Getting Married

What does it cost?

(ha-ha you thought Jordan proposed didn't you - don't worry, he hasn't)

Jordan and I did have a conversation a weekend or two ago about what we thought a wedding would look like if it happened in the next year or two.  We even got as far as making a guest list.

Jordan Dream:
Jordan really wants to have a wedding/reception in a fancy hotel where we can eat/sleep/wed ect all in the same place.  If we did something like this, he would love to see it at the Banff Springs Hotel over a period of three days.  Jordan would like to have an open bar and lots of great food.  Following the third day, he'd want to drive to Calgary and take flight to our destination of choice for two weeks.

Jessie's Dream:
Get married in my home town in either a family member`s back yard or park.  I would want to be married by a justice of the peace (not a minister of any particular faith) surrounded by friends and family on a warm fall day.  I would want a casual reception at ... well, that`s where my thoughts get more hazy...  I`m not sure where I would want the reception to be, but I think at a family`s home would be great - but if it wasn`t large enough, we`d probably be able to rent space at a hotel which would work for out of town guests as well.  I would want to have a loonie bar to help off-set the cost.

We came up with a guest list of 50 people.  Wow! I thought I didn`t know anyone, my list actually had I think 5 more people then his did.  Lets say we got married in 2 years from now, we`d probably expand the network of people we know and would want to invite - so it could be as many as 75 - 100 people (my bet would be on a smaller number).

So before I do up a pseudo-wedding budget. Yes, I budget for random things that may or may not actually happen (it;`s fun - and Jordan actually asked me to). I`m calling out to all of my readers who have been, or will be getting married. What things do I need to consider before doing a little research?

Obvious things that come to mind are how much the hotel would cost, food, alcohol, justice of the peace, travel arrangements, clothes (dress, suite), rings...hmm..

What else should we think about before launching into creating this budget-plan?



  1. Invitations, cake, decorations....Its been too many years. You will need to make two budgets - Jordan's dream will cost 10s of thousands more than yours. the setting alone will require more formality - which will add things like table favours, flowers, bridal veil...

    But we would totally rake up the dog poop for you.

  2. Ahhhh I really did think you were engaged when I saw the title. :) I had this "pre-engagement dream" talk once with J and I was giddy for an entire week after. Sigh.

    You've got wedding party attire, reception place, food, flowers, gifts, transportation, honeymoon... the list could go on forever. I suggest looking up a website that would pretty much give you all the line items of wedding stuff and coming up with a budget from there.

    My BFF recently got married and used this page a lot: http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-budget.aspx

  3. There are so many things to consider, but something that might be nice about a place that has an 'all-included' setting is that your decorations may be included, table linens, menus, servers, catering, dessert, etc.

    If you have the reception in someone's backyard, tent, tables, chairs, dishes, linens may all need to be rented. Catering is also a separate expense, as well as servers and bartenders, possibly a bar to bring in.

    Do you like to dance? A DJ, or musicians, or a dance floor are things to consider. There's alot! But you can also get carried away if you think about it too long.

    A great Canadian wedding site is weddingbells.ca - the forums there are extremely useful with really helpful ladies who are also planning weddings, or have been married already. It's a great resource for vendor reviews, experiences, and ideas. Lots of DIY stuff too, which was really helpful when we planned our wedding.

    But we went away - it was a lot easier (and cheaper!) than hosting it here and I think everyone had a nice vacation!

    Have fun budgeting (and dreaming)!

    Ahhhh.... :)

  4. B and I made our imaginary guest list the other day, and it quickly got to +100 people. We've both done undergrad degrees and law school, and have big families, so there's lots of people to invite. We're seriously considering going somewhere like Barbados so the guest list will cut itself! I've been looking into prices as well and it's not too bad!

  5. My wedding two years ago that would fit J's dream cost roughly $25,000 including everything except honeymoon and rings. We had 79 people (including photographers, dj, etc). It was at a very nice hotel so it was a bit more expensive. Keep in mind...our parents paid for most of it. I think we shelled out about $7,000 of our own money. If we had to pay for it I think the wedding would have been VERY different. I loved it though.

  6. I have no comments on things to think about for a wedding, since I've never been married nor planned a wedding, nor even helped a friend plan a wedding.

