Elopement vs. Wedding Cost
Photography and Videography
When looking into hiring a photographer and/or videographer for your elopement, time is the main factor that will change how much you’ll be spending! Photography packages often differ in price based on how many hours the photographer spends taking photos, and the same holds true for videographers.
Although it’s commonly believed that elopements are shorter than wedding days- that doesn’t have to be true! There are lots of couples that spend their elopement day on longer adventures, whether it be hiking, exploring multiple places, or doing something more unique like taking a helicopter somewhere. For that reason- I’ll keep the wedding and elopement prices the same across the board for both weddings and elopements.
Keep in mind that not everyone invests in both of these services. As a photographer myself, I truly believe that hiring both a great photographer and a videographer to capture your day is 100% worth it- I know I plan to for my own elopement day.
Wedding Photography- $4,000
Elopement Photography- $4,000
Wedding Videography- $4,000
Elopement Videography- $4,000
Elopement vs. Wedding Cost- The Difference Will Shock You!
According to brides.com, the average cost of a wedding was $44,000 in 2018. That number is slightly lower for the state of Oregon… coming in at about $28,000.
Let’s face it- weddings are expensive. That number is about the same as the average amount of student loan debt in the US- a whopping $30,000. And it’s just for one day!
Obviously your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and no amount of monetary value could be placed on the emotional value it will have on you for the rest of your lives. Still.. $35k is a lot of money!
Keep reading to find out the cost of an elopement vs. a wedding. I’ll give you a hint- the difference is dramatic!
You can expect the cost of florals between a wedding and an elopement day to vary dramatically. Here’s why- you’ll need far less flowers on an elopement day than for your wedding! You can take away the cost of bridesmaid and groomsmen florals, centerpieces, decor, etc. etc. On your wedding day, you’ll most likely only need a bridal bouquet and a boutonnière.
For this one I reached out to my friend Kelsey at Stem and Stone Crowns who has quite a bit of experience in the floral insdustry. Here are the estimates she made- the wedding cost is for a budget-friendly, 100 person wedding with a 6 person bridal party.
Wedding Florals- $1200
Elopement Florals- $170
On your elopement day, nature is your venue! Oftentimes, you won’t need to pay anything besides maybe for a parking pass at the trailhead. I’ll include that in the cost for $5. The only other expense that you can expect is the cost of a permit. This fee mostly applies in National Parks and Forests. The cost of a permit can range from $150, like in Yosemite National Park, to $250, such as in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Prices for wedding venues vary dramatically. In Portland, the normal range of prices range from $2,000 to $10,000 for your wedding day. I’ll include the cost as $5,000… a little lower than average.
Wedding Venue- $5,000
Elopement “Venue”- $205
As you could probably guess, the cost of a DJ typically doesn’t apply to adventure elopements. Usually couples use their phones to stream music if they’d like to have a first dance or listen to music during their adventures! A wedding DJ in Portland is typically around $1,200, which is on the lower side of average.
Wedding DJ- $1,200
Elopement DJ- $0
Venue and DJ
Catering, Food & Alcohol
The cost of catering is often one of the most expensive charges on a wedding day. This includes the catering service, food and alcohol. After doing a bit of digging, this price is one of the more budget friendly options (it’s not rare for the cost of catering to reach above $10k). I priced it out again for a 100 person wedding!
On your elopement day, your catering costs can vary. I included $150 in your budget, which should cover snacks, a small lunch, and a fancy meal for the two of you.
Wedding Catering- $5,000
Elopement Catering- $150
Unless you want something small, you probably won’t be needing a full cake on your elopement day! The national average for a wedding cake is $500, which can definitely vary. This doesn’t include the cost of any other desserts you may want for a wedding (cupcakes, a gluten free/vegan friendly cake, etc.)
Wedding Cake- $500
Elopement Cake- $0
Day of Coordination
Many couples choose to hire a day of coordinator to make sure that everything goes smoothly on their big day. Weddings have a lot of moving parts and having a team of people to make sure that everything goes smoothly can make or break your wedding day.
