How Much Does It Really Cost To Elope?

More and more couples are now deciding that having an elopement might be the right move. With that, however, comes a lot of decisions that you’re going to have to make. Don’t get me wrong, deciding that you want to elope is a huge step and one that I am all for. However, before you start jumping the gun we first need to know how much does it really cost to elope. This is because while eloping may seem like a more cost-effective way to tie the knot, there are several different factors that may influence your decision to elope. Did you know that you could technically elope for only $30-$100?! To many of you, this may be a shocking number, but it's entirely true. While that covers the cost of a marriage license, the rest of your expenses are entirely up to you. Depending on your budget for your elopement, it can be as low-cost or high-cost as you want to make it! So what expenses are should you splurge when it comes to planning the cost of your elopement?

What Is An Elopement?

First, we’re going to go over what elopement actually is. An elopement is typically an intimate and private ceremony between two people. You have very limited guests attending the actual ceremony which typically consists of a guest count of under 10 people.

I have plenty of other resources on my blog that can help you in determining what an elopement is and if it’s for you. Feel free to check them out below! 

What Is The Difference Between An Elopement & Intimate Wedding?

What Does It Mean To Elope?

Is An Elopement A More Cost-Effective Option?

If you’re wondering if eloping is a more cost-effective option to getting married, the answer is it totally depends! While planning an elopement can definitely end up being a very cost-efficient option for many couples it will completely depend on where you choose to allocate your money. Some elopements may range in cost from $7,000 - $15,000 but can go upwards of $20,000 depending on what you choose to spend. 

Your wedding budget is influenced by a few different factors which include your venue and your vendors. Depending on which vendors you choose to hire, how many along with your venue and travel fees, this can all play a role in how much you plan on spending for your elopement.

How Much Does It Really Cost To Elope?

If you’re wanting to know how much it really costs to elope, we’re going to need to do a detailed breakdown of the different costs of eloping. The list that I will provide down below is just some of the things you may choose to invest in your elopement. That does not mean that you will choose all of these.

Marriage License 

One of the most important things that you’re going to need to purchase for your elopement is a marriage license. Your marriage license is the authorizing document that allows you and your partner to get married. Basically, it’s a pretty big deal and you need it. A marriage license typically costs between $30-$100 depending on where you live. However, for a Utah marriage license, you’re looking at a cost of $50 to obtain a marriage license. 

Wedding Permit (Optional)

If you’re someone who is wanting to get married in a National Park or heavily trafficked area, then you may need to also pay for a wedding permit. A wedding permit essentially allows you and your partner to get married in said, National Park and/or heavily trafficked area. If you choose not to purchase a wedding permit, you are subject to fees/fines so I recommend looking into wedding permits in the locations where you’re considering eloping. 

Below is a list of some of Utah’s National Parks and what their current wedding permit fees are:

Zion National Park - Permit fee of $100

Canyonlands National Park - Permit fee of $185

Arches National Park - Permit fee of $185


If you’re wanting to travel for your elopement, this will definitely play a major role in how much you’re going to spend for your elopement. Travel can include anything like the cost of flights, rental cars, and lodging. Keep this in mind when you’re planning your elopement, that travel can be a big contributor to affecting your wedding budget.

Wedding Venue/Location

Your wedding venue will also influence how much your elopement costs. Depending on where you choose to elope, this can rack up a pretty penny for your elopement cost. If you’re looking to have a more intricate and expensive wedding venue, bear in mind that you will pay more than say getting married in your backyard or a national park. Keep in mind that your wedding venue/location will be super important (especially if you value photos), so choose where to elope wisely.


As I’ve mentioned before, choosing to elope does not mean that you don’t have any guests. Just a very select few, that’s all! What that means though is that you will also need to take into account how much each guest who is attending your elopement will cost. Do you need to provide transportation for your guests? What about food & drink? These accommodations for your guests can definitely rack up the cost of your elopement and influence how much it costs to elope.


Everyone loves a good wedding meal and that means making sure that you keep in mind that you AND your guests will need food & drink for your elopement. Whether you’re wanting something simple like a minimalistic wedding cake or a celebratory dinner. Each will have its role and is incredibly important in determining your wedding budget and how much your elopement will cost.

