Couple standing in front of Sparks Lake and The Sisters Mountains while saying their vows during their elopement in Central Oregon

How much does it cost to elope is a common question that most people have when they are trying to figure out how to plan their elopement or intimate wedding. What does it mean to elope? Are you curious about How to Save Money Eloping? This post is here to help you and your partner understand how you can prioritize the budget for your elopement your way. To be true to yourselves and define a moment in time that is focused solely on how you both desire to spend your wedding day. Spending as much or as little as you want.

Eloping is not the “cheap” version of a wedding but a one-of-a-kind experience specifically devoted to you & your partner’s happiness. Talk with your partner about how you each picture your elopement. All things considered, let’s go over how much does it cost to elope by breaking down what you should include in your budget.

Understanding the Cost of Eloping

The first thing to take into consideration when determining the cost to elope is the traditional costs of ANY wedding. Those being, marriage license, wedding officiant, & florals. Though these costs won’t dictate much of your budget we can’t leave them out. The few main expenditures that will dictate your budget are travel, food & drinks, & how you & your partner choose to document your wedding day.

Are you & your partner wanting to travel to a location you’ve always dreamed of visiting & stay at a lavish Airbnb or just drive to a special place that’s local & return home that night? Would you prefer to hire a private chef for a fantastic 4-course meal? Or have a private picnic in the woods? Do you want to hire both a photographer & videographer for the whole day or just have a photographer for 8 hours to remember the intimate moments of your ceremony & capture your first photos as a married couple?

Through researching the cost of eloping including vendor packages & online resources on the subject, I’ve discovered that the median cost of an elopement is around $10,000. Now although the average elopement budget ranges between $5,000-$15,000 & revolves around a few main investments. One thing is guaranteed when you choose to elope, there is no end to how you & your partner can create & customize the memorable experience of your wedding day. No specific timelines you need to meet or guests to keep happy. Just you & your significant other sharing your day.

What is the Cost of an Elopement Photographer

When figuring out the cost of eloping, it’s important to take into consideration hiring an elopement photographer that’s right for you. The average cost of a quality elopement photographer is between $3,600- $9,000 depending on what type of package you choose. Elopement photographers are not only there to capture the once-in-a-lifetime moments. They’re also there to help you with timeline planning, locations scouting, to help find vendors, & provide resources to assist in preparing for your day. Making budgeting for your elopement much easier for you.

Your elopement photographer is there to help simplify the process, making it a pleasure-filled experience for you. One thing that many people don’t take into account is being able to have an elopement photographer there for the before moments. Capturing the time when each of you is getting ready. The first moments you lay eyes on each other for the first time. These moments are both incredibly adorable & show your personal transformation for two people into a happily married couple.

Cost of Eloping with Friends & Family

You & your partner don’t need to be the only two people at your elopement. Each of you may want to invite some loved ones to share in the experience. There are a few different ways for you to include your friends & family on your wedding day. Of course, inviting guests can add some costs to your elopement. The first is the food & drink costs & second being travel costs.

Food & drink costs for your elopement will vary based on the type of event you want to host. Hosting a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres & an elegant dinner after your ceremony is a great way for everyone to celebrate together. Catering of this type can increase the costs of your elopement. If you want to have your favorite food truck cater & some drinks it will be roughly $40-$70 per person. But if you would like to have a fancier set up with a full 3-course meal & cocktails it will range from about $85- $140 a person. Undoubtedly, your eloping costs can fluctuate if you decide that you want to have other people at your elopement & want to provide an extravagant meal.

Now let’s talk about travel. Obviously, the travel costs don’t need to be entirely covered under your elopement budget. Although, the costs can certainly influence whether or not some people may be able to attend. The average costs of travel for you & your partner depend on where you decide to elope. This does not include if you & your partner decide to help your guests with travel costs. It is important to talk with your partner about who you would both like to attend & how you would like to be involved in the travel costs & plans for your guests.

Eloping Travel Costs

The type of traveling you want to do for your elopement is a personal choice for you & your significant other to plan. Are you wanting to travel to a destination so your honeymoon can immediately start the day after your ceremony? Do you want to hold the ceremony inside or outside? Whether you want to rent a venue or visit a National Park or National Forest, choosing a location that doesn’t need to hold up to 25-200 people lets you keep your options open. The final piece of your travel costs is what you want to do for lodging. Would you like to spoil yourselves with a fancy AirBnB or head home after the time with your photographer is done? For these reasons, travel costs vary but normally average between $300-$3000. Depending on where you decide to elope & how you spend your first days married to your partner.

