Top Affordable Elopement Destinations: Discover the Best Places to Elope on a Budget

Planning a wedding and honeymoon can lead to various discussions about the budget of the celebration. Here we are to help you with the hunt for the best places to elope on a budget. From the serene landscapes of national parks to quaint international towns. Our list offers dreamy yet affordable venues for your elopement. Eschew the extravagant and embrace the exceptional – at a fraction of the cost. Embark on your lifetime journey together with a choice that reflects your budget-conscious yet love-filled narrative.

Key Takeaways

  • The US offers a variety of stunning and affordable elopement locations catering to different styles. From serene national parks to urban cityscapes, allowing couples to choose a place that is significant to their relationship.
  • Eloping abroad can unveil romantic and budget-friendly destinations like Europe’s fairy tale settings or Caribbean beaches, combining the wedding and honeymoon for a seamless celebration.
  • Elopement packages range from simple, budget-friendly ceremonies to luxurious experiences, with various options to fit every preference and budget, ensuring that legalities, photography, and personal touches are catered to.

Thrifty Elopement Havens in the US

The United States is strewn with stunning locations that are perfect match in our list best places to elope on a budget. US offer to couples an affordable yet unforgettable elopement location. These thrifty havens offer an array of choices for every style, whether you envision a ceremony among majestic mountains, verdant parks, or even the vibrant streets of a bustling city. The beauty of eloping lies in the ability to choose a place that resonates with your love story, perhaps where you shared your first adventure together or a spot that has always captivated you both. And with options like the free yet breathtaking Arnold Arboretum in Massachusetts or the serene Rock Run Grist Mill in Maryland, you can have your dream wedding photos without the grand costs.

While contemplating your ideal elopement destination, reflect on what resonates with your soul. Are you outdoorsy couples drawn to the natural splendor of national parks, or do you find allure in the urban elegance of cobblestone streets and historic buildings? The best elopement location can be as grand as the towering peaks of Moab, Utah, during the striking beauty of fall or as simple as a heartfelt ceremony in a place of personal significance, like where you first fell in love. Elopement packages in these stunning parks and hidden waterfalls offer a harmonious blend, enabling you to concentrate on your intimate vow exchange without the hefty price tag of conventional weddings.

Charm of the Charleston Parks, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina, is a gem when you look for best places to elope with southern charm and natural beauty on a budget. Imagine saying “I do” under the canopy of ancient oak trees, surrounded by the enchanting landscapes of Cypress Gardens. This location offers a tranquil escape where stunning locations meet historical romance, making it an idyllic setting for small elopement ceremonies. The gardens’ fame as a backdrop in the film ‘The Notebook’ only adds to its allure, inviting couples to step into their own romantic tale.

The calm waters of the garden lakes, the whisper of the trees, and the lush greenery create a scenic view that requires little additional decor, allowing you to allocate your budget elsewhere. Here are some suggestions:

  • Secure an elopement photographer to capture these timeless moments.
  • Invest in a beautiful bouquet and boutonniere to add a pop of color.
  • Consider hiring a musician to provide live music during your ceremony.
  • Enhance the ambiance with fairy lights or lanterns.
  • Rent comfortable seating for your guests.
  • Set up a small refreshment station with drinks and snacks.

Thanks to South Carolina’s temperate climate, each season will imbue your elopement photos with nature’s splendor at this location. For more inspiration, you can also explore York Getty Images to find stunning visuals of similar settings.

The Rocky Mountain National Park Experience

For nature lovers and mountain enthusiasts, the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado offers an elopement experience as majestic as its peaks. Offering breathtaking vistas of alpine lakes like Lake Isabelle and Dream Lake, along with the vivid colors of aspen trees in regions such as Crested Butte, this national park boasts a varied spectrum of natural settings for your elopement imagery throughout the year. The park offers several formal ceremony locations, and with the possibility of completing legalities in your home state, the planning becomes as seamless as the mountain streams.

For a touch of small-town hospitality, look to Estes Park, the gateway to your Rocky Mountain adventure. Here, exchanging vows amid the stunning locations of the park can be followed by an intimate celebration in the cozy town. And with Denver International Airport in proximity, your destination elopement can easily accommodate any friends or family you wish to join. Consider a spring or early summer elopement for optimal weather and the full bloom of natural beauty.

Urban Elegance: New York City

If the vibrant heartbeat of a city calls to you, New York City presents an urban oasis for your elopement. With a plethora of stunning locations, from the iconic Brooklyn Bridge to the lush Central Park, the city is a playground for couples seeking a mix of sophistication and excitement for their special day. The city’s lively streets and picturesque views create a vibrant backdrop for wedding photos, encapsulating your love story against the backdrop of this globally renowned city.

