How To Have The Wedding Of Your Dreams And Still Be Frugal

Wedding rings- Roger Kirby

Like most men, I did not have my wedding planned out from the day I turned five. Actually, I never thought I would marry. Then I met my wife. Suddenly, marriage seemed not only possible but desirable. We met in Florida, dated long distance and got married in San Diego. Figuring out what we could, and couldn’t live without helped us say “I do” to each other without saying “I will” to massive credit card debt.

Wedding Costs are Soaring in Canada and Beyond

Anyone engaged, planning a wedding, or recently married knows how expensive it can be to get married. The average cost of a wedding in Canada is $23,330, which is up from $20,129 two years ago. That’s less than what debt-saddled Americans spend  - $27,021, but not by much. Unless you factor in New York, where everything is outrageously expensive; a big wedding in the Big Apple will set you back $65,000! You could buy a home in West Virginia for that amount (which consequently has the lowest average wedding cost of any American state at $14,203).

What Costs so Much, Anyways?

The dress is a big part of it for Canadian brides, who spend more on average than their American counterparts – $1,798 compared to $1,100. In addition to the dress, dinner, drinks, the venue, ring, photographer/videographer/DJ, wedding planner, florist, party favors, gifts for the wedding party, rehearsal dinner, invitations, and postage all add up. If you’re getting hitched in an expensive city where the cost of living is higher than average, it’s easy to see how wedding budgets get bloated. I remember when my wife and I were planning our wedding, we couldn’t find a photographer for less than $2,000 and we were driving all over San Diego, looking for a good deal. We ended up saving $500 by hiring someone who spoke broken English but still knew how to point and shoot.

How to Find Room in Your Wedding Budget for Your Dreams

I’ve always been a bit of a planner (my wife would probably take issue with the “bit” part of that statement) so I had a wedding checklist in my back pocket, right behind the family ring I gave my wife when I proposed. Having my grandmother’s beautiful, antique wedding ring to give to my wife was a lifesaver on helping us stay within our wedding budget. We set a figure and committed to staying within it. By contrast, my step sister, who was also getting married at the time, did not have a budget for her wedding. She spared no expense and ended up spending more than $50,000. As a result, she and her husband weren’t able to take a honeymoon. By being frugal as we planned our wedding, my wife and I were able to visit Ireland for our honeymoon, which was a lifelong dream of hers.

Location ended up being the most difficult cost to keep under control for our wedding. We thought it would be cheap to get married on the beach. Boy were we wrong! It turns out lots of people want to recite their vows with sand between their toes, creating a high-priced market for beach weddings. Our options were either drive down to Mexico and deal with passport issues for our guests, or set up a sandbox in my in-laws back yard, so we opted for a more traditional setting. While we had to sacrifice on the venue, we learned that location was something we could live without. We saved a ton by getting married at our church and hosting the reception on site, in the attached meeting area. We weren’t able to serve alcohol, but that ended up being a blessing in disguise because liquor can be the single most expensive wedding expenditure after the ring and dress.

Be Frugal by Doing Things Yourself

In the 10+ years we’ve been married, we’ve seen plenty of couples keep costs down by serving simple appetizers or enlisting the aid of friends and family to bring desserts to serve at their receptions. They still have memorable and meaningful weddings and we still feel privileged to attend. Other ways to be frugal include making the wedding favors yourself (Hershey kisses and a little tulle go a long way), picking silk flowers at your local hobby store and making the bouquets and boutonnieres yourself, and selecting a simple, basic dress for your bridal party. We asked our bridal party to wear little black dresses so we wouldn’t have to bloat our wedding budget with the cost of custom bridesmaid dresses and shoes.

Keep the Right Perspective on Your Wedding Check-list

Put your love for and lifetime commitment to each other at the top of your wedding check-list. It will impact your wedding budget more than any other item on your list by helping you remember that this day is about the two of you and not impressing your guests. We started our new life together without a load of debt, and as any newly-wed will tell you, there’s enough stress learning how to share everything with someone else without adding creditors to the pile. A little frugality on your wedding day goes a long way in getting you to your 25th wedding anniversary!