What is the cost of an elopement? Traveling to locations such as this one, three creeks lake, will determine how much you spend on an elopement budget.

Elopement Attire Cost

Choosing the attire for your elopement is so much easier than for a traditional wedding. Most eloping couples spend their entire wedding day outside at the beach or in a National Park /National Forest. Many brides choose a dress that’s both beautiful & functional for this reason. The estimated average cost for eloping couples to spend on wedding attire is $500-$1500. You can buy the wedding dress of your dreams & a tuxedo to match, rent a dress & tux or buy a cute dress & suit from a thrift store. These options make it easy for you to get exactly what you’re looking for without breaking your budget.

Food & Drinks Cost

When picking the menu for your elopement, instead of worrying about who got the chicken vs the fish. You get the option to have the meal of your dreams or a bomb picnic. The average cost for a private elopements food & drinks ranges between $50-$300. Though, if you decided you want to have guests there will be a bit of a difference. When it comes to your food & drink costs there are more frugal options like buffet-style meals. Or fancier options like higher a high-end catering company. Nevertheless, it will be around $55 on the low end & up to $120 on the high side. Many eloping couples love hiring a private chef to cater their meal. Some couples like to pack a modest dinner for them to intimately enjoy. Whether you want to be bougie or frugal with your food & drink choices.

The cost of eloping with guests and feeding them

Ordinary Elopement Costs

Of course, when we talk about weddings we have to take into account some of the more traditional payments. First is the florals that you want to use for your ceremony & photos. Florals will make up a small part of your budget normally costing between $150-$300. Next are the costs of your officiant & marriage license. Undoubtedly you’re going to need someone to officiate the ceremony. The cost of officiants is between $200-$800 on average. They file your marriage certificate for you so that you get your marriage license approved. The price of marriage licenses varies from state to state.

Costing as little as $5 in places like Oklahoma & as much as $120 in Deleware & Wisconsin. You can also have someone close to you that you’re inviting to your elopement get ordained! This makes the process so special and unique, just make sure they know how to file the paperwork! This is another thing your elopement photographer can likely help with. We know the in’s and out’s of these bad boys, and some of us (hi!) are ordained and can declare you married and handle the paperwork for you.

The Differences Between Eloping & Traditional Weddings

All in all the differences between eloping & a traditional wedding are quite simple. There is a big difference in how much a wedding costs & how much it costs to elope. The average wedding budgets are $34,000 & elopement budgets are averaging around $10,000. Deciding to elope allows you & your partner to create a more visceral experience for yourselves. A traditional wedding day can become a day full of obstacles & strict timelines. That can make the day feel less about the love & connection you & your partner share & more about keeping your guests happy. This fact alone makes an enormous difference in how you & your partner are able to enjoy your wedding day. The moment you decide to elope you’re able to stop worrying about catering & venue costs & start focusing on how you will curate an unforgettable adventure for you & your partner.

What is the cost of eloping? Each couple wants different things for their elopement, this couple wanted an indoor and outdoor venue areas with some simple decorations.

Finalizing Your Elopement Budget

All things considered, budgeting for your elopement is much easier than you think. Remember, although a traditional wedding is not for you that your elopement holds just as much if not more purpose & value. Finalizing your budget means asking yourselves what & who is important for each of you to have at your elopement. How do you both want to spend your day? Talk with your partner so you each know what your priorities are & how much you want to spend on different elopement costs. Whether you & your partner prefer a lavish day filled with delicious catered food, fancy attire in a gorgeous location with a few loved ones, or a private day full of hiking in more functional attire & an intimate picnic somewhere in your favorite national forest. Your elopement is all about you & your partner’s needs & wants.

I am passionate about sharing my experience & helping you in building a day that you’ve both always imagined. To make sure that planning your elopement is a stress-free process for you & your partner. Your elopement has so much potential to become the best day of your life! I am here to be your professional 3rd wheel, supporting you the whole way. Aiding you in designing your ideal wedding day. Feel free to contact me to set up a free consultation & learn more about how I can help you create the elopement day of your dreams!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I'm Emilee

I'm an elopement photographer who specializes in planning, crafting, and documenting untraditional weddings. I believe a wedding day should be filled with traditions that resonate with you. I'm here from start to finish to make that happen. Want to chat about your plans? Click below to set up a free consultation! 

You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?


Intimate weddings