Dr. Alan Viau

Bridal Budget Breakdown

Bride magazines often give breakdowns on spending for weddings. I plugged in the suggested percentages for what is considered an average wedding budget and asked three of Ottawa’s wedding planners to comment.

The example budget I chose is for an on-location wedding ceremony and reception. If the wedding ceremony is performed in a church then additional costs for renting the church, organist and any other charges need to be included. The same goes for a venue such as a city park where you may need to rent the location and chairs. It is sad to see in most breakdowns that the budget for the groom’s attire comes last. I think he deserves a little better than that – it is his day too.

Our Ottawa wedding planners all agreed that the breakdown was representative of what they saw brides spending. They all agreed on three trends.

1-      Brides want to create a memorable event, not only for themselves but for the guests as well. Cristie Vito says “The venue and the food are key to this. Most couples I have been working with want to stay away from a typical banquet hall feel and are willing to spend a bit more to have a unique setting such as a gallery or museum.”  Wendy Leung concurs. “I see more emphasis on a modern, unique venue space AND great food. It’s the wedding experience they want the guests to talk about.”

2-      The details can really make your event unique. Lynn Lee advocates that brides should “allocate a separate spending amount for décor and details since that is such a huge consideration for today’s bride.” Linens are growing as a part of the details. Brides should include “at least $500 for linens.”

3-      They are all observing a trend where less couples are getting married in a church. Cristie says they are opting to get married on-location so that their guests don’t have to travel between the church and reception venue. It also allows the couple to leisurely welcome their guests right after the wedding ceremony.

In addition there was some specific advice to brides offered by the wedding planners. Often the cost of the honeymoon is not included in the overall planning of the wedding and it should to give you a true picture of what you intend to spend.  Cristie advises that brides start planning early with a realistic budget. Wendy has observed that only when the couple actual begins planning do they realize how much of their dream wedding they can actual realize. By planning and budgeting, the couple can juggle their allocations. “If”, as Lynn says, “the bride as fallen in love with a particular gown, they may choose to allocate more to the one item and cut spending in other areas.”

It really comes down to wanting to treat their guests to an amazing and memorable wedding experience that reflects the couple. Today’s bride and groom are seeking unique ways to achieve that within their budget.


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