Just a few generations ago, elopements had an air of scandal. They have been associated more with Romeo and Juliet types and shotgun weddings than with prudent couples trying to save money.
The definition of “elope” has also changed. It traditionally meant that the only people present were the couple, officiating and calling for witnesses, and the wedding was conducted in secret, perhaps on the courthouse steps. Today it is generally agreed that a wedding with a guest list under 10 can be called elopement. It’s even smaller than what is often referred to as a “micro” or tiny wedding, where the guest list can contain up to 30 people.
A recent survey by Helzberg Diamonds found that 91 percent of unmarried millennials would consider eloping. It also found that three out of five young married couples would choose to flee instead of having a traditional wedding again.
One of the most attractive aspects of eloping is the money-saving factor. People who flee spend far less than half the price of a traditional ceremony. The average American wedding cost $ 19,000 in 2020 (that relatively low figure was partly due to severe downsizing and social distancing regulations imposed by the pandemic; it was $ 28,000 in 2019). Brides Magazine reports that elopements typically cost between $ 50 and $ 5,000.
But what if there was a way to split the cost of your escape? This gives you a chance to be creative, choose which elements you think are most important, and pamper yourself even more for your honeymoon.
15 Ways To Save Money By Eloping
Two wedding planners who specialize in dream trips offered their ideas on how to see pennies without sacrificing a memorial experience.
Erika Hernandez, owner of The Greatest Adventure Weddings and Elopements in the Pacific Northwest, began planning weddings in 2012 after noticing the growing popularity of adventure weddings and elopements. Laura Coleman is the production manager for Simply Eloped, which plans ceremonies across the country.
One of the best things about elopements is that you don’t have to stick to the expectations of a traditional wedding.
Coleman recalls a few ways their clients influence their elopements in their own way.
“Do you want your father to lead you down the aisle? For sure! Would you like to skip the traditional vows and take them in Klingon? Damn yeah Do it! And guess what? You don’t have to wear white. There have been some amazing developments where the dress is green, purple, or the best – black, ”she says.
Before Hernandez gets into more of the fun things, he lets me dwell on the reality check she gives clients when planning elopements: like everything else, you get what you pay for. In other words, you can’t expect a Kardashian-grade celebration on a standard budget, let alone a cost-saving one. Still, there are many ways to save money without sacrificing quality.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West reportedly spent $ 2.8 million on their 2014 wedding ceremony, with a whopping $ 30 million including pre-event celebrations. She filed for divorce in 2021.
Without further ado, here are Coleman and Hernandez’s 15 best ways to save money by eloping:
1. The clothes
You can rent clothes, buy ready-made items for custom-made items, or buy lightly used ones. (There are some amazing thrift stores that even offer new designer dresses and dresses from previous seasons. Some good online stores that gently sell used dresses and accessories include Still White, used wedding dresses, Nearlylywed, and even the Facebook Marketplace is a worth looking out for.
2. The heirlooms
Use family heirlooms or vintage clothing. “Chances are your mother or future mother-in-law has a dress in a box in their closet that is probably back in style,” says Coleman.
3. The flowers
Be economical with your bouquet. Craft your own bunch of beautiful flowers or buy a pre-made bouquet at a local market.
4. The sound system
Use your own technology. Instead of renting an expensive professional speaker, a bluetooth speaker connected to your phone is easy to pack and works well for the ceremony and first dance.
5. The drinks for adults
Save money on alcohol. Instead of having a full bar, consider creating a cocktail named after an inside joke you share with your friends or a nickname you have as a couple.
6. The styling
Do your own hair and makeup. “An intermediate option that we love is to do a lesson with a hair and makeup artist, even if you are simple. They have a few options a day, have some practice, and can recommend which products to use to make sure your hair doesn’t get frizzy in the rain or your mascara doesn’t streak your face after the ceremony. Says Hernandez.
7. The food
Choose quality over quantity of food. Have a nice picnic with a sausage board or just drinks and dessert. This is more intimate than dinner and cheaper than hiring a caterer / personal chef.
8. The venue
Use public land. If you were to hold the ceremony and reception in a private location, the cost would still be similar to a much larger wedding reception due to the rental fee. Use a scenic location in a park or state-owned land instead. There are 423 beautiful national parks in America, so you can be sure that one is within driving distance of you. Permits are usually only around $ 100. See the next tip for decorations.
9. The decor
There is a way to get your decor for free. go out! “The nice thing about Elopements outdoors is that nature is your decor. Let Mother Nature do all the work for you. The trees are your decor, ”says Coleman.
10. The place
Elope where you are. Travel can often be the biggest expense. An elopement doesn’t have to be in the most epic point, it can be just as beautiful when you flee somewhere closer to your home, which matters to both of you.
11. The cake
You don’t need a traditional cake. “Especially if you’re not cake people – go with cakes, donuts, cookies! All much cheaper options, ”says Hernandez.
12. The date
Elope on a weekday. Providers have more availability and more flexibility in the number of hours they want to book. For example, if they can book a 10-hour package on a Saturday in high season, they can book this wedding over a four-hour period.
13. The official
Don’t pay extra for an officer you don’t know. “If you have a small group of guests on your escape, have a friend or family member officiate. In some places, like Colorado, you can officiate yourself, which means you don’t need a public official at all, ”says Hernandez.
14. The accommodations
You don’t have to stay in a 5-star hotel to bring back memories. “Hotels can be expensive, so choose a cute Airbnb near your venue. I’ve even seen a couple of couples rent a cute trailer and camp, ”says Coleman.
15. The transport
If you want to pick a location further afield, keep an eye out for flight deals. There are tons of websites out there that will notify you when a flight is discounted for any reason.
Don’t skimp on memories
One thing you shouldn’t be doing halfway?
“We don’t recommend saving on vendors, especially photographers and videographers. Not only will they keep your photos / videos to look back on for the rest of your life, but they’re also the best way to share your day with those who couldn’t be with you, ”says Hernandez.
At the end of the day, weddings are about celebrating your love with your partner and family and friends who are excited that you found someone special. You could spend $ 1 million on a wedding but still have a miserable marriage. Just look at the recent inflows of celebrity divorces. Elopements are a perfect way to save money that you and your growing family can enjoy over the long term. House down payment, anyone?
Olivia Smith is a Washington, DC-based writer with experience in public and political advocacy. She is an employee of The Penny Hoarder.