Sultan of Brunei's Daughter's Wedding May Cost $20 Million, is Going on for a Week
Possibly the most lavish wedding the world has ever seen happened Friday, in Brunei, where the Sultan's daughter Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah, 32, married a 29-year-old civil servant. The ongoing week-long celebration is estimated to involve 2,000 guests and will end this Sunday night when the newlyweds are presented at court. The ceremony itself, according to the UK paper The Daily Mail, took place in the Istana Nurul Iman Palace, a 1,700 room palace that's home to the Sultan and his family. The princess's older brother, heir to the throne of Brunei, married in 2004 at a speculated cost of $5 million, reports say, but wedding planner Maya Kalman, founder of Swank Productions in New York City confirmed Yahoo! Shine's suspicion that this wedding might cost much more than that. "The rule of thumb for our average luxury wedding is $1,000 per guest," Kalman says. "I would guesstimate that a no-holds-barred event like this could easily be $15 to $20 million." Those figures include only wedding itself. Additional celebrations throughout the week could be an additional $15 to $20 million, Kalman speculates. --Valerie Isakova
In this photo, Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah attends a ceremony ahead of the wedding. In Muslim countries like Brunei, "A wedding is a reflection of your family, culture and values," says Saukok Tiampo, founder of the 57Grand line of bridal wear and editor-in-chief of Revel-Blog.com. "It's different from an American wedding, which reflects more on yourselves and your love for each other." The princess is the fifth child of the Sultan and his wife, Queen Saleha.
The cost of clothing for such a series of events is enormous. Here, the groom, Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini, wears a formal outfit that Tiampo says "cost $10,000, off-the-cuff." The fabric, she says, appears to be pineapple fiber woven with golden thread. "The pineapple fibers are a bit sheer," she says, "and in warmer climates people want to wear something that's cool but formal. With the gold thread it would be in the hundreds of dollars a yard."
The Sultan and his wife look happy. With 12 children from three wives and at least one already married, the Sultan, 66, may be looking forward to a day when he'll be done hosting weddings. This week's affair, despite being by no means budget, did away with a traditional procession through the capital in an open gilded Rolls Royce that was costly in terms of crowd control and security.
The princess's dress in this photo, Tiampo says, could cost around $20,000. Considering that the bride will change outfits around three times a day during the week of ceremonies, that could be up to $420,000 in wardrobe. This dress uses around 20 yards of custom, elaborately beaded lace. The lace alone would cost between $100 and $200 a yard and the fabric appears to be custom dyed. The tulle veil and tiara (presumably property of Brunei) are not traditional, and show a Western, modern influence.
See all those guests? They're "a huge planning challenge to move around," Kalman said. Heads of state do not ride shuttle busses. If you needed only 1 car for every four guests, at a typical rate of $200 a car, it would be $100,000 in cars alone per event. The Sultan also might be sending private planes for important guests, which can cost about $10,000 per person.
Muslim weddings require many different ceremonies throughout the week, event-planner Kalman says. In the one pictured here, Brunei's Queen, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, applies ceremonial paste to Princess Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah's hands. Price for additional events? Another $15 to $20 million.
It's not all expenditures for a wedding in Brunei, however. This picture shows a ceremony in the Throne Hall, where the wedding was held today. Kalman notes that it does not appear to be traditional to use flowers--there aren't any in any of the photos--(a big expense for American weddings) and that "They're going to save a lot of money on alchohol! It's going to be a dry wedding!"
image and article credit: http://shine.yahoo.com/photos/sultan-bruneis-daughters-wedding-might-slideshow/-photo-2509746-185100946.html