If you’ve ever thought that only Hollywood celebrities and people from Western countries throw lavish, ridiculously extravagant weddings, think again.
Apparently some of the oil-rich rulers of the Mideast have more money than common sense, as this story of one of history’s most expensive weddings shows.
In a ceremony held in 1981, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum wed his cousin Sheikha Hind Bint Makmout.
This royal wedding was accompanied by a celebration that encompassed the entire city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and lasted for the 30 days preceding the wedding.
To his credit, as part of his wedding celebration Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum rode his horse to every village in Dubai and fed all their inhabitants.
The wedding ceremony itself was held in a specially constructed 20,000-person stadium and lasted an entire week.
The tab for this momentous wedding: $44.5 million dollars.
Of course, this is in 1981 dollars.
If this same ceremony were held today, it would cost a whopping $100 million dollars.
It was so expensive that it was listed for a quarter of a century in The Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Most Expensive Wedding.
However, it has since been superceded by the astronomically expensive 2007 wedding of Amit Bhatia and Vanisha Mittal, the daughter of Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, which cost a whopping $60 million dollars.
Still, I would have to rate building a 20,000-seat stadium just for a wedding as a pretty extravagant gesture, though I guess the residents of Dubai have subsequently gotten a fair amount of use out of it following the marriage ceremony for soccer games, public floggings, executing adulterers and the like.
To be fair, Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai since the death of his older brother in January of 2006, has a reputation for doing things in a big way.
He is trying to transform Dubai into a modern center of commerce and leisure and is personally promoting the construction the Palm Islands, a four billion dollar chain of manmade archipelagos that will house luxury apartments and mansions for the ultra-rich.
He is also building the Burj Dubai, which, when it is completed, will be the tallest structure in the entire world.
Following his first marriage, the Sheikh married a second wife, Princess Haya bint Al-Hussein, who is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, and half-sister to the current monarch of Jordan.
The Sheikh is apparently happily married to his two wives and has sired a total of 16 offspring, including 9 daughters and 7 sons.