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The Costs of Eloping -vs- Big Weddings

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

Beam Rocks Pennsylvania Elopement - Wild North Weddings
Beam Rocks, Pennsylvania

Many people look at eloping as a cheap and easy way of "just making it legal". The world is changing though, and in 2020 eloping is so much more than that! It can be cheap, but intimate and adventurous elopements are about taking your wedding budget, the money you'd spend on making weddings an experience for 100+ people, and creating an experience for you, your fiance, and your family & friends if you decide to bring them along.


Beam Rocks Pennsylvania Elopement - Wild North Weddings
Sheraton Station Square - Wedding Details

Big Weddings

According to The Knot, the average wedding in 2019 cost $33,900. That number may seem high to a lot of people, but most weddings end up going 30% higher in cost than originally budgeted. If you look at this checklist from Here Comes The Guide you'll see there are so many items and services to budget for, some you never would think of because you've never planned a wedding before. Essentially with big weddings, you're taking your budget and spreading it out to create an experience and beautiful aesthetics for your guests. And that's perfectly ok! You're entitled to spend your wedding budget on what you value most, and if you value a big day surrounded by all of your friends and family then you're spending the money on what's best for you.


Utah Weddings & Elopement Photographer - Wild North Weddings
Arches National Park

Intimate & Adventurous Elopements

Here's one of the reasons why people are starting to love elopements... you can take all of the money you've been saving, or that your family has been saving for you, and put it towards the most amazing experience for the two of you (and your close family/friends if you choose to invite them!). Take the money you would spend on an open bar, centerpieces, place cards, etc. and purchase the dress of your dreams, fly first class, splurge on a bouquet with exotic stems, etc. Sounds amazing right? Because eloping isn't about cutting out the budget. It's about taking the budget and putting it towards what you value most.

Below are averages of what Eloping Couples are budgeting and spending on their wedding days...

Travel: $500-$1500

Flights, rental cars or ride-share, fuel, hotels or house rentals...

Attire: $150 - $5000

Wedding dresses, suits, footwear, jewelry...

Photographer: $2000 - $9000

Includes their travel, and with Wild North Weddings includes digital files, a full day of coverage, help with permits, location scouting, and timeline planning for $3000 anywhere in the continental US.

Bouquet: $150-$300

Hair & Makeup: $0-$250

Officiant: $300-$800

Food & Drink: $50-$350

Videography: $2000-$7000

Other Fun: $50-$2000

Ideas include visiting breweries or wineries, helicopter rides ($300/person), UTV or Jeep tours ($300/day), boat charters, spa treatments, etc.

Beam Rocks Pennsylvania Elopement - Wild North Weddings
Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania

Like any other wedding, what you actually spend on your adventure wedding will depend on what you want from the day. But for between $10,000 and $15,000 you can have the exciting and romantic wedding day you've dreamed of with much less stress, rushing, a drama than are normally involved with large wedding celebrations. Weigh the pros and cons of eloping as a wedding alternative for you and your fiance, and fill out the contact form below to receive more information about how we can help document the greatest adventure of your life!

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Hey there! I'm Carly D'Angelo-Hall - a photographer specializing in documenting weddings across the U.S. If you love adventure, experiencing new things, and if you like to live "outside of the box", let's talk about how I can help you create and capture the wedding day of your dreams! Visit to view all-inclusive wedding day and adventure session packages.


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