Valentines’s Day was last month and if you and your significant other got engaged, then I congratulate you. I remember my wedding day like it was yesterday (okay maybe not every detail), but I do remember that planning was stressful at times. I’m a pretty relaxed person, but a lot of planning goes into a wedding and there’s also a lot of expenses that will keep even the calmest person awake at night.
The estimated cost of a wedding in Canada is $31,685 with an average guest size of 128, this according to a report done by weddingbells.ca in 2014. If your heart skipped a beat there, you’re not alone; wedding costs are expensive and they only seem to increase every year. The good thing is that there are quite a few ways to save money on your wedding, and it won’t require you to sacrifice too much on your big day.
It might be too late if the proposal has already happened, but the cost of rings are insane if you’re buying at a name brand store. Instead, go to a jeweler who can make you a custom ring – you’d be surprised how many people offer this service. The best advantage of purchasing a custom ring is that you can choose the materials including the size of diamond, so you can create a ring that fits your budget. If you need some inspiration check out Blue Nile.
The second-hand wedding dress business has become huge online. There’s a ton of sites out there offering massively discounted dresses that have only been for in theory one day. You can also buy dresses off the rack at a deep discount, you just need to make sure it’s close enough to your size so you can get it altered.
The cost of flowers can be pretty reasonable if you’re smart about it. Boutiques that specialize in wedding flowers will always charge more, so will ones that are in the nicer areas of town. If you purchase from a wholesaler they’ll most likely give you a much better price. You also want to pick flowers that are in season locally since they’ll be much cheaper than importing them.
When we were looking for a DJ, I could not believe what some of them were charging. The majority of DJ’s that specialized in weddings had packages started at $2K. They would try to sell us on how it would be a giant party and how they had fancy lights, but I found that to be excessive. There are a lot of good freelance DJ’s out there with wedding experience at a fraction of the price.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a hall, photographer, or caterer, be sure to shop around and to meet with at least 3 of each type of vendor in person to see if they’re the right fit for you.
Don’t be excessive
You can save money on your wedding by not being excessive. Do you really need a wedding video, chocolate fondue fountain, and paid entertainment? I also find it odd that some soon to be bride and grooms buy each other expensive wedding presents. Is that really necessary?
Get everything in writing
One thing that drove me nuts when I was planning my wedding was all the costs that you think are included in quotes but never are. Many halls and vendors I spoke would say that could do certain things and implied it was included in the price, however when it came to signing the contract everything seemed to be extra costs. Negotiate everything into your contract and get it in writing.
Wedding invitations can easily cost $6+ each, it may not sound like a lot but it certainly adds up. You can save money on your wedding by ordering pre-designed cards or by sending out e-invitations. Alternatively, you can also have a friend design the cards for you and just take them to a printer.
Limit your guest list
At the beginning, I wanted to invite everyone I knew, but I quickly realized that the costs would be a bit excessive. You could argue that guests will usually “pay for themselves” with their gifts, but that’s only relevant if they’re giving a cash gift. Plus wedding costs keep going up and there are other costs when you have a big party, so there’s never a guarantee that you’ll break even.
This may sound a bit weird, but destination weddings are pretty inexpensive. When you book a wedding at a resort, they’ll usually provide everything for you including your photographer. Your guests will usually pay their own way so all you need to do is worry about your own costs.