Learn From Prince William & Kate’s Reasonably Priced Royal Wedding

There is speculation that Price William and Kate's wedding will cost anywhere between $30 million to $50 million dollars. Now that is a royal wedding!

Surely, that's a ridiculous amount of money for one day of fun with friends, family, and dignitaries no? It's not like the British economy is doing much better than the US economy. Brexit is bad for business.

Surely $3 to $5 million would be more “reasonable” instead as the Royals plan for festivities surrounding their fine wedding date of Friday, April 29, 2011 at West Minster Abbey. 

But really, with the average cost of a wedding in America hovering around $20,000 to $30,000 or a full 40%-60% of the median American household income, the Royal Wedding should be considered one of the cheapest weddings of all-time!


A royal wedding is nice. But a regular wedding is nice too. I've been to around 20 weddings so far in my life and I loved every single one of them. Going to a wedding could be one of my favorite pass-times, unless they take longer than 5 hours to get to, and are on a cold or rainy day in the East Coast! 

Nothing is more beautiful than being with loved ones as you celebrate what many say is the absolute best time in a couple's life (yes, for many it goes downhill from there). 

Who knows, if you're a single beaver, you might be able to find another beaver looking for love as well.  No venue is more ripe for love production than a wedding I must say!

Unfortunately, Americans are quite ridiculous when it comes to wedding expenses. $33,000 for a wedding? Come on! How can you spend on average $33,000 for a wedding if the average American household income is only $68,000? You don't need a royal wedding to be happy.

Talk about debt hangover if I've ever heard of one.  As with most things I read on the internet, I'm perplexed by the veracity of the $25,000 wedding cost figure.  Do people really spend that much on a wedding?  Is it all propaganda by the wedding industry to make the consumer spend this much?  Maybe.

I started recounting the conversations I've had with couples who revealed their own wedding costs.  The last three weddings I attended, which doesn't include the rings or the honeymoon cost $95,000, $2,050, and $82,000 for an average cost of $59,500!  That's some high volatility there and I've gotta tell you that the $2,050 wedding was probably a tad more fun than the $95,000 wedding!  My small sample set proves that $25,000 for a wedding may very well be the average.  What say you?


Everybody should know my 1/10th rule for car buying now.  If not, it's simply a guideline to spend no more than 1/10th your gross annual income on a car.  Perhaps the 1/10th rule should also be employed for weddings. 

Yes, a wedding is much more memorable than some stupid car.  However, a wedding only lasts one day, whereas a shiny new BMW will last 4 years before it falls apart with electrical gremlins.  You'll also have probably at least 3 cars in your lifetime, but will probably only have 1 or 2 weddings instead.

If you make a nice American household income of $50,000, shoot to spend no more than $5,000 on your wedding.  The couple above who spent $2,050 on their wedding makes $500,000 a year, or just 0.4% of their annual gross income. 

But, back to the Royals. The Queen and her extended family are estimated to make $80 million a year. But they are worth some estimate $100 billion or much much. They are huge land barons. They can afford a royal wedding.

Some say their net worth is in the trillions! Hence, the Royals, with their $50 million wedding are only spending 1.2% of their estimated annual income if you put a 4% cap rate on a $100 billion net worth! A royal wedding that costs millions is no problem.

If the Royals are spending 1.2% of their income on their wedding, and my friends are spending less than 1% on their wedding with their paltry $500,000 a year incomes, surely you can spend 10X the percentage amount and still have a grand old time! 

You won't need to have to borrow money from Citibank, or worse yet, the Bank of Mom and Dad.  You can start your marriage off right with no debt and plenty of freedom.  Go for it.  You know I'm right!

Related: The New Rule For Engagement Ring Buying

Wedding Spending Rules To Follow To Be Financially Responsible

Readers, how much do you think is a reasonable absolute and percentage of gross income amount to spend on a wedding?  Who do you think is more responsible for driving up wedding costs, the man or woman?  Why do you think this is?

39 thoughts on “Learn From Prince William & Kate’s Reasonably Priced Royal Wedding”

  1. Our wedding costs were minimal, our receptions costs a little higher. But I don’t think we spent more than $10k, which to some people would be a lot. However, it was cash, not credit. We spent within our means and did not go into debt.

    Celebrations are private matter. I don’t have an opinion on amount. If you can afford it and it makes you happy, do it.

