How Much Does It Cost To Elope?

As eloping becomes more and more of a mainstream wedding avenue thanks in part to this year’s Covid pandemic I wanted to put together a resources for couples considering an elopement and it’s cost vs traditional weddings.

Traditional Wedding Cost

According to The Knot the average cost of a traditional wedding is $34k and averaged 131 guests. The venue being 1/3rd of that cost.

And that’s the average. I once shot a wedding where the dress cost $30k alone!

Add in Catering, DJ, Alcohol and the miscellaneous that adds up quite quick! Now there’s nothing wrong at all with a traditional wedding. They’re a blast and it’s the perfect celebration when you WANT it. But let’s say you’re just not feeling it or a smaller more intimate wedding is your vibe.

Well, then an elopement adventure wedding might be for you!

Cost of Eloping

Let’s break down the average costs of an elopement:

Photographer: $2000-$7000

Videographer: $2000-$5000

Officiant: $250-800

Suit/Dress: $300-$4000


Planner:(Typically your photographer will handle this as it’s included as added value)

Add ons can include all sorts of extras but these are the main costs. Videographers are often optional but a great addition to the wedding team.

Banff National Park Adventure Wedding

Now let’s break down those costs a bit:

Photography/Videography: can average around $2k for a short elopement upwards of $7k for full adventure days plus albums and prints. These costs really don’t differ much compared to a typical wedding but because elopements are so much more about the photos and personal time I feel like they pack more value.

We also serve as a witness! Two birds one stone.

Officiants: Often times this is just a friend or a local professional who’s into the non-traditional ceremonies. I find having a professional is nice, but often times a friend or close relative is a really great addition since they can add a personal touch.

Keep in mind if you’re having your officiant do a full day hike the cost will most likely be higher than a typically short elopement.

Suit/Dress: For adventure weddings I always recommend something you don’t mind getting dirty. Don’t bring you’re $10K wedding dress to the top of the cascades unless $10k is no biggie for you. Most of all, make sure it’s comfortable. That’s key. Nothing worse than looking good but feeling wonky in your clothes. Also, bring a comfortable pair of shoes. That might be the most important thing to remember!

Travel/Accommodations: This really depends if you’re flying from out of state or eloping locally. This can drastically change the cost. A camping elopement might not cost more than a park’s pass and the cost of camping gear. Meanwhile a long day hike for a sunset ceremony might finish at a posh lodge equipped with fine dining and hot tubs. 

Because tastes and budgets vary this one can literally be zero of much much more.

Planner: As I said above, photographers will usually handle this since elopements are very photo-centric. I plan almost every elopement I’m hired for and it’s a nice added value for the couples.

Miscellaneous: There’s also a miscellaneous category that I didn’t include. This could cover anything from alcohol, Helicopter Tours or helicopter rides to the ceremony site to paying a musician to tagalong. Most of these would fall under $1000 but could possibly go higher depending on what you include.

"Why should I invest in an elopement?"

1)Eloping is about being true to yourself

-Having an elopement is about being true to yourself. So often I talk with couples planning a large wedding that originally wanted to elope but were pressured by family into having a more traditional(and costly) wedding. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with traditional weddings…IF…you want one. That’s the key. You have to want it.

2)You get to pick the most badass(and free) venue

– Do you want to get married on a mountaintop at sunset? Or maybe a hotspring in the national forest? It’s up to you! And with all the money you’ll most likely save you can have the raddest backyard bbq on the planet when it comes time to celebrate with friends and family. I mean, think about how much $10k(cost savings of the venue) would buy in beer and ribs?! Ok, maybe don’t do that, but you get my drift. With the cost savings from having an elopement you free up the money to do other celebrations that you can actually enjoy.

3) You’ll actually have time to enjoy your wedding day

-The one regret I hear from couples having big weddings is: “they felt like they didn’t have time to enjoy their wedding day”

This is because on a normal wedding day you have to cater to a hundred different people’s needs instead of being able to slow down and enjoy the wedding day like you want. That’s the benefit of eloping. You can take it at your pace, no distractions and all of the fun.

4) You might actually see Sasquatch/Bigfoot

I can’t guarantee this one. BUT there’s a strong likelihood you may just get a glimpse of the big hairyman himself(and maybe even Finding Bigfoot‘s own Cliff Barackman!). Is that worth having an elopement over a traditional wedding? I may be biased, but I’d say so. Although I’ve heard Bigfoot can do a mean Electric Slide dance.

Elopement vs Wedding Cost

So, how much does it cost to elope vs having a traditional wedding?

I’ll keep this one short and sweet.

Average Wedding $34,000

Average Elopement: $10,000

Does that mean an elopement is right for you? That’s up to you to decide. But if I can help you plan in anyway please reach out.