Here in the US, the cost of the average wedding amounts to roughly $35,000 according to a wedding trend report by Knot in 2016. But this figure is merely what some celebs would be happy to splurge on the party favors alone! Planning a wedding is one of the most expensive things anyone will ever do in life, but celebs have the financial freedom to take the proverbial cake when it comes to throwing an extravagant bash and go all out for their big day.
Not only do the rich and famous have the kind of sky-high budget to secure the very best designer bridal gown, the flashiest ring, and the most VIP guest list, they also get to put their wealth towards something most of us save up a lifetime to afford – an epic destination wedding. Unless we have the budget for it, most of us are content to hold wedding ceremonies in local venues and churches and as much as we’d love to fly our friends and family halfway around the world to see us tie the knot, we’d be paying off the debt until our kids go to college!
For most of us mere mortals, weddings are a big deal and something we normally only plan on doing once. Celebs, on the other hand, don’t always stop at one (or even two) and each one is usually more extravagant than the last. Take a peek at 20 celeb destination nuptials – ranging from the wildly expensive ceremonies to the refreshingly modest.
20 Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon - Bahamas ($4 million)
Anyone who’s familiar with Mimi’s diva-ish tendencies could have guessed that her wedding bash was always going to be a lavish OTT affair and they’d have predicted right. For her wedding to TV star Nick Cannon (and her second wedding overall), Carey pulled out all the stops for a secluded but not so subtly priced beach ceremony in the Bahamas.
Within a month of dating, Mariah and fiancee Nick Cannon were tying the knot on the uber-romantic stretch of beach Windermere Island at sunset. Despite a lavish $4 million wedding and annual vow renewals in Paris and Disneyland, the pair, unfortunately, called time on their marriage in 2014. Whenever and wherever Mariah’s 3rd nuptials happen, we don’t doubt the budget will surpass $4 mill.
19 Katy Perry & Russell Brand - India ($2 million)
Katy Perry’s short-lived relationship with British comedian and bad boy Russell Brand lasted all of 2 years, but their epic Indian wedding ceremony suggested a couple with a little more staying power. The singer and comedian tied the knot back in October 2010 in Northern India where Brand had proposed to Perry and the ceremony was nothing if not meticulous.
The couple flew themselves and 80 guests out to a tiger sanctuary in Rajasthan for a whole week where the couple threw a Bollywood pre-wedding party, entered on majestic elephants and showered their friends with shopping sprees, safari trips, and luxury tents for 7 days. The priciest 14-month marriage we’ve ever heard!
18 Jennifer Aniston & Brad Pitt - Malibu ($1 million)
Before the world got used to ‘Brangelina’, Jennifer Aniston was Mrs. Pitt – albeit for a short time – and Pitt’s wedding to Anistion back in 2000 was set at a much higher budget than his later wedding to Angelina Jolie. Brad and Jen’s $1 million nuptials were celebrated in a secluded ceremony in Malibu and would have been the equivalent to early $1.5 million by today’s standards.
So what went into Brad and Jennifer’s $1 million beach wedding? Despite their attempts to keep the super secret ceremony under wraps, it was eventually reported that the couple was serenaded by a gospel choir, that a total of four bands were hired for the reception and that an incredible 50,000 flowers were used on the day.
17 Kim K & Kanye West - Italy ($12 million)
It’s easy to forget that before finding happiness with Kanye West, Kim Kardashian spent almost as much on her first wedding to Kris Humphries on a whopping budget of $10 million. Wedding number two to Kanye in 2014 added an extra $2 mill on to the price tag for the couple’s grand ceremony in Florence.
The pair tied the knot at the lavish and super romantic Forte di Belvedere and featured performances by Andrea Bocelli, John Legend and Lana Del Rey to name but a few. Together with the lavish venue, the guests and Kim’s stunning Givenchy haute couture gown, the festivities came to $12 million in total.
16 Madonna & Guy Ritchie - Scotland ($1.2 million)
The queen of pop and then-fiancee Guy Ritchie pulled out all the stops a celeb possibly can at their 2000 wedding in Scotland. Madonna’s Highland nuptials came in at around $2.1 million (that’s just over a cool $3 mill in today’s money) and almost $100,000 alone of the wedding budget was devoted to the bride’s Stella McCartney gown.
The picturesque Skibo Castle in Scotland has a total of 51 lavish bedrooms and Madge and Ritchie rented out the lot of them – for a total of five nights. Yikes. Despite the Castle once being described by fellow actress and friend Catherine Zeta-Jones as “the most romantic place on earth”, the mystical Scottish air – and a $2.1 mill budget – clearly didn't do it for these two, since they divorced 8 years later.
15 Keira Knightley & James Righton - France ($650)
As the face of Chanel cosmetics on top of being an award-scooping A-list actress, Keira Knightley is not someone short on cash. Despite being worth close to $40 million though, her and fiance James Righton said “I do” for less than 700 bucks back in 2013.
