When I got married in July 2010, it was a hot a humid day. Like, the kind of day where you sweat in a car, while the AC is pumping at full blast. It was gross. In addition, it rained just as I started to walk down the aisle. I am a (loving) Type A-like personality (so is my husband, Tolga) and we had planned everything down to the T. All but the weather. If you’ve been married, I am sure this story may resonate with you.
Getting married can be one of the biggest financial investments you’ll ever make. You can plan for all kinds of scenarios, but often, it is the budget that is the first to deviate from the plan. You just neeeed those adorable mason jars, filled with twinkle lights and you HAVE to have those beautiful out of season flowers! There is something about weddings that can take the common sense out of most people. It is great and wonderful to have big dreams for your special day, but are you willing to go into debt for it?
For this post, I’ve partnered with the lovely ladies at Calderone Events & Co, a wedding event planning company based in Toronto. I figured, since it’s been almost ten years since my day, it would be best to bring in the experts!
Based on current stats, in 2017, the average cost of a Canadian wedding was just over $42,000. Further research done by BMO showed that couples typically cover 60% of the wedding budget, while parents cover 13% with the remaining amounts going on credit cards, gifts from friends and other sources. So, if you’re looking to get married soon, you’re looking at about saving $25,000 for your wedding. This is a lot of money and building a budget is not only crucial but absolutely necessary.
Where do you begin building a wedding budget? Below, we’re going to cover the five most important things to consider when building your wedding budget:
Step One: Where is the money coming from?
As Calderone Events & Co, recommends, “A good starting point is knowing who is contributing to your wedding. Do either set of parents plan to contribute or are you planning to cover the cost of the entire wedding?” It’s important to know exactly where everyone stands. However, these conversations can be awkward. Perhaps your family aren’t in a financial situation to provide for your wedding BUT they still want to contribute something. That is obviously okay and instead of setting an amount, why not have them pay for something specific, like the cake or flowers? Once you know where you all stand, you can move onto step two.
Step Two: Invest in a budget tracker
When we were budgeting for our wedding, Tolga had an incredibly detailed spreadsheet (if you know Tolga well enough, this should come as no surprise.) Whether it is an Excel spreadsheet, an app or using a wedding websites budget tracker (The Knot and Wedding Wire are sites which Calderone Events & Co recommend), you need to find something to budget and track your spending. If you have hired a wedding planner then they should be able to guide you through the entire budget process. They can provide you with a realistic preview of the average cost and breakdown for all of your vendors.
Step Three: Research, create and invest
Now, you’ve have had the awkward money talks and found a template for your budget.
It’s now time to create the budget. You will want to break down your overall budget into expenses for each component (florals, DJ, food, etc) of your wedding. Make sure you research different vendors as varying price-points and this will help you decide how much you should spend on each component. Through this research, you’ll also see where you want to invest more or less of your budget. Your biggest expense will be food and booze. According to our lovely experts, they said, “Always remember that half of your budget will go to food and beverages; especially with an open bar. So, if you have a budget of $50,000, expect to spend approximately $25,000 on food and the bar.”
Step Four: Decide where you can save costs
Here comes the hard part: deciding where to save on costs. Sure, Pinterest told you the latest trend is x,y,z but that trend may set you back thousands of dollars. Is that really worth it? Now that you have your budget and you know where you want to invest, it should hopefully be easier to say ‘no’ to certain things. One easy way to cut costs is to manage your guest list. Must you invite absolutely everyone in your family, even if you never see them? Maybe you were close to your university drinking buddies 15 years ago, but do they have to be at your wedding? You can also use in-season and local flowers for your bouquets and centrepieces. Another cost-cutting measure is to close the bar at dinner and instead serve wine at the tables. You could also pass on a formal dinner service and opt for family serving style instead. Instead of a massive and expensive wedding cake, why not go for cupcakes or have dessert served with dinner? If it’s not important to your overall vision of your wedding day, then consider a cost-friend version or cut it out altogether.
Step Five: Invest in Photography and Videography
Sure, maybe at the time, asking your cousin to film your first dance on her iPhone was a good idea. But then you see it and…well….it looks like shit. You try and save costs by hiring a friend of a friend who has shot a total of one other wedding. The old adage, “you get what you pay for” is the truth when it comes to your wedding photos. Outside of food and booze, make photography one of your top investments. At the end of the day, your photos and/or videos will be your only memory of your special day. Make sure a poorly pixelated photo isn’t what you have to remember your first dance or first kiss.
All in all, remember to be honest with your partner about your vision for your wedding day. Take both opinions into consideration and make cost-friendly decisions. Spend your money on food, booze and photos. Don’t spend money on out-of-season flowers and overpriced cake. With planning, research and open and honest communication, you should hopefully be able to pay for the wedding of your dreams, without breaking the bank.
A very special thank you to Calderone Co & Events for their amazing insight and suggestions! Make sure to check out their website here. This isn’t an ad or a sponsored post – just someone trying to spread the small-business love. As always, thanks for reading!