My wedding is too expensive!

You know, I don't like to think of myself as cheap, but sometimes I think I would use a tea bag twice if I thought there was flavour still left in it. I don't like to pay more than I have to and if I can get something for free, I will!

I won't necessarily purchase the cheapest product, but I do like to receive good value for my money and that sometimes means getting the best quality I can for the least amount of money. There's nothing wrong with that.

When it comes to weddings, things can get expensive very quickly. Take a deep breath and sit down - surveys have indicated that the average cost of a wedding in Canada (including ring and honeymoon) is just north of $30,000!

From a BMO survey, here’s how it breaks down…

$9,500 - Venue
$6,000 - Honeymoon
$2,500 - Rings and bands
$2,200 - Photographer
$2,000 - Wedding Gown
$1,500 - Decorations and flowers
$1,500 - Live Entertainment
$   800 - Limo and transportation
$   500 - Cake
$   500 - Jewelry
$   500 - Hair and Makeup
$   450 - Party Favours
$   450 - Bridesmaids' gowns
$   400 - Invitations and other stationary

Grand Total: $28,800

Before you drop to the floor or run out to rob a bank, let's take a look at some ways you can save some money and bring those costs down.


Consider booking your wedding on an off day. Week days and Sundays tend to be less expensive than booking on a Saturday as business is slower. Booking on a week day may also reduce your guest list as only those who really want to be there will take the time off to attend - unless they just want an excuse to get out of work for the day.


Plan your wedding around the vacation seasons. Picking a low season for travel will not only save you costs on your honeymoon, but the crowds will be thinner when you are there and you can enjoy some quiet time together as you start your new life.


This is something you will wear forever, right? Not necessarily. If your engagement ring is too expensive, will you be comfortable wearing it all the time? Talk with your fiance about the ring - maybe something very nice but less expensive will mean more. Perhaps a gem other than a diamond will hold more meaning to you - the birth stone of a favorite grandparent for example.

Bands can be simple and plain. The meaning is just the same - binding for eternity. At a date in the future, when finances allow, you could consider replacing them with something nicer and use the opportunity to renew your commitment to each other. (The wedding band I wear is not the one that was placed on my finger at our wedding - that is stored away safely. This one is a little nicer and the meaning is still the same).


The photographer costs less than 10% of the wedding cost. That might sound like a lot, but consider that your photographs may be all you have to show for the wedding 20 years from now. Many photographers will charge less to provide you with the digital files. Add on books and prints are nice, but don't have to be purchased right away. You can take time to put together your own wedding album at a later date.

A word of caution: It is very easy to let those digital files get lost in all of your other photos. Either take some time to print the ones you love, and display them, or have your photographer do it for you. You will value those prints more and they will be much more meaningful to you as the years pass.

If you receive digital files, make sure your photographer keeps a backup that will be around in a dozen years so that you can retrieve them again if you need to.


Choose a wedding dress that is you - don't be caught up in the latest style. Styles change and what looks like the hottest thing today will severely date your wedding by being out of style in just a year or two. A dress that expresses who you are will not only be more meaningful, but will likely be less costly as well. When people look back on it, they will be less likely to say it is dated and more likely to say that is all you!


Look for flowers that are in season at the time of your wedding. They will be less expensive and will match the season much better. If the flowers you like are out of season, consider using artificial which - depending on the cost of live flowers in their off season - might be less expensive.

Find some family that is willing to help out - to come early and stay late to decorate your reception hall. This can reduce the cost of having a decorating company do it. In a lot of cases they can rent you the decorations and you can set them up. Just be sure you trust the family members so that nothing gets broken or the damage fee might be more than your savings.


Consider what kind of entertainment you like. Are you a party person? Hire a DJ. If you prefer "praise and worship", perhaps your church praise and worship band would be your best choice. Perhaps you have a friend who's band would love the opportunity to perform live at your wedding. You can provide them an opportunity to perform and support some local talent. 

If you choose to use an iPad though, be aware that there are copyright laws that prohibit your use of music in a context such as a wedding.


Share some of your own tips. I'd love to hear how you saved some money on your wedding without loosing the value!


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