    I would not recommend going into debt for ANYTHING though. Wedding, graduation, babies…debt just makes you a house elf to someone else’s fortune.

  2. I think the guys should really get the most percentage of share in a wedding since he should have her woman feels like a princess always. I think if I will be going to marry I should share a 70-80% of the share to let her parents don’t down grade me if I let my wife to share almost a half of it.

    1. Interesting perspective. Although do know that many cultures have it customary for the parents of the bride to pay for everything since it’s perceived that the husband will be taking care of their daughter for the rest of his life.

  3. Money Reasons

    Oh, I also want to say that mostly it’s the women that drive the cost up (of course they are worth it!!!). Us guys just go with the flow for the most part… Now the honeymoon, that’s when we like to spend a little extra!

  4. Practically speaking, if both of you does not want to have a royal wedding a $2000-$3000 wedding is worth enough to get you married and leave your hard earned money on your bank for future use. Anyway being married doesn’t mean expenses ends, I guess it’s a start to a more spending life.

  5. Sandy @ yesiamcheap

    Sam, you missed something. Are Kate and William paying for the wedding themselves, or are they (most likely) getting that money from the “bank of mom and dad” or more likely, grandma? Me thinks this money isn’t coming out of their own pockets so while they are not spending that must relative to their families’ net worth, it might be too much if it’s not coming out of their own pockets.

    1. Indeed. Glad you picked this up. Yes, practically 99.9% is probably through Bank of Grandma! The royal family’s net worth is huge, and some say in the trillions ?!?

      So, it begs the question, how much can we take from our parents and grandparents before it’s too much? $50 million is a drop in the bucket for them, so I wouldn’t feel guilty if I was William…. maybe Kate though!

  6. Roshawn @ Watson Inc

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but that sounds a little bit cheap to me for most people, given that the median income is $50,000. However, I wouldn’t borrow for a wedding, and I guess if the only way you can afford a wedding is to use the 1/10 rule so be it. I think splurging a little bit more for this day is okay though.

  7. It’s all about how much you can afford and the importance of the occasion. If you are borrowing for your marriage and you can pay it off in a reasonable amount of time, then it’s ok. Stretching yourself beyond your financial limits is wrong.
    Sometimes marriages are important not only for you but also both the families. It could the single most important date for both the families, in that case sometimes you need to go that extra mile for but it would mean more hard work and savings to repay all debt.

  8. Money Reasons

    Wow, $25,000!!! To me that’s pretty pricey! Mine was less than $5,000, but I didn’t have a job at the time, so even $5,000 seemed like a lot of money to me…

  9. harvestwages

    Man, i think the 1/10 rule works well, but nevertheless i don’t see anything wrong in spending more for a wedding. To some, wedding may be of more importance than retirement budget. I think it’s best to do what’s right and let your bank account feel happy to.

  10. I bet William and Kate would have a much smaller wedding if they could get away with it; they just impress me as low-maintenance people.

    I have no idea what percent of income would be appropriate to set as a bar for wedding expense but think no more than 10%. Mine was more like 5%.

  11. If 10% reasonable than go for it. For some of us even 10% can be too much. For some of us – not enough. My only rule is – pay cash for the wedding, for your honeymoon and come home feeling good about your bank account because it is not empty. It took for us three years to pay off our honeymoon. Here… quite a long debt hangover.

  12. 1/10th rule is an excellent idea. I don’t understand today’s expensive weddings — ours cost 200 bucks, we were 18 and paid for it ourselves (about 10 percent of our minimum wage income at the time, actually) and had a great time. But some people need more. Or their parents do.

  13. The 1/10 rule seems about right, in 2007 we had a 30 person wedding in Hawaii that ran a total of $10K including photos & videos plus a really nice outdoor wedding and kick ass reception!

    We also had a larger 50 person celebration in SE Asia that included a 3 hour river dinner cruise with live music and then took 15 people to a private island for 3 nights and paid for all food, transport and lodging. That ran another $10k.

    Pretty good value overall and given we made $400k that year, it was only 5% of our total income that year!


  14. Hey mister, so how much did you spend on your wedding back then?

    The 1/10 rule is a great idea. I don’t plan on spending very much at all on my wedding either- back yard wedding at BF’s parents house all the way!

