According to Wedding Wire, the average Canadian wedding costs around $30,000. For many Canadians, that’s a lot of money. But then again – it’s your big day, and the expense is worth it for many couples.
If you’re wondering what the average wedding cost in Canada is and what to expect, then you’re in the right place.
Below, I’ll break down the expenses you’ll have to pay and give you some average numbers so you know what to expect.
Then, I’ll give you a few quick tips to help you save money if you’re trying to be frugal.
Are you ready for your big day?
“Tying the knot” in Canada can often require knots of cash. Unless you’re having a simple, unceremonious courthouse wedding, the costs are going to be just as expensive as if you were throwing a large party or a small concert.
The average wedding cost in Canada is $30,000.
That’s enough money to make a down payment on your first house, buy a brand-new car off the lot, or set up a small business. Many couples have no problem paying for the cost of their wedding.
However, other couples often feel backed into a corner and only go through with the huge wedding to satisfy their friends and families.
Realistically, you can have a simple, small, meaningful wedding for less than $1,000. Micro-weddings have become very trendy, are far less stressful, and allow you to save money to create a better financial foundation for your future.
However, if you want to throw a large party, invite all of your friends and family, then you’ll need to:
- Rent a venue
- Hire entertainment (a band, DJ, etc.)
- Pay for catering (food and drinks)
- Pay for seating arrangements
- Buy or rent decorations
- … and more
Planning a wedding in your head seems incredibly easy. However, planning (and paying for) a wedding in real life is a lot more complex and can often involve some costly expenses.
Many couples who can’t afford the total price of their wedding upfront may opt to finance some or all of their wedding costs. Traditionally, the bride and groom’s parents would pay for wedding expenses.
But these days, newlyweds today tend to be more financially independent than they were a hundred years ago.
Getting a loan for a wedding is certainly possible. You just need to apply for a loan from the bank.
You’ll generally have two options when it comes to getting a wedding loan in Canada:
- Short-term loan (higher payments, higher interest)
- Long-term loan (lower payments, lower interest)
The interest rate you’ll receive on the loan depends on you and your soon-to-be spouse’s income history and credit score. If you’re both in financially solid positions, then it should be easy to get a loan.
However, if you have poor credit, then you might have to resort to a high-interest loan for low or no credit.
Note – I don’t recommend taking out a high-interest no credit loan for weddings. These loans often come with predatory interest rates and can result in you paying back nearly double the amount that you borrowed.
Hollywood makes getting married seem so easy. What most romance movies don’t show you is all of the time, money, and energy that goes into planning and paying for a wedding. It involves a lot more than just paying for a ring.
If you plan on going all-out and throwing a traditional wedding, here are some of the expenses that you’ll need to budget for, as well as the average amount you can expect to pay for each.
- Average Cost: $2,000 to $10,000
- Options: Church, convention centre, event space, hotel, resort
Unless you’re getting married on a piece of private land or property that you own, then you’re going to have to rent a venue for your wedding. This is often one of the most expensive parts of paying for a wedding in Canada.
Luxurious indoor venues can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per night, depending on the size of the event, how many people will be attending, and the location of the venue.
If you’re looking to save money, then an outdoor venue on a large farm or plot of land is usually cheaper.
I’ve even heard of some people renting large homes and hosting their weddings there.
Here are some of the most popular event venues used for weddings:
- Convention centres
- Vacation homes
The size of the event venue that you choose will limit how many people you can invite to your wedding. If you plan on throwing a large wedding, then make sure that you rent an event venue with the capacity to hold all of the guests you plan on inviting.
In accordance with fire codes, most indoor event venues have a limit on how many guests you’re allowed to have. Trust me – you DO NOT want to have to turn away guests from your wedding.
- Average Cost: $50 to $100 per plate, per person
- Options: Local food truck, restaurant, wedding catering company
Let’s be honest – a big reason why everybody enjoys attending weddings is for the free food and drinks. Sitting down with the families and having dinner together at the reception is the part that most attendees look forward to the most.
Catering for a large group of people can be quite expensive, though. Most catering companies charge by the guest and have a set amount that they charge per plate. This applies to the main course, appetizers, and dessert.
It’s not uncommon for a catering company to charge $70 per plate or more. If you multiply this by 50 guests, then you’re looking at a minimum cost of $3500 to cater dinner for your wedding.
If you’re looking to have a more luxurious dinner, then you may want to budget upwards of $100 or more per plate.
Now that the food’s out of the way, there’s the question of drinks.
Many weddings offer an open bar with beer, wine, and even liquor to their guests. You’ll generally pay the drink catering company a set amount, based on how much alcohol you’ll be providing.
Alternatively, you can allow the bartenders to charge for drinks, and just pay them for the catering service (which can save you a lot of money).
- Average Cost: $125 to $1,000
- Options: Local bakery, specialty bakery
Unless you have a family member who’s willing to bake your wedding cake for you, then you’ll need to budget to account for the wedding cake.
