Wondering how much an elopement wedding costs? Having planned our wedding day in just a month, we’re sharing all of the costs to help you prepare for yours. We got married in the Sunshine Coast where we’re currently living, so if you’re looking for more information, you can read our guide for How To Plan An Elopement In Sunshine Coast.
You might like to use this article as a guide when comparing costs because I know I would have found this reassuring if an article was like this or at least be able to measure costs against other wedding vendors.
Table of Contents
How big was our elopement wedding?
We planned our elopement wedding in a month although we have been together 11 years and engaged for four years. We planned it in a month mainly because we wanted to apply for adoption which you can read about here: I Didn’t See Infertility Coming My Way.
Originally we were just going to go to the registry office, just the two of us. Then Steve wanted to get a celebrant and then before we knew it, we had invited just six people to attend. We kind of thought this was just for legal purposes and we’d have another wedding, but I think we both knew deep down that the reality of holding another wedding was going to be slim.
Also, even when organising an elopement, costs can escalate fast.
Considering how much we spent in the end for an intimate wedding, I don’t think we’ll be having another wedding day any time soon.
While I can’t say it was a dream wedding day, I do wish we spent a bit longer organising it than in a month. There’s so much more to organise than I ever thought. Originally I literally just thought I’d buy a simple dress from the local shopping mall, Steve would hire a suit and we’d get a celebrant. But yeah, it didn’t turn out like that.
Wedding dress cost
I ordered five wedding dresses online which is super risky and ended up going with one from Needle & Thread which is a British store. They delivered to my house in Sunshine Coast within a week (I ordered twice from them).
I was super lucky with the wedding dress process because when we decided to get married, my dress wedding dress shop called Kyha Studios was having a massive sale. I ended up ordering my dream wedding dress from them which was reduced from $8000 to $2000.
I was super worried about ordering something so expensive without trying it on, but I figured I could just re-sell it.
And it turns out, within three weeks of listing the dress on Still White, I sold it for nearly double the price I bought it for!
I also bought another Needle & Thread dress off Facebook marketplace for $350. The woman selling it said she wore it for her elopement wedding day too which I thought was super cool. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to wear it. I wore a pair of old heels for both the day and night so I didn’t have to buy new shoes which I’m actually glad about because it poured with rain the entire day.
Wedding dress cost: $895 (-$1700 from the money I ended up making from the dress I sold)
Dinner wedding dress: $350 (plus $120 for alterations as it was too long)
We were just going to hire a tux for Steve but we ended up buying it instead as it would only cost another $400 to buy. We both regretted buying that tux and wish we spent more time sourcing a better one for him in the end.
Tux Cost: $600 (plus $100 for alterations)
How much we paid for a celebrant, ceremony and photographer
The first thing we booked was the celebrant which we found online which was actually quite confusing choosing between all of the micro wedding packages and style packages. We were really lucky because we got married in October, it’s actually the busiest time of the year as the weather is generally good and not too hot (it literally rained the entire day for us).
You’ll find celebrants will offer elopement packages but bare in mind this can escalate so much in cost. Originally we were going to pay $990 for the ceremony, and 30 minute photographer package but we ended up paying $1565 because we asked for some chairs, a signing table, petals and ended up getting a photographer for 45 minutes instead. If we wanted an arbour or any other props, it would have been at least another $500 on top of that cost.
We didn’t pay for the ceremony location as we got married in the park so just be mindful on where you choose to get married as there could be a massive extra cost on top.
I wish we actually sourced our own photographer and paid them for longer than 45 minutes. We found the whole wedding day quite stressful as it was very time conscious. For example, the ceremony was just 15 minutes and the celebrant had other elopements do to that day so we knew we had to get it all done quite fast.
The photographer was late and so were we. This made it was more stressful than it needed to be which then made us late for lunch. I would have organised a photographer for longer.
Celebrant, photographer cost: $1565
Ceremony cost: $0
Wedding Reception cost
We booked a table at our favourite restaurant in Sunshine Coast for our wedding reception. We didn’t want to have any special treatment but we loved the grounds where the restaurant is, knowing that we could get a few special photos there as well. We were actually late to our lunch so we couldn’t order a banquet and only a three course meal instead. This cost was much lower than we anticipated as we didn’t order many drinks either.
We also went out for dinner to another restaurant but Steve’s uncle snapped up the bill before we could even see it.
Reception lunch cost for 8 people: $1100
We weren’t going to have flowers as you might have for a traditional wedding, but we decided to organise something about a week before.
I ended up finding a local florist on Instagram and paid $295 for a bridal bouquet which was delivered to my house and a buttonhole for Steve. I wanted a bunch of flowers to look like I had picked them from a garden. I specifically asked for lily of the valley to remind me of my mum and daisies which are some of my favourite flowers.
Bridal bouquet, buttonhole and delivery: $295
Make up artist cost
I had no idea where to begin to start my search for a makeup artist. I decided to find a makeup artist because I’m not the best at doing make up and I wanted to do this for myself. I ended up asking on the Sunshine Coast community Facebook page and feel like a found a gem in the end. I was a bit apprehensive about using a makeup artist because it can be very hit or miss, but I was really pleased in the end.
The makeup artist came to my house and it cost $270 for my friend and I to get our makeup done.
Makeup at my house cost: $270
Spray tan & nails cost
And just like that, as I said, the elopement journey can escalate quickly and before I knew it, I was booking a spray tan and my nails to be done for the wedding. I’m glad I got both done, especially my nails for the wedding to show off my wedding and engagement ring.
Full set of nails cost: $70
Spray tan cost: $30
Because I have short hair, I was going to just do my hair myself, but my hairdresser booked me in the morning of the wedding to blow dry my hair for free. I felt very lucky that they offered this to me without anything in return.
Hair cost: $0
We found my ring designer on Instagram called Bert Jewellery who designed both my engagement ring and wedding ring. Luckily we could make my wedding ring in time and had it sent out to me just days before the big day.
We had to source Steve’s wedding ring ourselves which was more trickier than we thought it would be. We ended up finding a family owned ring specialists in Brisbane so we didn’t have to go through a big chain shop.
Annie wedding ring: $2400
Steve wedding ring: $895
Total wedding budget cost
I honestly thought we would do our entire wedding for under $1000 but we ended up spending $8670 with the rings included. But, we did make $1700 from the other wedding dress that we sold so the wedding actually cost us $6970 in the end to make it a special day.
Wedding dress: $895
Second dress: $450
Celebrant & photographer: $1565
Reception lunch: $1100
Make up artist: $270
Full set of nails: $70
Spray tan: $30
Annie wedding ring: $2400
Steve wedding ring: $895
Total Cost $8670
Naturally we scrimp and save on the wedding so we can have not one but two honeymoons! We called the first one our mini-moon as we were celebrating my 40th just two weeks after the wedding. If there’s one piece of advice I can give, have the honeymoon straight after the wedding. We waited a week and a half and it was the biggest downer going straight back to work on the Monday after we got married.
10 days later, we flew up to the beautiful Palm Bay Resort in the Whitsundays which we just absolutely loved. You can read all about the experience and how much it cost in our guide: How We Found Paradise At Palm Bay Resort Whitsundays. We are also flying to Indonesia at Christmas to travel around various islands as our longer honeymoon as well.