If you’re married or planning a wedding, how did you keep your wedding costs down? What would you do differently if you could?

Guest Post Bio: John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a finance blog that regularly discusses investing, budgeting, and frugal living. John is a father, husband, and veteran of the financial services industry who’s passionate about helping people find freedom through frugality.

Photo Source: Wedding- Roger Kirby

It's Not About How Much Money You Make It's How You Spend It

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Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
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Comments

  1. Weddings can easily bleed money! We had a full wedding (church, reception, food and bar) for about 100 people for under 8k…I DIY’d a LOT of stuff and searched out and found deals. Kijiji was my best friend! We saved money on our wedding bands too by going to local jewelers, finding style we liked then buying online- we got both bands (mine has 10 diamonds in it) for under 500 cnd. I will be doing post about this soon :) Good post John!

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Thanks Catherine! They can bleed money. As I said my step-sister spent over $50k and was miserable for several years after because of all the credit card debt they rung up. That’s awesome you were able to keep it under $8k! I think DIY is a great way to keep costs down. I’ve never heard about buying the rings online, how did that work for you?

  2. Lovely Post.
    Our eldest daughter is getting married in July 2013. She asked me the other day who pays for what. I gave her no answer, after all we bought her a house two years ago and she is paying back an interest free mortgage! But I give her clues along the way not to leave her in the lurch. The wedding unfortunately is a theme wedding, John Deere! Thank goodness we all own one! I will be sewing the sun dresses for the bridesmaids, and the flower girl dresses, perhaps hers as well.Sister is doing the gardens ( at home wedding) and bouquets. Dinner is pot luck. That said the least expensive ceremony she can come up with is $250- to $700 for justice of the peace. Wedding bands are expensive and renting a hall for dinner and dance has deposit fees. None of which I am will to fork money out for. When the sons got married it was simple without all the bells and whistles. You want to have a party, have a BBQ.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Thanks! That sounds like an interesting theme for a wedding. I think my Dad would like that as he lives in Montana and works on a farm. I’ve been to numerous weddings that follow a similar pattern and I always loved them. They just seem so much more intimate and allow you to enjoy the day without having a big bill at the end of it.

    • Sounds like a nice wedding! I would encourage you to be very clear about what you intend to spend right away. She is probably trying to figure out a budget and not knowing makes it very difficult! Even if it’s zero, it’s much easier to know in advance. I like pot luck and relaxed weddings myself, so much simpler! :-)

      • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

        It was. We had the benefit of my wife’s parents telling us what could be spent and we budgeted from there. I agree that knowing beforehand is a huge help and makes it less stressful. I like more relaxed weddings myself, you just get to enjoy the couple and have a genuine part in it.

  3. Thanks for the info…I am getting married in May and anything to keep the cost down is super helpful! :)

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Congratulations Allsion! Keeping costs down for a wedding can be a challenge, but there are many ways you can keep them down and still have a great & memorable day.

  4. Wow 23K for a wedding!! one day! I have no special idea about my wedding if I ever get married, but I would like the luxury to enjoy my day. That means not too many people or I would be so busy saying hi and goodbye I would not have time, and also I would probably splurge on waiters so everyone has a good time too. DIY as much as possible before the D day, then do nothing on my special day. I went to a wedding where the bride did her cake, that was awesome.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      I know Pauline! My step sister spent $50k. But, then again, she had multiple stretch Hummers for the wedding party.

      Springing for servers is a great idea if you’ve been able to cut costs in other areas. I definitely see how that would allow someone to enjoy the day even more.

  5. Great post, too many people get caught up in planning for the wedding of their dreams and don’t spend a lot of time planning for the marriage!

    We had an intimate wedding for just 60 people our closest and dearest family and friends). We got married on a Sunday (huge savings for doing this – almost 30% of the cost for a reception hall). And we also saved by having our wedding earlier in the day – a lunch reception is 20% less than a dinner reception. We also DIY as much as we could and saved transportation cost by having the ceremony and reception at the same location.

