£32mn “understated”? They saw Meghan and Harry coming

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 11th May 2018

Pity poor Meghan and Harry. Everyone knows that the moment you say something is for a wedding, the cost of that item, be it a stretch tent, some flowers or a cake, is tripled.

Imagine if you are a Hollywood actor and a Prince and your wedding is being paid for by the Royal Family, AKA, Us.

There’s nowhere to hide. You can’t lie and pretend you want 1,000 sausage rolls for a child’s fifth birthday party. They know what you want them for. And you will pay.

So it appears to be for Meghan and Harry, for whom the phrase “they saw you coming” seems especially apt.

Expert estimates have put the cost of the impending royal nuptials at £32mn – entering the top ten most expensive of all time with ease, they reckon.

I’m getting married next month too – it’s cost us about £27,000.

Some of you might still think that’s totally mad. I’ve had “they saw me coming” moments myself in the last few months. But £32mn? Couldn’t they have tried a few small white lies?

In fairness, it’s thought that around £30mn of that is security.

But that still leaves £2mn on the wedding itself.

On all the same stuff that I have just had to shell out for – just 74 times more.

According to Bridebook, the wedding planning company, estimates for Meghan’s dress, flowers, catering and drinks are close to £1mn.

Meghan’s dress, designed and made by Ralph and Russo, could be worth £300,000-£400,000 = 300 to 400 times the cost of my dress, by an ethical designer called Celia Grace from a lovely little boutique in Macclesfield called The Conscious Bride.

The flowers estimate is £110,000 – a full 100 times the cost of my lovely blooms, from Flower Sisters, down the road, who grow their own in Mark Beech, Kent.

Meg and Haz have splurged almost the entire cost of my wedding on sausage rolls, at £26,000. Sausage rolls! Pigs fed on caviar? Or did they just buy up Iceland’s May inventory?

The £50,000 cake sounds delicious – lemon elderflower – but how big can a cake be, or what rare flour can it be made from, to justify such a price? It’s apparently from a bakery in the East End of London – a normal, human place last time I checked. Mine is £450 and I thought that was punchy.

Stretch tent at £1,500? No, what you want sir is the latest in wedding party coverings, a glass marquee. This one costs £300,000.

Other commentators have contradicted these estimates, saying the couple would never spend that much and they prefer a more understated affair. What counts as understated, you might ask? Well more like £60,000 for the dress.

Hey, I get that they are getting way more attention than me – this is a public, historic event – and the spending should reflect this. Meg’s got to look the part – I wouldn’t expect her to come out to a hundred cameras in something bought off eBay, whereas I, with only 100 day guests and 30 in the evening to impress, could probably just about get away with it. Nor would I begrudge the Queen a sausage roll… and why shouldn’t party goers see themselves reflected in the walls of their dancing venue?

But let’s not pretend it’s understated. That would suggest some awareness of relative value and of some kind of budget (I doubt the couple spent hours agonising over their wedding spreadsheet).

And Meghan and Harry, allow me to give you some advice on paying for stuff in the future, as it’s probably a bit late now to quibble: the price you are told is not always the price you have to pay, especially in your case. You are the royal family – you could easily haggle your way to 10 per cent off if you tried.

For the rest of us who actually have to pay for our own things, a little budgeting goes a long way – and if you are ever in doubt about what the normal price for things is, take a look at Moneysavingexpert.com or Mumsnet, where legions of posters will happily tell you what’s an acceptable amount to pay for stuff.

I’d love to see Meghan and Harry really embrace this idea of being “understated royals” to its fullest. They could blaze a trail as the most frugal royals ever, picking fruit from their own allotment, making do and mend and turning the thermostat down? Not quite the image we have of royalty, granted, but it would certainly show refreshing self-awareness.

I’ll be scrimping again once my wedding is out the way. I’d love to see Meghan and Harry doing the same. Unfortunately for them (and us poor taxpayers), people will be seeing them coming for the rest of their lives, not just for their wedding day.

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