There is usually one question on every newly engaged couple’s mind: how much is our wedding in Ottawa going to cost?
When you first get engaged, the first steps to planning your wedding are to determine your spending capacity and set a budget. But if you’ve never planned a wedding before, how do you know how much a wedding in Ottawa costs? As a wedding planner, I understand it can be challenging to make realistic budget projections (spoiler alert, I can help with this!). So to give you a leg up, I’m breaking down what you can really expect to spend on your big day!
There is no “Average” Wedding Cost in Canada
Let me start by saying there is no “average” wedding cost. Every wedding is as different and unique as the couple getting married! If you’ve ever Googled the “average wedding cost” before, you probably came up with a number around the $30,000 mark. For a 100-150 person wedding, this unfortunately doesn’t get you much.
But I know you don’t want average. Your wedding and your budget should always reflect you and your priorities, first and foremost. You’re going to want to splurge on some areas and scale back on others. And because I know you might have arrived here hoping for the magic number, most of my couples spend between $50,000 to $80,000 for their wedding or $500 – $1,500 per guest.
As an Ottawa wedding planner, creating a realistic wedding budget is one of the first things I do with all of my couples. If you start to look at the numbers and feel overwhelmed (or any feeling that takes you away from what you should be feeling – excited!), let’s connect here.
The Real Cost of
Wedding Venues in Ottawa
The amount you spend on your venue will vary from person to person but generally, you should prepare to spend about 50% of your total budget on venue and food/drink costs. With the venues I’ve mentioned above, you’re looking at spending between $20,000 – $35,000. Your individual venue costs will depend on a number of different considerations, such as:
- Your guest count.
- Whether the venue is all-inclusive or if food/drink packages are extra.
- What is and isn’t included in the venue fee.
- If the venue has a minimum guest count requirement (tip: make sure you determine your guest list *before* choosing your wedding venue. If you skip this part and your final guest count comes under the minimum, you could end up paying a hefty price tag for the difference).
- The day of the week you’re getting married. Some venues consider Friday, Saturday and Sunday weddings at the same price. Some charge less for Fridays or Sundays. Weekday weddings are almost always priced lower.
- The season you’re getting married in. Wedding season runs from May to October and venue fees are usually higher in these months. November to April are considered “off season” so fees are generally lower.
- If your venue has a preferred vendors list. Some venues allow you to bring in vendors of your choice at no extra charge, while others require that you hire off their list (or pay a fee to bring outside vendors in).
- Whether decor/rentals are included or an additional cost.
Hiring a wedding planner is one of the best investments you can make for your wedding day. No matter if you’re looking for a full planning experience or someone to manage the wedding day, your return will be tenfold. The peace of mind you’ll feel knowing you have a trusted professional in your corner is worth every penny!
As a planner, I guide my couples through every step of the planning process to ensure nothing is overlooked. You don’t need to question what’s coming next or fear you are missing something. On top of that, I actively provide ideas and suggestions based on my experience to make it even better!
That being said, the cost of wedding planners in Ottawa varies depending on the planner’s experience, the level of service and the scope of work required to execute your wedding. Some planners take a boutique approach in order to maintain a high level of service so they take on a limited number of weddings per year. This is the approach I take and my couples typically spend between 10 – 15% of their budget on my services.
Wedding planners have a wonderful but demanding job. Planners spend a significant amount of time, energy and expertise helping their couples achieve the wedding of their dreams, and this is reflected in their pricing. In Ottawa, a full service planning investment can range from $6,000 – $8,500 or more. If you’re hiring a wedding planner for a tented wedding, you can expect to pay between $8,000 – $12,000. This is because there is a much higher workload associated with tented weddings, which is why you’ll often see planners offer a separate package entirely.
If you’re looking for someone to manage the month and day of your wedding, you’ll need a wedding coordinator, and most seasoned planners in Ottawa charge at least $2,000 for this service.
Your wedding photographer will likely be one of the first vendors you hire. Photography tends to be high priority for most couples – you can’t put a price tag on memories!
As a wedding planner, I often encourage my couples to choose a photographer that fits their style and values, rather than finding the most affordable option. You’re going to look back on your wedding in 10 or 25 years from now and want to enjoy your photographs. They are timeless keepsakes, a treasured family heirloom — so it’s important to find someone who can capture those moments properly!
If quality is a priority for you, you’re looking at making an investment between $4,000 – $7,000 for an Ottawa wedding photographer. Like your venue and planner, photography also has varying costs:
- Film vs. digital photography (FYI: film photographers often cost more than digital photographers due to the cost of film scans and equipment).
- The package you book with your photographer (12 hours, 10 hours, 8 hours or 6 hours).
- Whether a printed album is included in your service.
- If your wedding is being photographed by the principal photographer or an associate photographer.
- Any applicable travel costs if you’re having a destination wedding.
Ottawa Wedding Planning Tips
As you begin to plan your wedding day, remember that your wedding is an investment. The financial decisions you make for your special day are important so make sure you hire vendors who are professional, experienced and trustworthy. While you should stay within your budget as much as possible, it’s perfectly OK to spend a little extra if it means hiring an experienced, top notch vendor. If you’re having trouble making a decision, ask yourself this question – “What do I value most?”
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series where I’ll be breaking down what you can expect to spend on Florals, Decor and Hair/Makeup. I’ll see you then!