On the lower end, wedding cakes can cost between $100 and $125 (for a smaller cake). If you have more guests and need a larger cake, though, then you could end up paying up to $1,000 or more!
I recommend calling several different bakeries in your city to compare quotes.
- Average Cost: $500 to $5,000
- Options: DJ, band, singer
What would a wedding be without music? Hiring entertainment is an essential part of wedding planning. While some opt to hire a simple wedding DJ, others may want to book a band or singer, dancers, or a big-name DJ with a good reputation.
On the low end, you can find some wedding DJs who will play for under $500. However, if you want a more memorable DJ, then you could easily end up paying $1,500 or more for them to perform for the night.
Generally, when you hire more expensive DJs or entertainment groups, they’ll supply their own lighting, speakers, and stage equipment.
However, if you hire a low-budget DJ, you may have to provide some of your own sound and lighting equipment.
- Average Cost: $1,000 to $4,000
- Options: Buy wholesale, wedding catalogue, Amazon
Unless you want to have your wedding in an empty room with bare walls and plain tables, then you’ll need to account for some decorations. For an average wedding, this involves:
- Table cloths
- Chair covers
- Table decorations
- Ceiling fixtures
- Ambient/decorative lighting
- … and more
The cheapest way to get all of this is to order the decorations in bulk from a Chinese supplier like Alibaba.
While these items may take several months to arrive in Canada, you’ll save a ton of money compared to buying the same decorations at your local party supplier.
- Average Cost: $800 to $5,000 each to buy, $100 to $500 to rent
- Options: Local designer, eBay, dress clothing rental company
If you’ve ever seen one of those bridal TV shows like Say Yes To The Dress, then you know – your wedding dress is a big deal. The thing is that wedding dresses don’t come cheap.
A lot of time and effort goes into making the perfect wedding dress, and they can easily cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. The same applies to the tuxedo being worn by the groom.
- Average Cost: $200 to $1,000
- Options: Local event company, venue
Some event venue rentals may offer ample parking for your guests. However, if you’re hosting your wedding in a larger city or a smaller event space, then parking may be limited. Often, you’ll need to rent a nearby parking lot for your guests to park in.
You’ll also need to keep in mind that many of your guests will be in their finest clothes and might not want to walk a kilometre and risk slipping in their heels.
Unless your parking lot is right next to the venue, then you’ll likely need to hire a shuttle to transport your guests in a golf cart or small bus between the parking lot and the venue.
- Average Cost: $1 to $5 per invitation
- Options: Custom cards, professional design, online invitation
The cheapest way to invite guests to your wedding is to email an online invitation to every guest. However, it’s also traditional to send out physical invitations as well.
If you’re a creative DIYer, then you can save money by hand-making all of your own invitations. However, if you don’t have the time or design skills, you’ll need to hire a marketing company to provide invitations.
After shipping and handling, expect each invitation to cost between $3 and $5.
- Average Cost: $800 to $5,000
- Options: Provide your own chairs, rent from an event company
Some venues may include tables and chairs for your guests. However, many venues are empty, and require renters to provide their own seating arrangements for the event.
Your best bet is to hire an event company to set up the tables and chairs. They’ll be able to deliver everything you need, set up the seating, and will collect it all at the end of the night (or the next morning).
5 Tips To Reduce Your Wedding Cost In Canada
If you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on your wedding in Canada, here are some helpful tips that can help you cut costs and save money on your wedding.
Renting your dress and tuxedo is a lot cheaper than buying. Let’s be honest – you’re only going to wear it for one night anyways.
After the wedding, most newlyweds’ dresses and tuxedos just end up in a box in the attic anyways.
Indoor event venues with full climate control and bathrooms are usually the most expensive. However, if you’re planning your wedding for the summer, then hosting your wedding outdoors is a great option.
You’ll find plenty of farms and properties that are willing to rent out a piece of land for weddings, and they’ll generally be a lot cheaper than an indoor venue.
Each guest ultimately represents an additional expense. It can be tempting to invite all of your oldest and farthest friends.
However, if you want to save money, then I recommend hosting a smaller wedding with only your closest friends and family members.
If you have good taste in music and are willing to spend a few hours creating a wedding playlist, you can always be your own DJ and hook your streaming service up to the speakers.
Cue the right songs to play at the right time, and it’s almost as good as having a low-budget DJ!
Alcohol is often far more expensive than food at weddings. For this reason, many modern weddings are adopting a bring-your-own-beer/booze policy.
Most guests won’t have a problem with this, and it will also keep certain people from getting too drunk on your special day.