    I just wanted to say that I think it is GREAT that you're talking about it - and even BETTER than Jordan is brining it up. Even if it is as far as 2 years away, it is good to know what your expectations are and what his are and try to find a middle ground. =)

  7. invitations, attire, wedding bands, ceremony decor, ceremony site, justice of the peace, food, alcohol, cake, favors, gifts for attendents, flowers, photographer, thank you notes.

    You can always add more thing to the list, or take away a some, but I think the venue will push a lot of your decisions. Most hotels make you use their food and alcohol, while if you had it at your parents, you can spend less.

    But renting chairs, tables, etc can be a hassle too!

    I hate wedding planning! I'm getting married in APril and I can't wait, but I just hate all the details!

  8. (btw... awesome that your mom has volunteered to pick up dog poop for you... now that is true motherly love)

  9. My sister is getting married Jan 2011, so we are going through all this right now - her and her fiance had different views of the wedding to begin with, but the numbers did the talking. She was able to find a golf course that would hold reception and ceremony, provide center pieces, linens, cutlery and dishes, all table dressings, decor and food for approx. $110 per person. She's got a list of about 60 people, she would have to pay for the justice of the peace as a separate fee, but the golf course has a list of people who preform the ceremonies to choose from. Because she's having it in January, and not on a Saturday there are savings on a variety of extras she can choose from also - five course instead of four course, cake included in price per head, and a host of other things, even something about a photographer and DJ for the event as well. All of this included in the package because of the time of year, date chosen and number of people she'll be having.

    Perhaps you could look around for these types of packages offered in your area as well - and combine the two dreams with an all in one venue, the beauty of a park setting and reduced costs all around. Also you may be able to negotiate in transportation and a hotel wedding reduced guest rate too. I've also heard that a trick for flowers and cakes is to tell them you are having a party not a wedding, and pick them up instead of having them delivered. This saves on money too. And don't be too quick t choose a fancy cake place that uses fondant. WE've found fabulous local bakeries in out area that do Royal/butter Cream icing cakes for weddings for around $200 for 4 tiers!

    Since you have the time to do the leg work and find all the deals, small places to help you out, you may find that your dream wedding may end up costing far less than some others how didn't do the research first!

    (I've been having these talks with C lately too - the more you find out and store in the bank now, the better the actually planning with go later!) That was how I found out about the golf and country club thing, the local bakery thing, as well as potentially using some photog friends of mine and some creative people to create the invitations. Perhaps you know some graphic designers, or photographers in your friends group that you can get rates from. Best of luck on your research!!

  10. It all depends on what you want and what's important to you guys.

    For H and I, we are getting married and having our honeymoon for $5,000!

    Flowers aren't important to me, where I would pay good money for a photographer. The cake isn't that important for us either, and since we only want family to attend, we are having cupcakes.

    We don't drink, our family doesn't drink, so a reception with booze wasn't necessary for us.

    Pick and choose what you want and don't want. Just remember, the more you want, the more it costs! ;)

  11. Weddings... I went through one of those over a year ago. If I had to do it again. I'd probably find more ways to trim the budget.

    Here are some of things we did.

    1) Got married at a church we were members of, this cost us nothing.
    2) Reception in the Church basement, again due to being members, cost us nothing.
    3) Planned to have the wedding so that it started after lunch and so that the reception ended before dinner. That way I didn't have to feed people beyond figure food.
    4) Reception in the church, no booze, no paying for booze.
    5) No real fly to some destination honeymoon, we took a drive up north to Thunderbay. it was nice. Stayed in a different hotel every night.

    If I had to do it again, I'd find a way of having a cheaper honeymoon. all told the event cost $8,000 including the honeymoon.

    paid with cash.

  12. Hehe way to go on a misleading title to reel us in :P

    I was actually thinking about this the other day - despite wanting a small wedding and thinking I don't know many people, old school friends alone would be at least 10-20, plus another handful from uni, and like you said no doubt more people we meet over the next few years...it adds up!

    One thing we HAVE decided is no open bar. His family drink like fish. And my parents don't drink.

  13. That's great! I was going to mention the same thing as savingspennies did about how if you go with a hotel or golf course etc they often make you purchase food and alcohol through them (usually you can only bring in your own cake).

    I think planning a wedding is very exciting. I can't wait to do it (well I can, as I need to budget for it first). I have looked at the budgets online before, there are lot of very comprehensive ones that are quite easy to find.

  14. If you are interested in some DIY wedding ideas, check out http://offbeatbride.com/... lots of cool ideas, often for little money!


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