How Much Does It Cost To Elope

Ah! This is the big question, huh? This is probably one of the most googled terms when a couple is trying to decide if they want to elope, or if its possible. “How much does it cost to elope?” This post will go over all the things that go into that very loaded question, how they all effect your overall budget, and I’ve even slapped a handy dandy Elopement Cost Calculator in here too.

The Cost to Elope

Like I said before, this is a really loaded topic, because so many things factor into the final total. Location, vendors, activities, guest counts, travel, and so much more. Generally speaking the range is so wide it’s almost not even worth mentioning. (I will, don’t worry) But, first I want to target a big myth about eloping, or a half truth if you will.

People often have the idea that eloping is the “cheap” option in comparison to a traditional wedding. While that’s…kinda…true, that’s not why people elope. At least not the people I tend to work with. It shouldn’t be your leading factor. This is still your wedding day after all. This day will be burned and etched into the recesses of your mind for the rest of your life, and it deserves to be all the things!

I know, I know, what you really want to know is “How much will it cost to elope, or What can we do with a budget of X” So, let’s talk about THAT.

The General Cost to Elope

The national average for traditional weddings has risen to upwards of $30k-$40k! It’s totally ok and reasonable if you are choosing to elope because spending $30k+ on one day seems a bit far fetched. The bigger thing I want you to know and consider is that it’s also ok if you do!

The average elopement sits somewhere around $15k nationally, and the range can be anywhere from $5k-$20k+. Big range, huh, see I told you. That’s why it is so hard to look at one elopement or another and make a generalization about how much your elopement will cost.

The truth is, only YOU know what your elopement will cost because only YOU know what is most important to you, and where you want your budget to focus. So, we’re gonna go through and break down the whole thing. Just remember these figures are based on national averages and can vary based on location and vendor. Don’t forget to check out the Elopement Cost Calculator at the end!

Tips For Budgeting Your Elopement

First let’s get this out of the way. You are going to have to put in a little work to get to the “Budget” for your Elopement, and you will do that by researching, prioritizing, and formulating.

Start off by allowing yourself to dream about everything your elopement could be. If you could imagine the absolutely perfect day what would it look like. Write down all the things. Are there mountains? Where are you? Do you stay in a hotel or Airbnb? What are you wearing? Are there florals? A cake? Do you take a helicopter tour? Think about the whole day and write it all down.

Go back through your list or your story and underline anything that is going to cost money. Flights, consumables, activities. Just underline all the things and tuck that away in your mind. Now, highlight the top 5 things that matter most. For most people its location, ceremony, attire, photography, and maybe one other variable like an activity.

Keep that list close by while we go through all the rest. I’m gonna give you a bunch of numbers associated with those things based on national averages, but you will need to do a little research to get a more accurate figure for your final budgeting.

Cost of Eloping vs. Traditional Wedding

The Legal Stuff

You will need to get a marriage license no matter what kind of wedding you have. These vary state by state but on average they are about $50-$75.

If you are Eloping you will need to consider permit costs too. This is something that most of the time your photographer will walk you through or even do for you. They are about $100- $300 on average across most state and national parks.

Guests

People often think that eloping means you can’t have any loves ones there, and that is just not true.

While a traditional wedding will have a larger cost per head, elopements will still need to factor in any guests they do have. You may need to account for snacks, beverages, or even lodging if you plan to cover that.

If you take the lodging out the average wedding cost per head is $250, and for an elopement is probably around $20-$75 depending on what will be paid for or provided for them. (If you do a boat tour and have to pay for the tickets, for example)

Travel & Lodging vs. Venue

Traditional wedding will need to book a venue, and while I acknowledge there are some really low cost options, this can still be a really large chunk of a wedding budget. The national average venue cost is somewhere around $6k.

For an elopement you will need to factor in travel and lodging into the cost to elope (for just the two of you or you and your guests).

  • For local elopements – $250 per person
  • For regional elopements – $500 per person
  • For national elopements – $1200 per person
  • For international elopements – $1600 per person
Remember this is just an estimate based on national averages!

Attire

This doesn’t fluctuate all that much from traditional weddings to elopements, but the range is wide.

Your attire consists of you dress & tux, jewelry, shoes and any other little pieces you wanna throw in.

Some people choose to have pretty modest attire budgets while others may have a moderate or even lux budget. Ranging from $500-$5k.

Florals

Ah! We love flowers here and even for elopements I encourage couples to have a bouquet, boutonniere, and invest in a ‘table swag’ because you just bever know what you’ll wanna set some flowers atop.

