $50
Maximum number of bites the luncheon canapés are designed to be eaten in: 2
Amount spent by British soccer star Wayne Rooney on his 2008 wedding: $8 million
Amount spent by Bill and Hillary Clinton on Chelsea's 2010 wedding: $3 million to $5 million
Cost of security for Will and Kate's wedding (to be paid by taxpayers): $33 million
Cost of security for Charles and Diana's 1981 wedding (today's dollars): $20 million
Cost of security for the G20 conference in London in 2009: $12 million
Number of additional tourists expected in London for the Royal Wedding: 600,000
Amount those tourists are expected to spend on April 29: $82 million
Total tourism revenue expected from the Royal Wedding in 2011: $825 million+
Cost of the "Royal Wedding Tour" at Westminster Abbey: $26
Cost of a life-sized cardboard cutout of William and Kate: $58.50
Cost of 2 William and Kate tea bags: $8
Winning auction bid for a pair of William and Kate Pez dispensers: $13,360
Global audience expected to watch the wedding on TV: 2 billion
Additional audience expected to watch online and listen on radio: 400 million
Estimated economic output lost by making the Royal Wedding a national holiday: $10 billion
Estimated economic output lost by Britons taking extra days off between Easter and the Royal Wedding and getting an 11-day holiday: $50 billion
U.K. unemployment rate: 7.8%
Size of the U.K. budget deficit: 10% of GDP
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  • Carla Fried

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