Beyond the ceremony, indulge in the culinary delights of New York City’s top dining scene, adding an exquisite touch to your intimate celebration. Whether it’s a rooftop toast under the skyline or a charming dinner in one of the city’s hidden gems, your elopement can be as enchanting as the city itself. And with an elopement photographer who knows the city’s most amazing places, your elopement photos will be as unforgettable as the day itself, capturing moments worthy of New York Getty Images.

Budget Destination Weddings Beyond Borders

You can also choose beautiful places to elope on a budget in other countries. Dreaming of a romantic ceremony without the associated financial burden is possible. Imagine exchanging vows against the backdrop of Europe’s fairy tale settings, or amidst the warm, tropical breezes of the Caribbean. These budget destination weddings offer an escape to some of the most stunning locations on earth, where the spirit of romance is as abundant as the savings.

From the vine-covered hills of Tuscany to the pristine beaches of Jamaica, your destination elopement can be as diverse as the landscapes themselves. Opting for a destination wedding allows you to couple your ceremony with a honeymoon, extending the celebration and creating a seamless transition into married life. With affordable packages and the promise of unforgettable experiences, these places to elope invite you to celebrate love in some of the world’s most amazing places:

  • Tuscany, Italy
  • Santorini, Greece
  • Bali, Indonesia
  • Bora Bora, French Polynesia
  • Maui, Hawaii
  • Maldives
  • Seychelles
  • Amalfi Coast, Italy
  • Big Sur, California
  • Jamaica

The Allure of Lake Tahoe: A Cross-Border Affair

Straddling the border between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a haven for eloping couples who cherish stunning views and seasonal splendor. This alpine lake, easily accessible from cities like San Francisco and Reno, offers a picturesque setting that changes with the seasons, ensuring unique beauty for your special day, no matter the time of year. Lake Tahoe, with its less stringent permit requirements and array of elopement packages, stands out as a flexible and convenient choice for your elopement.

Local services like Honesco Weddings offer all-encompassing elopement packages, including non-religious ceremonies and marriage license assistance, making your planning process easier. Whether you’re drawn to the tranquil lakeside or the rugged mountain tops, Lake Tahoe’s natural beauty and the professional support of local vendors will ensure your outdoor ceremony is everything you’ve dreamed of and more.

Caribbean Bliss in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic beckons with its serene beaches and is a dream come true place to elope on a budget and stress-free. Couples can expect comprehensive services that cover everything from a local officiant and beachfront venue to legal paperwork assistance. Add to that the allure of white sandy beaches, the soothing rhythm of turquoise waters, and the vibrant greenery, and you have the perfect location for a destination wedding.

The convenience doesn’t stop there. Many elopement packages also include wedding ceremony essentials like:

  • photography
  • a bouquet
  • a boutonniere
  • a cake

With a variety of elegant resorts and intimate beachfront spots to choose from, you can ensure your ceremony reflects your personal style while also capturing the most stunning locations for your wedding photos.

Old World Romance in Prague, Czech Republic

Step into the historic streets of Prague, Czech Republic, and surround yourself with the old-world romance that makes this city a sought-after destination for couples worldwide. Known for its fairy-tale-like scenery, majestic castles, and safe environment, Prague is the epitome of a storybook setting for your elopement ceremony. Whether you opt for a grand castle or a scenic park, the city’s cobblestone streets and picturesque views offer an impressive setting for your wedding pictures.

Incorporating Czech culture into your celebration can enrich your experience with local cuisine and music, creating a truly personalized and romantic atmosphere. Prague, with its aesthetically pleasing corners, offers distinctive and emotionally charged settings that encapsulate special moments and the essence of your romance. The city is not only a place to exchange vows but also a destination that will leave an indelible mark on your hearts.

Cost-Conscious Elopement Packages

As traditional weddings become increasingly expensive, more and more couples are turning to elopement packages as a way to commemorate their union without a large expense. These packages come in a range of options, from simple $500 ceremonies to luxurious $10,000 all-inclusive experiences. Whether you’re seeking a no-frills exchange of vows or a scenic wedding with all the trimmings, there’s a package to fit every budget.

When choosing an elopement package, it’s important to weigh both the overall value and the cost. Remember, expenses like:

  • marriage license fees
  • permit fees
  • travel costs
  • taxes and tips

are often not included and should be factored into your budgeting. Additionally, outdoor elopement locations may require guests to stand for the duration of the ceremony, which is typically brief, influencing cost considerations.

Vineyard Vows: Wine Country Deals

Napa Valley, characterized by its undulating hills and sunlight-dappled vineyards, is a dreamy wine country destination for couples yearning for a romantic elopement. Budget-friendly packages here offer:

  • A stunning backdrop of vineyards and hills for your wedding ceremony
  • Professional photography
  • Customizable options to make your day truly yours
  • The Vineyard View package even includes a marriage certificate, ensuring that your celebration is not only beautiful but also officially recognized.

