“We eloped to save money” is a phrase you hear swatted around, right? And for good reason! Visioning a lower cost to elope can feel good because dropping $28,000 (on average) on a wedding doesn’t sit well with some folks, for a lot of reasons! You can’t always put your finger on it, but somehow you sense that a lot of that money would evaporate into things that wouldn’t make the day any more meaningful to you.
And admittedly, telling people you’re eloping ‘to save money’ can be a shortcut way of explaining why you eloped, without getting into the deeper reasons. People get ‘money’ in a way that they might not immediately get ‘the idea of being in a hotel ballroom with 150 people stressed me out.”😉
But I’d like to add one note of caution to using this phrase. It’s a caution you might not hear often, but I see this over and over:
Thinking of eloping as “saving money” can also put you in a weird mindset.
And it’s one that doesn’t set you up for creating the day that feels the most meaningful, either.
I know I’m an elopement photographer + concierge, so you might think I’m biased, and perhaps I am – but I also want to share with you what I see up close, every elopement.
An elopement means getting married on your terms. Nothing more, nothing less.
It is not a ‘cheap’ wedding, and it definitely isn’t a ‘lesser-than’ wedding, no matter what your cost to elope calculates to be at the end.
An elopement is an empowered choice to get married with the activities and people that light you up. It’s opting out of traditions that don’t serve you, and creating a timeline for your wedding that feels good and contains what means the most.
If you go into your elopement planning thinking “This will save money,” you may bury options that would have made you the absolute happiest, simply because you were in ‘money-saving’ mode: “Elopements mean courthouses, a dress, a few quick pictures, and maybe a bouquet! No way can I rent a helicopter!”
Imagining elopements as ‘small, short, and cheap’ would be falling prey to the same traditional thinking that leads people to reluctantly host a banquet for 150 people.
You don’t have to pick one or the other. Your wedding is not about paperwork, guest lists, or budgets… It’s about committing to this person you love. And in that way, an elopement is a choice to be brave enough to center your own feelings and needs as you make that commitment.
The cost to elope is a natural byproduct of the series of choices you make to bring in meaning.
You might save money, sure, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about intentionally prioritizing things that matter:
- Instead of paying $3,000 for a DJ, you paid $1500 for the most baller AirBnB you’ve ever seen.
- Instead of spending $800 on tablecloths, you paid $500 to a jeep driver to take you up the mountain.
- Instead of $7000 in food for 100 guests, you paid $600 for a private chef at your cabin for you two & your crew.
Elopements might involve a catered picnic, a park permit, a climbing guide, a adventure-capable photographer to capture all the amazing experiences, or, even a more traditional day-of-planner to help non-adventure experiences run smoothly. That increase your cost to elope, sure, but you’re doing it because it matters to you. And you get to decide what matters.
I don’t want to see anyone make the mistake of hopping out of ‘dropping major cash’ mode only to jump into ‘save pennies’ mode, when neither one really builds a day that you’ll be overjoyed to remember for the rest of your life.
Your wedding day can feel like this, too:
And you’ll arrive there by choosing how you want to feel, then choosing that again and again as you make your plans.
You can build a day (or weekend!) around that vow-making moment where everything conspires to make you feel the way you want to feel – excited, enlivened, relaxed, amazed, in awe. Whatever it is, you can encircle yourself with activities (and people) that create and enhance that feeling.
The best elopements are built using intentional spends. The ones that came from examining what you wanted, then arranging to get it.
If you want help talking through what an intentional elopement experience could look like, check out how this works, or book a call here. There’s no pressure – sometimes just hearing another person’s excitement about your ideas and dreams gives you the courage to follow them.❤️