How Much Does the Average Elopement Cost?

How Much Does the Average Elopement Cost?

Apr 15

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Let’s talk elopement cost. Eloping offers a bold, fun, and exciting start to a new chapter in life. And every eloping couple is doing so for a different reason! Some couples choose to elope to avoid the stress of a traditional wedding. Others do it because it just feels more them. Some choose to elope in an effort to save money. Many elope because of a combination of the three! The reasons you and your partner may be considering an elopement are endless, and every single one of those reasons is valid.

Eloping offers a bold, fun, and exciting start to a new chapter in life. And every eloping couple is doing so for a different reason!

We’re strong proponents of eloping. We’ve worked in the industry for years, and we’ve seen just how freeing, personal, intimate, and wildly unique these weddings can be. Honestly, if you ask us, there’s nothing quite like it. There’s something about an elopement that just screams “fairytale” — the stillness, the intimacy, the wild locations — every little detail of an elopement seems to tell the story of the couple.

Now, don’t get us wrong. Elopements still cost money, and spending money never feels like a fairytale plot. But luckily, there are elopement styles to fit every budget and priority. Unlike a traditional wedding, where there are practically hundreds of things to think about when budgeting, an elopement budget is simple. Keep reading to figure out what elopement style best suits your personality, and how to start budgeting for it!

Step One: Decide your priorities!

We’ve organized this section into three primary options, but your priority for your day could be just about anything! Take some time with your partner, look these through, and discuss which you feel is most important to you. This will help you decide how to organize your budget.

Which of these is most important to you and your partner when it comes to having the elopement of your dreams?

Celebrating with loved ones

For many couples considering eloping, this is the most difficult part of opting out of a traditional wedding. If you and your partner have large families or many loved ones that you want to share your day with in-person, you may want to reconsider an elopement or think about a half-and-half event (elope in the morning and half a large reception in the evening, or split up the two by a few days).

With that being said, there are many ways you can celebrate with your friends and family while still eloping! Our rule of thumb is this: if there are 25 or less people present, it’s an elopement. On top of that, you can still celebrate your day with your larger groups of loved ones in other ways! Because this is so important, we wrote a whole blog about it.

So, if celebrating with loved ones is your top priority, remember this: you can celebrate with all of them, some of them, or most of them. You can celebrate in-person, day-of, or split up your day so you can enjoy the intimacy of an elopement and the big ‘ol party that comes with a traditional wedding. However you want to include your loved ones, it will have an effect on your budget!

Saving money

If, more than anything, you and your partner value celebrating your day without breaking the bank, then take note! If your priority is saving money, then it’ll play a huge role in how you budget and what your day looks like.

The great news? Tons of couples every year find creative ways to elope affordably. It’s totally doable!

It’s important to create your budget early on in your planning process so as to minimize stress and paint a clear and realistic picture for you and your partner as to what your day could look like.

Having a day that’s entirely stress-free

If you want to soak up every moment, bask in the romance, and feel any stress along the way, then you and your partner probably prioritize comfort and stress-free experiences.

Typically, couples who value a stress-free experience are willing to adjust their budget in order to ensure their elopement is everything they’ve ever dreamed of — and that goes far beyond just your wedding day. For many couples, their engagement can be a stressful time. Chat with your partner about the type of experience you want to have and are comfortable having throughout your engagement and on your wedding day. Are you okay taking on the stress of planning your elopement? Are you a couple who loves to DIY, or do you value being able to show up and enjoy the experience without worry? There’s no wrong answer — just consider what matters to you!

Celebrating in a way that feels like us

Do you and your partner envision a day that’s packed full of details and adventures that are unique to you? That’s the beauty of an elopement! With a traditional wedding, it’s easy for the “you” details to get lost. Although you can still have a traditional wedding that feels unique to your relationship, hosting a large event often feels less intimate and individualized.

Many couples who’ve eloped do so for this reason! For whatever reason, a traditional wedding just doesn’t feel like them. That’s why they choose to get married in a way that celebrates them wholly.

The different types of elopements

We’ve separated elopements into three categories, based on how much they cost. The above priorities align well with different types of elopements, although there’s no one way to pair your elopement priority with a budget — that’s what we love about elopements! We have, however, created a general outline based on what we’ve learned from past clients and years in the industry. Check out the different types of elopements below, consider which one resonates most with you, and keep reading to see what a typical budget for that elopement type may look like.

What are your priorities for your elopement? Start there, and your budget will follow.

The Total DIY

The cheapest option, but the most work for the couple. The Total DIY elopement means it’s time to pull up your bootstraps and get to work! If you and your partner love figuring things out on your own, doing things affordably, and planning/coordinating, then this option will likely suit you best.