Choosing alternative ceremony locations like a Winery Garden Cave or a Private Vineyard adds a layer of flexibility to your wine country elopement. And for a modest additional fee, you can include a witness to your intimate ceremony, allowing a loved one to be part of your special moment in the heart of Napa Valley.

Mountain Matrimony Specials

The appeal of mountain regions for elopements is undeniable, as their sweeping vistas and peaceful surroundings provide a memorable setting for your vows. From the seclusion of a private waterfall in the Smoky Mountains to the grandeur of Colorado’s mountain lodges, these destinations cater to couples seeking a breathtaking ceremony among nature’s finest vistas.

Customizable elopement packages are available to fit a range of preferences and budgets. In the Swiss Alps, for example, couples can marry on a secluded mountaintop without breaking the bank, while North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains offer tailored experiences to create a day that reflects your unique love story. These mountain matrimony specials are for those who find romance in adventure and wish to begin their married life on a high note, quite literally.

Capturing the Moment: Budget Elopement Photography

Your elopement’s fleeting moments deserve preservation, with photography serving a key role in capturing the essence of your extraordinary day. Affordable elopement photography options are available to ensure that every smile, kiss, and joyful tear is preserved for years to come. An elopement photographer is more than just a person behind the lens; they can:

  • Guide you through the planning process
  • Scout stunning locations within your budget
  • Provide a comprehensive elopement guide, ensuring that no detail is overlooked.

When considering elopement photography, think about the overall value rather than just the cost. Packages often include all necessary services, helping to avoid hidden costs like travel fees. Additionally, holding a ceremony outside a national park and then entering for formal portraits can save costs while still delivering breathtaking wedding photos, as long as you adhere to the park’s regulations and obtain any necessary permits.

Legalities and Logistics: Marriage License and More

Navigating the legal and logistical aspects of eloping is a crucial step in making sure your union is legally recognized. Obtaining a marriage license varies by location, with different states and countries having their own set of rules, waiting periods, and requirements. In places like Lake Tahoe, the license can be acquired from county offices on either side of the state border, while in Colorado, couples are responsible for securing their own. Some couples choose to marry legally at a town hall in their hometown for convenience and cost-effectiveness, leaving the destination for a symbolic ceremony.

Colorado is known for its ease of marriage, in part due to its self-solemnization provision, which can eliminate the necessity for an officiant, thereby reducing total costs. This flexibility allows couples to focus on the elements that truly matter to them, whether it’s the location, the ceremony, or the celebration that follows. Regardless of where you choose to elope, bear in mind that permit fees for the ceremony location and the marriage license cost are usually separate from elopement packages and must be factored into your budget.

After the vows have been exchanged and the celebration has ended, it’s essential to file the marriage license to solidify the legality of your union.

Planning Your Elopement: Timing and Seasonality

Timing and planning are key when you choose places to elope on a budget. Choosing the right moment can mean basking in the ideal weather, savoring the beauty of a destination at its peak, and avoiding the crowds that often accompany tourist season. From the golden aspens of Ouray, Colorado, in the fall to the blossoming wildflowers of Grand Teton National Park, timing is everything. Eloping on off-peak days, such as weekdays, can not only reduce costs but also offer a more intimate and personal celebration.

Early planning and savvy travel deal searches are key strategies for additional savings. Here are some tips to help stretch your budget further while still delivering the elopement of your dreams:

  • Book flights and accommodations well in advance
  • Opt for weekday ceremonies
  • Consider the seasonality of your chosen location, as it can affect the availability of services and vendors

By following these tips, you can plan your special day while keeping costs in check.

Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Locations for Intimate Ceremonies

Elopement destinations don’t have to be well-known to hold significance. In fact, choosing a lesser-known location can provide a more intimate and unique setting for your ceremony. Remote destinations like the unpopulated expanse of Antarctica or the serene Lobos Island in the Canary Islands offer rare and intimate experiences for couples looking to truly escape. These hidden gems not only provide stunning backdrops for wedding photos but also ensure that your celebration remains a private and special moment between you and your partner.

When considering these off-the-beaten-path locations, it’s important to factor in the logistics of travel and accessibility. While they may offer the secluded and beautiful parks you desire, reaching them may require a bit more effort and planning. Nonetheless, for couples willing to embark on the adventure, the reward is a ceremony held in one of the world’s amazing places, far from the usual tourist trails, where the focus is solely on the love you share.

