The grass has once again taken on its emerald green hue, the flowers have started to bloom, and the warm Sun has been lighting our way with each passing hour. Spring has sprung, which can only mean one thing…wedding season is upon us!
Several months ago I chronicled the details of how my husband (then fiancé) and I managed to cash-flow our wedding. After getting a lot of great feedback about that article, I thought it might be helpful for people to get a breakdown of exactly how much we spent, and exactly what we spent it on. My husband and I have committed ourselves to living our lives as open and transparent as possible, so we hope that by us opening up our “books”, we can help those of you who are currently in wedding planning mode, or one day hope to be, and bring you hope that you can have a beautiful wedding without overspending or going into debt.
Our Exact Wedding Budget:
Here is the table we used in our “Ramirez Wedding” Google Drive document, which we both had access to and regularly updated throughout our 9 month engagement. After having done some basic wedding budget research, we projected our own budget based on estimates of the average wedding costs in the Greater Toronto Area.
First, we determined exactly how much we could save and allocate towards the wedding based on 9 months of pay cheques – this was the absolute most we could spend after taking rent, transportation, and other expenses into account. We then worked down from that number, in order to create sufficient margin for any issues that might arise (they always do). At the time, our collective net income was $80k.
We discussed what we wanted our wedding to look/feel/sound/taste (and smell) like, and prioritized based how much we would spend on each item. As you can see, nearly 50% of our budget went towards the reception. Food and music was the most important part of the wedding for us – we wanted our guests to be stuffed with multiple courses of all kinds of delicious food (and open bar), and enjoy the best live music, and DJ. It was a blast!
Throughout our engagement, we’d update this chart to include the real cost of a particular item, and then adjust the budget elsewhere to accommodate our fixed, limited incomes. We hadn’t planned for any financial help from our families, so anything extra was an added blessing, but not included in our originals estimates.
The groom’s mom paid for his custom tuxedo ($500), and my mom paid for a videographer ($1500). We weren’t even planning on having a videographer, but my mom insisted (I suspect because she wanted to see herself on the dance floor). Also, our sister surprised us with a mariachi band during the reception (cost unknown)! My husband and I cash-flowed everything else, and only included the items we planned and paid for ourselves in our chart.
Remember, there are a lot of other expenses associated with starting your new life together. In addition to the final wedding tally you see below, we also cash-flowed first and last month’s rent for our new apartment ($3000), plane tickets to Italy for our honeymoon ($1872.76), and 4 nights Airbnb in Florence ($696). We didn’t have enough money to book our hotel in Rome or Napoli, so we decided to risk it and use any gift money we’d receive at our wedding to book those last minute (we booked our hotel in Rome just as our plane was taking off from Pearson…now that‘s cutting it close!) In total, we spent just under $5000 on our honeymoon (yes, it was expensive…but so worth it!).
|Item||Projected Budget||Actual Cost|
|Reception Venue + Catering (133 guests + 3 vendors)||$12,544.41||$12,544.41|
|Ceremony Venue (Royal York Library Room)||$1,000.00||$1163.68|
|Latin Jazz Band||$1,500.00||$1,000.00|
|DJ/LED Lights/Sound (All Day Coverage)||$1,686.00||$1,885.97|
|Wedding Dress Alterations + Custom Veil||$400.00||$500.00|
|Photography (Full Day Coverage)||$2,000.00||2,700.00|
|Bridal Party + Family Florals||$400.00||$541.55|
|75 Invitations (Minted.com Design/Printing)||$200.00||$274.93|
|Postage Stamps for Invitations||$30.00||$68.48|
|Decor Rentals Security Deposit||$125.00||$125.00|
|Bridesmaids’ Make-up (Gift)||$200.00||$400.00|
|Flower Girls’ Accessories & gifts||$40.00||$22.88|
|Decorations (Candles, Books, Craft Supplies, etc.)||$500.00||$691.65|
And there ya have it!
To all you love birds in the midst of planning your big day, we wish you all the luck in the world. But, our biggest wish for you is that you experience your wedding day without the stresses of money, debt, or anything else that might try to steal or dampen your joy. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – a beautiful, luxurious wedding is possible without overspending or going into debt. To be honest, I’m still surprised we were able to pull it all off. But with a lot of discipline, tears, creativity, and prayer, we did it, and so can you!
CLICK HERE to see that our wedding definitely didn’t look inexpensive at all 😉
Here’s to the Hotel Principe Torlonia in Roma, the best last minute deal EVER!…