    We had the time of our lives, and after our wedding day – we had no bills to pay – everything was paid in full – because we were frugal and kept a level head.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Thanks Hazel! I totally agree. I see the numbers many spend and think that if they cut a good bit of the expenses they could still have a good bit left to work as a down payment on a house or something else.

      We had about 100 at our wedding and kept it that way to keep the costs down. I had never thought of getting married on a Sunday making it cheaper. I’ve been to Friday night weddings and those always looked more expensive. Great tip on the food, lunch is definitely cheaper than dinner and you can get by with serving less food.

  6. Yay! Great post!

  7. Anne @ Unique Gifter says:

    You didn’t go for the sand box wedding? Darn! Hehe. Weddings are so freaking expensive and the dollars add up so very quickly! There are so many places to drop another $10 or $20 and they just keep on adding up.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      No, something tells me the mother in law would not have gone for that. :) You’re so right Anne. It’s like the vendors hear the word wedding and pad the cost even more.

  8. I am heading to GTA this weekend for a frugal family wedding great timing to read about this

  9. We had a destination wedding in Cuba and then a reception after we came back home and still kept everything under $10,000 (including our trips!) I bought my dress second hand and then re-sold it afterwards for huge savings. I dont regret anything about our wedding, it was perfect for us!

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      That sounds awesome Lindsay! I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba and I’ve heard destination weddings can be great fun. It’s even better when you can have a perfect wedding and be able to afford it.

  10. joanne tjerno says:

    Great post…..we didnt have very much money when we got married so we planned the best we could….we got married at the town hall….but had a large party at our cottage after….My uncle is a professional wedding photographer…so i offered some babysitting to get him to take pictures of our special day….We put a ton of music on our computer and had my cousin “DJ”. My grandmother cooked and baked my cake which was even better than getting it done by a professional…I found the perfect dress as i was pregnant and it was summer and hot for 100 dollars…..Me and my mom decorated everything ourselves…..My wedding day was perfect….by no means did i need to spend thousands of dollars to have the perfect day.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Thanks Joanne! Your wedding sounds great! I think too many people get caught up in spending money because they think it will make the day more memorable. But, I’d much rather have a more down to earth wedding that is memorable and involves my loved ones as opposed to one that I have to worry about how I can afford it.

  11. So spot on about the liquor! Not even just the drinks themselves, but the license to serve it can cost a pretty penny if you’re not using a venue that already has one!

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      You’re right. We just decided to not spend money on liquor and gave out small bottles of champagne to the wedding party and some guests.

  12. I’ve always felt that weddings are a celebration, but just one of many in life. Since they mark a beginning, there will be lots of life expenses coming up after the celebration. Both of our daughters were very mindful of their wedding budgets, making guest favours, many of the decorations, and even some of the dresses and food themselves. Doing so allowed them to save for more important things – like buying that first home. I’m proud of them for keeping a firm eye on their priorities.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      That’s a great point Beth. I think the involvement your daughters did makes the day seem more special and more a part of what’s going on. That’s awesome they were able to use it as well to save money for a down payment.

  13. Tasha McNally says:

    Gonna have my brother read this post as he’s planning his wedding for July 2013 and seems to think a large expensive wedding is what he wants. Where as myself I got married in Niagara Falls while we where already there for a ball tournament and only had my parents, our children and some close friends with us. It was a beautiful wedding and including my dress cost just over $3000. We have decided that for our 10 year we will do a large family service and reception to renew our vows.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      It’s an easy trap to fall into Tasha. Many think that an expensive wedding is the way to go, but in the end it’s only for one day and you don’t want to look back and regret all the money which was spent. Sounds like your’s was great. I bet it was beautiful having it in Niagara Falls.

  14. We eloped! Super inexpensive (~1% of typical wedding spending), super romantic, and super private. Absolutely perfect for Mr. PoP and I.

