How Kim Kardashian’s Wedding To Kris Humphries Changed Our Perception Of The Kardashians Forever

It’s hard to recall a period where the Kardashians didn’t have the ability to dominate global headlines, but it was this wedding that truly established the family as the media heavyweights they are today.

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Over the last 14 years, the Kardashians have dominated pop culture and built a brand worth $2 billion, but many of their biggest career successes stemmed from scandal.

Each week, we take a look back at how the family’s most ~kontroversial~ moments have defined their lives and their empire. This week, we’re looking at how Kim’s wedding to Kris Humphries transformed the family into the media heavyweights they are today...

“Will you marry me?” Kris Humphries asked, extending an open jewelry box toward Kim. “Oh my god,” she responded, her eyes landing on the $2 million, 20-carat diamond. “Yes!”

Kris kneels on a rug in front of rose petals spelling out the words "will you marry me?"

The proposal would later attract controversy over Humphries’ claims that it was staged and reshot because Kim was unhappy with her initial reaction.

But at the time, the protagonist of KUWTK getting engaged was the show’s biggest storyline to date and attracted the entire world’s attention.

The wedding planning was completely wild. The engagement ring alone was so valuable, it had to be transported cross-country in an armored truck.

The gift registry totaled almost $200,000, and Kris Jenner even underwent a “transcendental, life-changing” facelift four weeks ahead of the nuptials to ensure she looked her best.

When Kris Jenner wasn’t undergoing invasive surgery, the momager was hustling, using this monumental occasion to secure their most lucrative business deals to date.

Rights to the images of the proposal, bachelorette party, wedding, and honeymoon were sold to three different publications; she secured celebratory nightclub and TV appearances for her daughter, and the broadcast rights were signed over to E!, which landed a two-part extended special.

In deals totaling over $3 million, Jenner ensured every possible facet of the wedding was monetized and publicized, establishing the ubiquity that’s defined the Kardashians’ fame and cultural power ever since.

It’s hard to recall a period where the Kardashians weren’t at the center of the celebrity industrial gossip complex, with the ability to dominate global gossip headlines for weeks at a time. But this wedding — with the brand extensions, publicity, and storylines it generated — truly established them as the media heavyweights they are today.

With 500 guests, $40,000 worth of diamonds, and three bespoke Vera Wang wedding dresses, the day itself was also the family’s first foray into becoming larger-than-life entities, using ostentatious displays of wealth to attract the attention of the masses.

And it worked. The wedding secured coverage across celebrity gossip websites as well as mainstream media, with NBC, ABC, and CNN covering the nuptials.

People magazine, which published the photos, sold 1.5 million copies. And the E! wedding specials attracted a combined audience of 10.5 million viewers, marking the most-watched day in the network’s history.

Little did we know that the newlyweds would stoke even more drama — and media attention — just 72 days later...

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