Big budget

You could get nearly 3,000 Don't Tell the Bride weddings out of the royal wedding budget

15th May 2018

The nation was obsessed with their engagement — where did it happen? How did he propose? What does the ring look like? And now the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is nearly upon us.

Many couples choose to splash the cash on their special day (I mean, most do plan on tying the knot only once), but would you choose to spend £32 million? Well, the Royal couple has done just that.

“The average wedding in the UK as of 2017 was about £27,000,” says Helen Davies, a wedding planner.

So, that means Harry and Meghan’s day will cost about 1,185 times more than your average British wedding.

“When I work with my clients I make sure that we sit down and break down all the costs so that I can manage the couple’s expectations and identify their priorities,” – somehow, I don’t think Harry and Meghan have adopted this approach.

The operation for the wedding will be among the largest in Thames Valley Police’s history

The bulk of the extravagant budget will be spent on security (a cost that most couples do not have to consider). Military personnel, snipers, drones and many more measures have been organised to protect the Royal couple and all those involved in their special day.

“The operation for the wedding will be among the largest in Thames Valley Police’s history,” said a member of the force to Sky News recently.

St George's Chapel
The couple are getting married at St George’s Chapel 📸 Aurelien Guichard

Prince Harry and Meghan will be married at St George’s Chapel in Windsor and the following reception will take place in St George’s Great Hall. These venues have been provided free of charge, however, a luxury marquee will be erected in the Upper Ward grounds of Windsor for later in the day. This will cost approximately £300,000 in addition to the catering and security costs that go along with such a fancy tent.

“Most people usually invite about 80 guests during the day and then there are about 120 people invited to the evening,” says Davies.

Unsurprisingly, Harry and Meghan have upped the headcount as they’ve invited 2,640 members of the public to their wedding in addition to their family and friends. The catering for the whole day is expected to cost £479,000, which will cover the formal lunch and dinner receptions, plus drinks and nibbles for everyone.

But what else could £32m be spent on? Well, let’s use the popular television series Don’t Tell the Bride to explore this question.

Dont tell the bride
Don’t Tell the Bride: Jazmine wanted a feather boa, not a snake 📸 Channel 4

For those who don’t already know, Don’t Tell the Bride is a British television reality series where a couple is provided with a budget for their wedding. Sounds perfect, but there’s a catch … the groom must organise the whole day without any help from the bride within three weeks. That means the flowers, the venue, the dress, the invitations and everything is left completely up to the groom to figure out.

How far does £32m go?

The series was first broadcast on BBC Three in November 2007, with it being aired on BBC One and Sky 1 in subsequent years and currently it is shown on E4.

In recent series, the couples have been awarded £14,000 to fund their special days and there have been some jaw-dropping weddings over the last ten years. Memorable episodes include couples being married on a pig farm, underwater at a leisure centre, married on a rollercoaster, having a Kylie and Jason theme and a Men in Black theme, whereby the vicar was dressed as an alien.

Dont tell the bride
Grooms get a budget of £14,000 and can spend it however they want 📸 Channel 4

The programme shows how much these women often do love their partners because they put up with so much — although in the case of Craig and Sophia from the latest series, perhaps love just wasn’t enough. After a dreadful hen night, tacky dresses for her and her bridesmaids and an ill-thought-out Oktoberfest theme, the couple decided not to legalise their vows. Oh dear.

In total, there have been 164 episodes across 13 series, that’s approximately 12 episodes per series. If every couple had been given £14,000 across all past shows, then £2.3m has already been dished out to couples.

Dont tell the bride
Things don’t always go exactly to plan 📸 Channel 4

To reach Harry and Meghan’s wedding budget, there would need to be a further 2,121 episodes – that’s another 177 more series. If one series was broadcast a year, then we’ll be watching Don’t Tell the Bride until the year 2195.

So, there’s your choice Britain. £32m either gets you a royal wedding on the TV, or another century and a half’s worth of Don’t Tell the Bride.

15th May 2018