Though on a small budget, Keira was able to have the ceremony in the south of France, but this was largely down to a sparse guest list (11 close friends and family) and the fact that the bride wore a Chanel dress already in her wardrobe. The young couple admittedly high-tailed it to Keira’s parents $3.9 million vineyards for the 50-guest reception, but we’re still counting the ceremony itself as pretty modest.
14 Salma Hayek & Francois-Henri Pinault - Venice ($3.5 million)
As the wife of French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, no part of Salma Hayek’s dream wedding plans could have been too much to realize for their stylish Venice wedding in 2009. In true Venetian fashion, the couple kicked things off with a masked ball for all 150 guests the night before at the Punta Della Dogana. Guests partied into the night donning black and gold masks and woke up to a gorgeous reception at the Teatro La Fenice opera house.
The iconic venue glittered with a roster of A-list guests from Penelope Cruz and Woody Harrelson to U2 frontman Bono – all of whom proceeded to sing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” as the happy couple took to the floor.
13 Liz Hurley & Arun Nayar – England/India ($2.5 million)
Not content to hold one huge wedding bash, actress Elizabeth Hurley had a double wedding celebration for her and business tycoon fiancee Arun Nayar back in 2007. Although in hindsight, perhaps Liz should have saved her money because, for all the wall to wall festivities, their marriage only survived 4 years in total.
The actress and former model threw a dreamy castle wedding in England before flying friends and family over to a second do in Nayar’s hometown of Jodhpur for a traditional Hindu ceremony. The castle wedding doubled with the week-long Indian celebration took the total wedding bill up to $2.5 million. Ouch.
12 Christina Aguilera & Jordan Bratman - Napa Valley ($2 million)
Back in 2005, Christina Aguilera said “I Do” to her now ex-hubby, music executive Jordan Bratman in a stunning ceremony in Napa Valley. The couple worked with the famous wedding planner to the celebs Michael Gapinski to create a romance-filled outdoor wedding that racked up a $2 million bill.
The pair exchanged vows at sunset under a reception tent by the mountainside and wedding planner Gapinskihe saw to it that the reception tent pretty much blended in with the nature surrounding it. The wedding marquee was decorated from top to ails in roses and white hydrangeas and branches were creatively arranged to look like chandeliers. It’s a shame that Aguilera’s sweet and creative California wedding ended 6 years down the road.
11 Michael Jordan & Yvette Prieto - Palm Beach ($10 million)
When NBA legend Michael Jordan married his longtime girlfriend Yvette Prieto, the pair spared no expense to make their Palm Beach wedding one to remember. The handsome couple left their stylish nuptials in the hands of the wedding planner to the stars, Sharon Sacks, and by the time she was done, the entire venue was dripping in Swarovski crystals from the bridal dress to the cake – yep, crystal cake!
The couple had Bear’s Club resort in Palm Beach converted into an epic wedding venue with 300 guests in attendance. As well as an abundance of crystals, the couple’s luxury estate ceremony was also filled with flowers and candles and featured performances by Usher and Robin Thicke. The running total? A whopping $10 mill.
10 Anna Faris & Chris Pratt - Indonesia ($700)
When they were together, actor couple Chris Pratt and Anna Faris had a joint bank balance close to $50 million, but they managed to get hitched in beautiful Bali for around a thousand bucks. The pair exchanged vows in a stunning Indonesian retreat, but how did they get away with such a modest price tag for their exotic nuptials?
Unfortunately, the not-so-happy couple both had food poisoning at the time and had to out their original wedding plans on hiatus, when Pratt suggested they go ahead with a more low key ceremony. When the Avengers: Infinity War star noticed the resort did weddings, a priest married the pair on the beach for $700. Talk about putting “in sickness and in health” to the test!
9 Tiger Woods & Elin Nordegren - Barbados ($1.5 million)
The luxury 100 acre Sandy Lane resort in Barbados is home to over 100 suites and villas, spa treatment rooms, and 3 golf courses and Tiger Woods rented out the lot to ensure a truly private wedding. The pro golfing legend and model girlfriend Elin Nordegren was determined to have the entire resort to themselves and their special guests when they tied the knot back in 2004.
If renting out 100 acres of pure Caribbean beauty weren't enough of a strain on their wedding budget, the now-divorced couple also sunk undisclosed amounts on a Vera Wang bridal gown a private concert and a wow-factor fireworks display. Grand total? $1.5 mill.
8 Paul McCartney & Heather Mills - Ireland ($3.2 million)
It may have been his second wedding, but the former Beatle legend didn’t hold back from the spending on his nuptials to second wife Heather Mills back in 2002. The now estranged couple first celebrated their wedding at a lavish multi-million-pound wedding in Ireland for 300 of their friends and family.