The cost of drowning a wedding venue in floral arrangements is a bit more costly than just having the few floral basics for an elopement. The national average for wedding flowers is $2800, and that number is steadily increasing. The national average for elopement florals is a much more modest $400.

You should totally have the freaking flowers! You may check with park regulations though, as some require faux or dried.

Hair & Makeup Artist

Some brides decide to go totally free and wild, and I love that for them, but since most of my brides do opt for HMUA I thought we should touch on it here. Obviously some artists offer bridal packages that include a certain number of people, etc. On average rather you have a traditional wedding or an elopement you can expect to book at a rate of $200-$500 per person.

Photographer

Of course you want to preserve all these beautiful moments and details, and since that’s what I do we will base these numbers on my rates. I’m definitely not the cheapest photographer, but I’m also not the most expensive.

While I specialize in elopements, I do still take the occasional intimate weddings and even bigger more traditional weddings. I know a lot of photographers offer lots of packages for weddings, and while I do offer a handful of package options for elopements, I only offer one all day rate for traditional weddings starting at $5500.

For elopements I offer half days starting at $3600 and range all the way up to multi-day international elopements at $16k. You can find out more about my packages and pricing by going to my website, or even just inquire to set up a call.

Videographer

Adding video to your wedding or elopement is a great way to hold on to those memories forever and the national average for that is about $1700.

Officiant & Planner

If you are working with me, these are two expenses you can tick off the box for your elopement as I include them both at no cost to you. Not only will I photograph your beautiful elopement, but I will plan and officiate it for you too!

If your having a traditional wedding these are services you will need to hire out. Average cost of wedding officiant is $300 and planner is $2100.

Esperiences

Adding a handful of fun activities to your elopement might be one way to utelize all the money you save on the other stuff.

Couples often hire guides for tours, rock climbing, or horseback riding, but the possibilities are endless. You could

  • skydive
  • take helicopter ride
  • boat ride
  • Scooba dive
  • swim with dolphins
  • literally anything

So, How Much Does It Cost To Elope

The truth is it is really up to you, Bestie!

There are a few things you have to have, like a marriage license, but other than that you have the total freedom to dream whatever kind of day you want. You get to live and explore and celebrate your love story how ever you want.

If you wanna talk more about your budget and what that budget can do for you feel free to comment below or send me a message. I love chatting with couples and helping them plan the best day ever!

Try The Cost Estimator

Ah! This is the big question, huh? This is probably one of the most googled terms when a couple is trying to decide if they want to elope, or if its possible. “How much does it cost to elope?” This post will go over all the things that go into that very loaded question, how they all effect your overall budget, and I’ve even slapped a handy dandy Elopement Cost Calculator in here too.

The Cost to Elope

Like I said before, this is a really loaded topic, because so many things factor into the final total. Location, vendors, activities, guest counts, travel, and so much more. Generally speaking the range is so wide it’s almost not even worth mentioning. (I will, don’t worry) But, first I want to target a big myth about eloping, or a half truth if you will.

People often have the idea that eloping is the “cheap” option in comparison to a traditional wedding. While that’s…kinda…true, that’s not why people elope. At least not the people I tend to work with. It shouldn’t be your leading factor. This is still your wedding day after all. This day will be burned and etched into the recesses of your mind for the rest of your life, and it deserves to be all the things!

I know, I know, what you really want to know is “How much will it cost to elope, or What can we do with a budget of X” So, let’s talk about THAT.

The General Cost to Elope

The national average for traditional weddings has risen to upwards of $30k-$40k! It’s totally ok and reasonable if you are choosing to elope because spending $30k+ on one day seems a bit far fetched. The bigger thing I want you to know and consider is that it’s also ok if you do!

The average elopement sits somewhere around $15k nationally, and the range can be anywhere from $5k-$20k+. Big range, huh, see I told you. That’s why it is so hard to look at one elopement or another and make a generalization about how much your elopement will cost.

The truth is, only YOU know what your elopement will cost because only YOU know what is most important to you, and where you want your budget to focus. So, we’re gonna go through and break down the whole thing. Just remember these figures are based on national averages and can vary based on location and vendor. Don’t forget to check out the Elopement Cost Calculator at the end!

Tips For Budgeting Your Elopement

First let’s get this out of the way. You are going to have to put in a little work to get to the “Budget” for your Elopement, and you will do that by researching, prioritizing, and formulating.

Start off by allowing yourself to dream about everything your elopement could be. If you could imagine the absolutely perfect day what would it look like. Write down all the things. Are there mountains? Where are you? Do you stay in a hotel or Airbnb? What are you wearing? Are there florals? A cake? Do you take a helicopter tour? Think about the whole day and write it all down.