When you choose to have a Total DIY elopement, you plan the logistics, handle the permits, book and coordinate the vendors, organize lodging, food, excursions, and everything in between.

Typical costs for a Total DIY elopement

  • Clothing (dress, tuxedo, etc.)
  • Photography/videography
  • Lodging
  • Permits
  • Officiant
  • Standard legal fees
  • Florals
  • Rings

Typical responsibilities for a Total DIY elopement

  • Researching and obtaining permits for venue options
  • Contacting and booking vendors
  • Researching and booking lodging
  • Coordinating logistics (travel, etc.) for day-of and beforehand
  • Researching local legalities, license requirements, etc.
  • Coordinating vendors and guests day-of and beforehand
  • Hair, makeup, etc.
  • All other planning requirements

If there’s something you want included in your elopement, you’ll make sure it gets taken care of! Why? Because you’re a rockstar, that’s why.

The Minimal Assistance Elopement

The Minimal Assistance Elopement is perfect for couples who want a low-stress experience, but also don’t mind doing most of the work themselves. Typically, this means hiring out some help for their day but taking care of the rest.

Couples who choose Minimal Assistance elopements often hire a day-of coordinator, or decide to outsource some of their wedding planning tasks in other ways.

Typical costs for a Minimal Assistance elopement

  • Clothing (dress, tuxedo, etc.)
  • Photography/videography
  • Lodging
  • Permits
  • Officiant
  • Standard legal fees
  • Florals
  • Rings
  • Day-of coordinator
  • Hair and/or make-up artist

Typical responsibilities for a Total DIY elopement

  • Researching and obtaining permits for venue options
  • Contacting and booking vendors
  • Researching and booking lodging
  • Researching local legalities, license requirements, etc.
  • All other planning requirements aside from day-of responsibilities

The All-Inclusive Elopement

100% stress-free, luxurious, romantic, and simple. This one’s for the couples who value experience, and are willing to pay more in order to fully soak up their big day. The All-Inclusive elopement is exactly what it sounds like — one cost, and that’s it. It’s a way for couples to enjoy their engagement and trust that their dream elopement will be brought to life without having to front any of the stress that often comes with wedding planning. Not that we’re biased or anything, but this option is pretty

Typical costs for an All-Inclusive Elopement

  • Clothing (dress, tuxedo, etc.)
  • All-inclusive elopement service

Typical responsibilities for an All-Inclusive Elopement

  • Purchasing clothing
  • Researching and booking an all-inclusive service
  • Intermittently collaborating and communicating vision with all-inclusive service

How much does eloping really cost?

Unlike an average wedding with a cost of around $35,000, elopements are highly variable and the cost will depend on what you want to do and where you want to go.

So, how much does the average elopement cost? Couples end up spending around $6,000 to elope, on average, with most of these intimate, destination weddings landing somewhere between $2,000 and $20,000 in total costs. But the real number for you could be anywhere within or outside of that range. Here’s what elopement costs typically look like for the above types of elopements.

The Total DIY

This is the low end of the spectrum when it comes to elopement cost. Couples who choose to save at every possible opportunity, do it all themselves, and prioritize cost-effectiveness above all else typically end up spending between $500 – $5,000 on their elopement. The higher end of that range is for couples who still opt for documentation (photography/videography) of their day, or perhaps another vendor like an officiant, florist, hair/makeup artist, etc.

The Minimal Assistance Elopement

Of the three types of elopements we outlined above, The Minimal Assistance Elopement is the most representative of the average cost of an elopement. This includes couples who DIY some of their day, but also outsource some of it as well. The typical spend for this type of elopement falls within the rand of $5,000 – $15,000. The lower end of this range represents couples who hire a minimal amount of vendors, and the higher end includes couples who hire multiple vendors but still carry out most planning/coordinating tasks on their own.

The All-Inclusive Elopement

This is the most expensive option, and the simplest. As outlined above, The All-Inclusive Elopement is the perfect option for couples who have a larger budget and value a stress-free experience. Typically, all-inclusive services begin at around $15,000 and can reach anywhere up to $30,000 (although it’s certainly possible to spend more, depending on your budget and how luxurious your elopement may be). The average cost of a wedding in the United States is around $35,000, so even if you land on the higher end of an All-Inclusive Elopement budget, you’ll still be spending less than you would for a traditional wedding. Aren’t elopements great?! We sure think so!

At the end of the day …

At the end of the day, you have the power to make your elopement whatever you want it to be. This blog can serve as a helpful tool, but no one knows your vision better than you!

If you’re interested in learning more about all-inclusive elopements, we’d love to start chatting with you. At Ascend Together, we offer our clients a done-for-you elopement experience that allows them to enjoy their engagement, grow closer to one another, and relax as we make their dream day a reality. Click here to get in touch!

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