Geographical Differences in Wedding Costs in Canada
The cost of a wedding in Canada can vary significantly depending on the geographical location. Several factors, such as venue costs, local cost of living, vendor fees, and even local customs and trends, can contribute to these differences. Here are some general observations about geographical differences in wedding costs across Canada:
- Urban vs. Rural: Generally, weddings in urban areas tend to be more expensive than those in rural areas. This is due to higher costs for venues, catering, and other services in cities. For instance, weddings in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal might be more expensive compared to rural areas or smaller towns.
- Provincial Differences: There can also be significant differences in costs between provinces. For example, weddings in Alberta and British Columbia are often reported to be more expensive than those in provinces like New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island.
- Regional Differences: Within each province, you might also see differences in wedding costs. For example, a wedding in downtown Vancouver might be more expensive than a wedding in a smaller town in the same province.
- Seasonal Differences: The time of year can also affect costs, and this can vary by region. In regions with severe winters, like in many parts of Canada, summer weddings can be in high demand and therefore more expensive. In contrast, in milder climates, prices might be more stable throughout the year.
- Cultural Differences: Areas with a high concentration of certain cultural groups may see common practices that can influence costs. For instance, in areas with large South Asian communities, weddings can be larger, longer, and therefore, more expensive (I’ve been to some Asian weddings with almost 1,000 people!)
Wedding Trends and Their Impact on Costs
Wedding trends evolve over time, influenced by social, economic, and cultural factors, and these can significantly impact the cost of a wedding. Here are some recent trends that have been observed and how they can influence wedding costs:
- Smaller, More Intimate Weddings: One of the latest trends is the rise of smaller, more intimate weddings often referred to as “micro weddings”. These events typically involve a limited number of guests, perhaps just close family and friends. This can significantly reduce costs associated with venue rental, catering, and other per-head expenses.
- Sustainable Weddings: Increasingly, couples are becoming more conscious about the environmental impact of their big day. They are choosing locally sourced foods, digital invitations, thrifted or rented decor, and second-hand or sustainable attire. While some sustainable choices may reduce costs, others may add to the wedding budget.
- Destination Weddings: For those looking for a unique wedding experience, destination weddings continue to be popular. While this can be a dream come true, costs can escalate quickly due to travel expenses, accommodation, and planning a wedding from afar.
- Experiential Weddings: Another trend is making the wedding a unique, personalized experience. This can involve interactive food stations, photo booths, or personalized favours. While these can create memorable experiences, they can also increase the overall cost.
- Tech-Based Weddings: Technology has changed weddings too. Live streaming, wedding websites, drone photography, and advanced lighting techniques are all popular but can increase costs.
- Weekday Weddings: In an effort to reduce costs and secure their desired venue, more couples are choosing to get married on a weekday. This can significantly lower venue costs and may also reduce costs for other vendors.
- DIY Weddings: Many couples are opting to do things themselves to add personal touches and cut costs. This could involve anything from making their own decorations, invitations, or even catering.
Financial Planning for a Wedding
Planning a wedding is a significant financial undertaking, and good planning can help ensure you start your married life without undue financial stress. Here are some steps to help you in financial planning for your wedding:
- Set a Budget: The first step in planning a wedding is deciding how much you can afford to spend. Look at your savings, discuss contributions from your family, and consider if you’ll need to save more before the big day. Don’t forget to account for every part of the wedding, including the honeymoon.
- Prioritize: Determine what matters most to you and your partner. Maybe you care more about having a great photographer than an elaborate cake, or perhaps the venue is your top priority. By identifying what’s important, you can allocate more of your budget to those areas and cut back on others.
- Research Costs: Once you have a budget and priority list, start researching costs. Get quotes from several vendors to ensure you’re getting a good deal. Remember to check what’s included in each quote to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.
- Create a Spreadsheet: Use a spreadsheet to track your budget, costs, and spending. This can help you see at a glance where your money is going and whether you’re staying on track.
- Plan for the Unexpected: It’s a good idea to set aside a portion of your budget for unexpected expenses. There are often little costs that can sneak up on you, like gratuities, taxes, or last-minute changes.
- Consider Insurance: Wedding insurance can cover unexpected issues like a vendor going out of business, extreme weather, or illness. Check what’s covered and consider whether it’s worth the cost for your situation.
- Keep the Future in Mind: While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of wedding planning, don’t lose sight of your other financial goals. You might be planning a life together, buying a home, or starting a family – and those are also significant financial considerations.
An average wedding in Canada can cost up to $30,000 or more. However, if you know where and how to be frugal about your wedding, then you can save thousands of dollars.
At the end of the day, I recommend doing what’s best for you and your spouse’s financial future, even if it means sacrificing an overly-expensive wedding that you can’t afford.
Based on the weddings I’ve been to, I’ve found that the smaller, more personal weddings often tend to be far more romantic, heartfelt, and are way less stressful for the bride and groom.
Many newlyweds wait until after their wedding to start looking at homes. But it’s a good idea to start searching, so you have an idea of what the market looks like and what type of home your money can get you.