Saying "I do" just got a little bit easier.
The cost of weddings in 2017 has become akin to taking out a mortgage for a house. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be—at least not if you are willing to get creative or to try out some of the venues we’ve found. After searching the market, we’ve discovered that it’s definitely a numbers game. If you’re willing to cut down on guests (accommodating 400 close friends and family members is never cheap), there are some high-value wedding venues (available for under $6,000), ranging from free parks to beautiful waterfront halls, that will hopefully leave you in the green. (Photo: Blush Photography.)
1. City Park
Price: $416 Capacity: 15 (no permit); 20, seated (with permit) Best If: You want a small outdoor ceremony This is the ultimate low-budget route that comes with a view. You can get married in one of Vancouver’s city parks for free. But alas, there’s a catch: you can only do this if you have no more than 15 guests (ideal for an elopement!), zero setup, food or booze. So, if it’s just a ceremony on the Spanish Banks with the North Shore Mountains in the background you’re looking for, this is the way to go. A second option, to the tune of $416, is to obtain a wedding permit. This will allow you the freedom to invite a higher (but still limited) number of guests, play acoustic music, setup a small archway and reserve a designated outdoor wedding spot. Note: No alcohol or catered food is allowed with this option either, so you may want to host a picnic at home afterwards.
Price: From $2,585 Capacity: 150 guests Best If: You want a no-fuss wedding For this option, all you have to do is show up and get married. Seriously—that's it. So whether you want to elope or just don't enjoy planning events, Pop Up Weddings will organize the entire occasion for you. There is a range of packages that couples can choose from, but starting at $2,585 you can host a private ceremony for 10 to 20 guests (with location, officiant, cake, photography, ceremony decor and seating included). For an additional cost, you can also arrange to have a dinner reception at a local restaurant. You can also host a more elaborate affair (for up to 150 guests) by trying one of Pop Up Weddings all-inclusive packages (prices vary) that take care of everything from the exchanging of vows to the bride and groom's send-off.
Price: $2,500 (Saturdays during peak season) Capacity: 150 guests, seated Best If: You want a historic hall in the city with room for dancing If you’re a fan of old buildings, then you will love the 3,300-square-foot ballroom at Heritage Hall on Main Street. The hall was recently renovated with new floors and has huge windows and stained-glass chandeliers, so you won’t have to spend too much on decorating. For $50 you can rent the sound system and be your own DJ (à la iPod) for the night. The rental also includes tables and chairs, but unfortunately not catering. On the plus side, it allows you to choose a caterer at a price point you’re comfortable with. Note: If you want to crack open the bubbly, you are responsible for obtaining your own liquor license. (Photo: Butter Studios.)
Price: $700 to $2,500 (eight hours during spring and summer) Capacity: Max. 250 guests Best If: You want a blank canvas in a stunning location Flowers and fresh air provide a natural backdrop for your wedding here. There are many options within the gardens to host your ceremony and reception, including the Garden Pavilion ($700) and the Roseline Sturdy Amphitheatre ($1,900). All of the spots are beautiful, but that is all your rental covers—the location. So, if you want to start from scratch and choose your own table, chairs, wedding arrangements and catering, the Botanical Gardens are the perfect blank canvas to let your imagination run wild with whatever budget you have set for yourself.
(Photo: Edge Catering.)
Price: $1,800 Capacity: 100 guests, seated Best If: You want views of False Creek with a catered dinner This private club is truly a hidden gem. The club boasts stunning views of False Creek, Granville Island, Burrard Bridge and the North Shore Mountains. And with an outdoor wrap-around patio, your guests will be snapping pics all night long. Included in the rental cost is tables, chairs, a stocked and licensed bar with staff, a microphone, dance floor and sound system (sounds like a party to us!). Catering is an additional cost and you're limited to hiring only EdgeCeptional Catering, but there are several menu options to choose from including buffet, family-style and a plated meal. With dishes like chargrilled wild B.C. sockeye salmon and caramelized Canadian maple carrots, your guests will not go home hungry! (Photo: Whitney Krutzfeldt Photography.)
Price: $5,900 (Saturdays during peak season) Capacity: 150 guests, seated Best If: You want a customizable venue with views of the Fraser River This venue may be on the pricier side, but the view more than makes up for it: the UBC Boathouse boasts exposed wood beams and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the North Shore Mountains and Fraser River. If $5,900 is a little much for you, consider getting married on a Friday ($4,100 during peak season) or on a Saturday during the low season ($3,000 from November to March)—the views are still great in the winter. The venue rental includes use of the lower dock (a great spot for the ceremony!), tables, chairs, sound system, food and beverage facilities, and projector. The venue is fully customizable, meaning you can decorate it however you'd like with the help of their team and venue coordinator. That said, the cost does not include food or beverage service (a.k.a. you have more spending to do), but you do have the freedom to choose a caterer that aligns with your budget and tastes. Note: There are no noise restriction so you can keep the party going until 3 a.m.
Price: $600 to $800 Capacity: 50 to 80 guests Best If: You want a small wedding in a versatile space This bright, open-concept space has lots of room for creativity. Located in the heart of Chinatown, the 1,300-square-foot flex room is part of Stretch Vancouver's yoga studio. With blank walls and large windows, the room is very versatile and can be customized to fit your taste. The rental includes tables, chairs, and speakers to blast your favourite beats. Or, you can hire the venue's musicians (at a rate of $100 to $150 per hour) to serenade you on the cello, viola, metallophone or sitar. Catering and alcohol are permitted, but it's up to you to arrange everything and to obtain a liquor license. Note: If you really want to save money, consider enlisting friends and family to do the catering for you.
Price: No venue fee ($5,000 minimum catering spend) Capacity: Max. 600 guests Best If: You want a small, medium or large wedding in a modern rustic pub This intimate bar with string lights, wooden benches and large windows is not only a campus hotspot for UBC students, but a great venue to rent for a wedding. You can choose to book the indoor room, large outdoor patio and the garden separately—or all spaces combined. The venue rental is free, but you are required to spend at least $5,000 (includes the cost of staff) on catering—and you must exclusively order all food and drinks from Koerner's. There is plenty of flexibility though: Koerner's service ranges from bites and appetizers to multi-course meals. Note: $5,000 can satisfy approximately 100 guests with canapés and drinks.