Cost to elope
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How Much Does It Cost To Elope?

Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

If you have decided to marry away from home, then the possibilities are endless. Think about whether there is a place of special importance to you. It may be the very place where the question was popped or that corner of paradise you visited and remained in your memory as one of the most beautiful.

After you have decided on the destination do not forget to inquire about how easy the guests will get there, whether or not they need a passport, and whether the location is very expensive. These aspects can influence the cost of your elopement.

Because the elopement combines both the actual organization of the wedding and the trip, you need to know that there are a few things to take into account that will help you throughout this first stage.

The first step to making your wedding budget more efficient is to make a list of all the things you want to do at the wedding. Start with the most important thing and go down. If you can’t afford one thing, then remove it. The situation can get really expensive quickly.

Think about what is important to you and your partner and make sure that this is reflected in all aspects of your elopement. Don’t just think about what is important emotionally, but also financially.

Start with a budget! It is essential to set a clear limit before making any decision on what will or will not be part of your wedding. If there is no limit, it becomes far too easy to spend without realizing it, and once you notice how much has gone, it may be too late!

How much does it cost to elope?

The cost to elope has an average that ranges anywhere around $5,000 to $15,000, according to Adventure Instead, who is specialized in organizing elopements. Now, depending on your own idea regarding the theme and the place of your elopement, but also on the budget, to elope can cost a minimum of $200 up to $30,000.

Here are the most used four different budget categories:

  • $7-$8k
  • $10-$13k
  • $15-$18k
  • $25-$30k

For example, if for you to elope means just getting married at the City Hall and being with your closest friends and family, you will only pay for the marriage certificate fee and the government employee who will conduct the ceremony. In New York, it will cost you around $60, while in San Francisco around $200.

Elopement Cost vs. Other Weddings

Elopements can be extravagant or simple. You can organize a luxurious wedding in a large restaurant or a casual party on the beach or in the mountains. It’s all about your desire and your budget.

As for the guests, you can choose to have only the closest ones or you can choose a big wedding with all your loved ones. Both you and your guests will spend some wonderful days, and your wedding will definitely be an unforgettable memory for everyone.

Usually, you don’t have to worry about the wedding budget because organizing an elopement can be even less expensive than a traditional wedding. The biggest saving when planning an elopement is on the reception. When planning other types of weddings, couples spend an average of $3,100 on the venue, $3,200 on food, $1,900 on drinks, $2,500 on decorations, and about $3,000 on party favors and welcome bags.

Besides these expenses, some costs may remain fixed for couples when choosing to elope, like the price of the wedding rings, which have an average price of $3,700. Some brides will still want to wear their dream wedding dress, having an average cost of $2,600, and to have an unforgettable photography service, costing around $2,500.

Item Average Cost for a Wedding Average Cost for an Elopement
Photographer $5,000 $4,000
Wedding dress / attire $3,000 $3,000
Wedding rings $3,700 $3,700
Venue $7,000 $150
DJ / Band $2,000
Officiant $500 $500
Flowers $2,000 $500
Hair and Make Up $400 $400
Caterers / Food for Guests $10,000 $500
Cake $500 $300
Event Planner $2,500 $2,000
Travel and Accommodation $800 $2,000

Organize an elopement

Because you plan your elopement away from home, you can entrust at least part of your planning to another person. You can choose a wedding planner in your city or a local one, and the choice must be made according to your preferences. If you opt for a wedding planner in your area, then you will be able to arrange meetings to talk face-to-face with them.

Elopement IdeasYou should make sure that they are a professional and capable person because they will have to work with people they do not know and it is very important that they can make inspired choices. If you choose a local wedding planner instead, they will know all the suppliers in that area, but you will not be able to communicate directly.

When organizing a more expensive elopement, you will have to deal with details such as: choosing flowers, cake, and a photographer. If you are not able to visit the place before the wedding, you will not be able to meet with the suppliers and you must be able to make these choices by phone and based only on the photos and recommendations of the wedding planner. If you decide to bring suppliers from your area then you will have to pay the costs of the trip, but also those related to meals and accommodation, because in general the prices of the suppliers are strictly for their services or products.

It is very important to have a person to help you because there will be a few days when different events need to be organized, and you have to have fun and enjoy the time with your guests, and not worry about something you have to do or plan.

If you are planning your elopement outdoors, keep in mind that the light changes the whole atmosphere. Talk to the wedding planner and tell them that you want the whole party to be lit with garlands of light bulbs or candles, all depending on the style of the wedding chosen.

The key to elopement planning is to choose the right wedding planner, and this can include you too. With the right person, you will definitely be able to enjoy an elopement exactly as you deserve, a wedding that is unique and simply unforgettable.

Final words

Elopements are actually a journey for both the bride and groom to a unique, memorable experience. As weddings are reduced in the number of guests, the focus is on intimacy, the connection of the couple with their guests, and interesting activities that are not limited to the wedding day. Just make sure you set your budget well according to your wishes.

Alec Pow
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