It finally happened. We haven’t solved the economic crisis in America, we still haven’t resolved the unrest in the Middle East and our public school system is still down the tubes. But rest easy because … Kim Kardashian is married! Yes, it’s true — Kim and Kris Humphries, an NBA basketball player, tied the knot on Aug. 20 in Montecito, Calif.

Kris — who so conveniently fits in with the all-‘K’ first initials of the Kardashian family clan — and Kim became engaged after only six months of dating (though they still dated longer than Kim’s sister Khloe, who married Lakers basketball player Lamar Odom after one month). The two-night wedding special E! aired, nostalgically titled “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event,” gave us an inside look at the wedding and, of course, the drama behind the “I Do’s.” But how much did the fairytale spectacle that had us glued to the tube for two nights actually cost?

Thanks to TheHollywoodReporter.com, we know the major expenses. And just take a look at these figures: $2.5 million for the Lorraine Schwartz headpiece Kim wore when walking down the aisle, $5 million for the 28-carat earrings she wore, $200,000 for her wedding band — which includes “15 carats of emerald-cut diamonds” — and $150,000 for her grooming, including hair and makeup. These figures don’t even include the cost of the private estate the newlywed couple rented, the three custom-made Vera Wang gowns Kim wore throughout the night and the catering of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck!

Don’t worry about Bruce Jenner’s wallet being empty after the event, as the Kardashian family had help paying off these costs from the money made off the wedding. Kim was paid to get married … sort of. People magazine spent $1.5 million for exclusive access and licensing fees for photos, according to TheHollywoodReporter.com. The magazine didn’t even feature Kris on the cover, just a solo shot of Kim.

And other people are making money off of her marriage too. E! charged up to $100,000 for ad rates during Kim’s wedding special, which it anticipated would be seen by five million viewers. Call me old fashioned, but isn’t a wedding supposed to be a celebration of love between two people, not a commodity exploited by reality television and gossip magazines? Since when has getting married become a business where people not even working for the wedding can “make money” off the nuptials? Can these extravagant weddings actually lead to what matters the most — a good marriage?

The answer to that question can be found in any gossip magazine on any given week. While we see many celebrities engaging in these lavish ceremonies, we also see an excess of celeb marriages ending in bitter divorces. Take Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, for example. Their July 7, 2007 wedding at a chateau in Paris was estimated around $1.5 million according to People.com. Their divorce? Finalized this January. How about Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony’s wedding? Lopez wore more than $7 million in jewelry at their ceremony in June 2004. After seven years, they called it quits this July.

While I’m not predicting that Kim and Kris’s marriage will end the same way or saying putting a significant amount of money into a wedding will always lead it astray, it’s hard not to make a connection between the two. An exception is Kim’s sister Khloe, who married Lamar in the same lavish fashion with a reality television extravaganza and recently celebrated her one-year anniversary with him. Maybe the big fat reality television wedding can lead to a lasting marriage.

But when and why have weddings become such a commercial spectacle? Why couldn’t Kim and Kris have simply gone down to the courthouse and tied the knot there? Well, anyone who has watched “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” knows the Kardashian family does not do things without effect. The family has a reality show based on the members’ lives, and in order to keep viewers interested they have to go big or go home.

But what does that say about Kim’s marriage? Is it real, or is it all for the sake of the ad price E! can charge on the special, or the money that was paid by People for the rights to the wedding? Even parts of the wedding special were reported by PerezHilton.com to have been scripted. While E! depicted the image of love between Kim and Kris, we won’t know for sure until we see their marriage last. And as a Kardashian fan, I hope Kim and Kris are truly happy. But still, as a follower of celebrity gossip, I’ve seen too many of these over-the-top weddings end in divorce. While the wedding had all the amenities one could think of, let’s hope for Kim and Kris that it had the one key component: love.

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