• Erika Dowell

How we spent $9,953.06 on our wedding and honeymoon.

We did this without our parents paying for it.

Back in 2017, when I met my now-husband, I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to be with him forever. We agreed on the Top 3, in our opinion, things that couples need to be on the same page about and had that discussion pretty early on.

One of those things is Finance, of course. I’m a bookkeeper and he’s a self-proclaimed frugality

enthusiast. Together, as we planned our life, most decisions came down to numbers.

After we got engaged, I shared my goal of having a $10,000 wedding or less. I don’t know where I got that from or why it was my goal.

I figured whatever we decided to do for a honeymoon wouldn’t be that expensive and we’d figure it out later.

So, with $10,000 on my mind, I made it our goal to stay in that budget (give or take). I won’t bore you with line item by line item, but here are my Top 16.

Venue - $0

We opted to get married in a cute room in the back of a bar/ sophisticated and very much our style restaurant in Downtown Victoria on August Long Weekend. We also opted for a Sunday, to make sure that anyone that needed to, have time to travel on Saturday and Monday for their work.

The Venue would have cost us $300, but because we spent at least $1,200 on food and drink (as a group), we didn’t have to pay a room fee. Well, that’s really easy to do when you have a guest list of $40 people and have to feed them so no room fee. Also, since we are not much for dancing, we didn’t need to hire a DJ or band. It was a bit nerve-racking to assume that people would just visit and talk all night, but once we got onto the bar’s speakers and the music was coming through there it was a great atmosphere for people to visit and hang out.

Food - $3,500

Pretty early on, we also figured out that we didn’t love the idea of sit down style dinner or anything that would make it hard for us to visit and eat at the same time. With that in mind, we opted for appies (ones that wouldn’t make a mess) to be served throughout the night. Easy peasy.

We quickly figured out that our budget was not realistic and knew we would just have to spring for the good stuff.

We also opted for a drink ticket system; all guests received at least one with their program and then M and I would hand out extras throughout the night if we felt like it. My MOH and his Best Man were on our tab all night as a thank you. This included a tip, of course.

Dessert - $225

True love is sharing. Mathew and I fell in love with sharing and finding our favorite flavor of Macarons. So, we ordered Macarons for our wedding.

Dresses - $433.80.

Since we had a small wedding (50 people), we only had an MOH and Best Man. My, at the time 2-year-old, niece was our flower girl. I’m lucky that my best friend (MOH) is an amazing seamstress and opted to create her dress and the flower girl’s. So those only came to $180 with fabric. My wedding dress was ordered online and ended up being $253.80. The alternations were a nightmare and ended up being free. I don’t recommend that route, though.

Suit - $280.16

We went over budget on Mathew’s suit, which I definitely thought would have been $100 or less. It ended up being $280.16. I think those alternations were also free because they messed those up, too.

Rings - $151.95

Simply put, we’re diamond hating millennials and got ceramic rings and silicon rings as symbols of our love. All in, with 2 ceramic rings and 2 silicon rings, we paid $151.95 with the silicon rings costing just over $100 on their own (damn shipping and currency exchange).

Decoration - $155.68

Since we got married in an already gorgeous venue, we only worried about some simple flowers. I’ve dabbled with bouquets in the past. One quick YouTube video on how to make a couple boutineers and we were set.


Mathew was really passionate about having good photography on our wedding day. We reached out to only two photographers, both of which were barely acquaintances of mine. I wanted to go with the $3,000 photographer but we decided to go with the other at $800. We liked his photography just as much and we knew he was going to get the shots and keep us comfortable in front of the camera. While it was cheaper and less ‘hours’, Marco ultimately ended up giving us exactly what we needed and being where we needed him to be. We also included him and his wife for dinner and drinks afterward.

Find his work here.

Hotel - $0

We opted to not get a hotel in downtown Victoria on the long weekend. We had our own place so there was no reason to stay at a $500/night hotel when we could just go home and sleep in as long as we wanted.

Mathew got ready at our Condo and I got ready at my parent’s AirBNB; I know for a fact that if I had done this in the small town I grew up, I would be getting ready in my old childhood room so this felt perfect anyways.

Invites - $21.22

I hate paper. Loathe it entirely. However, our mom’s loved the idea of invites, so we printed 25 invites with a photo of us with the location of our wedding and sent them to:

3x Parents

4x Grandparents

4x Siblings

5x Friends

2x Aunts and Uncles

Yes, that’s only 18. But the rest of our guest list has emails and probably would just throw away the invite anyways.

The venue could hold a total of about 60 people, squished. As we started getting RSVPs back, we invited more people as needed/wanted. In total, we invited 78 people and 48 showed up. We had a 100% RSVP rate, for all us data nerds out there.

Programs - $46.87

Using the exact same layout as our invites, we made up programs with the basic details that go on a program. Nothing fancy or anything, but just basic info of what was happening, when it was happening, and when people could expect to just have a party.

Officiant - $260.15

This one surprised me. Since British Columbia regulates how much an Officiant can charge, I budgeted $100. Our bill ended up being $260.15 because she can charge for travel, travel time, and meeting time.

So, the more you know.

Makeup/Hair - $150

I hired two small artists that I knew to help me and my MOH get ready. They were very reasonable/didn’t want to charge, but we ended up paying them around $150 for makeup and hair.

Shoes - $100

My dress was about an inch too short for me, but it all worked out because I bought some sparkly Keds x Kate Spade shoes. I still wear them today, so they were worth the investment and feeling comfy, but sparkly.

Gifts - $163.83

I didn’t do much for gifts, but I did get my Mom, Mom-in-law, MOH, Sister, and Sister-in-Law some reusable grocery bags (~$2 each), plastic sunglasses (~$2 each, too), and a Tumbler mug (Warm for 8 hours, cold for 12) with their name. The flower girl also got a bag with stickers, colouring book, etc. In all, that was about $163.83.

Honeymoon - $3,386.00

We debated our honeymoon for a few weeks, but we ultimately found an amazing deal on a cruise from Vancouver, BC to San Diego, California. It was 7 nights of total bliss; no cell reception and just the two of us. Days at sea were spent reading books and days docked were spent exploring a new town or city. The total cost was for both of us and included a classic drink package so we could have all the drinks were could possibly want.

15 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

I wrote this post between February 2022 and April 2022 A question that comes to mind more frequently than not these days. When we moved to Halifax from Kelowna last summer, I expected a lot more from

Current friends may not be your future friends Making mistakes are okay and part of life Don’t listen to fuck boys Budgets aren’t just a spreadsheet Passions change People’s opinions about you don’t r

Back in September, I deleted all of my tweets. I was going through some pretty bad burn out/post-posting sadness and didn’t want to deal anymore. Some element of it I think was feeling some minor cybe