By Alix Langone
April 30, 2018

With the royal wedding quickly approaching, all things Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have reached a fever pitch. While we’re still learning many details about their wedding day, how much the wedding of the year (or maybe the decade) will cost and who will pay for it is something we can break down.

Prince Harry and Markle’s royal wedding is set to take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19. Prince and Harry and Markle’s wedding will not be declared a bank holiday like many other royal weddings have been — Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding was deemed a bank holiday, as was Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s.

Here’s what to know about who pays for Prince Harry and Markle’s royal wedding:

Who pays for the royal wedding?

So who foots Prince Harry and Markle’s royal wedding bill? The Royal Family does: “As was the case with the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Royal Family will pay for the core aspects of the wedding, such as the church service, the associated music, flowers, decorations, and the reception afterwards,” Kensington Palace said.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce the engagement of Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017 in London, England.
Samir Hussein - WireImage/Getty Images

How much will the royal wedding cost?

Prince Harry and Markle’s royal wedding will undoubtably be a lavish, no-expense-spared wedding. The wedding invitations were even printed in gold ink.

While many of the details are being kept under wraps, one detail we do know is the royal wedding cake, which Kensington palace said will be “a lemon elderflower cake that will incorporate the bright flavours of spring. It will be covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers.”

The cake is being made by Violet Bakery, which is based in London and run by a pastry chef from California who Markle had previously interviewed for her now defunct-lifestyle blog “The Tig.”

Harry and Markle are forgoing royal wedding gifts, however, instead asking guests to donate to one of seven charities that “represent a range of issues that they are passionate about, including sport for social change, women’s empowerment, conservation, the environment, homelessness, HIV and the Armed Forces,” Kensington Palace said in tweet.

But the most expensive part of their royal wedding day is the high level of security needed for the event, for which British taxpayers ultimately foot the bill. The total cost for security is expected to be approximately $32 million, about the same as Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding security costs, which were around $32 million and $34 million, according to CBS News.

The actual royal wedding (not including security) costs much less and will likely be somewhere in the range of $1 million, Aimee Dunne, a London-based wedding planner, told CNN Money.

Do taxpayers pay for the royal wedding?

The Royal Family will pay for Prince Harry and Markle’s wedding, which signifies that their nuptials are not an official State occasion like Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding was, London-based wedding planner Sarah Haywood told CNN Money. The upside? There’s a lot less guests to invite to a regular old royal wedding as opposed to a State one. And that’s a good thing, because St. George’s Chapel is about half the size as Westminster Abbey, where The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wed. St. George’s Chapel can fit about 800 guests compared to Westminster Abbey’s 2,000.

TRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with Bridesmaids Margarita Armstrong-Jones (Right) And Grace Van Cutsem (Left), following their wedding at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England.
Mark Cuthbert - UK Press/ Getty Images

Kate Middleton’s family was able to pay for some of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s royal wedding expenses because they own Party Pieces, an online party supplies business estimated to be worth anywhere from $30 million and $50 million. Although she’s made millions for herself as an actress, Markle comes from a more modest background and it is not expected that her family will pay for royal wedding costs, though according to Katie Nicholl, author of the Prince Harry biography Harry Life Loss and Love, the American actress will reportedly pay for her own dress.

There’s still time to hop across the pond and take a weekend trip to Windsor to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry and Markle’s royal wedding while airfare is still relatively cheap, but Airbnb rooms and hotels are booking up fast.

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