Eloping can mean so many things nowadays. It no longer just means you and your sweetheart ran off to the courthouse or Las Vegas and got married on the down low. Eloping has transformed into representing a fun, intimate, stress-free day. A magical day you and your love finally tie the knot. There are backyard elopements, adventurous elopements, destination elopements, city elopements, and so on! It really all comes down to what you two as a couple want to do on one of the biggest days of your lives. Some couples like to start their marriage off doing something they love (ie. hiking), exploring a new place, or just getting to spend it in front of a jaw dropping view. So here’s how an elopement can save you money and give you your dream day!
(Disclaimer: this is not an “Is An Elopement Right For You?” post 😉
Are you wanting to save money on your wedding day but still have amazing memories and photos to look back on? Because there are so many ways an elopement can save you money (or not) and leave you with an amazing experience.
Ohh the dreaded guest list. Not only can you avoid the stress and drama of who you don’t want to invite to your wedding (but are being pressured to do so) you can also cut back on a TON of costs by not having guests. All you need is the two of you, or if you choose, a couple of your closest friends and/or family members. Now, all you have to worry about are the select few people that will be joining you on this adventure. And if they can’t hang, then they don’t have to be apart of it. Typically an elopement doesn’t have more than 10-15 guests, if they have guests at all. Some elopements even have small wedding parties and both sets of parents present. This really depends on what the two of you want!
This ties along with the minimal guests present, but you don’t have to spend a ton of money on an elaborate wedding reception. Which also means you don’t need to feed or entertain 100+ guests. You can still have a party/celebration at a later date or time, but it can be a lot more lax and solely focused on fun. Instead, after exchanging vows and taking some epic photos with your photographer- you and your closest friends & family can hit the town for a small dinner or a brewery to celebrate the end of your amazing day.
Table Settings & Centerpieces
Rentals (tents, chairs, tables, tablecloths, etc)
Alcohol (if you choose to have some for you and those spending the day with you)
Venue or Location (you may not even need a venue, but some locations still have a small fee.)
Your Dream Photographer
Now that you are able to save money on all of those things you don’t have to worry about, all of your budget gets to be focused on your dress, suit, hair & makeup, officiant, and your photographer & videographer (if you choose to have one.)
Say, if you had an overall budget of $15,000 for your wedding, your budget for your dress may be $400 and your photographer $1,000, which are both pretty small and don’t leave you with your favorite options. BUT with an elopement, you can now accommodate your favorite $1000 dress and double or triple your photographer budget.
Honestly, one of the most important investments on your wedding or elopement day is your photographer. Hands down. They not only preserve your amazing day for ever, but they can also make the experience that much better! And now that you need less hours of coverage AND have a higher photography budget, you’re able to afford your dream photographer. I will note that is usually cheaper to find someone local to where you are eloping, but you may be having a hard time finding someone you vibe with and who’s work you adore. Or maybe you already have your sights set on someone specific. Either way, you can still get that dream photographer for likely a lot cheaper than if you were hiring them for a full 8 hour wedding day. On top of that, you can probably afford a more expensive photographer since your budget for photography went up.
You’ve completely cut your guest list, so you are no longer limited by your guest count on where you can get married. If you are still booking a venue, you will no longer need to rent it for the full day, but for the couple of hours you need it for. This also opens up to being able to rent Airbnb’s to host your elopement (but do be sure to clear it with the owners) which is typically way cheaper than a venue and gives you a place to stay somewhere neat!
You can also exchange your vows in a National Park, in a city, on a mountain, on the beach, practically anywhere! Some couples even choose to elope somewhere fun and then they are immediately able to start their honeymoon right where they are.
As I mentioned for example above, say you have a $15,000 wedding day budget, it may look something like this when broken down:
Photography: $1,500 (although, I strongly believe photography should be a priority over some other expenses. This amount would get you a mid-level beginner)
Dress & Accessories: $800
Hair and Makeup: $150
Centerpiece/Table Decor: $300
Signs & Other Decor: $300
Location Fee: $50
Bridal Accessories: $300
Hair and Makeup: $175
Snacks & bottle of champagne: $50
You are already TEN thousand under your would-be wedding budget! Even if you added in flights and lodging for a destination elopement, you would still be under your original budget. There are definitely a few things not in this elopement budget such as an officiant because there are SO many ways you could be married at an elopement, there is no way for me to give an estimate. From the courthouse, to an ordained friend or family member, a professional officiant, etc. And that is how an elopement can save you money and still give you your dream day!!