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How Much Does the Average Canadian Wedding Actually Cost?

Couple holding their wedding bands in wedding attire
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Is that the sound of wedding bells? Nope – just wedding bills. And until you’ve signed off on them, those wedding bells will have to wait.

So just what’s the going price for the wedding bells (and the financial blues that come with them) these days? Go ahead, guess. $5,000? $10,000? You’re likely pegging the number somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000, right?

The troubling reality
How do we know that? Because, like you, many other Canadians expecting to get married at some point in their lives expect their wedding costs will soar to an average of $18,150, according to a recent BMO InvestorLine study.

However, here’s where it might be appropriate to burst out the violin and lotion-infused tissues: Nearly 40 percent of respondents indicated they didn’t believe they’d be able to afford their wedding. More troubling, that original $18,000 estimate doesn’t come close to reflecting the reality of wedding costs.

Newlywed and headed for the red
Soon-to-be-wed and recently married couples peg their guesses a little closer to the true mark. In a survey of 2,309 Canadians, couples nearing or just coming away from the big day indicated they believed the average expected cost of a Canadian wedding should ring in at around $22,429 – or $27,899 with a honeymoon.

We hate to be the bearers of bad news – particularly when the only bearer you’re seeking is the one holding the rings – but it seems that figure is still a far cry from actual wedding costs, which means many couples could still be in the dark over wedding budgets.

The true tally…
The actual average cost of a Canadian wedding is…wait for it… $31,110, honeymoon included. Don’t freak out. Take a deep breath. Pour yourself a drink and get yourself together. There’s still time to shed costs before the big day.

Here’s how it breaks down…

  • The wedding venue (including catering) eats up a third of the budget, at $9,225
  • The honeymoon accounts for about a sixth of the final tally, at $5,470
  • The rings and bands ring in at $2,470
  • The photographer snaps up $2,206
  • The gown costs $1,847
  • The decorations and floral arrangements balloon to $1,343
  • The live entertainment comes out to $1,247
  • The transportation and limo tolls in at $753
  • The cake eats up $584
  • Jewelry costs come out to $483
  • The hair and makeup takes a $467 cut
  • Party favors demand $452
  • Bridesmaids’ gowns use up $428
  • The invites, programs, and other stationary needs draw out $384

But who’s going to cover all those costs? Remember the BMO InvestorLine survey we looked at earlier? It had some other interesting findings pertaining to how couples intend to finance the big day.

Something borrowed
Respondents indicated an intention to cover 60 percent of their costs by drawing on funds from investments and other savings. They’ll look to parents for 13 percent of the costs, credit card companies for another 13 percent, and gifts and donations from friends for 5 percent of the costs.

But then again – these are the same folks who underestimated costs by nearly $15,000.

Lest you find yourself scraping the bottom of the barrel to cover expenses, look for places to eliminate costs. Don’t bother with party favors (about 70 percent of them are left behind any way). Ask friends to supply services in lieu of wedding gifts wherever possible (didn’t your brother once play in a high-school cover band?). Only buy in-season flowers (or scrap traditional floral arrangements altogether to keep things frugal). Or try these tips from a fellow bride.

Before you walk down the aisle
Remember, at the end of the big day, your guests are there to celebrate your coming-together. You’re there to start your life together. Walk in with the right expectations, and you just might start that life on the right financial footing.

new-gg-logoby Golden Girl Finance A leader in financial digital media, Golden Girl Finance is the modern woman’s guide to finance, making the discussion of finance real, relevant and relatable – and shockingly entertaining.


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