A realistic look at planning a wedding in Calgary

Let’s face it ladies, planning a wedding is an once-in-a-lifetime event – not to mention that most of us have been planning it down to the last detail since we were 12.

What may be hard to realize for many couples is the cost associated with pulling off their perfect day.

For Aisha Hipol and fiancé Leo Leung, setting a budget is part of their reality. “It’s really hard. You want to go extravagant and you want to have all the nice stuff, but you have to work within your budget,” Hipol said.

The couple has realized that although this is a happy time, it can also be nerve wracking.

“It can be stressful and some brides can have those luxury things, but when you are paying for it on your own, it’s hard. I’ve planned it since I was a child, and having your fiancé tell you it’s not in the budget kind of crushes your dream,” Hipol said.

To help subsidize some of the cost of decorating for the big day, Hipol is relying on her bridesmaids and friends to make the centerpieces and other decoration projects.

Another major expense for most couples is photography. Stephanie Grant of Creative Button Photography said in an interview via email that when looking for a photographer it is important to choose someone you get along with. “Meet the person in advance and maybe throw around ideas,” she suggested.

Top money saving tipsAisha Hipol and fiancé Leo Leung on a romantic trip just for themselves.
Photo courtesy of Aisha hipol

Wedding planner Chelsea Morgenstern of Everything but the Ring, offered in an interview via email the following advice when planning a wedding:

1. “Most money is spent on major things such as catering, reception location and photography. My major recommendation- don’t ever try to skimp you will regret it,” she said.

2. “Staying on budget is best accomplished by doing extensive research and having many meetings with locations and vendors to determine costs before booking. This is a very stressful process,” she added.

3. “Budgets are critical. It should be one of the first things you do when you start thinking about your wedding. The average city wedding starts at $27,000.

“It’s important to realistically decide how much you are willing to spend on each aspect of your day, as well as who will be paying for it. Many couples have family help so those people need to know what the expectation is of them,” Morgenstern said.

4. “One of biggest ways couples choose to save money: a destination wedding. A beach wedding with a few family and friends is a fraction of the cost of hosting a wedding in your hometown, even in spite of travel costs. Resorts offer great package deals for couples getting married, as well as booking rates for their guests,” she said.

5. “For couples who have extra time, some other ways to save money are making your own invitations, choosing less elaborate flower arrangements, and some couples are choosing to have cocktail receptions instead of dinner service which saves a lot of money as well. Having a wedding during “off-season” (January-March) it is also less expensive than, say, in the summer,” she added.

6. “Obviously, my biggest piece of advice is to make a budget, and talk to a wedding planner. This is an exciting but stressful time, and even if you want to make your own arrangements, a wedding planner can be there on your wedding day to make sure your plans all run smoothly.”

sharrower@cjournal.ca