Percentage of Wedding Budget Allocated to Photography


Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe Wedding - Sparklers Spiral

Wedding Budget Allocation

According to the industry experts here is a breakdown of a typical wedding budget. In Canada, the average cost of a wedding in 2017 is $26,000 and about $30,000 in Toronto, Vancouver, etc. In a recent survey, about 60% of the couples interviewed confessed that the funds that will cover the wedding will be borrowed from the family, through credit cards and lines of credit, gifts and donations from friends. About 60% of brides interviewed indicated that the cash gifts are an important part of the wedding budget. 

Table 1. Wedding Budget Funding Sources for a Typical Toronto and Canadian Wedding

Who is funding the wedding budget % of Budget Toronto Amount Amount of the rest of Canada
Parents 15% $4,500 $3,900
Credit Cards 13% $3,900 $3,380
Friends - Cash Gifts 5% $1,500 $1,300
Couple 67% $20,100 $17,420
Total 100% $30,000 $26,000

As a side note, in Quebec, it is customary for guests to mail a cheque then they RSVP, which helps the couples plan better the food expenses as the guests commit to attending the wedding. Also,  he money from friends helps with the retainers needed to secure the venue, photographer, church, etc. 


As a Toronto wedding photographer, I am directly interested in the local market but will also calculate the national averages, so here is the budget breakdown.

Table 2: An Average Wedding Budget Breakdown for Toronto and the rest of Canada

Wedding Cost Item Toronto Rest of Canada % of budget allocated
Reception $15,000 $13,000 50%
Photography $3,000 $2,600 10%
Outfits $3,000 $2,600
Flowers $3,000 $2,600 10%
Entertainment $3,000 $2,600 10%
Wedding Rings and Bands $2,400 $2,080 8%
Gifts $900 $780 3%
Stationery $900 $780 3%

The Total does not add up to 100% because every couple choses different items that are more important for them and forego some others. 

Please keep in mind that averages are always misleading and every couple is unique so their preferences and wedding budget allocation differs. For some couples the location is more important than anything else, while we had couples whose photography costs were 30% percentage of their wedding cost as they loved photography. There is no right answer here, the budget allocation depends on your priorities. 

As a multiple award winning studio and more important, as a Judge in the Professional Wedding Photographers competition, (please scroll down to the judge panel section), we formed a professional opinion on the quality of photography. Let's take a look at what different budgets can buy you.

Table 3. Prices for a 10h  Wedding Coverage with 2 Photographers and an Album Included. 

Price Quality rating (out of 5 stars) Comments Advice
$10,000+ ***** World Class Photographers Go for it if you have the budget
$10,000+ *** Studios with strong marketing  Volume is more important than quality. Don't buy!
$6000-$10,000 ***** Very talented local photographers shooting for a long time Go for it. Amazing professionals who will soon be world class!
$4,000-$6,000 **** Studios with smaller marketing budgets and located outside downtown Go for it! Volume and quality is important
$2,500-$4,000 - our price **** Experienced photographers very well known yet A slightly better investment. Quality is key to drive volume and jump in the category above.
$1,000-2,500 ** to *** Part timers, newcomers  Risky investment, inconsistent quality and customer service.
Free-$1,000 * Newbies without any experience Do not buy...no portfolio, no experience, no backup equipment. 


If wedding photography is  a big deal for you and you want high quality images, you should allocate at least $3,000 of your wedding budget to photography. That is for a 10 hour coverage, with two photographers and an album included. Those are exactly our Toronto wedding photography prices

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Photography by Calin