My Dream Wedding Would Cost $2.6 Million

Leah Bourne

Dream-Wedding_ArticleI’ll be the first to admit it—I’m a cliché. Like a lot of women I have been planning my dream wedding, in my head, since I was a little girl. Admittedly, it has evolved a bit as I’ve gotten older. When I was ten, for instance, I wanted nothing more than to have the Backstreet Boys perform and to wear a princess dress like the one in Father of the Bride. At fifteen, I wanted a destination wedding in the Maldvies. Now, I want to make sure that there is enough Dom Pérignon on hand to drink the night away, and I most definitely have my sights set on wearing Chanel Haute Couture.
With the basic logistics in mind—a New York City wedding, on a Saturday night, for 200 of my nearest and dearest, that will last around eight hours—I set out to see just how much my dream wedding would cost to put on (never mind that I don’t have a serious romantic prospect at the moment). You hear about celebrities spending crazy sums on their weddings all of the time—like Sean Parker’s recent wedding which cost an estimated $10 million. And like me, you probably find yourself muttering, “How the hell are they racking up that kind of a bill on a one night party?” I came to find out, it is not as hard as you might think.
The Dress

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First order of business? The dress. There is no question that I want to be married in Chanel Haute Couture. I once accosted Karl Lagerfeld about this at a party (yes, I am that shameless) and found out a lot of women feel the same way. Chanel Haute Couture starts at $30,000, and the gown I want, the finale look from the fall 2012 collection (pictured above), will set me back $125,000. I’m off to a good start. Naturally, I am going to need Manolo Blahniks to go along with the dress, and wanting to keep the jewelry simple, I opt for Tiffany 4-carat diamond earrings to complete my wedding look. That adds another $165,000 to the bill.
Considering that the trend du jour for celebrities these days is to get a second dress for the wedding after-party, I am naturally going to follow suit. I figure an Elie Saab Haute Couture beaded cocktail frock would be the perfect look to dance the night away in. Of course, the privilege of wearing Elie Saab is going to cost me—to the tune of $45,000.
Lastly, I figure if I am spending all of this money on my wedding ensembles, my imaginary groom should look good too. A classic Brioni tuxedo will run just under $7,000. Italian wool does not come cheap.
The Venue

The Garden at The Frick Collection

If there is one place that I have always dreamed of getting married in, it is the Frick (pictured above). The neo-Greek building, constructed in 1912, was once a private home and is now a museum, and it epitomizes Upper East Side refinement. Plus, who can resist the idea of getting married next to a Vermeer, that must be good luck right? A little research and I find out that to secure the Frick for a coveted Saturday evening party requires a donation of $45,000 and some extra costs for security. The bonus is that apparently brides are allowed to get dressed on the second floor of the mansion, which is normally roped off to the public.
Food and Drink
While a lot of wedding venue fees include the food, I am still at square one in that department after reserving the Frick. Feast & Fêtes, famed chef Daniel Boulud’s catering company, creates the kind of menus and wine pairings that will fit my Upper East Side dream wedding perfectly. A three-course menu that includes lobster and black trumpet mushrooms runs $300 per head.

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There is really only one name as far as I am concerned when it comes to the wedding cake—and that is Sylvia Weinstock. Her cakes can cost up to $65,000 and she even holds the world record for the most expensive wedding cake in history (it cost almost $165,000). Personally, I am not a fan of cakes that look too elaborate to eat, and settle on a butter cream cake featuring Weinstock’s signature flowers (pictured above). At $10,000, one part of me is hoping that the cake is secretly made of solid gold. The bridezilla side of me doesn’t want to consider anything less than the Rolls Royce of wedding cakes.
And while I will of course have a top-shelf open bar at the event, I figure why not throw my favorite vintage of Dom Pérignon into the mix. 100 bottles of Dom Pérignon 1994 will set me back $16,000.

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I sought out the advice of Jessy Wolvek at Fleurs (she trained in floral design in Japan) to see how much my dream floral arrangements would cost. I’m envisioning long tables, candles, and a mix of small floral arrangements featuring white ranunculi, white sweet peas, polo roses, spider dalias, and jasmine. Between flowers for the ceremony, the reception, and the after-party, I am looking at a $65,000 flower and candle bill.
I have been to enough weddings at this point to know that I absolutely don’t want a band playing Lady Gaga and Britney Spears cover songs (and badly at that). If Kim Kardashian can have Robin Thicke perform at her wedding and Blake Lively can have Florence Welch as her entertainment, why can’t I actually have Rihanna perform? The going rate for a private Rihanna performance these days is a cool $2 million. And that’s only going to get me a couple of songs from the star, so I am going to need to hire a DJ too.
The Extras
Of course, there are plenty of extras to add in—hand engraved wedding invitations, servers and bartenders, a hair and makeup team, and wedding photographers. A wedding planner friend of mine advised me to add at least 35 percent to the budget to get an accurate read of what I will actually end up spending. It always ends up costing more than you think it will, she reiterated. I stuck with the basics when assessing the damage, only to discover that I racked up a bill of over $2.6 million.
My Dream Wedding Cost Breakdown:
Dempsey & Carolll Invitations—$4,770
The Frick Rental Fee—$55,000
Three-Course Sit Down Dinner For 200—$60,000
Sylvia Weinstock Wedding Cake—$10,000
Eight-Hour Open Bar Featuring Dom Perignon 2004—$29,190
Flowers and Candles—$65,000
Private Rihanna Concert—$2 Million
Eight-Hour DJ—$15,000
Chanel Haute Couture Wedding Gown—$125,000
Manolo Blahnik Swan Pumps—$1,295
Tiffany Legacy Diamond Earrings—$165,000
Elie Saab Haute Couture Cocktail Dress—$45,000
Brioni Tuxudo—$7,000
Christian Oth Photography—$10,000
Hair and Makeup Team—$2,000
Total Cost: $2,594,255