Despite all the lamenting about the ridiculous cost of throwing a big wedding — one where you probably won’t even remember to eat or say hello to your uncle Stan — it’s not getting any cheaper. In fact, the price of tying the knot in Canada has gone up 8 per cent from last year.

To help put that in perspective, inflation of overall consumer goods and services in Canada is growing at well under 2 per cent.

The average cost of a wedding in Canada in 2013 so far is $32,358, according to a recent survey by Weddingbells magazine, which surveyed 2,200 brides and brides-to-be from January to March.

The figure includes the honeymoon, and all in all, it adds up to an estimated national expense of a whopping $5.3 billion dollars.

So why is it so expensive?

“Brides are throwing away the rule book and doing things their way. Around half of respondents are opting for a less traditional wedding in favour of creating a unique party and experience for their guests,” Alison McGill, Weddingbells’ editor in chief, said in a statement.

The Weddingbells Annual Reader Survey also found that with a majority of brides working full-time, many look for help coordinating the big day. Hiring a wedding planner was up 30 per cent amongst couples who were married in 2012.

Story continues below. HIghlights from the survey:

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  • Number of Weddings In 2013

    There will be an estimated 165,297 weddings in Canada during 2013, according to Weddingbells magazine's <a href="http://www.weddingbells.ca/planning/wedding-trends-in-canada-2013/" target="_blank">annual reader survey.</a>

  • Most Popular Month To Get Engaged

    December remains the most popular time to get engaged with 23 per cent of men popping the question that month.

  • Most Popular Months To Get Married

    Forty-nine per cent of weddings will occur between July and September. The most popular month to get married is August, followed by September.

  • Expected Cost Of A Wedding

    The expected cost of a wedding is up 5 per cent versus 2012.

  • Number Of Wedding Guests

    The average number of wedding guests is 124.

  • Formal Or Casual?

    While traditional weddings are the most popular type of wedding, “less formal” weddings are quickly gaining in popularity.

  • D.I.Y. Weddings

    In 2012, only 25 per cent of those recently married undertook a DIY project such as making their own centrepieces, reception décor or guest favours. In 2013, this number doubled to more than half.

  • Destination Weddings

    Twelve per cent of Canadian brides are planning on having a destination wedding.

So, if you’re paying for your own wedding as many couples are these days, is it responsible to spend tens of thousands of dollars in savings or spend the first few years of your married life in debt?

When you consider that the cost of a big do is about half of the median Canadian household income, which is around $65,000, it’s not surprising that brides and grooms to be get sticker shock.

But if you subscribe to the belief that “major life events are major life events” as the Atlantic argues, then maybe there’s really nothing wrong with having the wedding of your dreams, or something remotely close to it. You only get married once, right? Well, hopefully.

If you’re looking to buck the ballooning trend, you there are lots of tips out there on how to save, including an ingenious business idea by Bridal Brokerage that buys and sells called-off weddings.

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