The cost of love...

"The Beatles may have crooned “money can’t buy me love”, but it turns out those warm and fuzzy feelings do have a financial impact – $45,151.88, to be precise." - Ratesupermarket.ca

The research team at Ratesupermarket.ca has determined that the 2014 total cost for of the average 1 year of dating, 1 year of engagement plus the average Canadian wedding weighs in at a hefty $45,000+.

I did a quick tally of my just under 2 years of dating and wedding and guesstimated our total was approximately $25,000; my husband paid for most of our dates (I let him wine, dine and woo me) and, although I got the ring appraised for insurance purposes, I don't know exactly how much was spent.

Our wedding details are quite precise (you can read the nitty gritty here) and come in at less than the average wedding (as a 25-person wedding should).

Now, I wouldn't be very helpful unless I could share some tips on how to keep your love total under the average so you can also achieve your other goals.

Dating

I am a big fan of keeping the dinner dates for special occasions. Some great dates that don't break the bank are:

  • Coffee and a walk along Dallas Road
  • Ice skating at a rec centre
  • Billiards/darts and a drink
  • Hiking in East Sooke Park
  • Picnic in Beacon Hill Park
  • Movie marathon weekend
  • Wine tour on the Penninsula (check out Victoria Spirits, too!) or brewery tour
  • Tourist in your own Hometown (March), Fringe Fest (August)
  • Dine around Town (Feb/March)
  • Bowling at Langford Lanes
  • Get "Fired Up" painting ceramics

Engagement

Engagement rings aren't one of those things you want to cheap out on, however, if you're not dead set on a giant diamond ring, you could drop some hints about other semi-precious stones you want. Or help with the research, consider an already-made design vs. custom, etc.

As for the engagement party, this can be a simple get together at one of the parents' house. Or skip a big formal affair (we did), our parents had already met and we didn't see the need of spending more cash that we could use for the wedding (which was only 7 weeks away!). We invited both sets of parents over for dinner and surprised them with the news.

Wedding

There are dozens (hundreds?) of blogs dedicated to budget-friendly frugal weddings. Top ways to spend less on your one special day and have more $ for the rest of your life:

  • Buy your wedding dress used. I ended up buying two dresses and having one given to me (all brand-new); total cost was $500 (two were from consignment stores, never worn, one from a designer). I wore one for the ceremony, one for the party and the third I'd bought too far in advance and didn't fit when the time came. Bonus - sell it after!
  • Serve your own alcohol. If your venue allows, you can do u-brew beer/wine/cider and save a ton of cash.

The rest of your life

Don't stop after the wedding! The wooing and treating your honey continues. Make sure to get away for date nights (see date ideas above!), make a card/collage or write a love letter to your honey on anniversaries. Never underestimate the power of coffee or breakfast in bed to show someone you love them or a flower picked on the way home. And don't forget that kisses are free.