fbpx

How to organise a cheap elopement for $2,500

February 9, 2020

Having a cheap elopement will ensure you have a more authentic wedding day, and not break the bank. Elopements are more authentic, personal and fun for couples. The best thing of all is that they don’t have to cost the stars and moon either.

Far too often, couples feel pressured to throw a wedding which ends up costing them or the family tens of thousands of dollars. I’ve written before about why eloping will create a much more stress-free day, and money is one of the most significant factors in stress.

In this article, I’m going to break down how you can elope, with a full-on impressive ceremony, incredible images, and experience, for only $2,500AUD.

Elopements vs Shotgun weddings

I want to mention a common way in which people elope and differentiate it from what I’m describing here. I’ve talked about what elopements are before, but I want to clarify this.

The elopements that I’m describing here isn’t where a celebrant may hire a venue and have couples come in and turn and churn eight out in a day. In my eyes, those are shotgun weddings, not elopements. They treat you like a number rather than two people who have a heart and soul full of memories.

An elopement to me is much more than that. It’s about having a personalised adventure together, and one who means something. With the following, you’ll be able to have an easy and cheap elopement.

Overall breakdown

This article gives you a complete monetary breakdown of everything for an elopement. To provide some background on this elopement, this would be at a local scenic spot in Canberra (where I’m from) called Booroomba Rocks.

Booroomba Rocks is a gorgeous location for an elopement because it looks over all of the Namadgi National Park and back to Canberra. As far as scenic spots go, it’s hard to beat.

To get to Booroomba Rocks, it is about an hour’s drive from central Canberra, and a half an hour walk up to the top at the bottom of the car park.

Please note that I’ve gone for what is the bare bones here; you may wish to invest more in a suit, dress, or more hours of photography, but this will get you the bare bones to have the most excellent time ever.

So here is the breakdown of everything. I’ll go into each of the components in detail afterwards. Also please note that for the same-sex wedding, replace the suit/dress with the same of the other; I only write this from the perspective of a heterosexual couple because of the ease of comparison:

  • Suit – $260
  • Dress – $240
  • Photographer – $1,000 for 2 hours.
  • Elopement coordinator – (Included if you get a photographer that knows what they are doing!)
  • Celebrant – $950 for the ceremony and legal paperwork
  • Flowers – $60 for a big bouquet

Suit – $260

Now even though I’m mentioning a suit here, you can dress up however you’d like. Hell, you can wear a Hawaiian shirt and suit (yes, I have done this before)!

If you’re looking for a good men’s suit, then ASOS has a fantastic selection of cheap but stylish outfits that would fit many different styles. They do a vast range of colours and materials as well.

Here is an example jacket set that they have on their website:

To complete this look here, you’d want to buy:

Suit Jacket – $140

Pants – $60

Waistcoat – $60

This outfit is a total investment of $260 for getting yourself a nice suit. The shirt and shoes aren’t accounted for here, as this is usually the biggest ticket item, but to be completely honest you can get some cracking discount shoes somewhere like KMart. Getting a suit from these places will make your cheap elopement easy to arrange without breaking the bank.

Dress – $240

Your dress doesn’t have to cost the end of the earth. Wedding dresses typically can cost upwards to $5,000. However, in my experience of capturing dresses worth $300, and $3,000, as long as you’re comfortable and like the style, there is nothing in it.

This gorgeous dress from ASOS is perfect for a bride that is looking to have a more bohemian feel to their wedding:

Dress – $240

Photographer – $1,000

Having the moments and memories from your day captured in art is one of the most valuable investments in your elopements in my (admittedly biased) opinion. Time and time again, couples who did not invest in wedding photographer to capture their day list it as one of their top regrets.

Once the dust has settled, and the memories start to fade from your mind, images and moments of the day will reignite and transport you back to those visceral emotions and feelings.

Many of the other options on this list you can substitute for a cheaper alternative (bar the celebrant). Photography, however, is one where, if you get it done for cheap, or free, you’re going to have a photographer that most likely isn’t a professional and one which won’t capture your day exactly how you’ll remember it.

