smart spending

7 magnificently pricey celebrity weddings

Sir Elton John and David Furnish
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Sir Elton John and David Furnish

Date: Dec. 21, 2005

Where held: Windsor Guildhall, Windsor, England

Number of guests: 700; the streets were lined with well-wishers

Cost: $1.75 million

It's a little bit funny, but the second biggest British wedding sensation of this century wasn't technically a wedding at all but the civil union between rock icon Elton John and his partner of 12 years, Canadian filmmaker David Furnish.

On the first day that same-sex civil unions were recognized in England and Wales, the couple formalized their relationship before a handful of family at Windsor Guildhall, the same location where Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles had tied the knot eight months earlier. While the civil unions grant couples new rights in areas such as employment, pension and inheritance, they're not officially regarded as marriage under U.K. laws.

But that didn't stop the happy couple from rocking the old sod with one of the largest wedding receptions in recent memory, held in two giant white tents on the grounds of Elton's mansion near Windsor. Lamb topped the menu, and vintage pink champagne flowed for the 700 guests, including Victoria Beckham, George Michael, Donatella Versace, Sting and Trudie Styler, Hugh Grant, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne and Naomi Campbell.

Souza applauds Sir Elton's "frugality" for throwing a big bash at home.

"Even in 2005, $1.75 million for the reception for 700 people, that's $2,500 per person. We've spent upward of $4,400 per person for 300 guests. On a scale of a celebrity wedding, that's inexpensive," she says. "And being at home, the grounds were already secured."


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