Jan. 16, 2012

How To: Keep Your Wedding on Budget

One of the first things Greg and I did in the days following our engagement was to talk budget. We decided on a short six month engagement so our planning had to happen quickly.

We chose to pay for our own affair so we each determined what we could afford to contribute from our savings ($5000 from me and $15,000 from my generous then-fiance), added those two numbers together ($20,000 in total) and divided by two ($10,000). We took one half and spent it on our wedding day and took the other half and spent it on our honeymoon, which made for a modest wedding budget (compared to the present Canadian average of $23,330) and a larger honeymoon budget (compared to the present Canadian average of $5,287).

In deciding how to spend our budget on our wedding, we used the following percentages (I think these would be a great guideline for any wedding planning, no matter what the budget):
  • Reception venue rental fee - 8%
  • Food and service - 30%
  • Beverages - 8%
  • Cake and Cutting Fee - 2%
  • DJ - 3%
  • Decor - 3%
  • Gown, Accessories, Hair and Make Up- 10%
  • Groom's Attire - 5%
  • Ceremony (including music, officiant, verger etc.) - 2%
  • Flowers - 5%
  • Photography - 5%
  • Stationary (including invitations, menu and program) - 3%
  • Wedding Rings - 8%
  • Transportation and Lodging (including rental car and hotel room) - 4%
  • Gifts for parents and attendants - 4%
We stayed on budget by sticking to these broad categories, eliminating line items entirely (like a DJ and tux rental -- our venue's bartender played from an iPod of our favourite tunes for free and Greg chose to wear a suit he'd recently purchased for another purpose) when we wanted to splurge on something special (like flowers and photography), keeping our guest list small (56 including ourselves and our bridal party) and undertaking many DIY decor projects. How did you save and spend for your special day? xo


  1. We did similar things ... we kept guest list to under 60, I did a bunch of DIY, splurged on photos and food, and had it in our garage and made up for the free venue with an open bar :)

    And we splurged on our honeymoon in NYC!

    1. In your garage? Love it. I'd love to see photos :)

      We had our wedding at Bianca's - the major splurge - but they included so much for free (DJ, decorating, cake cutting etc.) that it ended up being the perfect choice.

      We'd love to go to NYC. We chose San Francisco and Napa Valley for our honeymoon - so many amazing meals. I'm dreaming about it now actually, as I go to heat up some delicious, but leftover, roasted red pepper and sweet potato soup from my mom, for supper :)