Liza Minnelli tops list of costly celeb weddings

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Fairy-tale castles, dozens of flower girls and hundreds of guests: money is no object for celebrities getting hitched. Liza Minnelli and David Gest should know, or perhaps, should have known better.

Liza Minnelli and husband David Gest leave the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, in this file photo from March 16, 2002 after their wedding. Fairy-tale castles, dozens of flower girls and hundreds of guests: money is no object for celebrities getting hitched. Minnelli and Gest should know, or perhaps, should have known better. REUTERS/Mike Segar

The pair, now divorced, top a list of costly celebrity weddings released on Thursday with their lavish 2002 nuptials that cost an estimated $3.5 million. Not far behind were Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, also now divorced, at $3 million.

Following Eva Longoria and Tony Parker’s opulent French wedding, tallied the 20 most expensive celebrity nuptials over the past 20 years. It only considered ceremonies where information was available -- Longoria and Parker’s was not -- and its estimates were not adjusted for inflation.

The average U.S. wedding costs $26,800, according to The Wedding Report, an annual wedding survey. And maybe the celebrity money was well spent because within the top 10, 40 percent of the couples are now divorced, whereas in the U.S. the divorce rate annually hovers around 50 percent.

Following is a list of’s top 10:

1. Liza Minnelli & David Gest - estimate $3.5 million

Entertainer Liza Minnelli wed producer David Gest in March, 2002, in New York City’s Marble Collegiate Church with best man Michael Jackson. Backed by a 60-piece orchestra, Tony Bennett entertained the 500 guests. (The pair divorced the next year.)

2. Paul McCartney & Heather Mills - estimate $3 million

Former Beatle Paul McCartney wed model-turned-activist Heather Mills in June, 2002, at St. Salvador’s Church in Monaghan, Ireland before about 300 guests. The Indian-themed party featured dancers in Indian dress, a vegetarian feast and fireworks. (The pair are in the midst of divorcing.)

3. Elizabeth Hurley & Arun Nayar - estimate $2.5 mln

Model-actress Elizabeth Hurley wed Indian businessman Arun Nayar in March, 2007, in a double ceremony over eight days.

4. Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes - estimate $2 mln

Actors Tom Cruise and Katie married in November, 2006, in Italy’s 15th-century Odescalchi Castle outside Rome.

5. Elizabeth Taylor & Larry Fortensky - estimate $2 mln

Elizabeth Taylor married construction worker Larry Fortensky, 20 years her junior, in October 1991. It was Taylor’s eighth wedding and held at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. (The pair divorced five years later.)

6. Christina Aguilera & Jordan Bratman - estimate $2 mln

Pop star Christina Aguilera wed music executive Jordan Bratman in November, 2005, at Napa Valley’s Staglin Family Vineyard.

7. Elton John & David Furnish - estimate $1.5 mln

Pop star Elton John wed filmmaker David Furnish in December, 2005. The pair exchanged vows and diamond wedding bands at Windsor’s Guildhall then over 600 guests arrived at John’s Windsor country mansion for the reception.

8. Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones - estimate $1.5 mln

Actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones tied the knot in November, 2000, at New York’s Plaza Hotel with guests only allowed in with a hologram-embedded invitation.

9. Tiger Woods & Elin Nordegren - estimate $1.5 million

Golfer Tiger Woods wed Elin Nordegren in October, 2004, in an ultra-secret ceremony at the exclusive Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados. Woods rented the entire hotel.

10. Eddie Murphy & Nicole Mitchell - estimate $1.5 mln

Comedian Eddie Murphy wed model Nicole Mitchell in March, 1993, at New York’s Plaza Hotel before some 500 guests. (The pair divorced in 2006.)