Wedding expenditures have been on the rise for a while. In this article, we will examine how much money a Canadian couple is expected to shell out on their big day.
One of the most exciting days of a person's life is the day they say "I do" at the altar of their wedding. However, rising costs have forced some people to rethink what their special day will look like. Not being able to have the wedding of your dreams can be a devastating realization.
Still, by learning the average cost of a Canadian wedding in 2023, you can adequately set aside money for your ceremony.
What is the overall average wedding cost in Canada?
Based on the latest data aggregated from studies into the cost of weddings worldwide, it was determined that the average cost of a wedding in Canada tends to hover around $30,000.
However, this value is a part of a range, with the low end being closer to $23,000. Factors which can impact this range include whether there is an open bar or alcohol at all, where the wedding celebration takes place, and even the wedding day itself.
The major trends impacting wedding costs
To put into perspective just how much wedding costs have increased in recent years, it's worth looking at historical data.
In just a single decade, the average price of weddings in Canada has doubled despite the average median household income only increasing by around 25%. The main trends blamed for this increase are inflation and general economic conditions.
The driving factors behind high wedding costs
For someone just beginning planning a wedding, having an overarching estimated cost of $30,000 is not extremely helpful. After all, a wedding is an expense with several sub-expenses involved in the overall cost.
Therefore, breaking down the average cost of a wedding by the largest categories can help budding wedding planners think about their day:
The cost of the wedding venue
Starting with what is often the most significant cost associated with a wedding, the venue itself will take up most of the wedding budget for the majority of couples. The only time you would not be expected to pay a hefty price for a wedding venue is if you own the property on which the event is hosted.
Venues can range from classic church weddings to beach weddings and everything in between. Given this variety, the cost associated with renting a venue can vary drastically.
Be aware that the size of a venue typically directly correlates with the number of guests who will attend your wedding. This matters because the greater the number of attendees, the greater the cost to expect.
From a broad standpoint, the average wedding venue in Canada tends to fall between $3,000 to $12,000.
The cost of food
A wedding ceremony is a long-lasting event, and it is often considered bad not to feed your guests some food over the course of the day. Unfortunately, food prices are at all-time highs and catering for a wedding is no exception.
Depending on the menu you select for your special day, the food price will vary, but it is safe to expect an average of around $30-$100 per plate. This means that if you plan on having 100 people attend your wedding, you should allocate about $3000-$10,000 towards food.
The cost of entertainment
Very few weddings involve people standing around and talking for hours after the ceremony and dinner. Most weddings will feature some type of entertainment for the guests to enjoy, whether that be photography by a professional, live musicians, DJs, or something else at the reception.
This is the most variable of all the wedding expenses as the people planning it can go big or stay small. That said, it's safe to assume that the costs could go up to around $5,000, based on the average.
The cost of decorations
One of the other wedding expenses that brides-to-be or grooms-to-be often forget about as they plan their day is decorations. Nobody wants to have their reception in a large, undecorated room, which means this is an unavoidable expense.
The average amount spent on wedding decorations tends to be a couple of thousand dollars, typically not exceeding $3,000. Still, it is also a highly variable cost. To save money on this expense, consider going cheaper and looking on sites like Amazon instead of utilizing boutique wedding stores.
Please note that while the above common expense categories will make up most of the wedding costs, they are not all the costs. For example, engagement rings aren't technically a cost associated with the wedding, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't put aside the average $3,500 they cost. Similarly, there will be person-specific costs related to a wedding, such as a wedding dress, which can cost thousands.
The best way to ensure you have enough money to handle the fees of your big day is to budget for as many potential costs as possible.
Lowering the cost of your wedding: 6 tips to follow
While the average cost associated with a Canadian wedding may be between $23,000 and $30,000, it is important to remember this is an average.
Anybody can lower the cost of their wedding with the right planning, and reducing the cost of your big day means you have funds for other expenses, such as a honeymoon or even something larger, such as a down payment on your first home.
Below are six of the best tips for reducing the cost of your wedding:
Consider an outdoor wedding
One main reason the cost of venues is so high for weddings is that people choose to host their weddings indoors for the reception. Air conditioning, bathrooms, and other factors can all influence the total price of the venue, but having the reception outdoors eliminates some of the costs.
Additionally, a photographer may even be able to get a better picture of you and your significant other if there is natural lighting during the ceremony.
Don't purchase the wedding dress or suit
While holding onto the wedding dress or suit you wore on your special day may be something you plan on doing, think about how often you will utilize or look at it in the future. If you plan on putting it into a drawer and bringing it back out for special occasions, it may simply be better to rent the dress or suit for a far lower cost.
Renting a wedding dress typically tops out at around $400, and suits can be rented for closer to $250, which means you could save potentially $1,000 to be put towards other expenses.
Have an intimate wedding
Most wedding experts will agree that one of the most significant factors in how expensive a wedding will be is how many people attend the reception. Every additional person will come with an added cost, which is something to consider.
While getting wedding gifts from all those people is a tempting proposition, remember that the average food cost is potentially $100 per head, along with additional costs to keep in mind. To cut down on the cost of your special day, consider only inviting those closest to you and your partner such as family, good friends, and anyone else you deem fit to attend.
Think about crowdsourcing your photos or entertainment
Considering the entertainment at your wedding and who should take the photos on your special day, it's easy to turn to the most expensive options due to their notoriety. However, in large areas such as Vancouver, Toronto, or any province in Canada, there are likely talented individuals willing to help.
Turn to your network of friends and family to see if they can reference any talented musicians or photographers who will help out on your wedding day for a far lower cost.
Avoid a five-course menu
The primary reason the number of people attending a wedding raises the cost so much is because a larger venue is required and more food is necessary. While it's considered bad form not to serve any food at an all-day event, such as a wedding, that doesn't mean the food needs to be gourmet.
If you are working with a tight budget, consider cutting down the food menu to just the basics rather than multiple courses. For those on an even stricter budget, just serve heavy appetizers and save your food budget for the cake that everyone can enjoy.
Pick a date during an off-peak time
Finally, another way to cut costs on your wedding is simply to schedule it for an off-peak time. Deciding to put your wedding on a weekday rather than a weekend can significantly affect the cost.
Better yet, look at scheduling your wedding during the months of December through February, as this is most often considered the off-season for wedding professionals worldwide. However, this strategy means certain suppliers may not have the food, decorations, or items you hoped for. A videographer or photographer and entertainment may also be harder to find.
Have a ceremony to remember today
By acknowledging the significant costs that arise with wedding planning in the modern day, any couple can start to set aside enough money to have their special day.
However, you shouldn't force yourself into debt just for a wedding ceremony. Utilize the above tips to find ways to cut costs in your ceremony to make the average wedding cost more affordable for your situation.