Weddings should be fun, so avoid the stress of spending too much money and plan an affordable elopement. As someone who had an amazing elopement three years ago and has photographed many budget-friendly elopements, I’m so excited to share how you can elope on a budget.

elopement couple posing at sunset
Among the Pines Photography

Although 45% of couples recently reported going into debt for their wedding, there are many ways to elope on a budget and have a memorable experience. In this article, I’ll discuss the best places in the US to elope on a budget, helpful planning tips, and affordable elopement packages.

The Best Places to Elope on a Budget

There are so many affordable elopement locations in the US. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Colorado (many locations)
  • Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
  • Yosemite National Park (California)
  • Alaska
  • Moab (Utah)
  • Montana

Colorado (many locations)

As a Colorado local, I have a special place in my heart for elopements here. I’ve photographed and helped plan many Colorado elopements, and it’s one of the most beautiful, affordable, and easiest places to elope. 

There are countless stunning elopement locations in Colorado, including:

Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

couple posing for pictures in Grand Tetons National Park
Grand Tetons, Among the Pines Photography

If you’re dreaming of an epic mountain elopement on a budget, Grand Teton National Park is perfect. With picturesque mountains, lakes, and waterfalls, it’s an amazing place to explore and tie the knot. It’s also one of the best locations for an unreal sunrise or sunset elopement.

Yosemite National Park (California)

I’ve photographed many Yosemite elopements, and every experience is unique and beautiful! It’s one of the best affordable elopement locations, with many beautiful ceremony sites surrounded by cliffs, mountain peaks, lakes, and waterfalls. 


couple hugging and kissing for Alaska elopement photo
Alaska, Among the Pines Photography

As the largest US state, there are many incredible options for an Alaska elopement. Alaska has amazing mountain and beach towns, beautiful outdoor landscapes, and fun activities to enjoy for your elopement experience.

The best part? There’s enough to see and do in Alaska to plan your elopement on a budget!

Moab (Utah)

Eloping in Moab is perfect if you’re a nature lover! Moab is one of Utah’s most popular cities, with two famous national parks, Arches and Canyonlands, and many other parks and outdoor locations.

There are countless elopement ceremony backdrops in Moab and many adventures, including river floating, hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. There’s also a charming downtown area to explore with your love.


elopement couple kayaking in Montana
Montana, Among the Pines Photography

Montana is one of the most breathtaking places for an elopement. I recently photographed an elopement in Bozeman, and it was stunning!

There are over a hundred mountain ranges, glacial lakes, and beautiful rivers. There are also national parks and forests, ideal for outdoorsy couples. Some Montana elopement locations are free, while others require a permit that costs up to a few hundred dollars.

Tips for a Memorable and Affordable Elopement 

Make the most of your elopement, enjoy an authentic experience, and avoid stressing about costs with these tips:

  • Set your budget
  • Be aware of elopement expenses
  • Hire a photographer
  • Choose a budget-friendly location
  • Elope during the off-season
  • Keep guest count minimal
  • Plan free or low-cost activities

Set Your Budget

The first step of having an affordable elopement is deciding on a suitable budget and knowing how much you can comfortably spend. No matter your budget, whether it’s $500, $5,000, or $10,000, there are many ways to get married and stick to your budget.

When setting your budget, consider your financial situation, how much time you have to save, and contributions from your family (if that’s a factor).

I recommend planning ahead at least six months instead of rushing to ensure you have time to budget and plan accordingly for an experience you and your love will truly enjoy.

Be Aware of Elopement Expenses

elopement couple hugging and bride holding flowers
Among the Pines Photography

Knowing what elopement expenses to expect helps you create and stick to your budget. While eloping is often more affordable than a traditional wedding, there are still costs to consider.

Common elopement expenses include:

  • Wedding/photography permits for some outdoor locations
  • Travel and accommodations (for destination elopements)
  • Attire and accessories
  • Hair and makeup
  • Announcements/Invitations 
  • Decor/flowers
  • Vendors (photographer, planner, hair stylist, makeup artist, officiant, caterer or chef)

Depending on your budget, you might choose to have minimal expenses. For example, you can do your own hair and makeup or have a loved one help you, ditch invitations and celebrate with loved ones later, and minimal decor, which many locations (especially national parks) require. 

