How Much Does it Cost to Elope? – Ultimate Elopement Budget Guide

Eloping has become a way to get married that is empowering and unapologetic.  Sometimes it is also an avenue specifically for couples who value travel to adventure together while having an intimate unforgettable wedding day.  Truly making a conscience decision to step away from cultural norms and society pressures to embrace an experience driven adventure elopement.  But then your mind may be curious on how much does it cost to elope?

As adventure wedding and elopement planners, our team would love to help educate you on how to plan your elopement based on your budget, including rough estimates of how much things cost.  Maybe even where you can cut down on expenses.  Also where it makes sense to splurge!  So come along with us as we share with you the Ultimate Elopement Budget Guide!

Planning to Elope? Here’s How Much It Really Costs

Many folks may consider eloping a chance for them to escape to somewhere with the one they love to discover a new country.  Whereas, others may consider having a handful of guests alongside of them having an elopement.  But, in our world of adventure weddings, an adventure elopement is only the couple with no guests joining.  An adventure wedding is where you bring anywhere between 2-100+ guests to journey alongside of you to experience everything you do.

Cost of Eloping vs Having a Wedding

Sometimes, elopements are portrayed as being “cheaper” than having a traditional wedding both in price and experience.  While that may be true if you would head down to your local courthouse and have a ceremony there.  It is likely not true if you intend on traveling to a foreign country.  Although, if you planned on having a traditional 100+ person wedding back home, your adventurous elopement will likely be less expensive.

For example, according to Wedding Wire’s 2019 Newlywed Report, the US national average cost for a typical wedding is $38,700 USD while the cost of a destination wedding is approximately $32,000 USD.  Furthermore, costs vary even more if you embark on planning an adventure wedding versus an elopement as well depending on country too.  However, we will focus on just the two of you eloping today.  Since having an adventure wedding varies because of guest counts, ideals, and adventure levels.

Breaking Down Elopement Costs

Planning an elopement begins with narrowing down to where, when, and how.  Most couples come to our Your Adventure Wedding planning and photography team with a list of countries they are interested in.  During a Skype call, we may help them narrow it down but many times we also just pitch full day adventurous wedding schedules in each country.  That way, they are empowered to make the decision based on what country and types of locations they could be exploring together.

Once you have a better idea on where and when, you can finalize the “how” along with any “must have” inclusions.  And what isn’t a “must have” so you can save within your budget as needed to splurge on other things you value.  Let’s go by topic to find out how much does it cost to elope!

Elopement Planner

Hiring an elopement planner may initially seem like overkill to you.  Especially if you need to be budget focused.  On the other hand, if you are traveling to foreign country you’ve never been, don’t speak the language, have no contacts, it truly is valuable.  Unless you have days and countless hours to invest in doing research on your own.  Which let’s be honest, most couples don’t!

Pricing for an elopement planner, can begin as low as $600 USD and go all the way up to $5,000 USD.  Honestly it just depends on what inclusions you wish for, the country, and frankly the experience of the wedding planner.  We’ve seen elopement packages could be as minimal as having the following:

  • List of elopement locations.
  • Vendor recommendations (and you contact everyone directly).
  • Local marriage license process and support.
  • Open Q & A.

Next, if you are looking for more custom packages for adventure elopement planner an inclusive package could look something like the following:

Custom Elopement Planning Package:
  •  Initial Consultation.
  • Unlimited Pre-event Communication (Email, Phone and Skype meetings).
  • Budget Worksheet.
  • Elopement Proposals (For example, our team presents different awesome hour by hour wedding day adventure options for you to consider based on your level adventure and interests. We also share photos / videos of the locations).
  • Access to our preferred “A-Team” of vendors (our team sets everyone up and you pay them directly).
  • Marriage License Paperwork, Timeline, Details, Appointment Time set with commissioner, and follow up support if needed.
  • Ceremony Planning: Securing the officiant and creating your perfect ceremony wording that reflects you as a couple.
  • Hotel and Car Rental Discounts with our partners.
  • Pre/Post Wedding itinerary advice and planning.
  • Day of Planner (Think: A personal assistant during your wedding day!  To hold your coat, get a picnic ready, champagne toast, setup a luxury reception table, etc!)

