So, you’re starting to plan and you want to know what the average cost of a wedding in British Columbia is. Well, according to WeddingWire, the average cost of a Canadian wedding is $28,000. However, in my experience, weddings in Vancouver typically land in the $50,000 to $100,000 range.
If, however, you’d like to know how you can still have the wedding of your dreams without spending 50-100k, keep reading.
My advice to couples is to figure out how much you can actually afford to spend on your wedding, preferably without going into any debt. Just because the average cost of wedding in British Columbia is 50-100k doesn’t mean you have to spend that much. Do you have the money put aside already? Are your parents or family helping out? If you don’t have that money put aside, consider how much debt you want to be in and for how long. It might be more prudent to wait and save if you don’t have the funds available at the moment.
Once you have the funds saved up, I suggest you subtract 20% from the amount you have and consider this your budgeted amount. The reason for this is your expenses will always be higher than anticipated. Subtracting 20% creates a cushion to help you not go over budget.
How much do you want to spend in each category? This is the moment to prioritize what matters most to you. Below is a list of the most common categories you’ll want to consider, ranked from the most to least expensive. Finding a way to cut expenses at the top of the list without compromising on your priorities will allow you to save the most money and have the wedding of your dreams.
Venues are typically the most expensive categories, many times coming in over 10k. If your venue is not a top priority, you could consider renting an alternative venue not commonly used for weddings, or find a free venue through family or friends. As for catering, you could consider booking a reasonably priced restaurant or finding a group of friends or family willing to take on the responsibility. If you’re interested in Vancouver’s most elegant ballrooms check out this article. And to see an incredible blog post on Vancouver’s best wedding venues check out my Mathias Fast’s post.
Wedding planners and even day of coordinators can get pricy, but in my opinion these wedding professionals are worth their weight in gold. The amount of time and energy they’ll save you cannot be quantified.
This is my passion, and for me, photography and videography are the most important categories on this list. This will be the only record of your wedding, so in my opinion, this category should not be compromised on.
Stationery and invitations can easily be shifted to online invitations. Doing it all online will actually make the planning much easier.
Men will most likely wear their wedding suits again, but women probably won’t ever wear their wedding dresses after the wedding. You could consider buying used or renting your dress. Or, perhaps someone in the family still has their wedding dress. Alterations cost a lot less than buying new.
Hair and makeup, in my opinion, is overrated. Yes, obviously you want to look good in your wedding photos, but the number of times I’ve seen brides after the makeup is done and just thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of makeup,” cannot be understated. Realistically, I think most brides could easily get by with having a bridesmaid do their hair and makeup.
I love décor as much as the next person, but the reality is this is a category that can get out of hand very quickly. Just take time to consider if you really want each item. Remember, you are renting it. You don’t get to keep it after the wedding. Chances are you will be too distracted on the day to even notice it anyway. So, do you need it? You’re allowed to keep things minimalistic and save that money.
Cakes can be expensibe, but they’re not going to be the thing that puts you over budget. If a cake is important to you, then I say go all out.
When it comes to music at your wedding, there are a lot of options. It really depends on the mood you are going for. I’m personally not a fan of DJs and prefer live musicians. If you decide to go with live musicians, you will have more choices of genre and instrumentation, and you’ll probably end up spending less than you would on a DJ.
Transportation does not need to fall on the couple. Unless you’re getting married on an island, I think it’s reasonable to expect your guests to find their way to your wedding.
Keep this simple. Handwritten notes are beautiful and timeless.
As a final point, you could also consider having a smaller wedding – The fewer people on your guest list, the less money you will spend on many of the above categories. In fact, not having a wedding at all might be the best, and possibly the most romantic option. How much would it cost for you and your partner to elope in Paris over a weekend? Probably less than a wedding for 150 people will cost in Vancouver.
How you spend your money is your own business, but if you’re looking to save money while also creating a spectacular memory, the tips in this article will serve you well. Just remember to prioritize what matters most to you and to cut spending mercilessly on the things that don’t.
If wedding photography and videography are important to you and you appreciate the aesthetic I create in my images, reach out to me. I am based in Vancouver, British Columbia, but I am available to travel worldwide.
Thank you so much for reading,