  15. Despite being a dude, I had to plan and get everything prepared for the majority of my wedding. My wife lived about 3 hours away during a portion of our engagement (to finish school), so I was left getting everything put together! It’s fairly easy to plan an inexpensive wedding, but you can also spend thousands if you’re not careful. Everything about weddings cost more: the flowers, the dresses, the catering, the venue, etc. We cut back on our guest list, flowers, invitations, and a few other things and was able to have a VERY nice/classy wedding for about 30% the cost of the average American wedding.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      I bet you’d find yourself in the minority Jason. :) I would agree that it can be fairly easy to have a more frugal wedding, you just have to know what you’re doing and the budget you’re working with. When we were planning our wedding I was always amazed at how much things would cost. I think a vendor just hears the word wedding and adds an extra 20-25% to the cost.

  16. Great article, thanks. I’m one of the unusual people who had 2 wedding dinners. One in Singapore and one in Canada (my husband’s Canadian). I told myself since I had 2 wedding dinners I needed to be as stress-free as possible! Many a time I’ve heard of brides or bridegrooms being totally stressed out leading to the day.

    I had a plan of the number of people to invite for both weddings 80 – 100. In Singapore my invitations could have run into the 300 range…sorry to lots of friends and relatives! I kept it simple. Chose my location at a restaurant with a great 10 course menu with servers at every course. You didn’t have to get up to get your food. The price was reasonable. My friend a graphic designer made the wedding invites for both wedding and charged me cost but I gave him a little more for time and effort. Another friend did the emceeing and helped with music. I paid for hair and make-up which was not expensive. I found my wedding dress at a local designer store off the rack that was in the $500 range. And also had a traditional costume for the 2nd half of the night. And I get to wear them twice! And most of my friends and family came in their cultural gear/dressing. The wedding dinner was a little different and I wanted it that way so everyone could remember. The dancing was great too.

    Now this is what I did not have in SIngapore…I forgot about a photographer! Good thing my bro was taking pics! So yes, I do have nice wedding pics still. I did not have a wedding cake at both wedding dinners, or elaborate centrepieces or flower stands etc. Did not have space for centrepieces as there was too much food on the tables. I just had my bouquet. I did not have a maid of honour or best man at the Singapore wedding. I did not see that we needed one just for a dinner. Friends and family did get to take home wedding trinkets when they left. The Singapore dinner was especialy fun and memorable cos my friends and family don’t get to go to many of those where they get dressed up in traditional costumes and go dancing in them with traditional music, and then disco music! It was hilarious.

    The Canadian wedding was held at a popular wedding banquet location but still reasonalbly priced with an open bar. Our uncle, a minister, officiated at ceremony. So everything was held at the same place. This time we had a best man and a maid of honour but that was it. He wore his own suit and my gal friend wore her traditional top to reflect/celebrate our heritage. So there was no money spent there in terms of dresses/suits. I did spend on make-up and hair, bouquets etc and also for immediate families. I could not remember if there were small centrepieces already on the tables provided by this location. Had our own music and emceeing done by our good couple friend. As my husband is a piano tuner technician, it was a musical wedding with friends and family on piano, trumpets, violin, singing and other musical instruments.

    No one noticed if we didn’t have a wedding cake or elaborate flowers/decorations cos the place was packed as it is and with it’s own fairy tale decorated windows. Sometmes after I’ve gone to a wedding, I could not even remember what the centrepieces looked like.

    So it seems as tho I didn’t have what you would expect from a ‘wedding’. I did away with lots of stuff that could have dented our budget. Our parents didn’t pay for the wedding. We did get some presents but most gave cash gifts whiched helped a lot. So we used that to pay for both wedding dinners and it covered everything! Guess how much?? Around $9000 for 2 great unforgettable wedding dinners!

    By all means if you can afford it, go for it. But do it with lots of budget planning even if family members are helping out. Need to learn to stop stressing (easier said than done huh?) and enjoy the process. I was fortunate enough not to have anyone tell me how my wedding should be this or that. I’ve come across some people where their parents or in-laws want things in a certain way and they were miserable. You want it to be a day to remember but you don’t want your wedding debt to be lingering forever.

    Up till today, it been just over 6 years, our friends and family still remind us how great the weddings were, how different and the fun they had. I guess my mission has been accomplished – to be stress free, enjoy the process and to just be a bride enjoying herself on her special day.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Thanks Adeline. It sounds like you had a great time with your celebrations. I love how you were able to incorporate your culture and make it more of a celebration. I agree that budget planning is key, as is remembering not to stress. Including family members can make it a more intimate, and in my opinion, a more memorable event.

