Average Cost of a Wedding in Ontario: Breaking Down Expenses for Couples

Getting married is a momentous occasion, but it can also come with a significant price tag.

Understanding the average cost of a wedding in Ontario can help you plan and budget accordingly for your special day.

Based on the numbers of The Knot’s Global Wedding Report, a wedding for 150 guests will cost you $35,000 to $40,000 in 2024.

This takes into account factors such as the venue, catering, attire, photography, decorations, entertainment, and more. 

Factors That Go Into the Cost of Weddings in Ontario

When it comes to the cost of a wedding, several factors can impact the final price.

Let’s take a closer look at these factors:

  • Guest Count: The number of guests can greatly impact the cost. More guests mean more food, drinks, and seating arrangements.
  • Wedding Venue: The choice of venue can significantly affect the cost. Popular venues are more expensive, while less traditional or off-peak options may offer cost savings.
  • Wedding Date: The time of year and day of the week can also impact the cost. Peak seasons (late spring to early fall) and weekends are often more expensive, while weekdays or off-peak times may be more affordable.
  • Food and Drink: The type, quality, and quantity of food and beverages served can contribute to the cost. Factors such as a plated dinner versus a buffet, open bar versus cash bar, and specialty or premium items can impact the price.
  • Wedding Attire: The cost of attire, including the bride’s dress, groom’s tuxedo or suit, and accessories, can vary greatly. Designer or custom-made options are more expensive than off-the-rack or rental options.
  • Decorations and Flowers: The choice of decorations and flowers can significantly impact the cost. Elaborate floral arrangements or custom-made decor items can increase expenses.
  • Photography and Videography: Hiring professional photographers and videographers will add to the cost. Different packages and additional services can further increase the price.
  • Entertainment and Music: The choice of entertainment, such as live bands or DJs, can vary in price. Additional services like lighting, sound systems, and special effects will also incur extra expenses.
  • Wedding Planner: Hiring a wedding planner can help alleviate the stress of planning but can also add to the budget. The level of involvement and services provided will determine the cost.

Keep in mind that these factors can vary depending on personal preferences, location, and individual vendor pricing.

Budgeting for a Wedding

Setting a realistic budget is paramount when planning a wedding.

It is important to analyze your finances thoroughly to determine the amount you can afford to spend.

It is also essential to research the average wedding costs in your specific area, as this will give you an idea of the expenses involved.

Once you have done this, you can then decide which aspects of the wedding are of utmost importance to you, and allocate a larger portion of your budget towards those specific areas.

To further assist you in this process, it is recommended to create a detailed budget with categories such as venue, catering, attire, photography, decorations, and other items.

Within each of these categories, it is advisable to set limits based on your overall budget keeping in mind any unexpected costs that may arise.

To keep track of your expenses effectively, you may consider utilizing budgeting apps or spreadsheets.

It is always wise to be flexible and have a 10% contingency fund in place to tackle any emergencies that may occur.

Seeking guidance from professionals such as wedding planners can prove to be helpful. 

Allocating Budget to Different Wedding Expenses

Here is a breakdown of typical expenses and their recommended allocations:

  • Venue and Catering: The largest portion of the budget, around 40-50%, should be allocated to venue and catering. Consider factors such as the number of guests, venue type, and menu options.
  • Wedding Attire: It is advisable to allocate approximately 5-10% of the budget for the bride and groom’s attire, including the wedding dress, tuxedo/suit, and accessories.
  • Photography and Videography: Allocate around 10-15% of the budget for professional photography and videography services.
  • Decorations and Flowers: It is recommended to allocate 10-15% of the budget for decorations, floral arrangements, and centerpieces.
  • Entertainment and Music: Set aside 5-10% of the budget for entertainment, such as hiring a DJ or live band.
  • Wedding Planner: If you choose to hire a wedding planner, it is advised to allocate around 10-15% of the budget for their services.
  • Stationery and Invitations: Allocate approximately 5% of the budget for invitations, save-the-dates, programs, and other stationery items.
  • Transportation: It is advisable to allocate around 5% of the budget for transportation, including arrangements for the wedding party and guests if required.
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: Keep a buffer by allocating 10% of the budget for unexpected expenses or last-minute additions.

