Wedding budget tips to avoid a financial hangover

A few simple tips from an investment adviser and an industry insider to avoid overspending on your big day.

The average Canadian wedding costs around $30K according to industry experts

While a royal wedding might be fun to watch, recreating one for yourself is probably not within a realistic budget. (Shutterstock / IVASHstudio)

Big weddings are big money but are they worth the investment?

On average, a Canadian wedding costs around $30,000, according to Jane Geszler, the owner of Budget Blooms, a specialized floral service provider.

"In Vancouver, we have seen [costs of] up to about $100,000 and beyond," she told Michelle Eliot, guest host of CBC's B.C. Almanac.

While weddings can be a major milestone for many, it's easy to blow through a budget because of bad planning or social pressure.

"Keeping up with the Jones's or other friends who have had great weddings becomes an important factor in terms of what people end up spending, versus what they budgeted," said Maili Wong, a Vancouver-based investment advisor.

So here are some tips to help you tame that wild wedding budget.

Where to begin

First, decide where the money is going to come from, said Wong. Know how much each side of the family will be able to contribute, if any, then decide on a limit that doesn't leave you deep in debt.

Debt can compound she warned, and when all is said and done, that can be the worst kind of wedding hangover.


Wong suggests couples sit down together early in the planning phase and decide what elements are most important to them. If it is a priority that the food be memorable, start there and work backwards.

Multi-purpose props

Geszler used the same floral arrangements for her table centrepieces as she did for the bridal party bouquets.

Finding ways to turn one decoration at the ceremony into another that doubles for something else later in the day is a great way to save on flowers, table and chair rentals or even venues.

Time versus money

In the age of Pinterest, everybody wants to be a DIY wedding master. But Geszler warns that taking on too much can have diminishing returns and add stress to the wedding day.

"So many times, I've delivered bouquets in the morning, and the bride is still with the glue gun, hot and steaming and still trying to get things done,"

If it's something you can do ahead of time, go ahead and save on that, she said, but make sure you also budget for your time.

Do it your own way

This day is about you, so don't let family or others pressure you into the wedding they want, said Geszler.

Listener tips

B.C Almanac listeners called and tweeted us with some of their own money-saving techniques, including a groom brewing beer for his own wedding whose bride-to-be is sewing her own wedding dress.

You can hear Michelle's conversation and more tips to budget your wedding on CBC Radio One's B.C. Almanac here