      • A lot of people also DIY to save $$, but I’ve also come across people who bought stuff to DIY but spent too much time ‘DIYing’ and too much money on the stuff. Funny ehh? And that’s why the costs just keeps growing. Lots to learn from others and pick up the good ones.

  17. I definitely agree that keeping perspective is key. If you don’t want to spend a bunch of money that means you are going to have to DIY and cut a lot of things. But I’m willing to sacrifice a few niceties in order to save money on my wedding so I’ve got no problem with that.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      I completely agree. I think a lot of it comes down to balance. There’s nothing wrong with having a “nice” wedding, but it can be done within reason and still have a great day.

  18. My 2nd wedding was frugal (less than $3000 including honeymoon). My first one was over $25,000. We had our wedding at a beach club on Lake Erie. The club cost $75 to rent because my aunt was a member. The beach was free and it was clear that afternoon as it was lightly raining. I made my aisle with torches bought at the dollarstore. All flowers were bought at the dollarstore. The arbor we got married under was around $70 at the bargain shop. All of the club decorations were bought at the dollarstore. We also bought a bunch of tulle, card box and sea shells (used for candy dishes) at garage sales. My centrepieces were glass hurricanes from the dollarstore. I filled them with beach sand and sea shells and candles. My DJ was paid for by my aunt as a gift. My alcohol was paid for by my parents. My bouquets were a gift from a friend and an aunt. My caterer was the most expensive and it was just over $1000. We made a cash deal and used someone local. It was for about 80 people. The food was great (just a little late as they got lost). We made cupcakes ourselves and rented a cupcake stand for $15. My dress was around $125. It was a bridemaid dress sample from a bridal store. My sisters bought their bridemaid dresses for about $80 at RW&Co but they paid for them. My hubby wore golf shorts and sandals from Marks Work Warehouse and a Hawaiian type shirt from Walmart. I got a set of photographers who were just starting out so it cost less than $500 for them to drive the 1 1/2 hrs to the wedding site and stay until the cupcakes. We did a Western Carribbean cruise for our honeymoon :-)

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Sounds like a great time Jen! That’s a perfect example of having a great day and not breaking the bank to do so. I bet having the ceremony on the beach was great, my wife wanted to do that but would’ve cost too much.

  19. Christine Weadick says:

    I got married a lot of years ago and made my dress which was cheaper, we were living on the east coast and the wedding was in Ontario. My future in-laws did an amazing amount of the work for us. We won’t discuss the phone bills!!! Lol!. Our kids are of that age now. Our daughter has been in a couple of wedding parties. One was for her best friend since they were small. The wedding was at the grooms parents farm, the reception was in a cleaned out drive shed. We have a picture of the wedding party on/around a John Deere tractor.The girls went into the bush to pick branches for decoration and painted them white. The bride did a lot of the decorating herself. I sew so I was tapped to do alterations to the dresses (for her wedding, her sister’s wedding and both brothers weddings), that’s one place that can be a major expense if the store doesn’t fit things properly and with this wedding is was a big deal!!!! EVERY dress needed altering!!!! I didn’t charge her much…a fraction of what the store was talking. As in each alteration was quoted a price….but to take a dress in like that you take it in evenly on both sides….which counts as 2 alterations!!! Adds up very fast that way. I charged a token fee for the girls as I was doing it more as a favour than to make money. I got an invitation to the weddings too. Her sister got her dress at a bridal show. It was a nice price but it needed a new zipper which I did for her. Turned the air blue doing it too!! I think if I had a wedding on the way I’d be looking at making the dress from the beginning rather than buying off the rack or ordering as it would be so much easier to fit that way. But I can sew fairly well, not a lot of people can. Work with your strong points and do what you are good at to cut costs…. Good article by the way too!!

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Thanks Christine! Doing a lot of the work yourself really can help lower the cost of a wedding. I can understand how having a skill like sewing would come in really helpful when a wedding comes up.