Crafting Your Day: Personal Touches That Save

Including personal touches in your elopement not only adds a layer of intimacy to your ceremony but can also be a smart way to cut costs. Here are some ideas:

  • Source a pre-loved wedding dress or suit to provide style at a fraction of the cost.
  • Opt for dried or faux bouquets to offer a lasting memento without the price of fresh florals.
  • Grooms can look dapper by tailoring a suit they already own or dressing in a more casual, yet still elegant, style.

Adding sentimentality to your day can include using heirloom jewelry, borrowing decorations, or creating your own unique details. For the reception, think outside the box with catering alternatives like food trucks, restaurant catering, or even a home-cooked meal. By forgoing traditional wedding elements such as a DJ or planner, you can invest in the aspects that truly matter to you, ensuring your elopement remains a reflection of your personalities without unnecessary extravagance.

The Great Outdoors: State Parks and Natural Reserves

State parks and natural reserves are coveted locales for couples seeking to exchange vows amidst nature’s magnificence. These outdoor locations offer a variety of majestic landscapes, from the alpine meadows of Crested Butte, Colorado, to the sandy shores of Grayton Beach State Park, Florida. Not only do these beautiful parks provide a stunning setting for your ceremony, but they also require minimal additional decoration, making them a budget-friendly choice for your elopement.

In addition to the scenic views, state parks and natural reserves offer a plethora of outdoor activities to enhance your elopement experience. Whether it’s hiking in Brainard Lake or rock climbing at Fall Creek Falls State Park, these amazing places invite you to merge your love for each other with your passion for adventure. With the great outdoors as your venue, your wedding photos will be imbued with the natural beauty and serenity that only Mother Nature can provide.

Adventure Awaits: Elope in the Wild

Looking for wild places to elope on a budget? Choosing to elope in the wild melds your love story and your adventurous spirit in an unparalleled journey. National parks, with their diverse landscapes ranging from the deserts of Joshua Tree to the majestic waterfalls of Yosemite, provide the perfect stage for an elopement ceremony that is as thrilling as it is intimate. To ensure your day goes smoothly, be mindful of the special use permits required for ceremonies in these parks, which can range from $50 to $500.

Transportation to these often remote locations should also be considered, along with the potential need to limit guest size and select off-peak dates for permit approval. By incorporating favorite outdoor activities such as horseback riding or hiking into your elopement, you create special moments that reflect your shared interests and passions. This approach not only minimizes the need for additional decor but also ensures that your ceremony is a true celebration of your adventurous spirit.

Celebrate Love Without the Price Tag

Eloping is a love celebration that doesn’t come with the substantial costs often linked to standard weddings. It’s an opportunity to focus on the essence of your relationship and the commitment you’re making to each other, surrounded by a setting that speaks to your hearts. The substantial savings on reception costs, including the venue, allow you to allocate funds to other aspects of your life together or to create a more luxurious elopement experience if you so choose.

Opting places to elope on a budget does not equate to sacrificing the romance or importance of your wedding day. Instead, it’s an affirmation that your love is the centerpiece of the celebration, and every element, from the exchanging of vows to the intimate moments you share, is a reflection of your unique bond. Eloping enables you to have a deeply personal and unforgettable wedding ceremony, creating memories that are rich in love and light on financial stress.


In the journey to say “I do,” this list of best places to elope on budget stands out as a path sprinkled with romance, adventure, and financial savvy. From the lush gardens of Charleston to the alpine beauty of Lake Tahoe, and the old-world charm of Prague, the world is brimming with affordable destinations that promise a heartfelt celebration of your love. As you plan your elopement, remember the importance of capturing the moment, navigating legalities, and adding personal touches that save. Whether you choose a hidden gem or the vast wilderness of a national park, your elopement can be as boundless as your love, undiminished by the constraints of a traditional wedding. Let your love story unfold in one of these stunning locations, and create a day that’s as unforgettable as it is affordable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any free elopement locations in the US?

Yes, there are several free elopement locations across the US, such as the Arnold Arboretum in Massachusetts and Rock Run Grist Mill in Maryland, which provide natural beauty and intimate settings for a ceremony.

Can we have an elopement ceremony in a national park?

Yes, you can have an elopement ceremony in a national park, but make sure to apply for a special use permit and follow any visitor limits or COVID restrictions in place.

What should we consider when choosing an elopement package?

When choosing an elopement package, it’s important to consider the overall value, ensuring it fits your budget. Remember to factor in additional expenses like marriage license fees, permit fees, and travel costs.

How can we save on elopement photography?

Consider opting for elopement packages that offer photography services or holding your ceremony outside a national park and then entering for formal portraits according to the park’s regulations. This can help you save on elopement photography costs.

Is it possible to have a legal elopement ceremony without an officiant?

Yes, in some states like Colorado and California, you can have a legal elopement ceremony without an officiant, allowing for cost savings.