Formally defined, the mirco wedding is an event for 50 people or less. In many cases, weddings had a much smaller workforce due to restrictions, and in a surprising fact, because many couples decided that more was actually less. They loved the idea of ​​having only a handful of their loved ones with them on their day. The added bonus: saving money. (Especially when you consider that the average pre-covid wedding in Canada costs between $22,000 and $30,000.)

Is a Micro Marriage More Affordable?

That said, don’t think that the reach of a wedding automatically equates to spending less. The budget for a small wedding can be thrown aside just as quickly as for a 200-person party. A small party is only cost effective if you do the work of keeping the money matters in check. “Expenditure is often driven by emotion, and there are few things more emotional than a wedding,” says Melissa Leong, author of the award-winning book Happy Go Money. “Remember, the wedding isn’t the most important thing in the end, it’s the marriage. There is a lot of research to support the fact that a life journey that starts with debt hurts a relationship.”

Making a Budget: How Much Does a Small Wedding Cost?

If you’ve never planned a wedding, you may not know the associated purchase costs (who knew it cost so much to rent chairs?). Because of this, it can seem difficult to come up with a realistic budget. The last thing you want is to start a marriage with a maximum line of credit or an exhausted emergency fund. (Wondering whether a wedding budget could be better spent on a mortgage? Read this.)

There are three major expenses for weddings: venue and catering, decor and photography. Food and drink can eat up 50% of your budget; photography lasts up to 20%; flowers and decor anywhere from 10% to 18%; and the rest is for other things like clothes, flowers, etc. Within these three pillars, you can put your budget together, calculate exact costs, and add other standalone necessities like wedding clothes, transportation, office supplies, and your honeymoon.

Track your wedding expenses

When you break down your budget, you need a way to keep track of your expenses. According to Leong, this still applies to a good, old-fashioned spreadsheet.

“When I was planning the wedding, I shared my spreadsheet online with my current husband,” explains Leong. “We had an estimated total budget. And if I wanted to spend more in one category, we had to subtract that from another. I wanted a downtown location with lobster and steak for dinner, but I had to cut? [other costs] to make it happen.” Leong’s solution? “I bought a secondhand dress, had flowers from Costco, and booked the wedding for a Friday afternoon,” she says.

Consider a pop-up wedding, with all-inclusive costs

Another smart way to balance your wedding budget spreadsheet is to choose a wedding style that locks in all costs. A pop-up wedding is a prime example and it has become extremely popular over the past two years. This is a one-day event created by a wedding planner where multiple couples get married in a beautifully designed, temporary setting. When you book a pop-up wedding, the costs are all-inclusive: ceremony, flowers and photography.

After rescheduling their Las Vegas wedding (originally scheduled for 2020) three times, Toronto couple Sarah Manson-Aishford and Jeff Aishford opted for a pop-up wedding last summer. Manson-Aishford says it was the best decision they’ve ever made for their budget and their stress levels.

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