Elopement Ideas, Planning & Resources – Elopement Costs


Destination Elopement Photographer Planning and Resources

According to a study The Knot did on 27,000 couples, the average cost of a traditional wedding is $33,900. To some, maybe it’s only 6 months of income. To some, it might be their whole year of income.

As wedding and elopement photographers, we’ve been a part of elopements from just the couple to weddings with over 300 guests, er want to share with you what we’ve learned over the years about the cost of weddings and elopements.

Important To Know: What is an Adventure Elopement? And How Much Does It Really Cost?

Let’s cut to the chase : Just like anything in life, everyone has different budget the cost can vary depending on what you truly value. You can spend $50 – $200 and legally get married or you can spend $20,000 for your elopement or wedding. However much money you spend on your wedding/elopement day doesn’t say anything about who you are or what your values are. This article is to share with you the average cost for an adventure elopement and what you get from investing in such experience.

First Thing First, What Is An Adventure Elopement? What does it cost more than a courthouse wedding

An adventure elopement is different from a courthouse elopement. An adventure elopement focuses on an INTENTIONAL EXPERIENCE so you can truly choose to celebrate your marriage in an adventurous and unique way. Maybe it’s hiking up the mountains to share your vows. Maybe it’s a picnic with your immediate family members on the beach. Maybe it’s riding the helicopter together for the first time ever so you can experience something new together as a start of your marriage. Maybe it’s exchanging your vows in a country that you both have been dying to visit together forever. Because after all, your elopement day should be all about you and the experience you value so you can create memories together in an authentic way that truly reflects you instead of what “traditions” should be.

Have you asked yourselves why you need to have a “bridal party”? How about wearing a garter and have your groom going under your dress to get it out? And inviting 300 guests and making sure everyone has a good time when you can’t remember the last time you spoke with them prior to your wedding day?

An adventure elopement doesn’t mean you ditch all traditions, it just means you ditch the ones that don’t make sense to you whereas you can keep the ones that you truly value.

Therefore, with an adventure elopement, you are investing in what you truly want to truly experience

Real Elopement vs Wedding Costs: The Break Down

In the table below, we did a break down of what’s included in the total cost of wedding vs the total cost of an elopement. Please note that in these examples, it’s an average cost with numbers learned from The Knot and other wedding planning websites. The exact total cost of your wedding or elopement depends on your current location vs the location you’re going to as well as guest size and exact pricing from vendors

Average Cost of A Wedding: $33,900

What you’re paying for:

  • Photographer ~$6,000
  • Wedding dress / attire ~$3,000
  • Venue ~ $7,000
  • DJ / Band ~$1,200
  • Officiant ~$500
  • Flowers ~$2,000
  • Hair and Make Up ~$400
  • Caterers / Food for Guests ~$10,000
  • Cake ~$500
  • Event Planner ~ $2,500
  • Travel and Accommodation ~$800

Average Cost of An Elopement $15,350

What you’re paying for:

  • Photographer ~$6.000
  • Wedding dress / attire ~$3,000
  • Not really a venue, just a wedding permit ~$150
  • Officiant ~$500
  • Flowers ~$500
  • Hair and Make Up ~$400
  • Caterers / Food for Guests (if you decide to have some) ~$500
  • Cake ~$300
  • Event Planner (some elopements with guests might need an elopement planner) ~$2,000
  • Travel and Accommodation ~$2000
  • An epic adventure & long lasting memories for you and your partner ~$Priceless
  • A personalized and authentic experience crafted for you ~$Priceless

Adventure Elopement: What Are You Really Paying For? And How Much Are You Saving?

As you can see in the table above, the true cost of a wedding photographer and elopement photographer are exactly the same. In fact, our elopement packages and wedding packages are exactly the same. If you book us for a full day of 10-hour of elopement, it would cost the exact same amount another couple who books us for their 10-hour wedding day. This is because in 99% of the time, in an elopement, your photographer is more than just a photographer, your photographer often is also your planner, coordinator, resource, the main point of contact for all your questions and concerns.

A skilled elopement photographer often spends countless hours of research to find beautiful locations to elope, Airbnbs to stay, best time for lights and photos, vendors around the area to bring your vision to life.

In terms of photography, you are paying exactly the same.

In terms of everything else, you’re saving the money on a venue and miscellaneous personnels related to having a venue and catering. You’re no longer feeding hundreds of guests. You’re no longer decorating tables and venue space so that your reception doesn’t look so empty. In most cases, almost all of our couples use those money to spend on an adventure, experience, and honeymoon.

A Quick Look Into How Much An Elopement Costs – Elopement Calculator*

*all are estimated pricing and might change based on your needs. This tool only serves as an estimate of average cost. Please inquiry your elopement vendors for exact quote.

Invest In What Matters, Invest In What You Truly Love

Henry was in your shoes once during planning his wedding that turned into an intimate elopement. He was straight out of college when he an Viet got married. With no money and their introverted personalities, big weddings did not sound appealing to them. They might appeal to some but not to them.

Once again, however much money you spend on your wedding/elopement day doesn’t say anything about who you are or what your values are.

One thing we keep hearing over and over is that “I wish we hadn’t done that on our wedding day” or “I wish we could have…” and those statements break our hearts every single time. If there’s only one advice we can give to you, please take this from us: Invest in what matters, invest in what you truly love.

You should be able to get married the way you want to, not because of “my parents would kill me” or “my friends wouldn’t approve”. Is eloping for you? What else do you want to know about elopement? Read our article on 6 Things To Consider Before Eloping to get more answers to your elopement questions. Don’t forget, we have a whole page full of Elopement Experience & Resources for you.


Learn How to Elope & Other Elopement Resources


Henry Tieu & Sergio - Elopement Photographers

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