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Wedding Resources

Deciding your wedding budget

March 21, 2024
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One of the first things, after you are engaged, is deciding your wedding budget. For newly engaged couples there is often a sticker shock when it comes to pricing and the overall cost of weddings. As the pandemic created different waves across industries and with inflation on the rise, we thought it would be a good time to provide some insights as wedding planners on budget, costs and investments for your wedding.

Why are weddings expensive? 

hanging floral and texture shot
Photo by Beige Weddings

Many times, what people don’t realize, is that the vendors you hire are creatives. Just like when you hire an interior designer or a graphic designer, initially you might not understand why the price is so high, but it is their art that you are paying for. In the same way, a huge part of your vendor team are creatives – your planner/designer, photographer, videographer, florist, stationer, etc. are all creative vendors who are creating works of art at your wedding. 

For vendors, there is a creative process involved in addition to the hours behind spent preparing. These vendors may charge more than what you anticipate because they treat your wedding as a creative presentation. 

Determining your budget

tented reception with florals costs
Photo by Will Reid Photo

We often get asked how an average couple spends on their wedding, and our answer is it depends. As much as we like to provide a number for all our couples for reference, just as each couple’s love story is different, it will also be the case on what a couple is looking for and how much a couple is willing to spend. In terms of costs, it is a very subjective matter. For example, a bride might consider a certain amount of florals as minimal while other brides seeing the same amount might consider it as an abundance of flowers.  

So how do you decide your wedding budget? One of the first things is to consider what is most important to you at the wedding. Is it the location? Is it the decor? From there your planner and vendors will be able to give you a better idea of what your budget will be like. For reference, couples who work with us for weddings in Vancouver, Canada typically spend $75,000+ for 100 guests and up. 

Here is a simple breakdown of what to expect based on 100 guests:

Vendors that have more of a set rate:

Venue: $8-10k+ (this does not apply to private estates or outdoors)

Food: $20-35k+

Drinks: $4-8k+

Miscellaneous (service charges and fees): $5-8k+

Other Key vendors:

Other creative vendors (planner, photographer, videographer, makeup and hair, florals, rentals, etc.): $36-40k+

Factors that will influence your budget

destination wedding couple strolling
Photo by Jen Huang Photo

There are many factors that will influence your budget but some factors that will contribute to a higher wedding budget include:

ii) Guest count – the higher the guest count the higher the budget. This relates to the number of meals, the rentals and additional details.

ii) Location – getting married in Vancouver, Canada is very different from weddings in California and Lake Como, Italy. Depending on the venue and the city itself, this will affect the overall budget.

iii) Multiple day event – more couples, especially destination wedding couples are opting for a multi day celebration versus a one day celebration.


bride and groom kissing at reception
Photo by Christie Graham Photography

From our planning experience, there are vendors that we think are worth splurging on. The first will be photography as a great photographer will capture all the memories of your wedding. Another one is a great venue. A great venue sets the tone of the wedding and depending on what you’re going for, you can get away with less decor. Click here if you want more tips on how to choose a venue.

All biases aside, we always suggest couples to invest in a wedding planner and at the very least a day of coordinator. You have put a big investment in your wedding day and the last thing you want to do is be the one running around and not enjoying it. For us, we specialize in full service planning where we work closely with our couples and one of those things is how to allot their budget.

Lastly, one important piece of advice is to be realistic and flexible. Every couple has a dream wedding but in reality due to budget or other constraints, you might not get everything that you want. If you’re working with a planner, they are often able to give you alternatives and if you are flexible and trust your vendor, you will be able to better manage your budget. The vendors you invest in have done many weddings and will have the experience and advice on what is worth cutting and keeping. Our couples are happiest when they are willing to compromise on certain things and be flexible and fully trust their vendors to execute their craft.

Send us a note here if you are interested in chatting more about your wedding day and budget.

This post was first published on January 18, 2023.


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