An excellent way to save on expenses is to hire a photographer like myself (Among the Pines Photography), who can also help with planning and be your officiant.

Hire a Photographer

Brooke, Among the Pines Photographer
Brooke, Among the Pines Photographer

Not only can an elopement photographer capture the special moments of your elopement, but they can also help you plan and execute an affordable experience. 

When I work with couples, I help them choose a location that best suits them, plan activities that align with their budget, and offer other helpful tips and resources, including a 100-page elopement guide.

I’m also an officiant, meaning you don’t have to pay an extra person to be at your ceremony if you choose to legally marry at your elopement. You can also take care of the legal aspect in your hometown so you can fully enjoy a stress-free elopement experience.

Choose a Budget-Friendly Location

elopement couple in downtown Ouray
Ouray, Among the Pines Photography

As I mentioned, there are many affordable elopement locations, with Colorado being one of my favorites. Usually, places with outdoor ceremony locations are the most budget-friendly. You can have your ceremony at little to no cost and explore nature without spending too much.

Work with an elopement photographer who helps with planning and location scouting to find the best elopement location for your budget. The best part is there are so many options, making it easy to find an affordable location that fits your dream elopement experience!

Elope During the Off-Season

elopement couple with backpack signs saying just married
Breckenridge, Among the Pines Photography

A simple way to lower the price of your elopement is by getting married during the off-season when accommodations, travel expenses, and activities cost less. For example, Colorado’s low seasons are spring and fall, so you can enjoy a memorable elopement experience on a budget and without fighting as many crowds as peak season.

Keep Guest Count Minimal

elopement couple hugging family
Ouray, Among the Pines Photography

My favorite part of eloping is that you can create an authentic experience tailored perfectly for you and your partner. Not only do minimal guests make this possible, but it also saves you money. I recommend elopements for two (the couple only) or including just a few loved ones.

When you have guests, you usually have to plan activities around them, pay for a larger venue, and cover food and transportation. That said, there are many ways you can celebrate with loved ones, even if they aren’t present for your elopement. 

My husband and I had an intimate “just us” elopement. Our elopement announcement was an invitation to our reception two weeks after our intimate, “just us” elopement. At our reception, we watched our elopement film with our closest loved ones and sent virtual invites to other friends and families to watch with us, too.

Plan Free or Low-Cost Activities

There are many free and affordable activities for a special elopement on a budget. These include:

  • Asking loved ones to write letters you and your partner can read together
  • Having a picnic together
  • Going to a local coffee shop or bar
  • Exchanging personalized vows
  • Writing a song and sharing it with your partner (I did this for my elopement!)
  • Celebrating with a first dance
  • Enjoying an outdoor adventure, like a hike, kayaking, or bike ride

Affordable Elopement Packages

Elopement packages vary, depending on what they include, the photographer’s experience, and location. 

Hiring an elopement photographer who doesn’t simply follow you around and take pictures is important. Instead, go with a photographer who can help you bring your vision to life and help you have a stress-free, enjoyable experience without overspending. 

My mini elopement package is perfect for couples planning an affordable elopement for two. It includes: 

  • A phone consultation
  • Location scouting, timeline planning, elopement guides, and vendor recommendations
  • Four hours (or more if needed) of elopement day photography
  • Access to all-inclusive elopement planning resources
  • Custom online gallery with all-edited high-resolution images
  • 48-hour sneak peek photos
  • Rights to printing
  • Photographer travel included anywhere in Colorado

Client Praise

kinsley + caden

“Brooke was the perfect choice for our wedding day! We had a micro wedding at Sapphire Point in August. I had never been to Sapphire Point and Brooke was so helpful suggesting vendors, picture locations, parking, marriage license info etc. She was so kind and helpful before and during the whole process and was a large part of why the day went so smooth. She does so much more than just show up and take pictures, Brooke will truly go out of her way to make your wedding day perfect! The photos are gorgeous and I keep getting so many compliments! I truly cannot recommend her enough!”

