Last Updated on January 11, 2024 by Nasir Hanif
Making a budget is an essential first step for most engaged couples, but it can also be a very stressful one. Most people feel overwhelmed when faced with the task of creating an elopement budget. This article is perfect for you if you’re trying to find out how to budget for your elopement and are wondering “how much does it cost to elope?” I’ll show you how much an elopement costs, how it stacks up against a conventional wedding, and provide you with a budgeting checklist for your special day!
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What Is the Average Cost of an Elopement?
Actually, the question “how much does it cost to elope?” begs the question. Unfortunately, the answer is not simple! To get legally married, all you have to do is visit the courthouse, pay $50 for the marriage license and another $50 to have a judge officiate the event. On the other hand, you may elope to Italy and stay in a beach villa, which would significantly increase your spending!
Eloping is a rule-free affair, so you may focus on what’s most important to you and manage your finances accordingly. The average cost for an elopement that focuses on the couple’s desired experience—be it a hiking elopement, an Airbnb elopement with relatives, a carefree day at the beach, or some other adventure—is about $10,000.
Expenses of a Wedding vs. Eloping
It’s no secret that couples regularly explore eloping as a solution to the high cost of traditional weddings. However, in comparison to the expense of a wedding, how much does it cost to elope?
In 2019, the typical wedding in Washington State cost $25,600. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $30,000.
Although eloping is often less expensive, those figures aren’t often the determining factor; rather, they’re a wonderful bonus. The majority of the expenditure for an elopement goes toward experiences rather than “things” like décor and other disposable wedding supplies. Investing on your elopement day is something you should totally do, but make sure the money goes toward items that are truly important to you. In contrast to stuff you’ll never see again once the wedding is over, you get to prioritize and have amazing experiences that you’ll cherish forever.
Elopement Budget Checklist
A place to stay is necessary when you arrive at your elopement site. Your wedding day might have an extra dose of rustic charm by sleeping in a camper van, a charming Airbnb, or a posh resort.
The cost of transportation should be your primary concern when planning an elopement budget. This may incorporate airfare and a rental car if you’re traveling a long distance, or it could simply be the cost of gas to go from your house to your elopement site.
- Elopement vendor
Depending on the couple, the amount of suppliers for an elopement day is totally up to them! For a more understated look, consider hiring an ordained elopement photographer. Investing in vendors is likely to be one of your larger expenditures, but it will be money well spent. For your big day to go off without a hitch and according to plan, it’s crucial to work with a reliable group of seasoned vendors.
Additional vendors you could consider working with are:
- Hair and makeup artist
- Caterer or private chef
- Baker or cake designer
- Elopement planner or coordinator
Permit for the Ceremony
A ceremony license may be required if you plan to elope to a certain location. Make careful to research the rules and regulations once you’ve decided on a venue for your elopement. A permission may not be necessary in some locations, while in others it may be required only if the number of guests exceeds a specific threshold (often more than 10). In still other locations, permits are necessary for even the tiniest ceremonies. Permit costs more and adherence to park regulations is sometimes more stringent in national parks.
Dressing for an Elopement
Whatever you wear to your elopement ceremony—dresses, suits, shoes, you name it! This component of the elopement budget can also vary, as you have the option to acquire pre-owned items from a thrift store or indulge in a luxurious attire. The key is to figure out what matters most to you and set priorities accordingly.
Photography for Elopements
From my experience as a friend and a bride, I can say with confidence that hiring a professional elopement photographer is a must! Customized site guidelines, vendor recommendations, timetable creation, and anything else you need to prepare your special day are all our elopement packages.