I don’t: Say no to high wedding costs

As we emerge from the aftermath of the holiday season, it seems that our Facebook feeds show a continuous stream of engagement posts and photos.

While this is great – I’m nothing if not a romantic – engagements almost inevitably lead to weddings, one of the biggest shams going right now.

The wedding industry encourages people to spend money they don’t have to “prove” how much they love each other. 

According to a poll by Ipsos from 2017, The Real Cost of Love – Weddings in Canada, an ideal cost for a wedding is $8,937. 

However, according to a 2014 poll from WeddingBells.ca, the real average cost of a wedding in Canada is more than $30,000. 

Of course, there are outliers. Thrifty couples can find creative ways to cut costs, and extremely wealthy people are probably spending more. 

Still, I’d hazard a guess that the average couple doesn’t have $30,000 just lying around, especially if one or both of them has just finished post-secondary school with student loans to pay.

Jessie Ferguson, a bride-to-be getting married this summer, said some “surprise costs” can pop up.

“We switched photographers, and the deposit for the old photographer cost the same as the total day cost for the new one,” she said.

Small things, such as invitations, also surprised her with their price.

Go to a bridal fair and feel your eyebrows escape into your hairline when you see the costs of things like a dress that will never be worn again, or party favours that guests will leave behind. The wedding industry has become a bloated machine that feeds on the dreams and desires of people, especially women. 

wedding costs

The Wedding Fair was held at the BMO centre on Sunday, Jan.13. The event helps connect businesses with potential customers while hosting mini-shows like the pictured bridal fashion show. (Photo by Rorie Standard)

CBC’s Marketplace found that vendors and venues often charge more for a wedding than for events like parties and reunions.

“Anything that has ‘wedding’ tacked on to it is automatically more expensive,” said Ferguson.

These high costs don’t only hurt wallets. They also turn what should be a joyful day into something tainted by stress, and that means a couple begins their wedded life already awash in money worries.

“Money has been a huge stressor,” said Ferguson.

“You’re paying thousands of dollars for one day, and even though I’m excited for my wedding day, it’s stupid how much it’s going to cost in the end.” 

Ferguson had some advice for people planning their own weddings.

“Don’t plan a wedding.  I’m kidding, but remember that it’s your day and fluff what anyone else thinks.” 

To cut costs, she suggested price comparing, and haggling for lower prices whenever possible. 

“If you have coupons for anything, use them. Michael’s always has coupons and deals, so shop around for sales and things like that. If you want twinkly lights, buy fairy lights after Christmas when they’re on sale.”

Couples who do want a wedding should be careful not to get carried away by the costly fairytale image sold by wedding vendors and bridal fairs. 

Besides, a 2014 study conducted by economics professors Andrew Francis-Tan and Hugo M. Mialon shows that the more a couple spends on the wedding, they more likely they are to get divorced.

Of course, for couples who’d like to completely spare themselves the headache and cost of a wedding, eloping is always an option. 

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