How much does it cost to elope?

Elopement Planning

Eloping means doing any possible experience you can imagine for yourselves on your wedding day. So in saying that, the cost of your elopement could be as minimal or extravagant as you desire. An elopement could be as little as $370 for a registry elopement with just the legal paperwork. While on the contrary, an all inclusive destination elopement could cost upwards of $20,000. An Australian average elopement, costs anywhere between $7,000 and $15,000.

How did we get that average elopement cost?

There are a few factors that you need to include in your budget to elope. First is the legal costs, including all paperwork and the celebrant. Next you will need to factor in your attire, whether that be a wedding gown and suit, or a more casual outfit choice. And any accessories, jewellery and of course your wedding rings. While the legal costs generally stay the same from celebrant to celebrant, depending on the type of ceremony you are after. The cost of your attire will entirely depend on the person. So if you are after a sweet, simple, laid back, registry style wedding, where that is all you do on the day. Then your elopement could most definitely be under $1000.

Adventure elopement vs. registry wedding

While on the contrary you are after a more intentional elopement experience, like the ones we tend to photograph. You’ll be looking at spending a little bit more. An adventurous elopement is centred around the idea of doing anything you can imagine for your wedding day, and creating an authentic experience where you are safe to be yourselves. This could be hiking up a mountain to say your vows, followed by a champagne toast and a gondola ride to the 5 star resort for dinner. Or a morning surf together, to getting ready together, to meeting up with your closest loved ones for a cliff top beach ceremony and a sunset family picnic on the beach. Adventure elopements are all about creating an experience, and celebrating the two of you.

Registry weddings, can be elaborate as well. Who says you can go out to a 5 course fine dining meal after hitting up the registry? Or having a family BBQ in the park with your besties. While registry elopements tend to be more simple. Adventure elopements, tend to break boundaries and do the unexpected. Both can be absolutely amazing in their own way. And the costs are absolutely dependent on the couple.

The vendor breakdown

In saying that, the cost of an elopement is entirely dependent on the couples needs and desires. Let’s break down the average cost in Australia for the most common elopement vendors to include in your day.

Please not, these are average pricing based on our research, and will be dependent on the level of experience and value of service the vendor provides for you.

Celebrant – $600 – $1,200

Wedding attire – $2,000 – $4,000

Wedding rings – $3,000 – $6,000

Photographer – $3,000 – $6,000

Videographer – $2,500 – $5,500

Floral Bouquet & Boutonnière Р$300 Р$500

Meal/Dining Experience for 2 people – $150 – $400

Outdoor location permits – $250 – $375

Hair and Makeup Artist – $200 – $400

Travel and accommodation – $400 – $1000

Other vendor’s you could include

While those are the most common list of vendors eloping couples tend to include in their day. You really have unlimited possibilities of what you can do on your day. So let’s break down the average cost of all the potential vendors you could include!

Stylist/Planner – $2,000 – $4,000

Venue – $3,500 – $6,500

Catering for up to 30 guests – $2,000 – $4,000

Cake – $250 – $500

Experience based activities ie. Helicopter ride, hot air balloon, paddle boarding, etc. – $400 – $700

Stationery ie. invites, vow books, menu’s, etc. – $200 – $600

Music/DJ – $1,000 – $2,000

Traditional wedding vs. elopement cost

While the cost of vendors for a wedding day vs. an elopement experience will not differ in price. Elopements are typically less experience than a traditional wedding, as you are no longer paying for a large guest list. And/or any other areas that you might find are not essential for your day. Instead you can use your budget for the areas of your wedding day you value you. While creating intentional and meaningful experiences to cherish. So let’s break down the difference in comparison to a traditional wedding.