    In some culture, it is common for money to be given instead of gifts, so if you can ask for money instead of gifts (if you already have 3 toaster ovens and you don’t need them), that would be awesome!

    My friend’s wedding cost $25K but she had it all paid back and then some (I think she was up $2K) after her wedding.

    1. Backyard of BF’s house really? Sounds good! Is his parent’s house a mansion that extends towards a Vancouver beach?! :)

      Hmmm… to answer your question, if I were to be so fortunate to have a loved one, I spent/would spend less than 5% of my gross income.

      With your friend, that’s great she made money! whoo hoo!

  15. I like your 10% rule. I think the reasonable amount to spend on a wedding is how ever much the bride’s father is will to pay. :D
    This is coming from a guy who married at the county courthouse though. I’d rather spend money on the honeymoon travel.

  16. My Wife and I spent about 2k on our wedding which included everything dress, location, food, photographer etc.

    We got married down by a small creek on my parents property and then had the reception etc up at the main house. The people who attended all enjoyed themselves and we still get comments 10 years later from friends who attended that it was one of the most enjoyable weddings they have been to.

    Your wedding should be about having fun and spending time with friends and family, not putting yourself into debt for the next 5 years. Trust me 10 years later you don’t remember what colour the invites/table’s/flowers where or even what the exact food was that was served but you do remember the people who attended and the fun time you had with them :).

  17. 3 cars? I’m 25 and I’ve had 5 cars already.

    And I say wedding are different for everyone. If you want to save up money for a big wedding, then do it. If you want to save for retirement or your kids’ college, do that too. It’s your money, spend it how you like.

    1. Not sure it’s quite so simple. Too many people focus on the wedding, not on the marriage itself.

      I’d rather save for retirement, home, kid’s university, etc. and have a modest wedding. Spending a ton of money on a wedding isn’t what makes a marriage happy. I would rather focus on building a life together than spending on just one day. (That’s someone with a modest income speaking — I realize this isn’t an either/or situation for a lot of people!)

      1. Exactly! That’s what you’d rather do. It’s your decision. Likewise, it’s my decision to do what I want with my money. If I want to spend an entire year’s worth of income on my wedding, I’m free to do so. Doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong, just a different decision than you.

        1. Agreed. I think the problem isn’t how much people spend on wedding as how much they can afford to spend — and thinking that their dreaming wedding is the key to happiness.

          It doesn’t matter whether you spend on a wedding, a vacation or whatever so long as you can afford to do so — or can live with the consequences.

    2. I agree. Everything is rational. Who cares if people want to spend money on whatever or buy a 25k car when they only make 50k etc. It brings them enjoyment, more than the monetary pain or repercussions, so that’s all tha matters!

  18. Well, chances are when the average American gets married they don’t have to hire an army of security officers… ;)

    I see your point about this wedding being comparatively cheap, all things considering. However, even in terms of scale there’s a huge difference between this wedding and the average wedding. (Other than security costs!) The Royal Wedding is already a huge money-maker, and some experts argue it’s going to bring in a huge amount of money to Britain. When you think of all the commemorative merchandise that’s already being pumped out — not to mention the ad revenue from the media coverage — people around the world have made this one day their business for the next several months.

  19. Heh, our car purchase fit right in with you 1/10 rule! And I really must finish that blog post….

    90k on a wedding? Duuuude. That almost makes me retch.

    I struggle to imagine spending that much on one day. I could put a downpayment on a house with that, a house which I could live in the rest of my life.

    But aiming NOT to judge….

  20. You can’t really go with a percentage rule, it’s all about the quality of your wedding components that will decide in the end. For example, your reception might cost you anywhere from 50-100 per person, in that case you either invite less people or lower the quality of your reception(removing alcohol, downgrading food quality)….You have to balance things out.

    1. The “quality” of the wedding is simply measured by the quality of people there, not the alcohol, food, etc. The $2,050 wedding I went to was of equal “quality” to the $90K wedding I went to.

      1. Very true! I’ve found the same thing. The best weddings I’ve been to were awesome because of the people and the atmosphere of fun.

  21. James Fulton

    Our wedding cost about $18,000. A major portion of the money is spent for party hall, food and favors. We had merely 250 guests,but we were very satisfied with the spending.

    I often see a lot of people getting divorced before paying up their wedding money …(So crazy rite)


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