The 10 most extravagant celebrity weddings

Italy Clooney Wedding

A study by bidvine.com has tracked down what it says are the most expensive high profile celebrity weddings of the 21st century. It calculated the cost of the top 20, and worked out that on average, these celebrities somehow spend £1.6 million on their big day.

The wedding experts found that on average, celebrities had spent: £39,000 on flowers, £3,566 on the wedding cake, £30,304 on the food, £145,403 on the wedding dress and £104,119 on the venue.

But who made the list?

Top ten
1. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel - £ 4,936,584
The couple were married in Puglia, Italy. She wore a custom petal pink Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown, and waltzed down the aisle to a song he had written for her.

2. Beyoncé and Jay Z - £3,190,515
In 2008 the couple married in New York. Perhaps their most extravagant splurge was on the 70,000 white orchids, placed inside a white tent in the enormous living room dominating Jay Z's penthouse

3. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian - £2,985,801
The couple got married in Florence, Italy in 2014. They kicked off proceedings a week earlier with a special reception in Paris, and a dinner at the Palace of Versailles, before flying their guests to Italy. She wore a Givenchy Haute Couture gown for the ceremony - but managed several costume changes during the celebrations.

4. George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin - £2,848,185
The pair were married in 2014 in Venice. They held a pre-wedding dinner the night before at the famous Hotel Cipriani. Guests had breakfast there again the following day before taking a boat to the 16th century Cavalli Palace for the ceremony. Then it was back to the Cipriani for more drinks, partying and fireworks. Alamuddin wore an Oscar de la Renta dress.

5. Liza Minelli and David Gest - £2,658,160
Their quirky New York wedding featured 16 bridesmaids, and more than 500 guests - who showed up for 56-year old Minelli's fourth wedding. Michael Jackson walked her down the aisle, and Elizabeth Taylor was Matron of Honour. The bride changed into a red sparkly mini dress for the reception at the Wall street Regent Hotel.

6. Paul McCartney and Heather Mills - £2,468,290
In 2002, the pair wed at a 17th-century church in Monaghan, Ireland. The 300 guests included Elton John, Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr. Among the extravagances were flowers estimated to have cost almost £100,000, and an enormous firework display costing tens of thousands of pounds.

7. Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky - £2,278,423
The couple were married in a $12 million historic home in New York in 2010 - with a select crowd of 400 friends and family. She wore a Vera Wang dress, and the pair were married outside, in an aisle dotted with floral gazebos and a harp.

8. Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman – £1,518,949
The pair were married in 2005, in a vineyard in Napa Valley California. Her dramatic dress was Christian Lacroix, and the paid exchanged vows in front of 130 friends and family.

9. Prince William and Kate Middleton - £ 1,516,243
This 2011 public event has entered the top ten of the most watched British TV programmes of all time. The fairytale wedding actually cost a great deal more than this, but the researchers excluded the cost of security - which would have put this wedding at the top of the pile - by an enormous margin.

10. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes - £1,500,000
The couple were married in 2006 in Italy, and pushed the boat out with a Medieval castle, fireworks, and a Giorgio Armani gown and tux. The 150 guests included Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith and Jim Carrey. The wedding, shortly after sunset, was the culmination of an entire weekend of celebration.

Another glance at this list makes you wonder whether they would spend it again given another chance.

Within six years of their various wedding days, Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman were divorced, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes had split, and Heather Mills and Paul McCartney had been through a very public and bitter divorce.

Perhaps we could all learn something from Sir Paul, who opted for a far smaller and cheaper affair the next time he tied the knot.

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£20,983 wedding: where the money goes
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£20,983 wedding: where the money goes

This is the biggest expense, and accounts for 16% of everything couples spend on the wedding. There are endless dramatic places to splash the cash, and if you want to get married in a castle, on a beach, or in a major historic property, it’s all perfectly possible - for a price.

However, there will be those who wonder why the wedding can’t take place in a church or a smart registry office - and the reception in a village hall. These places certainly exist, and could cut the venue hire cost down to a couple of hundred pounds.

It’s not hard to see why couples fancy blowing a fortune on an incredible holiday, but it begs the question of whether it’s such a practical idea.

There’s no earthly reason why two such enormous costs have to be bunched together like this. Surely a wiser approach would be to get married, and then start saving for a great holiday. You don't have to be on a white beach in the sun for it to be romantic or memorable.

This is a huge sum for feeding a few people, and is often the result of the fact that when you are booking a venue, you will be tied into using their caterer.

It’s one reason why a fantastic way to cut costs is to find a venue that lets you do it yourself. That way you can choose between setting out a cold buffet in the morning on a shoestring, or hiring in a cut-price catering option, like a gourmet burger or pizza van.

This includes the cost of an engagement ring and two wedding rings. There will be couples who argue that this is something that you’ll wear every day for the rest of your life, so is worth investing in.

There will be others who highlight that by shopping around you can get the lot (including the obligatory diamond) for less than £400, and anything else is pure vanity.

This includes a heart-stopping £1,098 for the bride’s dress. Just to be clear, that’s a grand for a dress you wear once.

There are hundreds of second hand dresses on sale on sites like preloved if you’re after the big meringue, or you could get one made from scratch for a couple of hundred pounds. Then if you sell it on again afterwards, your dress could cost you less than 20% of this insane figure.

If you’re stuck buying the overpriced booze offered by a posh venue, you’ll easily bust the budget, and if you bring your own to a venue like this they’ll sting you for corkage instead.

A much better idea is to find somewhere that lets you bring your own - and after the first few drinks, ask a local pub to run a bar for you.

The argument in favour of spending a fortune on photos is that this is one aspect of the day that really will last, and if you skimp on the photographer, you won't have a beautiful album to linger over for decades to come.

That said, you'll probably have one hour of looking at your best during your wedding - from when you walk down the aisle, to the moment you have finished taking the obligatory formal photos. There’s nothing stopping you bringing in a professional for that hour, and then setting up a Facebook page for your friends to post all the photos they take throughout the rest of the day and night.

The live band feels vital for some couples, but ask yourself, when was the last time you were blown away by the live band at a wedding?

A far cheaper option is to make your own disco. It’s easy enough to hire some speakers and lights, switch it all on, plug an MP3 player in, and get your favourite music all night for next to nothing.

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