Tips & Guides

5 Budget-Friendly Tips for Planning Your Elopement

Man and woman in wedding attire holding hands with sun flare and mountains behind them.

Tips for how to have a Budget-Friendly Elopement

Man chasing a woman through a field during elopement with mountains in the background.

Look, I get it, planning a wedding elopement can be so overwhelming and the costs can just add up to astronomical numbers. This can really push people to just sign a marriage license and move on. I HATE to see couples do that because your wedding day is so important! And it doesn’t have to break the bank, read on to find out more about how to have a magical and budget-friendly elopement.

Create a budget based on your priorities & stick to it

This tip is so important! Start by sitting down with your significant other and talking about the things that are most important to you to have/experience on your elopement day. Based on that list, create a budget that includes all of those things.

Once you have that budget, STICK TO IT!! If it’s something that you can live without and it’s going to put you over budget then either find a cheaper option or just cut it out all together. Remember that your not going to remember the little things.

If you are having a picnic, it doesn’t matter what utensils you use! They can be thrifted or the ones out of your kitchen. You don’t have to splurge on little things like that to have an amazing day!

Plan your elopement during the off-season

Man and woman hugging during their elopement in front of mountains.

If you are looking to travel for your elopement, consider the off-season! If the location isn’t dependent on a specific season then it can be really beneficial to travel when there are less crowds. Less crowds means that everything will be cheaper.

Pretty much everything will be less expensive if there isn’t a lot of tourism: Airbnbs, permits, flights, car rentals, etc. So if you can make it work, this will bring down your elopement costs a lot!

Limit the number of guests you are inviting/accommodating

When you are thinking about having guests join you for your elopement, you may want to think about if you will be covering the accommodations for them or not. This can really add up if you are covering accommodations for multiple family & friends.

If having guests at your elopement is a non-negotiable then maybe limit things like food and drinks for them. If you are planning to have a sit down dinner with them then you could do it at a restaurant so that everyone can pay for their own food and drinks.

Be strategic when picking a ceremony location

Woman in boots and wedding dress during elopement.

When you are picking a ceremony location or venue, this can either be your biggest expense or the least expensive part of your elopement! Some budget-friendly options for an elopement ceremony venue/location are: Airbnbs, local state parks, national parks, and just beautiful outdoor locations.

Another thing to consider to save even more money is to do a camping trip instead. You can have accommodations + venue all in one!

Shop second-hand

Shopping second-hand especially for big ticket items is a HUGE way to save money when planning your elopement! Things like a wedding dress can be super expensive but when you start looking at purchasing one second-hand, you can find some amazing deals. Especially seeing as how most people only wear their wedding dress once. And if you are looking to be super adventurous or do a “trash the dress” then getting a wedding dress second-hand is the PERFECT way to save money!

You can also shop second-hand for a lot of the decorations! If you are having a sit down dinner with a few family & friends then purchasing plates, cups and table decor from local thrift stores can be so much fun. It will add a unique touch to your elopement day and also give you and your fiance some fun date nights spent thrift store shopping.

Things to not skimp on for your elopement

Close up of man holding woman's hands from behind during elopement.

If you are torn on what to put on your priority list then let me help you with that! Because there are just some things that you don’t want to skimp on. These things could truly change the whole experience and the way you remember it.


The number one thing that you do NOT want to go cheap on is photography! Since you will be spending a lot of time with your photographer on your elopement day, you’ll want to make sure that it is someone that you enjoy being around but also that you trust.

You will want to make sure that your photographer has a lot of experience with elopements so that they can serve you in the best possible way. They will know all of the great spots and ideas on how to make your day special and unique. They should be able to capture all of those little moments while also giving your space to really be in the moment.

If you are looking to elope, I’m sure that you truly prioritize being intimate and in the moment. You don’t want a photographer that is going to make your entire day feel like a photoshoot. The photographer that you choose should be based on these things, not the price tag.

Ultimately, the photographs that you walk away with from your elopement day are going to be the only way you are able to share your day with friends & family. And when the details of the day start to fade, your photographs will be the only memories that you have.


Man and woman looking at each other and holding hands during elopement in the mountains.

Another BIG thing not to skimp on is your florals! Florals are things like: bouquet, boutonnière, flowers for a ceremony spot, or flowers on a table scape. The florals are one thing that truly make your elopement feel like a wedding day and not just a photoshoot.

Florals are going to allow you to have the full wedding day experience and they also photograph so well. When you use fake florals, they just don’t have the same feel and don’t photograph well. Another thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that fake flowers can be just as expensive as real flowers.

Anything that you would regret not having/doing.

Also, remember that anything you are going to look back on your day in a year or two and regret not having or not doing, then DON’T skimp on it! If you are trying to cut costs then cut them somewhere else. Don’t cut out things that are going to make you enjoy your day even more!

Ultimately, remember that the money comes back! But you will never be able to marry your best-friend and love of your life again!

Your Elopement Photographer

Hey y’all, I’m Tessa! I’m an East coast elopement photographer who is OBSESSED with this incredible area, and helping couples turn simple micro-weddings/elopements into mini adventures. I offer elopement photography packages for every couple’s unique love. If you are looking to elopement in this beautiful area, reach out and let’s get you booked!

Man and woman holding hands and looking away from each other at the mountains.



I'm a micro-wedding and elopement photographer in Upstate, South Carolina. My style is documentary—I love capturing the in-between, unposed moments between you and your love. I strive to know you and capture you at your most authentic.