  20. Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom says:

    WE got married 7 years ago, and managed to have a 200 guest wedding for $8200. We saved a lot of cash by making our theme “fun.” Whenever something seemed stuffy and expensive we found a cheaper and more fun option. We scraped tableclothes and covered the table with paper and crayons (which was a double bonus, because some of those speeches were long winded) We didn’t bother with centerpieces, but had different item that were significant to our relationship or respective childhood as centerpieces. I had a great time, and didn’t have any debt afterwards!

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      That’s the important thing, not ending up with a bunch of debt. That sounds like a good number to hit with that many guests at the wedding. Your story is a good example of finding ways to keep the costs down and not sacrificing on the fun.

  21. We did buy a house for $63,000 in Colorado! It’s hard to remember, but I think we spent around $5000 for our wedding, including the rehersal dinner. We did decorations ourselves and got married in the national forest (free). We did have to herd out some free range cows, but no worries if you watched your step. The reception was the most expensive part because I didn’t want anyone to have to pay for drinks. It was a fun day and not stressful at all.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Sounds awesome Kim! What national forest were you married in? Just to think the average amount spent would’ve paid for 1/3 of your house.

  22. Tania Woodrow says:

    We were married 12 years ago it was our second wedding and to keep the costs down we had the wedding at our home, we rented a party tent which was the biggest expense with the tables/chairs and hired a DJ
    I made the girls dresses, flowers and decorations. We put on a buffet style dinner and made the wine ourselves. It was a beautiful day and our friends and family had a great time.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Sounds like a great time Tania. I would imagine having the ceremony and party at home would really be a cost saver.

  23. This is a great article and a gentle reminder to keep expenses in check! My fiance and I are currently planning our wedding. To keep costs down, we are having only 30 guests and no dance. Unfortunately, despite that our reception will be less expensive, some of the costs remain the same, such as photography (we are trying to shop around for a good deal, but it’s not easy to find since we want someone who knows what they’re doing with a camera). However, we are mindful of our budget and our wedding won’t put us into debt. At the end of the day, we’ll be married, which is the most important thing, anyway.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Thanks Nikki. You’re right that the most important thing is that you’re married. It can be a difficult thing to keep expenses in check as the word wedding seems to automatically pad an an already expensive service. I would encourage you to continue to look around for a photographer. Depending on where you live you can find cheaper, but still good ones.

  24. Stacey Mullins says:

    Thank you Mr.CBB. If I ever decide to get married again, I will keep all of this info in mind.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      No problem Stacey. I found a lot of these tips helpful myself when we got married, but I know there are other good tips as well.

  25. I put my post on early am but I posted on the fb page :(
    We had a very large wedding (350ppl) but we still managed to do it on a budget. The entire wedding including supper for every guest, dj, hall, church, etc was under $3500. We found a small town hall who allowed us to cook our own meal (our aunts, uncles and parents helped peel potato, veg, set up the hall the night before) We had family friends do the cooking the next day. my husband and I made all our decorations and center peices. We saved a lot by making our own invitations and hand delivering when possible…We had friends who thourht we were crazy because they hired for EVERYTHING. All the extra bling bling would not have changed our day…I was getting married to the man of my dreams not the decorations! We loved every minute of our wedding and would not change a thing and at the end of the day we had money to go on a nice honeymoon! IT was great not starting our funtre full of debt!

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      That’s awesome Mandy! You make a great point that you’re marrying the person you love and not all the “stuff” that can go with a wedding. I like how you involved your family. I think many people fail to do that and pay in the end. I think it makes the celebration more intimate for all involved.

  26. Living Debt Free Rocks! says:

    I actually got married last week-end in NYC no less! The DH and I kept it very intimate with only four guests but we still spent about $7500.00 with absolutely no regrets and with zero debt incurred. We planned our wedding exactly the way we wanted to which is so important for those planning to be married – set your priorities and plan your spending according to your priority list. We had set a budget and we didn’t go over it by much which is good.
    Our wedding bands were purchased via an Etsy seller and they are beautiful! We also bought a couple of wedding related items from other Etsy sellers such as our cake boxes, custom cuff links for my DH and my wedding veil and we only had positive experiences with each vendor.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      Congrats! That sounds like a great wedding and I am sure very intimate with only four guests. I couldn’t agree more that it’s about determining your priorities and spend with those in mind.