For an elopement with just two people, a day of coordinator probably isn’t necessary. Along with my photography services I help my couples plan their elopement- I’ll send you over the list of perfect locations, and also craft a timeline for your day. On the day of, I’ll help make sure that everything goes smoothly!
Wedding Coordination- $1200
Elopement Coordination- $0
Total for Weddings: $27,900 / Total for Elopements: $10,675
There’s your answer- the cost of elopement vs. a wedding is about one third of the price!
Of course, this depends on a lot of factors. This price is for the average, budget-friendly Oregon wedding. Depending on how big your potential wedding may be, where you live, and where you’re willing to splurge, your cost could change dramatically!
Another thing to keep in mind is that not everyone hires a videographer, and the price of photography can vary also! The $4000 budgeted is the price of my highest, full day photography package. If you were leaning towards an elopement with 6 hours of photography and no videography, your total cost for an elopement may look more like $5,500. That’s ONE-FIFTH of the price of the average big wedding.
What do you think… would you elope instead of having a wedding?
Travel and Accommodations
Here’s where things get tricky. These numbers can vary A LOT. If you choose to elope locally, then your travels and accommodations most likely won’t cost much. If you elope in the US, travel will be a little higher… if you choose to elope internationally, then your expenses will be much higher.
The thing about elopements is that it’s kind of like your wedding day and honeymoon is rolled into one! Since I’m in the PNW, I’m going to include an approximate travel cost for a couple who may be from the east coast who would like to elope in Oregon. The price that I included takes account for flights, a rental car, and an upscale AirBnB in Portland for 5 days.
Wedding day accommodations can get expensive if you choose to stay in a hotel to get ready, ride in a limo or a town car, or even fund buses to transport your guests. With those fees included, the average couple spends about $5,000 on their honeymoon. The wedding cost estimate includes a hotel for 2 nights, a limo, and a honeymoon.
Elopement Travel Costs- $2150
Wedding Honeymoon: $5800
“I believe in having a wedding that is truly about you…”
My dream is for couples to have a wedding where they can truly do what they want to do! Because you don’t want to feel pressured into some traditions that doesn’t feel like you at all at the most important
day of your life.
You can create a relaxed day where you can feel free and start a lifetime of new adventures together!
Whenever you’re ready,
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A Photographer Graphic Designer based in Los Angeles California.In Fine Arts, we were trained to draw, get the right angles, look for proportions, create a design that will stand out – we were simply tasked to make beautiful design, extravagant and breathtaking. Look around you and you will see a piece of Art everywhere. This is the training that I brought forward in this industry. The meticulous eye of an Artist coupled with a fancy for Photography; and finally garnishing it with “Your Moments and my Passion” always been my perfect ingredient.
"Beautiful moments are meant to be captured."
Teresa Sy is a photographer and artist fluent in the language of story telling. Creating beautiful imagery for over 10 years, for both couples and creatives in Los Angeles and across the globe.
Teresa is best known for her honest and timeless photography style. With a unique talent for encompassing raw emotion in a frame and hypnotised by the romance of two souls in love, she captures moments unseen, effortless. Seamless in her execution, she leads with a sophistication of composition, stripping back the layers and capturing the real and the unfiltered.
With each moment in time mesmerising to relive, Teresa's expertise is in the details. Creating a visual story weaved from the truly intimate and celebratory moments. The outcome is incomparable, painting a picture so vivid for a couple to forever hold.
Teresa dances the fine line between journalistic photography and instinct; fusing her worlds of editorial fashion and documentary so closely. Her creative work has been brought to life across the pages of magazines . She has also been commissioned to work across brands, that share her vision for raw luxury and timelessness.
Teresa finds herself most inspired when capturing a love that sets every heart in the room alight, leaving you with a visual portrayal of the unparalleled love shared between souls. Truth lives in each frame, your story told in it’s most crushingly beautiful form.
"Beautiful moments are meant to be captured."
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