Wedding Photographer

As a Utah wedding photographer, I may be a bit biased here when I say this but your wedding photographer should absolutely be included in your elopement budget. There, I said it but it’s true! If you’re not looking to splurge on a lot of other items for your elopement, I encourage you to really invest in your wedding photographer. That’s because these images last you a lifetime (and then some) and can be used all throughout your home, your socials, hung on your walls, as gifts, etc. Your wedding photos are the one thing I would highly recommend investing in for your elopement. No ifs, and’s, or buts.

Hair & Makeup

If you’re wanting to be completely pampered for your elopement, then I would highly consider investing in a hair & makeup artist. They will take all of the guesswork out of what will give you your desired look in about half the time. While this may cost you some money out of your elopement budget, this will be completely worth it in the long run. You also have the option of doing your own hair and makeup for your special day! Whichever you choose, I know you will look absolutely fabulous!

Wedding Attire

What you choose to wear for your elopement can be arguably one of the hardest decisions that you’re going to have to make. The great thing about elopements is that you can really wear whatever your heart desires. Keep in mind that dresses and tuxedos can cost a significant amount of money depending on which vendor you choose to buy from. 

You also have the option of purchasing rentals specifically made for your elopement. Below are some of my favorite wedding dress rental shops for you to check out if you’re in the market for an elopement dress.



I’m going to be totally transparent here and say while flowers can be absolutely beautiful for your elopement, how important they are will be completely up to you. Whether you choose fake or real flowers, this will also affect your cost. Keep in mind that if you are wanting to elope in a National Park a lot of them will not allow you to bring real flowers. That is because they want to preserve the natural habitat of the National Park and do not want foreign florals growing where they’re not supposed to be.


Again, does decor really matter for your elopement? This is a question that you must ask yourself when determining where you want to spend your money in your elopement budget. If you’re planning on having an intimate backyard wedding celebration then your decor may be more of a priority for you. If you’re looking to keep things quite simple and minimalistic then choosing cool decor pieces may not be your first priority for your elopement.


How can we not mention the rings?! The symbolic items of your entire wedding day, duh! Your wedding rings should be allocated into your wedding budget and are extremely important for your elopement. Depending on how extravagant you want your wedding bands to be, this can definitely impact your elopement cost.

You also have the option if you’re feeling wildly free-spirited to get a tattoo on your ring finger instead which is a more permanent but cost-effective option for a wedding band.

Wedding Planner

There is a common misconception that you don’t need a planner for your elopement. While you could get away with not having a wedding planner for your elopement, it is something that I would strongly encourage. This is because, at the end of the day, it’s all about you! This time in your life is so special and you shouldn’t spend it being overwhelmed with all of the different components of your wedding. Instead, you allow the professional wedding planner to take over the planning and allow you to kick back and relax. They are there to help you in finding a venue, allocate your budget, and make sure everything runs smoothly on the day of.

Check out some of my top recommended wedding planners for you to use for your elopement!


If you value having someone marry you and your partner, you will also need to invest in an officiant. The officiant will be legally ordained to get you married and will essentially make things “official”. On average, officiants cost between $200-$400 but this will completely depend on where you live and/or where you’re getting married. 

You also have the option to be self solemnized which basically means that you and your partner are legally allowed to be married without the presence of an officiant. Only some states allow for couples to be self-solemnized and unfortunately, Utah is not one of them. 

The states where you are allowed to be self-solemnized are: California, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, Wisconsin, The District of Columbia, Kansas, and Pennsylvania.

Additional Activities

If you’re traveling somewhere new for your elopement and you’re wanting to invest in additional activities, then this is something you’re going to need to allocate in your elopement budget. This is especially the case if you’re wanting to have any guests attend your activities and if you will be covering for them.

How Much Does It Really Cost To Elope?

While choosing to elope can be an incredibly fun and cost-effective option for some couples, there are a lot of different components that influence how much your elopement really costs. At the end of the day, you have the choice to spend as little or as much as you want for your elopement. You know that at minimum you need to purchase a marriage license so the minimum cost will be between $30-100, the rest is up to you!