When it comes to planning a wedding, most wedding couples have no idea where to start, how much it is going to cost and what the planning process involves. I am going to briefly cover just a few things to keep in mind when planning your wedding and share some ideas on how you can stay on budget without jeopardizing your special day! The average wedding in Canada costs between $20,000 – $30,000.
What People Remember Most About A Wedding Reception:
- If they had a good time
- If everything flowed nicely together without breaks or boredom
- Entertainment: was it good or bad and did it suit the event
- Food: you don’t have to go over the top, it just has to be reasonable
- Anything that was slightly out of the ordinary such as specialty entertainment, mashed potato bar, special grand entrance, decor, unique venue, etc.
How Can You Save Money And Still Have An Awesome Wedding Reception?
Entertainment: Do not cut a DJ or Live Entertainment from your budget, hiring professional entertainers is the biggest key to the success of any event. On average in the Greater Toronto Area you will spend between $1000 – $1500 for a Professional DJ and $2000 – $6000 for a Professional Band. In most cases this is one of the smallest costs of the reception and the most important to having a great party that everyone remembers. If you are considering adding some extra entertainment throughout dinner, special dancers or something for cocktails this is where you can cut back a little bit as most DJ’s and Band will include or have options to cover entertainment throughout the full evening.
Venue: Do your shopping when looking for a venue as the rental costs and catering costs can vary quite a bit from venue to venue. You want to be happy with your venue but don’t always go with the first venue you like without shopping around. You could save $1000’s of dollars potentially by looking at an alternate venue or having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday as most venues will offer a discount for those days.
Food: You don’t want to cut back too much on food as you want to make sure you feed your guests appropriately and keep them happy. There are many options and add-ons that can quickly add up though. Most people are happy with a 3 course meal including soup or salad, main and dessert. You don’t need to add all of the fancy extras and upgrades. For cocktails, bar and appetizers you can have a basic bar and simple appetizers without the upgraded bar and apps.
Flowers: The cost of flowers can add up pretty quickly when reality is you can stick to the basics to save some money. Essentials are the bouquets and boutonnieres. If you really want flower arrangements on the tables you can save money by just having a couple of nice arrangements on the head table and use an alternate centerpiece for all of the guests tables. Again, shop around for your flowers as one place might have a bouquet for $500 and another shop might have something similar for $100.
Decor: You will still need to use decor for your wedding but there are many ways to save money but not adding all of the upgrades. For example a simple chair cover might be $5 each where as a fancier cover might be $20 each, that alone at 150 seats would save you $2250. Table clothes are the same, if you really like a special pattern or material for your linen what you can do is just use that specialty item for the head table and use the basics for the guests tables. This will also put more attention on focus on the head table getting the same theme and effect.
Lighting: A very popular addition to your entertainment and decor is up-wall lighting. This can create an awesome ‘Wow’ factor to your room. If you like this option, instead of filling the whole room with say 12 – 20 lights you could just use a few on the backdrop behind the head table or a few spread throughout key points of the room.
Number of Guests: Your guest list is the easiest way to cut down costs as this could allow you to choose a smaller venue room dramatically lower your catering and decor cost. For example, if your chair covers were $5 each, table linen $5 each, dinner $125 each with basic bar, cocktails $25 each and you lowered your number of guests from 200 to 150 you would save $8000 alone. If you cut down to 100 guests that would save $16,000! On top of that you may save potentially $1000’s by choosing a smaller room or different venue and you may be able to save $100’s from your DJ by choosing a different package with a smaller sound system to cater the smaller room.
If you are stressed out about planning your wedding and the budget, the best advice I can give you is to hire a wedding planner or at least day of co-ordination. In most cases, these planners will actually be able to save you money on your vendors and most importantly will save you the stress and headaches while keeping you on budget.
Terry Holdershaw, Entertainment Specialist
Scotia Entertainment Services – Professional DJ, Live Entertainment & Audio-Visual Services