  27. Yes, the costs of weddings keep on going up every year. Perhaps, you can be more practical by opting for a simple menu. You can also try to keep the number of guests to a minimum by inviting people who are really close to you. You can still have an unforgettable wedding even if you try to be economical. All you have to do is to plan things out carefully. Hire a competent and innovative wedding planner. It will help.

  28. Gail Squires says:

    My wedding 55 guests – catered (5 course meal and open bar and a snack sweet table at midnight and also had a candy table and ty gifts for all guests)
    A-Z cost me under 6000$
    Dress bought off liquidation rack from previous years style cost 75$ (reg 1000$ designer was demetrios), flowers for tables, and 2 bouquets made myself with maid of honor (under 200$ – bought flowers from flower wholesaler), invitations, 25$ (bought 2 boxes on sale and printed myself with rsvp card) gave every guest a small vase/rocks with 3 bamboo shoots/thank you for attending cost was under 300$ (also purchased at flower wholesaler small vases/rock at $store), BIG SAVINGS was also on the cake – ask for a wedding cake and right away prices jump 3-4x higher – I order 3 beautifully frosted white cakes and bought a 3 tier cake stand – decoratated ats gerber daisies and ivy – cake topper was double heart shape knick nack purchased at a wedding store for 8$ that sits on my dresser, had a sand ceremony (joining of children from previous marriages) heart shape bubble vase (50$) and sand 1 color for each of us ($ store = $5) – Asked a friend who has a great camera to do the photos which cost me 0$ and everyone else who brought a camera we asked them to email us their photos – Great Album, No guest book as I do not see use of this and would only sit in a drawer – purchased 2 frame mats (white) and had guests sign these, they now hang on our wall with 2 wedding photos in them and we see them everyday (Great comments on that idea from guests)

    Since most of our family and friends knew we have everything house wise – no one brought gifts but instead gave us monetary gifts, we paid off the wedding in full and banked over 7000$, our honeymoon was a gift from my boss.

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  1. How To Have The Wedding Of Your Dreams And Still Be Frugal … | Wedding Budget Help says:

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  10. [...] John’s guest post w/ Mr CBB on saving money on weddings [...]

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  12. Shhh please, Mommy is reading at the computer! - MoneyMasterMom - MoneyMasterMom says:

    [...] 2.  John at http://www.frugalrules.com was kidnapped by http://www.canadabudgetbinder.com and wrote a great post about getting married without acquiring a ridiculous amount of debt. I loved it considering Derek and I spent $8230.00 on our wedding 7 years ago, and that was with 200 guests. Personally I think he should’ve gone for the sandbox wedding. It would’ve made for some great stories! http://canadianbudgetbinder.com/2012/11/01/how-to-have-the-wedding-of-your-dreams-and-still-be-frug… [...]

  13. [...] much do you plan to spend for your wedding? Apparently it costs Canadian couples over $23K on average. But Mr. CBB has some ideas on how you [...]

  14. [...] Canadian Budget Binder – Most men aren’t born as wedding planners, but never the less there’s still ways to have the wedding of your dreams and be frugal. [...]

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  22. [...] sell them off just to recoup some of the money they spent, flowers ain’t cheap. Remember your wedding day? Ok, you can stop laughing now but a rose is a rose, is it [...]

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  24. […] School progressed and they were getting ready to send all of us students on our practicum. A couple of weeks into my job placement I suggested to my fiancée that we get married now rather than waiting. We planned our entire wedding in about one months time for a very quaint $1500 frugal wedding. […]

  25. […] as a student you may not have bought a house  yet or even a car. Never-mind if you want a big wedding with all the bells and whistles followed by starting a family. Debt may be your worst […]

  26. […] mixed up. When we got engaged we knew we weren’t going to have a big wedding so we created a wedding budget and spent the money accordingly. We still had a fairy tale wedding because the two most important […]

  27. […] are ways to organize a frugal wedding without breaking the bank but most importantly there never really is a rush to get married so plan […]

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