Couples hire our team typically when they are seeking something more than just an elopement day.  They are craving an experience driven wedding in a remote place.  Think: No tourists and going to places that even many locals haven’t been either!  Our team prides ourselves on also structuring our elopement planning process to feel like a “date night” experience planning a really epic trip.  Instead of traditional stuffy wedding planning!


After deciding on an elopement location or country, you need to plan how you’re going to get there!  If you’re location is within the US, can you fly and then drive to the area?  Or if it’s international, what is the best international airport to fly into, etc.  Generally, in our experience, it is best to research on across a few sites for plane tickets. 6-10 months before.

To illustrate, our personal favorite is One Travel.  Why?  Because you can search for pricing and routes across all flying classes and decide what is best for you and your budget.  Further, the site also offers up alternative dates for you to consider to save more if your dates are flexible.  Economy tickets can range between $350-1,500 USD per ticket depending on where you begin and your final destination.  First class tickets (for itnernational flights) have been as low as $3,150 USD to $8,500 USD per person depending on beginning / final locations and airlines amenities.

Once your flights are booked find a rental car on Hotwire as this is where we’ve seen the best day in and out deals throughout all sorts of international locations.  Rental cars can be as cheap as $30 USD per day and range up to $200 USD per day depending on type of vehicle, country, and time of year.


Selecting your accommodation can be one of the most exciting parts of eloping!  Throughout any country you decide to adventure to and wed, there are all sorts of options to suit any budget.  For instance, even in Iceland (likely one of the most expensive countries in the world to elope) you can find Airbnb‘s that can be within your budget.  On the other hand, it’s nice to splurge for at least 2 nights surrounding your wedding adventure on a nice hotel.

If you hire an elopement planner, they can likely guide you to different options.  And if eloping on your own terms, you may want to be near to your ceremony location or in the region where your favorite type of locations are.  In contrast, you may also want to research unique options like a tree house, igloo, or a hotel with unforgettable views and amenities!  In regards to budget, we have seen Airbnb’s go between $125-350 USD per night and luxury hotels book for 500-1,500 USD per night.

Elopement VenueS

Choosing to have elopement adventure and having a ceremony are two very different things.  Some couples may feel more comfortable to have a low key and lower energy day just focused around their ceremony location.  No shame in that!  Where other more adventurous couples may choose to have a full day experience driven wedding day.  This is where they may visit 4-12 different types of dynamic landscapes or embark on a hiking elopement!

Determining where you will be eloping in regards to venue can be difficult if you have not been to the country before or you do not choose an elopement planner.  Countless hours of research may lead you to a hotel that has a place on the property to hold your ceremony or another interesting location.

Keep in mind that each country has different rules and the location you fall in love with may be on private property.  It is best to find a local (or local adventure wedding planner) to aid you in getting permission in advance.  Costs for a elopement venue could range from $100- 1,500 USD per location depending on the country and the location.  NOTE: All of the locations we pitch to our clients, we include the location permission costs in our planning package.


Picking an elopement photographer can be hard!  There are so many different styles, vibes, editing styles, etc!  To illustrate, you’ll see in our adventure elopement photographers have a strong focus on small people big landscape and also fly drones in addition to the pro Nikon gear.   Ranges for professional elopement photographers can range from $3,500 USD – 8,000 USD depending on style and experience.  Many couples find hiring a local elopement photographer important especially in reacting to extreme weather conditions.


