elopement budget

How we budgeted our Elopement for less than $1,500 in Monterey Bay California!

Eloping on a budget!

Today I will be talking about how my Husband and I were able to Elope for $1,500! First off lets start with why we decided to go with an Elopement opposed to a traditional wedding. When we got engaged January 2020 I immediately started researching venues, dresses, food, etc.

When I was doing my research I couldn’t BELIEVE how expensive everything was. And I immediately had a bunch of friends from high school and my past saying “I better get an invite!”, and all I’d see is dollar signs for that $50 plate! Another portion of wedding planning that was giving me a ton of anxiety was having family that doesn’t mix well all in one place. I felt like the entire day wouldn’t be about us, it would be about me stressing all day over everyone else being happy.

And then COVID hit, and it all sort of looked like eloping was our most sensible option.
Our elopement

Before Matt and I even got engaged I had been looking into Eloping just because I knew it was more budget friendly. I also didn’t want our wedding to be something we didn’t plan ourselves- it’s all about us anyways! Then I found Simply Eloped, I looked into multiple packages they had, and the prices were reasonable! We live in Sacramento so there was a good amount of venues near us! We decided before even trying to plan anything that our elopement budget goal was to keep it under $5k.

On their site they have a few different packages with each venue spot (prices vary based on place):
  • Seed Package: which is $675 for the officiant services and enactment of the ceremony
  • Sprout Package: which is $1,350 for the above services, and a photographer for an hour (75+ images)
  • Bloom Package: which is $1,750 for the above services, and they provide a bouquet and boutonniere
  • Oasis Package: which is $4,675, it includes everything listed above and a video of the ceremony!
The also provide add-ons for additional charges:
  • Extra Photography time for $600
  • Hair and Makeup for $390 (at the time of our elopement was $350)
  • An Engagement Photoshoot for $700
  • A day of Helper for $417

We decided to go with the Sprout Package in Big Sur, and with added hair and makeup. We also had to pay a $70 fee for the hair stylist to come to our hotel, and a $100 permit to be married on a private beach. Simply Eloped requires a $250 deposit, which is included in the total. Then you will receive emails from someone who basically in charge of handling all your questions and billing and such. This person also connects you with your officiant, makeup/hair artist, and photographer so you have their contact information. So for all of this, our grand total was $1,470.

Our Elopement

Now of course that’s only what we paid for in the actual Elopement itself…

I purchased my own dress and shoes, and we got my Husband’s outfit from Kohls. My dress was from Lulu’s for $269 (unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they sell it anymore), and I got my shoes from DSW for $17! The little clip in my hair was actually originally a veil my mom got from ICING. I cut the veil part off and just used the clip portion to pin the side of my hair down. I also purchased a pair of spandex shorts to wear under my dress.

My enagement ring
My engagement ring

For my Husband’s outfit; his button down was $8, his shoes were $30, pants were $25, and bow tie/suspender set was $13. So we got his entire outfit for less than $80! We had his hair cut the day before we left ($30) and he just put a little pomade in it to lay it flat. My engagement ring was purchased from an Etsy Shop called Avello, which is 3 raw cut diamonds (about $150). I purchased both of our wedding bands from Modern Gents. My plain band was $40, and my husband’s band was $20.

Elopement in Monterey
Free Champagne from the Hotel

We stayed in Monterey September 20th to September 23rd, we got married on the 21st (Our 4 year Anniversary).

We booked our hotel through Booking.com at the Getaway, and I cannot say enough great things about our hotel! When we arrived they were having a wine hour in the lobby so we got some champagne and sat by the outdoor fireplaces. When we went up to our room we were greeted by a free bottle of champagne! Our room had an indoor fireplace, a bay window, and an amazing bathroom. The manager of the hotel was sending me texts daily to coordinate when my hairstylist was arriving, and even gave us a second bottle of champagne on our wedding night! FANTASTIC customer service.

The only downside I would say was the parking lot is very small. We walked most of the time to avoid losing our spot (we even ubered to our elopement destination!).

The hotel is located right across the street from tons of shopping, coffee shops, and restaurants.

Elopement budget-friendly
Walking to Dinner after Drinks

I plan on making another blog post about how I budget for all of our trips, because I literally budget down to the cent. But our hotel for those 3 nights cost $898 total. Yes, the hotel was pricey, but it was for our wedding night so I figured I’d splurge a little. I also brought plenty of money for meals while we were there, as well as activities.

We went Whale Watching the day after our wedding.

Disclaimer: I was SOOOOOOO sea sick, definitely prepare with motion sickness meds and ginger ale if you get motion sick). Other than sea sickness, it was amazing. My husband had a great time and we saw so many awesome things! Killer Whales, TONS of sea lions, Humpback whales feeding, Jellyfish and more!

There are tons of different Whale Watching companies in Monterey, we went with Monterey Bay Whale Watching, which was a 4 hour long trip. They give you a few options for time of day you’d like to go, and the cost is $65 per person. Once we were actually on the boat we decided to upgrade to the top of the ship for an additional (I think) $30. That $30 was well worth it because only 2 other people were up there, and we weren’t stuffed together with all the other people downstairs. The staff on the boat was amazing, I can’t praise them high enough. They were constantly checking on me, giving me ginger candies (I basically spent the whole 4 hours with my head in a barf bag).

Elopement photos
Sitting on the boat before we left the dock

So all together with everything we paid for here’s the entire cost of our trip:

Elopement total: $1,470

Clothing: $362

Rings: $210

Hotel and Activities: $1,058

Food: I brought about $500, and we had extra left over for shopping

Total: $3,600

I had begun planning our elopement in February so we had plenty of time to complete our budget goal. We were able to do everything we wanted and had spare money left over for souvenirs! You just have to get a good plan going.

– Jordan <3

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