Friday, March 18, 2011

Canadian Wedding Costs 101...

Successfully planning a wedding very much relies on being able to successfully budget for your wedding. However, I've come to notice that many couple's quickly find themselves in a struggle of dream vs. reality; They dreamed of wedding that in reality costs a lot more than expected. As a wedding planner, part of our job is to help our clients get the most value for their money, but sometimes it's a real challenge to bring a clients vision to life because the dream they come to you with, is severely under-priced in their mind compared to the reality of what things cost.

This article is our way of sharing with you what weddings in 2011 really cost. We wanted to be able to share with couples what the normal rates are in the wedding world so that they can dream within their scope of reality and know what they're walking into when they begin to meet with vendors. There will always be options under these average costs, and quotes that come in way over. We know some couples will read this article and say, "Well my venue was only $100 per person," and that's to be expected. There are great deals to be had, but for the sake of general education, here is what we've come to expect as planners in the Canadian Wedding Industry!

If you're going with a regular all inclusive food and alcohol banquet hall, the average cost we're seeing with tax and gratuities included is around $120-$150 per head. If you're going with a more original venue such as a museum or historic building that requires you to also bring in a caterer and rentals (chairs, tables, place settings, glass ware, furniture, lighting etc.), expect to pay at least $200 per head.

DJ & AV:
The average DJ service for the night for a DJ/MC is $1200-$1500. If you want extra AV elements, expect something around the following:
- Intelligent lights: $100-$150 each
- Up lights for the room: $25-$50 each
- Pin lighting for guest tables: $18-$25 per table
- Use of in house AV screen: $100-200 each
- Dry Ice for special dances: $100-$175
- Custom Monograms with Lights: $200-$250 each

If you're considering a live band for the night in place of a DJ, expect to spend starting $4,000 easily.

Many couples are bringing in about a half hour to an hour of special entertainment like string ensembles, drummers, violinists, pianists. Be prepared to budget at least $400-$500 for no more than 30-60 minutes of any of the above. If you're looking for a whole team of dancers for a 30 minute set, be prepared to pay between $500-$800.

Real flowers aren't cheap, but neither are artificial ones. Any good artificial flower will easily be double the cost of a real one. For that reason, we suggest keeping it real with these real life average costs:
- Bridal Bouquet: $150-$200
- Bridesmaid Bouquet: $70-$100 each
- Corsages: $15-20 each
- Boutonnieres: $10-15 each
- Alter arrangement: $45-$75
- Large Ceremony Fresh Floral Arrangements on Pedestals: $200-$400 each
- Pew Arrangements: $15-30 each
- Flower Girl Baskets/Kissing Balls: $25-40 each
- Centerpieces: Low vase: $50-$100/ High vase: $80-$130
- Candelabra/Crystal Chandelier Rentals for Centerpieces: $40-$65
- Low and Long for Head Table: $125-$150

Decor is one way to create ambiance at your wedding and bring your theme to life, but it does come at a cost.
Backdrops: $700-$1500
Head table and Cake Table decor (linens, candles, flowers, accents): $500-$1000
Linens: $18-$25
Napkins: $2-$4
Napkin Rings: $2-$4
Charger Plates: $2-$5
Runners: $6-$10
Overlays: $10-$15
Chivari or Ghost Chairs: $8-$10

An experienced photographer will cost you anywhere from $3000-$5000 for full day coverage, usually including an engagement shoot and second shooter on the wedding day.

An experienced photographer will cost you anywhere from $2500-$4500 for full day coverage, usually including a second camera and moderate to extensive editing.

The average 3-4 tier wedding cake can easily run you anywhere from $500-$1000 depending on flavours and design. When it comes to wedding cakes, the more detailed the design, the more it will cost you. Time equals money and a simple cake can be done in half the time of an equal sized but way more detailed custom cake.

Most limo packages are for a standard 6 hours (that can not be broken up). Using 6hours as a base, expect to pay around $800 for a stretch limo, $1100-$1300 for an SUV limo, and $1800-$2400 for a limo bus (depending on size). Night pick ups for the bride and groom are always extra!

Bridal hair is usually around $120, and slightly less for a trail. Bridal make-up is usually around $100 and slightly less for a trial. Bridesmaids tend to be a little cheaper than the bride for make-up and up-dos.

The average full piece tux rental with shoes, tie, vests and pocket square will run you anywhere from $140-$160 on average.

The new average we're seeing when it comes to gowns, shoes, veil, accessories is between $2500-$4000.

Most churches have a set fee to host your wedding ceremony which usually amounts to a cost of $400-$600.

Custom invites are a beautiful way to infuse your personality into your wedding. Prices are often structured based on the quantity order, but be prepared to pay between $5-$8 depending on design style. If you're planning to match wedding programs, place cards, menus and table numbers to your invites, be prepared to shell out a few hundred more on top of the invite cost.

So there you have it... the general things couples will consider when planning a wedding and the general costs. We truly feel that every couple deserves to have a wedding that is uniquely their own and full of all of their wildest expectations! Hopefully in the last few minutes, we've given you a little more insight about what to expect those expectations to cost.

Happy Planning!

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