If you’re reading this, you most likely are wondering how to plan a destination elopement on a budget. There are many ways to elope. Remember the word “budget” also looks different to everybody. My biggest piece of advice is to spend things on the things that matter, such as your elopement photography. You can still have a rather detailed destination mountain top elopement with lots of detail, with little or no money invested in the decor because your backdrop speaks for itself . Therefore, the cost of eloping can vary and range from a very low cost to a higher cost. The average cost of an elopement in the U.S is $10,000-$20,000, which most of that is often spent on photography. In my experience, the average cost of my destination elopement couple is anywhere from $20-30k because of the way they’ve chosen to spend their money. Most destination elopement couples highly value their photography + their experience.
A destination elopement can seem like a daunting task to plan + overwhelmingly expensive. Although, you may be surprised that the more you dive into budget, it can be quite affordable. For $30k, a traditional wedding could get you a high end photographer, a middle of the line venue, your attire and possibly your food covered, with still much more to pay for.
In the destination elopement world, most of your money goes to the experience on your elopement day, your photographer and travel surrounding your elopement. With 30k, you could take an epic helicopter ride, a 3-4 night stay in an epic location, travel paid for to and from that location, pay for a high end photographer like myself, get the planning included with your photography to take the stress off, have your attire paid for + much more. When you compare these two, I feel like it’s an obvious answer.
The real reason people have weddings is to feel celebrated and celebrate their marriage, but a lot of people feel like they’re stuck hosting. With a destination elopement, you can get the best of both worlds, feel less tied down to traditions, spend the day how you’d like and get the photos you’ve dreamed of.
According to the 2020 Brides American Wedding Study, couples can save a lot of money if they decide to elope. Even the most expensive elopements are often cheaper than other types of weddings. One of the biggest costs saved is on the reception. Couples spend on average a whopping $5-10,000 for the venue alone! (Most exceed this amount by far) according to Koyal Wedding statistics. Most eloping couples save HUGE on their “venue” because a destination elopement photographer will help you scout the perfect locations in public lands either in state or national parks, to save you that cost.
Whether you’re thinking about eloping because its trendy, the views are amazing or because you’re placing more of an emphasis on your experience rather than tradition, you may be wondering what you should plan on spending and how to calculate the cost of your elopement. Well don’t worry, I have all the budgeting tips and tricks for you to plan your best day ever!
When considering the average cost of eloping, you’ll want to consider what you need to plan for in your budget.
Many consider eloping due to the skyrocketing average cost of weddings. Though, what many don’t realize is often elopements can be just as if not more expensive. That being said, there are ways to make your elopement cheaper. To determine how expensive your elopement will be, I encourage you to write down everything you could possibly want in your ideal elopement, if money weren’t an issue. From there, I encourage you to work backwards. See where you can make cuts + what is non-negotiable for you. The biggest way to cut costs for a destination elopement is choosing a location to get married in that’s beautiful and speaks for itself + doesn’t need much decoration (or a venue for that matter). If you know this is what you want, but don’t know how to find such amazing places, feel free to reach out, because this is what I do! I’m Lexi- your destination elopement photographer and i’ve shot more than 200 weddings for couples all over the United States and the globe for that matter!
Photographer: $6000 to $10,000k+ (with me as your photographer! If you’re planning a destination elopement and need someone to photograph/ assist in planning, get in touch here to tell me about your dream day! )
Cake: $50- 250
Stationery/ invites/ announcement cards: $150-500
Florals $100- 500+
Décor/rentals: huge range depending on what you’re wanting (beginning at $100)
Hair and Makeup Artist: $200-500+
A meal for the two of you $100- 300
Before diving into figuring out your cost of your elopement, all your elopement planning of each and every detail, you’ll want to make sure you’ve established a budget. It sounds a little counter-intuitive, but I would recommend writing down every possible thing you could want in your elopement day to start. Dream big and don’t limit yourselves! Sit down as a couple + begin brainstorming what you could live without and what your priorities are and work your way down to a small list. To get you started, I’ve began a list for you below of what most couples start out with. Depending on your destination, you may have more specific excursions or activities you’ll want to do surrounding your elopement, so don’t forget to budget for those!
When writing your list about your day, consider every last moment of your day + how you’ll want to feel + how to achieve that, how you’ll dine, where you’ll stay, etc. Think about the memories you’ll want to have created once your day is over and you’re looking back at pictures. Once you have this list, go through + begin crossing things out that you could imagine cutting off your list. If you can’t imagine cutting anything off your list + you feel like you were being realistic from the beginning, then BOOM. There’s your budget!
For Brides :
Here are some cheap destinations below. These are often some of the cheapest to travel to + get to from most places in the U.S. Lastly, they provide amazing views and experiences + are overall the cheapest to get married at.
In conclusion, elopements can be as much or as little as you want them to be. However, you must sit down + come up with a budget to begin planning. I hope this helps get you started with planning your dream destination elopement! If you’re in need of a photographer + want someone who’s going to help you plan all your details, your trip + your dream day, click inquire below! (:
For other planning resources, here are some of my favorite elopement resources I think you’ll like!
I’m Lexi! I am passionate about documenting eloping couples all over the globe, in a place that’s special to you. My approach to your day is as honest as you experience it + less of the stiff stuff. I’d love to hear what you’re dreaming up for your wedding day!