Average cost of a traditional wedding – $36,000

This includes

  • venue and catering for 150-300 guests
  • photography and videography
  • wedding attire and rings
  • celebrant
  • music / dj
  • planner & stylist
  • invites and menu’s
  • wedding cake
  • a traditional experience
  • rushed by timeline
  • time spent with guests and not your partner
  • stress and expectations

Average cost of an intentional elopement – $11,000

This includes:

  • permits for a scenic outdoor location where you feel most alive
  • photography coverage of the entire day
  • florals and any other special details that you love
  • personalized vow books
  • a special meal styled for the two of you
  • accommodation for 2 nights
  • an epic adventure full of a lifetime of memories
  • being present with your partner
  • a personalized crafted celebration that aligns with your values
  • laid back intentional timeline that allows freedom and spontaneity

How to budget for your elopement

The best way to decide on your elopement budget is to make a list of your absolute must have vendors for your elopement day. These are the vendors you know you won’t be able to craft your dream day without. For most, that may be photography, a celebrant, a florist, or hair and makeup artists. But again, this is based on personal preference. Once you’ve narrowed down your top vendors, make a list of your least important vendors. This might be wedding invites, a cake, etc. Once you’ve complied your two lists. It’s important to research how much your top list vendors charge. This will help you craft your budget.

Vendors charge based on their experience, expertise in the industry and quality of service they are able to provide. Essentially, the less expensive the vendor charges, is probably a reflection of their experience or quality of work. Keep this in mind when budgeting and choosing your vendors. Once you’ve calculated the average cost of your dream vendors, you can use this to make up the majority of your budget.

And then look at your least “must have” vendors, and allocate a smaller portion of your budget to them. These may be areas you can do yourself, or ask friends and family to help out with.

For example:

Most Important Vendors:

  • Photographer – need to allocate $4,000
  • Celebrant – need to allocate $1,000
  • Dining Experience – need to allocate $300
  • Flowers – need to allocate $500
  • Wedding attire – need to allocate $1,000
  • Wedding rings – need to allocate $2,000
  • Location permits – need to allocate $400

Must Have Budget = $9,200

Least Important Vendors:

  • Hair and Makeup – I’ll get my sister to do it
  • Cake – mum will make us a mini cake
  • Styling – we are happy to DIY the styling and purchase these elements
  • Vow books – will purchase on Etsy

Other budget costs $800

Total Budget for Elopement – $10,000.

Adding some extra wiggle room for those DIY elements, and any other expenses that may come up is the perfect way to set your budget. Now when you get quoted from your vendors, you know what price you will be working with and can more easily see where you’re willing to spend a bit more, and where you are willing to save.

Types of elopement packages

There are a few types of elopement packages that vendors offer. Each vendor will be different, some may have all inclusive packages that include a bunch of vendors together. While others might offer a solo service.

Most vendors who specialize in elopements, especially photographers, usually also take on the role of being an elopement guide (aka. assist with planning). So if your hiring an Elopement Photographer, you may not even need a wedding planner. While your elopement photographer, probably won’t plan the entire day for you, start to finish. They will guide you on how to plan your elopement, give you vendor recommendations, activity ideas, help build your timeline, and answer any questions you may have. Or at least that’s what we do as Elopement Photographers! So if this is what you are looking for, we are happy to help.

While all inclusive elopement packages, are where vendors have teamed together to bring you a new service. This means you won’t have to search for your own vendors, they will be booked on your behalf as part of the package. We have teamed up with with a local Melbourne wedding planner, to offer all inclusive packages, if this is something that interests you!

Some couples love the freedom to chose their own vendors, and dream up their day with the assistance of their vendors help. While others, may prefer the experience to be organized on their behalf. There’s no right or wrong way to eloping, as long as your vendors understand your reasons for eloping and connect with this concept.

Why you should invest in your elopement experience

You only get married once, and chances are if you’ve chosen to elope. It’s because you want to do things your way. You value this experience for yourself, more than just doing what everyone else has done before. It’s time to flip the script, take back the reigns and rewrite your own rule book! Eloping allows you the freedom and flexibility to do anything you want on your wedding day. So why not make the most of it!

Do you want to look back in 20 years, wishing you did it differently? You get once chance. Invest in your experience, and relive it forever through your photos and videos. Go all out, and have the best experience of your lives together. We promise you, you won’t regret it. Getting married is expensive, probably the most money you’ll ever spend on a celebration. But your love story is worth it, your relationship is worth it and your life experience is worth it. Just because your having a small wedding, doesn’t mean it has to be anything less than incredible.

Need help dreaming up all the possibilities for your elopement day? Get in touch, and we will show you the way!

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