What to Include in Your Elopement Budget: The Complete Breakdown
What goes into an elopement budget? In addition to your marriage license, you’ll also need to budget for everything from accommodations to your ceremony to your wedding attire. When you’re planning any wedding–even an elopement– it’s easy to get overwhelmed by details, so let’s break down what goes into each category and how much you can expect to spend.
Accommodations and Transportation
When allocating for your accommodations and transportations costs, you’ll want to include airfare, hotel rooms, and transportation in your budget. If you’re tying the knot in your home city, then you may only need to budget for a hired car. If you’re traveling for your big day, those costs can increase– with domestic travel, like a Las Vegas wedding costing less than an elopement in the Amalfi Coast.
Typical accommodation and transportation costs: $100-3,500
Ceremony and Reception
When planning your ceremony costs, you’ll want to consider the venue fee and any decor costs. You may also want to budget for an officiant or musicians/a DJ depending on your elopement ceremony plans.
You may choose to celebrate your wedding day with a small group of close friends and family, or you and your partner may choose to celebrate your special day just the 2 of you. When planning your elopement reception budget, you want to consider what kind of celebration you want. You’ll want to include any venue costs, food/catering, wedding desserts (will you be doing a traditional wedding cake? Or opting for something like cupcakes or macarons?), and decor.
Even with these costs, an elopement wedding tends to cost substantially less than a traditional wedding. For most elopements, you can budget $750 or less, whereas a traditional wedding venue can cost as much as $80,000.
Typical elopement ceremony costs: $0-750
There’s one of the largest ranges in terms of cost when it comes to wedding attire because the apparel budget depends so heavily on personal preferences. If you’re someone who doesn’t really see the value in spending money on something you’re only going to wear once, you might be able to pick up a wedding dress for $100 or less. On the other hand, you might have been waiting your whole life to drop $10,000 on an unforgettable, show stopping wedding dress or custom tux.
When determining your wedding attire budget, you’ll want to have a discussion with your partner to get on the same page about how much of your elopement budget you want to spend on apparel.
Typical elopement apparel costs: $100-$5,000
Elopement flowers tend to be much more affordable than traditional wedding flowers. Your budget might start around $30 for a DIY bouquet from a local florist or the grocery store. If you want more formal, traditional wedding flowers, you can order them from a florist. You’ll want to account for a bouquet or bouquets and a boutonniere or boutonnieres for the eloping couple. You might also choose some sort of flowers for your witnesses or your parents/grandparents if they’re attending your elopement. The type of flowers you choose will also factor into the cost.
Typical elopement flowers cost: $30-$650
Similar to wedding attire, the ring budget is dependent on personal taste. Many eloping couples might opt for a simple wedding band. Engraving continues to be popular, giving couples the ability to inscribe their elopement date or a special message to their partner inside the wedding ring. Some retailers provide complimentary engraving services, and others may have an additional charge.
Typical wedding ring costs: $500-2,000
Video and Photography
Most elopement couples choose to have a videographer or elopement photographer to capture the big day, and for many, video and wedding photography can be one of the largest elopement expenses. Why? In addition to capturing the joyful moment from your intimate wedding, you can also share your wedding video or wedding photos with friends and/or family members who won’t be there with you.
While your elopement photographer might be the largest cost associated with your elopement (or one of the largest costs), it’s still about half the cost of a traditional wedding photographer.
Typical elopement photography costs: $2,000-5,000
An elopement planner can take a lot of the headaches out of planning your big day. As professionally, they know the ins and outs of planning a flawless elopement. You can find a minimalist elopement package that covers permits or you can find a more robust package that includes everything from your flowers and an officiant to a picnic reception.
For many couples, this expense ends up saving money in the long run because you avoid first-time mistakes when you’re working with an experienced professional. If you’re planning a destination wedding, for example, an elopement planner will already have an established network of trusted vendors, meaning you won’t end up ghosted by your florist or overcharged on your wedding cake.
Elopement planner costs: $1,000-5,000