Go back through your list or your story and underline anything that is going to cost money. Flights, consumables, activities. Just underline all the things and tuck that away in your mind. Now, highlight the top 5 things that matter most. For most people its location, ceremony, attire, photography, and maybe one other variable like an activity.

Keep that list close by while we go through all the rest. I’m gonna give you a bunch of numbers associated with those things based on national averages, but you will need to do a little research to get a more accurate figure for your final budgeting.

Cost of Eloping vs. Traditional Wedding

The Legal Stuff

You will need to get a marriage license no matter what kind of wedding you have. These vary state by state but on average they are about $50-$75.

If you are Eloping you will need to consider permit costs too. This is something that most of the time your photographer will walk you through or even do for you. They are about $100- $300 on average across most state and national parks.

Guests

People often think that eloping means you can’t have any loves ones there, and that is just not true.

While a traditional wedding will have a larger cost per head, elopements will still need to factor in any guests they do have. You may need to account for snacks, beverages, or even lodging if you plan to cover that.

If you take the lodging out the average wedding cost per head is $250, and for an elopement is probably around $20-$75 depending on what will be paid for or provided for them. (If you do a boat tour and have to pay for the tickets, for example)

Travel & Lodging vs. Venue

Traditional wedding will need to book a venue, and while I acknowledge there are some really low cost options, this can still be a really large chunk of a wedding budget. The national average venue cost is somewhere around $6k.

For an elopement you will need to factor in travel and lodging into the cost to elope (for just the two of you or you and your guests).

  • For local elopements – $250 per person
  • For regional elopements – $500 per person
  • For national elopements – $1200 per person
  • For international elopements – $1600 per person
Remember this is just an estimate based on national averages!

Attire

This doesn’t fluctuate all that much from traditional weddings to elopements, but the range is wide.

Your attire consists of you dress & tux, jewelry, shoes and any other little pieces you wanna throw in.

Some people choose to have pretty modest attire budgets while others may have a moderate or even lux budget. Ranging from $500-$5k.

Florals

Ah! We love flowers here and even for elopements I encourage couples to have a bouquet, boutonniere, and invest in a ‘table swag’ because you just bever know what you’ll wanna set some flowers atop.

The cost of drowning a wedding venue in floral arrangements is a bit more costly than just having the few floral basics for an elopement. The national average for wedding flowers is $2800, and that number is steadily increasing. The national average for elopement florals is a much more modest $400.

You should totally have the freaking flowers! You may check with park regulations though, as some require faux or dried.

Hair & Makeup Artist

Some brides decide to go totally free and wild, and I love that for them, but since most of my brides do opt for HMUA I thought we should touch on it here. Obviously some artists offer bridal packages that include a certain number of people, etc. On average rather you have a traditional wedding or an elopement you can expect to book at a rate of $200-$500 per person.

Photographer

Of course you want to preserve all these beautiful moments and details, and since that’s what I do we will base these numbers on my rates. I’m definitely not the cheapest photographer, but I’m also not the most expensive.

While I specialize in elopements, I do still take the occasional intimate weddings and even bigger more traditional weddings. I know a lot of photographers offer lots of packages for weddings, and while I do offer a handful of package options for elopements, I only offer one all day rate for traditional weddings starting at $5500.

For elopements I offer half days starting at $3600 and range all the way up to multi-day international elopements at $16k. You can find out more about my packages and pricing by going to my website, or even just inquire to set up a call.

Videographer

Adding video to your wedding or elopement is a great way to hold on to those memories forever and the national average for that is about $1700.

Officiant & Planner

If you are working with me, these are two expenses you can tick off the box for your elopement as I include them both at no cost to you. Not only will I photograph your beautiful elopement, but I will plan and officiate it for you too!

If your having a traditional wedding these are services you will need to hire out. Average cost of wedding officiant is $300 and planner is $2100.

Esperiences

Adding a handful of fun activities to your elopement might be one way to utelize all the money you save on the other stuff.

Couples often hire guides for tours, rock climbing, or horseback riding, but the possibilities are endless. You could

  • skydive
  • take helicopter ride
  • boat ride
  • Scooba dive
  • swim with dolphins
  • literally anything

So, How Much Does It Cost To Elope

The truth is it is really up to you, Bestie!

There are a few things you have to have, like a marriage license, but other than that you have the total freedom to dream whatever kind of day you want. You get to live and explore and celebrate your love story how ever you want.

If you wanna talk more about your budget and what that budget can do for you feel free to comment below or send me a message. I love chatting with couples and helping them plan the best day ever!

Try The Cost Estimator

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