When looking for the right photographer, you also want to make sure you find one that resonates with you. Do you prefer someone who is candid and who will capture the moments as they happen, or would you prefer someone to direct you? My style, for example, is the former, and I love the couples to have a relaxed time and let the emotions flow as they do, rather than trying to force what isn’t there.

For the investment of $1,000, you’d get 2 hours photography which is perfect for covering the trek up to the ceremony location, capturing the main ceremony, and then some awesome couples photos afterwards and the walk down.

For couples who want to have the most concise experience, this is what you’d need.

However, if you love the idea of being captured getting ready to get a bit more of a complete feel of the day, you can always invest a bit more to get an entire story of the whole day.

Celebrant – $950

A celebrant is an essential part of any elopement, as they are the one who has the honour of representing you as a couple. They handle the legal paperwork and conduct the ceremony to get you both hitched. 

They are the person who will welcome you into your marriage. It is so important to have someone that you not only connect with and can relate to, but who will write a ceremony that reflects who you are. As opposed to someone who talks about love and marriage in a general capacity, you want someone who has taken the time to get to know you and will speak about those things as they relate to your relationship with anecdotes, in-jokes, and references to your life throughout.

With your ceremony, 125 legal words have to be said, but a great celebrant will brainstorm ideas with you to include anything and everything you want. They will help you to have the ceremony you want, and not the ceremony you think you’re ‘supposed’ to have.

While you would be able to do the paperwork at a registry office for around $500, the difference you’d be getting is a personalised ceremony. Your celebrant will sort all paperwork, and you’ll be getting the celebrant’s ability to hold space and evoke reflection and emotion.

I recommend talking to someone like Aisle Meets Annie who creates an authentic ceremony for you, which delves into what you are both about.

Venue – Free

One of the biggest money savers with eloping in nature is the fact that you’re out in nature instead of at a place which is charging you a bucketload. This will save a huge chunk of money for your cheap elopement.

Choosing your elopement location is something that your photographer will be able to help you with if you are stuck, but in Australia, you’re ready to elope wherever you would like more or less!

However, I always recommend to contact the rangers and parks services of the land to make sure that you are allowed to be where you’d like to be, and also to make sure that they approve it.

An essential element of eloping in nature as well is to make sure that you do an Acknowledgement of Country. Australia has no treaty with its Aboriginal Peoples recognising their history and prior occupation of Australia. There are some land rites given back, but there is no treaty. At Booroomba Rocks, it is the Ngunnawal Peoples.

Please take the time to do this during your ceremony. It may only take a few minutes to say but goes a long way in doing ‘the right thing’.

Flowers – $60

You don’t have to invest hundreds and hundreds of dollars to get some incredible bouquets for your wedding. You also don’t need to resort to having cheap or tacky flowers for your elopement.

Local florists will be very adept at creating a stunning look for you within your budget. Even with a cheap elopement you’ll be able to get an incredible set of flowers to your taste.

For example, in Canberra, I highly recommend Moxom and Whitney. If you go onto their website, you’ll see that they allow you to order flowers based upon custom requests, and by your budget. So if you want to invest only $60 for flowers, they will create something stunning for you.

Logistics – How to get the ball rolling with your elopement

So you love the idea of eloping on the cheap and don’t know where to start now.

If you’re looking to plan your elopement and don’t know where to start, I always recommend talking to someone who will be experienced at planning and doing elopements.

Elopement photographers (like me!) plan and do elopements day in and day out so will know how to get you started. Your celebrant will also be the perfect place to look, as they will know about the paperwork and legal proceedings.

Summary

Having your dream elopement doesn’t have to cost the world or a small house. You can have a cheap elopement and still have the most amazing and exotic experience!

The above shows how you can put together your dream elopement and make it happen, without spending tens of thousands of dollars on a venue and feeding two hundred guests, many of whom you don’t see that often.

Eloping is about having the freedom to be yourselves when you get married and have a personal, authentic and exciting adventure.

If you love the idea of eloping and want to get started with your elopement, let’s chat, and I can help get you started!

More recent stories

Your Wedding To Do List Guide

Say goodbye to stress and hello to intimacy: the top 10 reasons to elope

What is an adventure portrait like?

check out recent adventures

@whoshotthephotographer