The average wedding in Canada costs easily between $20,000 to $30,000 and that is a lot of moolah!

Below are some examples of others who have researched the cost of saying “I do”:

When it comes to planning your wedding, a key component every bride should remember is this is YOUR wedding.  I recently was married on June 15, 2019 and I was originally opposed to having a wedding, as I wanted to continue the family tradition of eloping.  My husband wanted a small wedding so we could celebrate our nuptials with our close family members.  Both Brian and I didn’t want to bust the bank and we decided on a very small budget as far as weddings go.  It isn’t because we are cheap, but because we wanted to be married sooner than later, and to pay for our wedding with cash, we also want to take an amazing honeymoon in the autumn 2019. If we had a grand blow out wedding, we would have  been saving for a couple more years. After being married, I can tell you the day flies by so quickly you barely remember a thing.  You may gasp in shock over our budget, but we wanted to stay within $5,000 to $6,000. 

Yikes Australia!

We created a wedding account and we both paid into it over the course of a few months until we hit the $5,000 mark.  Keep in mind we also just purchased a luxury condo back in September 2018  with a waterfront view, so we have been “condo poor”.  It is a good thing we love our place so much and we love to stay in and have guests over rather than going out to be entertained.  You may think a budget of $5,000 to $6,000 isn’t possible, but in Nova Scotia, Canada it is possible!  I cannot speak for other provinces.  From my research, it is booking the venue for the reception which is the killer in costs.

Below is something I found online regarding Canada and how much it should cost and what most are willing to pay and who pays. Everyone I know have paid for their own weddings, but I suspect some younger brides and grooms may be fortunate enough to have their families help out and cover the costs.

One item I did not want to spend a lot of money on was my wedding dress.  I assumed I would be looking at around $1,000 and this killed me as seriously, you wear the dress for one day, sometimes only a few hours.  For me making a purchase on a dress I am only going to wear once for $1,000 seemed frivolous and wasteful.  Yes, I know it is a special day, you will remember for the rest of your life, but having a glorious expensive dress was not important to me.  I am a very simple classic type of gal when it comes to style and a friend of mine suggested that I look at bridesmaid dresses or long white dresses in regular shops.  If your style is simple like mine, this is a great suggestion.   I did hit some thrift shops too, and there were a couple of dresses I would have tried on, but they were the wrong size, so don’t dismiss the second hand shopping if you want to save some money, you may strike gold.  Second hand shopping is also more sustainable for the environment which always feels good too.  

I found my dress in February 2018 at a Bridal Show on the clearance rack; it was a sample size marked down to $150 and it was perfect for me.  It is the only dress I tried on, and I was a bit worried it would be too plain, but what I had visualized in my mind came to fruition the day of my wedding.  To spruce up the dress and add some bling, I bought a wedding belt to tie around the waistline and this cost me $65 and it is literally a silky ribbon with some embroidered beads on it.  Wedding stuff is pricey!  My new sister in law leant me her tiara and veil from her wedding covering something borrowed and something old.  For my something blue, I had navy blue velvet flats which I bought from a second hand shop called “Frenchy’s” and I am quite sure the shoes had never been worn before; I paid maybe $5 for them.  I had my hair done which was around $100 and make up was around $130 including tip.

Make up was done early in the morning as the make up artist was already booked later in the morning for a wedding party. Book these things early girls, don’t procrastinate like I did!

Brian knew how badly I wanted a string quartet to play at our wedding, but I assumed it would be out of the question.  He ended up hiring a string trio to play at our wedding for an hour for $850.

My bouquet was $100, three boutonnieres $30 and two large displays of white flowers $300 plus tax.  Brian gave his Mom one of the displays after the reception, and I gave my Mom the other display, so it was a nice gift for the Bride & Groom’s Mamas.  I did not have bridesmaids per se who walked down the aisle with me, but two of my friends stood with me whom I consider to be like family.   I told them to wear whatever they wanted.  Somehow they nicely coordinated their outfits by coincidence to the blue theme as Brian wore a dapper blue suit.  