If you wish to have a legal wedding ceremony within the country you are visiting, you will need to have a locally licensed celebrant.  Local celebrants can range in cost between $500-2,500 USD depending on where in the world and where they need to travel to in order to perform the ceremony.  Nonetheless, if you wish to have just a symbolic ceremony (not legal) then a friend could marry you, one of your photographers, or you could simply say your personal vows to each other.

Flowers and Decor

Do you dream of a fresh flower bouquet or a travel friendly real-touch bouquet?  One of our favorite vendors SouthernGirlWeddings on Etsy creates the best in our opinion and range between $225-325 USD!  A fresh flower bouquet depending on size and country can range between $150-450 USD for a bridal bouquet.  Other decor to consider would be ceremony styling (arch, rugs, lanterns, petals, etc) or a romantic styled sweetheart table for two!

Hair and Makeup for Elopement Adventures

Employing a local hair and makeup artist will always be less expensive than bringing in your own.  Average rates for a hairstylist internationally is $350-650 USD for a bridal style and $250-500 USD for makeup artist.  Costs could range higher depending on where in the world, time (just the style or do they follow through the day), travel expenses for the individuals.

Some stylists also include “emergency touch up kits” so ask your artist before booking.  This can really be a big help to your style if bad weather comes in and melts away anything.  Elopement Planning Tip: If you can find one stylist to do both hair and makeup you save on overall costs.


Endless amount of other miscellaneous other items to think about follow:

  • Wedding Attire and Rings!  Check out different elopement dress styles too!
  • Adventurous Elopement Video Teams – Can range between $3,500 – 12,000 USD depending on style, experience, and location.
  • Lunch Options – Will you stop somewhere to have seated lunch or get a packed lunch? Traditional country BBQ? Maybe even opt in for a luxury lunch from your adventure wedding planner? Costs can range between $30 USD per person up to $1,000 USD total depending on the experience.
  • Vow Books – Super nice to write your personal vows to each other in a special book versus having them on your own. We have seen them run between $15 USD – 250 USD each depending on how fancy you want to get.
  • Bathroom – Having a plan for going to the bathroom is important. Depending on the country, you may need to use nature, pay at a fuel station or invest on bringing along a porta potty if the area is rural.

Planning Your Elopement Around Your Budget

So how do you plan an elopement based on your budget?  Firstly, you should save up for the items most important to you in your elopement experience.  Employing an elopement planner can also help you save on costs because they often have “buying power,” tips, tricks, and other tried + true advice.  Secondly, make a list of “nice to haves” and see if they are workable into the budget you need to be near.  Thirdly, maybe enhance some of the details by DIY, like crafting your own bouquet or making your own vow books.

Ways to Save

Other budget savings tips could include the following:

  • Going to your local hairstylist to teach you a style your comfortable with.
  • Taking a lesson from a MAC artist and buying the products to apply yourself on the day you elope.
  • We’ve also seen couples forgo a traditional proposal or engagement and simply decide to elope.
  • Legally get married in your home country and just have a “vow reading” or say personal vows to each other with no celebrant present.
  • Craft and bring your own bouquet(s) and / or buttonhole(s).
  • Signup for and book all of your hotels through them to rack rewards!  Tip: You get 1 night free per every 10!
  • Use a credit card(s) that have no international transaction fees.
  • Shop around on different flight booking sites and try searching on different days / times.

When to Splurge

As a couple you need to ask yourselves what items are high priority as you figure our how much eloping will cost.  To illustrate, is flying first class or having an experienced adventure elopement photographer is more valuable to you?  Make a list, talk about it, and decide what elements are worth it to you now and later.  Think about 5 years from now too, not just the current moment.

Get Help Planning Your Adventure Elopement

Realizing you may want help planning your elopement adventure?  That way you two can focus on the important stuff like having a lot of freaking FUN and being in the MOMENT making memories TOGETHER!  Our team would love to hear from you on your ideas of your perfect experience driven wedding day, feel free to contact us!  Surely you’ll love checking out how we plan adventurous elopements!

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