Elopements can come in all shapes, sizes, and of course budgets. There is certainly no one right way to have an elopement, especially considering all the options there are for venues, entertainment, photo shoot opportunities, and sight-seeing that you can incorporate right into the celebration.
If you’re interested in getting eloped, you might be wondering just how much the average elopement costs, however. Is it similar to that of a traditional wedding, or are there ways to cut costs?
This is actually one of the best parts of eloping, and one of the reasons why couples everywhere are starting to consider it over other options. Generally speaking, the cost of elopement is typically quite low in comparison to the average cost of a more traditional wedding ceremony.
Most regular weddings in the United States hover around the $30,000 mark, which is a hefty price tag. We’re so used to weddings costing a ton of money that we don’t really think much of it, but the costs can certainly put a damper on things.
Stress related to wedding costs is a rather well-known phenomenon. In some cases, couples even take out personal loans just to pay for wedding expenses.
When you think about it, this is a little crazy. Putting yourself in debt just for your wedding seems like a surefire recipe for marital disputes and aggravation down the road.
Even cheaper weddings can run well over $15,000. It simply costs a lot of money to pay for catering for dozens of people, decorations, photography, and all the other services and parts that go into a typical wedding.
Elopements Focus on What’s Important
Because you’re not inviting 100 friends and family, buying thousands of dollars’ worth of flowers and doilies, and buying the most expensive wedding dress on the market, you’re going to save money.
Typically, elopements run cheaper than traditional weddings because a lot of the extraneous costs are cut out. You don’t realize how much all the pieces of a wedding add up until you see that final price tag.
Most elopements boil down to air fare, a hotel room or two, the cost of a marriage license and officiant, photography, and whatever events and sightseeing you have planned.
There is some variation, but for the most part, this is the bulk of what you’re going to be thinking about when creating a budget for your elopement.
Compared to what most traditional weddings entail, this is downright simple.
We’ll discuss some of these costs more in depth, so you have a better understanding of what goes into a typical elopement and how much it really costs.
Travel and Lodging
This is where the money will be spent. The major cost involved with most elopement packages is in the air fare and in whatever lodging, such as a hotel, you will be staying at.
Elopements almost always involve some kind of travel. It’s like combining the best parts of a wedding and honeymoon together, so traveling to a romantic destination is almost a given.
You don’t always have to go fancy either. Maybe there’s a place that’s special to you and your significant other someplace simple out of state that you love or always wanted to go to. Lodging for elopements can run as little as a couple thousand dollars, sometimes even cheaper if you can get package deals.
This of course is much cheaper than catering and decorations for a wedding hall.
Hotels are typically what most couples use for lodging during an elopement, and whether you are going as a couple or with some friends and family, you can usually find a great place at whatever resort or location you are staying at, and the costs won’t really be all that much. In fact, if you take the time to look around and search for deals, you’re liable to really cut costs and have an amazing experience.
Marriage Licenses, Essential and Cheap
This part of eloping can seem daunting but it’s really a breeze. When you’re getting eloped in New Orleans, the process couldn’t be easier. We have a guide on getting a marriage license in New Orleans here if you are interested.
Just make sure you know the cost beforehand (licenses are usually rather cheap) and that you don’t try and get a license during a federal holiday. You don’t want to try and get legally married and discover that everyone took the day off!
Most elopement packages include an officiant, and the cost is typically very low. The national average is less than $200, and when included in an elopement package, it can be as low as $100 or so. Obviously this is small change compared to virtually any cost of a traditional wedding.
Photography Packages are Essential
Like any wedding, elopements don’t skimp on photography. This kind of thing can make or break a ceremony, and many elopement planners go to great lengths to ensure that quality photography is their highest priority.
Capturing the best moments of the ceremony and bringing out the love that the couples have for each other in every photo is something that photographers spend years learning how to do, so good photographers are usually one of the bigger costs of any elopement.
Depending on the size and length of the elopement, they can run anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Far cheaper of course than typical wedding photography because of all the complexities of most modern weddings.
Entertainment and Adventure
What’s an elopement without some fun?
Much of the rest of the costs of any elopement tend to come in the form of sightseeing, restaurants and bars, tours or cruises, and entertainment.
You would think that this adds up, but depending on the vacation or elopement package, you can stuff a ton of romance and excitement into one week for only a couple thousand dollars or less. You just have to know where to look and be savvy about where you spend your money.
Many cities, including New Orleans, have very gracious couples packages for sightseeing and activities. If you’re looking for a packed week full of things you’ll never forget, you won’t be disappointed.
For the cost of what it usually takes to decorate a wedding hall, you could visit world class museums, have a picnic lunch in a beautiful park, go snorkeling, take a ride on a ferry, eat at the best restaurants in town every night, and still have plenty of money left over for late night room service!
The True Average Cost of Eloping
Only about $3000!
You might wonder how that’s even possible, but many couples who elope are concerned more about the romance than the flash and flair.
The bulk of an elopement package, which will typically run anywhere between $2000 and $5000, is in the hotel accommodations and the professional photography.
Unless you want to splurge on a luxurious wedding dress or a cake the size of a car, you’re not going to be breaking the bank at all for your elopement.
Quite the contrary. Many couples look at eloping as an investment.
What could be better than starting off your marriage not incurring any debt and not having to go through the stress of a traditional wedding?
Click HERE to learn the 5 secrets to a successful (and stress-free) elopement and BONUS checklist!