Despite the seemingly romantic wedding venue of a 17th-century church in the Irish countryside, the $3.2 million price tag wasn’t enough to ensure happily ever after. McCartney later called their marriage “the mistake of the decade. Ouch. Little wonder considering that it cost the former singer even more in divorce fees.
7 Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt - France ($600,000)
Before their recent amicable split, Brangelina were Hollywood's sweethearts and one of the biggest power couples in the biz – which made it all the more surprising when the pair decided on a (relatively) modest and low key wedding ceremony.
Brad and Angelina’s secret wedding may have been held in the chic French venue of Chateau Miraval, but since it was near the grounds of their own holiday home, the day practically cost them nothing! The wedding flowers were licked out by their kids, the guests stayed over at their home and their friends and family in attendance were flown in courtesy of the then couple’s joint film company.
6 George Clooney & Amal Alamuddin - Italy ($4.6 million)
Everyone and their mom were anticipating when longtime bachelor George Clooney would settle down and when he finally did back in 2014, it’s fair to say that the press expected something big. They didn’t disappoint. The Hollywood heartthrob wed his Amal Alamuddin at a gorgeous Italian ceremony at the 7-star Aman Canal Grande hotel in Venice.
The pair extended their nuptials over a four day weekend, during which time they took their A-list guests for a whistlestop cruise of Venice, hitting up famous spots like Harry’s Bar and the 5-star Hotel Cipriani for wedding drinks before heading back for a 5-course reception for every guest. Their lavish long-awaited wedding set them back $6.4 million.
5 David & Victoria Beckham - Ireland ($800,000)
When it came to tying the knot, Britain’s sweethearts and the official power couple of the UK swapped a glitzy London venue for a dreamy Irish castle instead. David Beckham and then-fiancee Victoria Adams held their super romantic nuptials at Luttrellstown Castle in Dublin way back in 1999.
Seen as the second royal family to Brits, it’s only fitting that the Beckhams fairytale venue featured two gold thrones for the pair to sit in as husband and wife. The reception also treated some 230 guests to a gourmet feast and an 18 piece orchestra to send them down the aisle. In today’s money, their $800,000 ceremony would amount to around 1.2 million.
4 Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes - Italy ($2 million)
TomKat’s nuptials may have been over 12 years ago now, but most of us still remember it for the show-stopping (and slightly weird) spectacle it was. Held at the stunning medieval Odescalchi Castle in Italy on the shore of Lake Bracciano, the pair exchanged vows in a “double ring” Scientology ceremony in the castle armory and a reception fit for royalty in the Grand Hall of Caesars.
Making it a wedding to remember in more ways than one, Cruise and Holmes rented out their fairytale-like castle for three days and treated 150 guests to a show-stopping fireworks display outside the castle gates and a post-reception party accompanied by Andrea ocelli & J-Lo. The damage? $2 million.
3 Vanisha Mittal & Amit Bhatia - Paris ($60 million)
There are celebs and then there’s the super rich and the daughter of Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal clearly spared no expense in making her special day (or should we say week!) as extravagant as possible. The young heiress Vanisha Mittal married Amit Bhatia in Paris during a week-long ceremony back in 2004.
The two exchanged vows in a 17th-century chateau, were treated to fireworks in the gardens of the Eiffel Tower and made sure their 1000 plus guest list were put up in 5-star hotels near the Palace of Versailles (the invitations were even sent in silver cases). End result? $60 mill.
2 Sean Parker & Alexandra Lenas - Big Sur ($ 4.5 million)
The founder of Napster Sean Parker wed fiancee Alexandra Lenas in a lavish ceremony in California with a quirky theme – Lord of the Rings. Parker was so enamored with the Tolkien fantasy world that he made sure his big day looked as if guests had walked on to Peter Jackson’s set.
Using the beautiful and appropriate backdrop of the ancient Redwood trees in Big Sur, California, Parker spared no expense to make his dream a reality. The tech mogul had guests wear custom-made Tolkien-esque costumes made by the actual film’s costume designer, had a stone castle “imported” to the venue and the couple sat on a sofa throne while Celtic music provided their wedding soundtrack. The cost of pure geek fandom? $4.6 million.
1 Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel - Italy ($6.5 million)
If there’s one thing celebs cherish the most it’s a little privacy from the press and luckily for megastars Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, they were able to buy some of it (or close enough). When the singer and actress planned their Italian seaside wedding back in 2012, they rented out the entire resort and to ensure the paps wouldn’t get a whiff of it, they reportedly only told their guests about the location hours before the ceremony!
It seems that this kind of privacy doesn’t come cheap – even for this A-list couple – as the secluded Italian retreat, the bayside firework display and everything in between added up to an eye-watering $6.5 million figure.