What is the Average Cost of a Wedding in Canada?
Congratulations, you're getting married! But now you've got to plan the damn thing. If you're looking to get married in Canada, the first thing you need to figure out is your budget and what you've got to work with. From the big costs to the smaller items, everything adds up but with the right financial planning, you'll be able to make your big day perfect.
A poll conducted for Global News found that Canadians believe a realistic price tag for a wedding should be just under $9,000. But Jodi Gagné, wedding planner and founder of Simply Perfect, believes that's a serious low-ball for a 2018 wedding in Canada.
"You can do a cheaper wedding, but then you're going to the Justice of the Peace or it's a smaller group," says Gagné. "The best way you can manipulate your budget is by manipulating your guest count."
A more realistic number? $40,000 to $50,000. That's based on 100 guests at $200 a person. A bit of a blow to the bank account? Maybe. But realistic nonetheless.
Read on for a breakdown of the average cost in Canada for what you can expect. Keep in mind, Gagné works out of Toronto, and while you may find similar costs in other popular metropolitan areas like Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary, the costs will differ slightly from province to province.
Wedding plannerAverage cost in Canada: $3,500
The range is broad, says Gagné, and depends on whether you're going with a wedding planner day of, or full planning.
"If it's management coordination for the day of, you're looking at a starting cost of $2,000," explains Gagné. "Because it's not just about having someone come up on the day, it's building a relationship with them prior to so that they can execute. They have to have an instant knowledge of the details that the couple has planned so they can bring the event to the next level. It becomes an extension of the couple on the wedding day and execute it on their behalf." Expect to pay $2,000 for that.
As far as full planning, Gagné tells her clients to pay no more than 12 per cent to 15 per cent. So for a $50,000 budget, don't go over $7,500.
And why wouldn't you enlist a planner? They'll ensure that no major issues happen, like these shocking celebrity wedding day mishaps.
Wedding venueAverage cost in Canada: $22,500
"There are people who can say you can do a wedding for $20,000 to $25,000 but if you're in the downtown core of a major city, you're not in a banquet hall, you're at a venue where you have to bring everything in, so that goes much higher," says Gagné. "Rule of thumb is the venue, food, bar and staffing costs is about 50 per cent of your overall budget so if you have 100 guests and it's $200 a person, that alone is $20,000." Also, if it's not factored into the cost, renting upgraded linens like napkins and tablecloths could also run you about $1,200.
For inspiration, check out these breathtaking Canadian wedding venues.
Wedding cakeAverage cost in Canada: $600
"For 100 people, you can get away with $600 for a nice two- or three-tier cake," says Gagné.
A money-saving option? Make your own. Check out these homemade wedding cake recipes for starters.
BridalwearAverage cost in Canada: $2,000
"The gown, veil, accessories, all that stuff, that is your wild card," laughs Gagné. "I would average about $2,000." But depending on the bride, that can easily skyrocket.
It might very well be the most expensive item of clothing a woman buys in her lifetime (and worn for the shortest amount of time), which might be why some brides are looking at more practical options. It helps that popular brands like H&M and J.Crew have entered the gown game.
Men's formalwearAverage cost in Canada: $400 (rental); $800 (purchase)
A lot of men nowadays have invested in a good quality suit, something every gentleman needs in their wardrobe, insists Gagné. "That can range from $800 and up, or there's always the opportunity to rent a tux, which is obviously a lot less, anywhere from $350, $400."
Hair and makeupAverage cost in Canada: $500
Assuming the bride is only taking care of herself and not paying for her party, Gagné says it can start at $400 "but that should include a trial."
You can't go wrong with this wedding makeup look.
Wedding ringsAverage cost in Canada: $1,200
"This one varies as it all depends on the bride and groom's preference," says Gagné. There are those who can find what they're looking for on Etsy, or get matching tattoos, "but a good starting cost is $600 each."
And keep in mind, this doesn't even count the engagement ring.
Wedding ceremony musicAverage cost in Canada: $600
Now this is different than a DJ. "Your ceremony and cocktails could use a live element; a lot of couples really appreciate that special touch." Gagné believes $600 could get you a duo or trio.
To help kickstart your wedding song picks, we found 25 celebrity first dance songs to inspire your own.
Florist/decorAverage cost in Canada: $3,000
"Flowers would be the personal flowers, the flowers for the reception, the centrepieces and accent pieces," says Gagné, adding the wedding reception decor is included in this as well.
Wedding favoursAverage cost in Canada: $450
Gagné suggests budgeting $4 to $5 a person. Hopefully you'll pick something special your guests will appreciate.
Wedding stationeryAverage cost in Canada: $2,000
Sounds steep but there's more than just the invites to think of here. "That'll be your invitations, RSVP cards, hotel cards, maps, ceremony programs and menu cards," Gagné sums up. "You can get a nice custom feel without breaking the bank."
Wedding photographerAverage cost in Canada: $4,500
"There are a million photographers out there that have various bills that they feel they need to consider," says Gagné. "They may have a full-time job and they're doing this on the side and it's a creative outlet for them. Then there are others who have had intensive training, they do this full time and they're definitely artists."
She believes a photographer can start at about $3,500 "but that depends on how many hours they work, whether you want an album; then the price will just go up."
Just hope some of the more camera-happy guests stay out of their way.
Wedding videographerAverage cost in Canada: $2,750
If you're on the fence about getting one, Gagné says "do it" but warns that you should ensure you have the funds to do it."You can be safe with $2,500 to $3,000, that's reasonable. There are some companies that offer photo and video but you definitely need two bodies to do the work."
Wedding transportationAverage cost in Canada: $600
Like with everything else, it all depends on your needs, whether you "need a Navigator or a 14-passenger, then you're looking at $1,000 for five, six hours," said Gagné. "But if you only need a Town Car, then it's less. And of course there are couples who want a Rolls Royce." Best bet? "Assume there's three hours worth of driving and budget for $200 an hour." A venue for both your ceremony and reception can save on this.
Wedding night accommodationsAverage cost in Canada: $400
Factor in about 1 per cent, so $400 if you're working with a $40,000 budget. And it's totally worth it -- for your own sanity.
"Invest in actually staying at a hotel the night of your wedding because that allows for that evening to last a little bit longer as opposed to going home and seeing the dishes and seeing all the evidence of wedding planning and, 'You know what, honey, I'll meet you upstairs, I'm going to clean up real quick,'" laughs Gagné. "Extend that surreal experience of just being married."
Honeymoon"It honestly depends on where you decide to go and what time of year but the thing is, there is nothing saying you couldn't have a honeymoon that was closer to home," says Gagné. "This is where some couples end up falling prey to Instagram and other people's stories. With a dream honeymoon, it can be two nights at your hotel after your wedding. It could be anywhere from a couple that wants to unplug for a weekend, and that could be $500. But you can also do a $25,000 Sandals resort with butler service for two weeks in the Caribbean."
See how much things have changed since the last time we covered how much the average Canadian wedding actually cost.