Who Pays for a Royal Wedding — and How Much Does It Cost?

The Economic Impact of a Royal Wedding
The sale of commemorative merchandise, like these mugs, is expected to bring millions into the British economy. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

We know — "low-key" isn't the word most people would use to describe a royal anything, especially a wedding. This event is no exception, starting with the invitations, which are printed in actual gold ink. However impressive the price tag estimate is, this wedding will actually be comparatively less lavish than previous royal nuptials. For starters, it's being held at St. George's Chapel (occupancy 800) on the grounds of Windsor Castle about an hour outside of London, rather than at Westminster Abbey, which holds up to 2,000 people. Since Harry is pretty far down in line for the throne compared with big bro William, and the family, rather than the state, is paying for the event, few foreign dignitaries and British politicians are expected to attend. Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Teresa May were reportedly not invited [source: Smith-Spark and Foster].

Harry and Meghan are also making their nuptials a more relatable affair by inviting 2,640 commoners to be on the grounds at Windsor as they arrive and depart. Those lucky enough to attend will be treated to $36,000 worth of hot tea and sausage rolls [source: Evans]! The venue also necessitates another major departure from previous royal shindigs — since they won't be in London, there won't be a carriage ride down those famous streets post-ceremony. However, Windsor locals (and those who make the journey to be nearby) will enjoy a procession immediately after the ceremony.

Despite the immense crowd-control, security and cleanup costs associated with the ceremony, Britons will actually end up making more money than they spend on the event. Some experts say that the income from Prince Harry and Markle's wedding will be around $1.42 billion (£1.05 billion), thanks in large part to a major surge in tourism — to compare, an extra 350,000 visitors came to the U.K. in April 2011, the month when Will wed [source: MarketWatch].

Souvenir trinkets, such as plates, pill boxes, T-shirts, tankards and virtually anything else you can think of will also bring in millions in revenue, as well as food and drink bought to celebrate the occasion. Countless bottles of Champagne and wine will be purchased by British well-wishers to toast the newlyweds. But perhaps most important, the worldwide media blitz surrounding the couple and the wedding is sure to keep England in vacationers' minds for quite some time. One expert put the free advertising for Britain at $407 million (£300 million), and the uplift to the fashion industry (thanks to the interest in Meghan's clothes) at $200 million (£150 million) [source: MarketWatch].

Last editorial update on May 14, 2018 03:20:28 pm.

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