Ways to Save Money on Wedding Costs

1. DIY and Personalization

When planning a wedding, DIYing and personalization can add a special touch and save money. Consider these ideas:

  • Create your own wedding invitations and stationery using online templates or handmade designs.
  • Make your own wedding favours, like homemade jam or personalized candles, to save money and have a unique touch.
  • Design and print your own menus, place cards, and table numbers to match your wedding theme or color scheme.
  • Do your own flower arrangements by buying flowers in bulk, saving on the cost of a professional florist.
  • Personalize your wedding decor with photos or sentimental items to make it more meaningful and memorable.

2. Choosing Off-Peak Dates and Times

Consider selecting off-peak dates and times for a more affordable and less busy celebration.

  • Choose a weekday instead of a weekend. Many venues and vendors offer discounted rates for weekdays since they are less in demand. This can result in significant savings.
  • Opt for morning or afternoon time slots instead of the evening. Evening weddings are usually considered prime time slots and tend to be more expensive. By selecting a different time of day, such as morning or afternoon, you may be able to negotiate better prices.
  • Take the time to connect with various venues and vendors to inquire about their off-peak rates. Some may offer special discounts or packages specifically designed for weddings during less popular times. This can be a great way to maximize your savings.

3. Negotiating with Vendors

At the end of the day, there are plenty of vendors out there that offer similar types of services that you’re probably searching for.

  • Research the market: Gather information on vendors’ services and pricing. Look for reviews and feedback from previous couples. This will give you an idea of their reputation.
  • Know your budget: Set a clear budget for each aspect of your wedding. Be upfront about it when discussing pricing with vendors.
  • Compare prices: Reach out to multiple vendors offering the same service and compare their prices. Use this information to negotiate better deals.
  • Ask for discounts or package deals: Inquire about any discounts or special packages that vendors may offer. Don’t be afraid to ask for a better price.
  • Flexible dates: Try to be flexible with your wedding dates. Booking vendors during less busy times can often result in lower prices.
  • Be open to alternatives: If a vendor’s price is higher than your budget, discuss possible alternatives. They may have different options or packages available.
  • Negotiate terms: Besides negotiating prices, discuss payment schedules, cancellation policies, and additional services. Customizing the agreement can save you money and ensure a smooth working relationship.

4. Limiting the Guest List

  • Prioritize immediate family members and close friends who are essential to your special day.
  • Have an adults-only wedding to reduce the number of guests and costs associated with accommodating children.
  • Invite only close relatives and friends, and not distant relatives or acquaintances.
  • If you have a large social circle, consider inviting only those who have played a significant role in your life or have a close relationship with you.
  • Have a smaller ceremony and a separate, more intimate reception to include only a select few for the main celebration.
  • Opt for smaller wedding party sizes, such as having only one or two bridesmaids and groomsmen, or even forgoing a wedding party altogether.
  • Focus on quality, ensuring that every guest invited will truly enhance your celebration.
  • Communicate openly with family and friends about your decision to have a smaller guest list, emphasizing the desire for a more intimate and meaningful celebration.
  • Use technology, such as live streaming or video calls, to include those who couldn’t be physically present.
Happy couple walking barefoot after getting married

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the average cost of a wedding in Ontario?
  • Are there any cost-saving tips for Canadian couples planning a wedding?
  • Yes, there are several ways to cut wedding costs in Canada. Some suggestions include trimming the guest count, renting wedding attire and decorations, opting for a cash bar,, playing your own music, and having a family-style buffet instead of a-la-carte dining.

  • What are the biggest wedding expenses in Canada?
  • The venue, catering, and bar are typically the biggest wedding expenses in Canada. Other major expenses include photography, videography, floral arrangements and decor, and DJ and live music services.

  • Has the average cost of weddings in Canada increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on wedding costs is yet to be fully determined, however it definitely looks like COVID-19 coupled with inflation has driven costs up across the board over the past few years.

Tara Al-Khudairi

Tara Al-Khudairihas worked in the financial services industry since 2017. She graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Finance and is pursuing her CFA.

She has worked at a major Canadian financial institution in various client-facing advisory roles, starting as a bank teller and working up to a Client Services Associate within the Asset Management division. She specializes in simplifying concepts of personal finance for people of various financial backgrounds.

When she’s not examining the markets looking for the next SHOP.TO, she’s either practicing yoga, planning her next vacation, or has her nose buried deep in a book.