Money & Career

Budget-friendly wedding planning

Simple tips to keep your white wedding from pushing you into the red

© Royalty-Free/Masterfile

Did you know that the average wedding in Canada costs between $20,000 and $30,000? There’s a lot you could do with that money besides buy cake and a dress you’ll only wear once (a down payment on your first home, maybe?). At the same time, you’ll only have one wedding (you hope) so you want to make it special.

To make sure your white wedding doesn’t push you into the red, consider these simple tips:

Set priorities
You and your honey should sit down and talk about what you want most at the wedding — for example, you dream of Vera Wang, but your foodie partner might want to serve Dom Pérignon. By discussing and prioritizing each item as a team, you’ll know where you want to spend more and where you can cut.

Make a budget
Set a dollar amount you can afford to spend on each part of the wedding (preferably without taking on debt). There are some great online tools and worksheets out there like Frugal bride.

DIY where possible
Try designing and printing your own invitations on your computer. Or, why not send an Evite instead? It might shock your mother but it’s a fun and easy way to track your guests and RSVPs. Music is another area that’s easy to do yourself — no need to pay a DJ; just load up your iPod and bring it along to the venue. You can also manage your photography costs by giving your guests disposable cameras to share — they can provide fun shots of the reception.

Cheap eats
From the bar to the food you serve, there are a couple of easy tricks to cut down your expenses. Instead of a full bar, opt for wine, beer and a signature cocktail. If great food is a priority, try ditching the sit down dinner. Instead, opt for open tables and a buffet or a few food stations loaded up with your favourite foods. Doing so cuts the cost of table servers and linens (which can really add up).

Keep it in perspective
Just remember, this is probably the only time in your life you will even consider spending $500 on something like a cake. It is all too easy to overspend on a wedding because emotions and expectations are running at all-time highs. Just keep focused on the long-term — and try not to start married life with a bunch of unpaid bills.