Weddings are expensive: the cost of a Canadian wedding in 2015 was about $30,000 (including the honeymoon).
For an idea of where that dough goes, you can check out the budget breakdown on page 3 of Your Step-by-Step Wedding Planning Guide.
Those numbers are what lead many couples to choose a destination wedding. But if you’ve got your heart set on hometown nuptials, there are some things you can do to bring the numbers down.
1. Cut the guest list – the bigger the party, the bigger the price tag. Make a list and then try cutting it by 20 per cent, and then another 20 per cent. Find a number you feel comfortable with.
2. Don’t get married on a Saturday – venue rates are typically lower on a Friday or Sunday, especially during wedding season (late spring to early fall). Bonus tip: have your wedding during the off-season (November to March) and rates will be lower, too.
3. Get married in the morning – a morning wedding followed by a brunch or lunch reception can be a lovely option and will cost less than hosting your guests for dinner.
4. Stick with one venue instead of two – many venues can accommodate both the ceremony and the reception, at a lower rate than booking two separate venues.
5. Find a new venue – while a lack of reviews may seem risky, a new venue will often cost less than a more established one.
6. Search for second-hand scores – décor items are easy to come by through buy-and-sell sites or groups. Put out an ISO with exactly what you’re looking for—you’d be surprised what you can find.
7. DIY invitations – there are lots of online options for designing your own wedding invitations. To cut costs even further, you could stick with only electronic mailing and save on postage.
8. Simplify or postpone the honeymoon – a weekend in the mountains can be all you need to connect with your partner and get some much-needed alone time after the wedding whirlwind. Save up and plan for a longer vacation when you can afford it.
9. Accept help instead of gifts – photography, sewing, catering—these are often skills that friends and family possess. Don’t be afraid to ask for help that you would consider in place of a wedding gift.
10. Avoid impulse buying – it’s the little things that add up. Rely on your original list to keep things on track and limit last-minute, non-essential purchases.