Kate's parents plan to spend "six figures" on Royal Wedding

Carole and Michael Middleton outside their home near the village of Bucklebury, England, in November 2010, on the day their daughter's engagement to Prince William was announced. (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/AP)Carole and Michael Middleton outside their home near the village of Bucklebury, England, …Kate Middleton's parents have decided to contribute a "six-figure sum" toward their daughter's Royal wedding expenses, agreeing to shell out at least $160,000 for the celebration.

"It is something they absolutely wanted to do, and William graciously accepted," a senior aide told Vanity Fair.

An average wedding in the United States costs about $30,000, according to The Knot. In comparison, "six figures" sounds like a lot, but when the wedding cake alone could cost about $80,000 (£50,000), the bride's custom-designed dress has a price tag of at least $65,000 (£40,000), and flowers to decorate the Abbey and Buckingham palace could cost upwards of $320,000 (£200,000), $160,000-or even five times that-doesn't take you very far.

Traditionally, the Royal Family picks up the entire tab and, in November, they announced that they would do the same for Will and Kate's wedding, "following the precedents set by the marriages of The Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981 and Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947." When Sophie Rhys-Jones (like Kate, a "commoner") married Prince Edward in 1999, her family did not contribute to their wedding; neither did Sarah Ferguson's when she married Prince Andrew in 1986.

But Carole and Michael Middleton, who own a party planning business called Party Pieces (where Kate used to work), insisted that they wanted to pay for at least a portion of their daughter's big day. The Telegraph reported that they may be paying for the honeymoon or for another specific aspect of the celebration. "We don't expect their contribution to be a percentage of the final bill, which would be quite impersonal," The Telegraph reported.

All told, Will and Kate's wedding is expected to cost more than £20 million, or about $32 million-and that doesn't include the budget for security, public police, road closures, or clean-up. British taxpayers, mired in their own recession, are expected to pick up that part of the bill. (No, they're not happy about it.)

Scotland Yard has not said exactly how much policing and security would cost, but has said it should be comparable to the Pope's visit in 2010. That was about £5 million, they said. Since Will and Kate's wedding day, April 29, was declared a public holiday, officers and other public workers will have to be paid overtime, which could double to cost.

The wedding reception will be held at Buckingham Palace and will be hosted-and paid for-by The Queen.

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