Vancouver bride shares actual wedding budget
Photo: Shauna Danielle Photography

A Vancouver bride shares her actual wedding costs

It feels like just yesterday that I was busy organizing, crunching numbers and sharing my estimated wedding costs and budgeting tips with you. Now our wedding has come and gone and it’s time to share the final tally.

Everybody warns you that the day will go by in a heartbeat – and they’re right! And while it was stressful in the moment, it feels bittersweet to be finished with it all. My husband (!) and I can now reflect on all of the amazing memories, hilarious photos and financial lessons we’ve learned along the way to our “I dos.”

Vancouver bride shares actual wedding budget

Photo: Shauna Danielle Photography

I mentioned in my last post that my goal was to keep our wedding under $20,000. Here’s a quick summary of my estimated budget:

  • Venue: $3,597
  • Food: $7,000
  • Alcohol: $1,750
  • Florist: $915
  • Decor: $750
  • Photography: $2,800
  • Dress: $350
  • Day Of Coordinator: $1,200
  • DJ/Emcee: $996
  • Officiant: $515
  • Transportation: $300
  • Make up & hair (bride only): $280

Total estimate: $20,453

I’m happy to say we weren’t too far from the mark, coming in at $21,644. The majority of items came in at exactly what we had budgeted. A couple items, most notably alcohol, came in a lot under what we had budgeted and we actually ended up getting a $650 refund!

But there were a few places where I did spend more than I had intended.  Here’s where I splurged and why I decided to spend a little extra money:

Photobooth – $340

With two photographers on site and the majority of our guests on social media, it seemed redundant to also have a photobooth, especially when they typically cost upwards of $600 for just two hours. A few weeks before the big day, however, I met with a company that was just starting up and, because of that, was willing to offer me a significant discount. The photobooth provided endless entertainment for our guests throughout the evening, not to mention additional keepsakes of all the fun for the bride and groom.

Vancouver bride shares actual wedding budget

Photo: Shauna Danielle Photography

Extra rentals/decor – $350

During the final walkthrough with my wedding coordinator, we realized there were certain key areas of the venue that we hadn’t considered in our initial rental list. While I typically wouldn’t worry about whether guests had a cocktail table to rest their drinks on or a cushioned bench to sit on, these areas were key to the flow of the venue, as well as for pictures. In the end, I splurged on a few extra items for my guests during cocktail hour and a large pipe-and-drape system that would cover the colourful mural behind the head table as it definitely didn’t match my West Coast theme.

Food and decor – $804

We ended up having four extra guests than we had planned, which came in at $130 extra per person. We also had to pay for extra seating and furniture to accommodate them – not that we begrudge anyone! I also forgot to factor in someone to set up all of my decor and signage into my original budget. Luckily I had a friend who is also a decorator who was able to pitch in. Still, it was definitely the biggest blow to my budget. In the long run, though, it was all 100% necessary – signage at a wedding is a must as guests need to know where they’re going and when, and the decor helped pull everything together and make the event truly feel like our own.

 Vancouver bride shares actual wedding budget

Photo: Shauna Danielle Photography

Reception dress – $150

The wedding dress I bought had a fitted trumpet silhouette. It was dreamy, but wasn’t very practical for dancing! I decided to splurge on a short, white cocktail dress that had lots of movement to it – perfect for twirling on the dance floor with dear friends, family and a newly minted husband.

While I went over budget, I don’t regret spending a single penny. Weddings are a lot of money and certainly come with a lot of stress, and while it’s definitely a personal decision whether or not to have one, I am so happy we made this choice. Our wedding was one of the happiest days of my life, and my husband and I now have amazing memories that will last us a lifetime.

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