One of my friends below:


For the reception we had copious amounts of wine, Brian’s work team all gave him wines from all over Nova Scotia so he came home right before our wedding vacation with 16 bottles of wine.  We had also ordered a number of bottles of wine from our favorite local winery, Benjamin Bridge and we stalked the fridge at home with Nine Locks beer, our local Dartmouth craft brewery, and by far our favorite beer ever.  Our budget for booze was $500, but we spent around $700 as we didn’t want to run out.  

We spent $1200 or so on catering from a local catering company in Dartmouth called “Kitchen Door” and their food was extremely impressive.  The food was visually appealing  and tastier than what I have received at larger planned weddings.  We were pleased and our guests were happy.  Brian’s mom generously donated three dozen cupcakes.   Our guest list for the reception was 23 people (including us!).   

Below is the view from our balcony:

We had the reception at our own home as we have a beautiful skyline view of Halifax  and our event was small.  Brian’s Mom and sister looked after all of the decorating.  I am sure we saved the most money on not renting out a space for our reception.  We soon realized we could invite more people than we anticipated as we had more than enough food and drink, and I contacted some friends who attended the wedding ceremony to let them know if they were free they could come on over.  We had to clean up the next day, but that wasn’t a big deal. 

Decor before the wedding (All done by my Mother & Sister in law):

One more thing we splurged on were photographers, we went with Applehead Photography from downtown Halifax, as we loved their work.  We were assigned the nicest couple who helped coach us through our pictures.  They charged $500 an hour for two photographers, and we had them booked for three hours, so the photography was our most expensive purchase. 

Here are some pics they took:

We were married in the Catholic Church which was important to me, and we were married in my church Saint Thomas Aquinas, and as I am a parishioner I was given a discount, so the cost to be married in the church and hold the space was a mere $350, and then you give a donation to the priest who officiated the wedding which was $150 which is the recommended amount, you can give less or more. 

We had perfect weather after a long week of rainy skies, the sun shone for us on our wedding day.  Everything went swimmingly well.  Everyone who attended the wedding and reception had a wonderful time; it was intimate and fun.  We did it our way and if you didn’t notice, I was pretty easy breezy on having others involved.  I never thought I would marry anyone, and it was the sacrament of marriage which mattered most to me.  I am glad I agreed (didn’t have much of a choice) to having a proper wedding and celebrating with those who matter most to us.    You don’t have to go broke to have a nice wedding.  You don’t have to be cheap to avoid not going broke if you prioritize.



So, let’s do a wee tally of expenses:

  • Dress & accessories: $215
  • Makeup and hair: $230
  • String Trio: $850
  • Catering:  $1200
  • Wedding Ceremony: $500
  • Photography: $1500
  • Booze: $700 
  • Flowers: $500

A grand total of $5,695 approximately.  I think we did exceptionally well with our Bride on a Budget goal and although our list of guests were quite exclusive, we gave them an exceptional intimate experience at our own home.  I had a couple of guests tell me it was the best wedding they have ever attended, so it just goes to show you don’t have to break the bank in order to have a beautiful celebration.  If you are going to go with a larger number of guests, then you will have larger expenses, and likely have to rent out a venue.  Venues start at $10,000 and up just to hold the space with minimal service for a minimal number of guests.  It is for one day and the day flies by, but you do what works for you!! You can do big with pomp and circumstances or you can do small and intimate. The choice is yours!

I did not include the cost of rings as those items we will keep & wear till death due us part and Brian’s suit was new but he will be wearing it again in the future.

Peace & love – Rachel    





Published by You Know Jacques!

Living in beautiful Nova Scotia. Blogging about everything under the sun from social injustices, minimalism & the corruption of over consumerism, traveling the world & experiencing different cultures, mental health issues, diet, dating, book/restaurant/product reviews and social issues. I hope to encourage and inspire being authentic as I can be. I hope you enjoy what I have to share and please feel free to drop me a line.

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