"Brooke was a large part of why our day went so smooth and will truly go out of her way to make your wedding day perfect!"

We chose Brooke to capture our Colorado elopement and she did exactly that and more. She made it easy to plan our day out with locations and timelines so that we could focus on ourselves. We decided last minute to change our afternoon/evening elopement to a 6am sunrise one so beat the heat of the day. Brooke accommodated us without hesitation and even created a new timeline for us so that we knew where to be for the perfect sunrise. She was kind and understood what we wanted in terms of our elopement and we are so grateful to have her capture the day. Our photos turned out beautiful and truly helped us relive the day. I would recommend Brooke to anyone wanting their special day photographed.

"Brooke accommodated us without hesitation and even created a new timeline for us so that we knew where to be for the perfect sunrise."

erica + stacy

kirstie + colin

Brooke not only photographed our mountain elopement beautifully, but she put so much thought into the details and knew all of the answers the questions I didn’t even know to ask. She really puts a lot of thought into each photo and brings her expertise while still remaining very open to what we wanted and ideas we had. She even helped pick the perfect spot for us and advised us on the logistical details like securing a reservation at the mountain lake where we wanted our ceremony. She is SO easy to work with and very friendly and chill. My husband and I are super awkward in front of a camera but she made it so natural and easy - and the shots came out better than we could have imagined.

"She really puts a lot of thought into each photo and brings her expertise while still remaining very open to what we wanted and ideas we had."

amanda + jace

Brooke is many things; talented, calm, flexible, experienced/ knowledgeable, patient, incredibly responsive, organized, resourceful in a pinch, supportive, creative, professional yet a blast to work with, and goes above & beyond w her clients. Our wedding was a spectacular dream and we couldn't be more grateful that she made that single day last forever. Whether she's photographing nature or an intimate event, her pictures tell a story of peace, love, whatever your vision may be. We couldn't recommend her more and we look forward to booking with her for all of our vow renewals, seasonal and family pictures for as long as she'll have us.

"Whether she's photographing nature or an intimate event, her pictures tell a story of peace, love, whatever your vision may be."

linden + brent

Working with Brooke was a dream come true! Before we even met, my husband Brent and I were impressed by her portfolio. After meeting, we were even more convinced that her photography skills and knowledge, and her fun and easygoing personality were exactly what we were looking for in an elopement photographer. Brooke was able to take our vision and facilitate everything so that it worked out beautifully, especially when it came to finding the perfect location (the incredible mountains surrounding Ouray). Throughout the entire planning process, she was honest and flexible, and made it clear that her goal was for us to be 100% happy. In the end, her creativity and our happiness totally shine through in every single photo.

"Throughout the entire planning process, she was honest and flexible."

lauren + branden

I can't begin to express my gratitude for the intimacy and beauty behind Brooke's photographs. In capturing our wedding day, she went above and beyond to document our story, our families, and the depths of our love in ways that I'll forever be grateful for. Brooke has an eye for not only capturing the adventure and magic of your love, but deeply connects with your personal story, understands your relationship, and then gives that back in the most incredible way. She is truly an artist and tells your story in an authentic and creative way for you to look back on for years to come. We are forever grateful to Brooke for spending the time to get to know us, our story, and capturing the memories that we'll relive for years to come.

"Brooke deeply connects with your personal story, understands your relationship, and then gives that back in the most incredible way."

heather + jedd

“If you're contemplating which photographer to go with, THIS IS YOUR SIGN TO CHOOSE BROOKE!!!! She is so so so talented and was able to capture our elopement exactly how I pictured and wanted! We eloped in Ridgway, CO this past September and she was so helpful figuring out picture locations, recommendations of timeline for the day, and just made the whole day feel so smooth. She schedules multiple check ins, phone calls, etc., leading up to the big day to ensure everything is as you want it. Brooke has such a calming, down to earth presence and is one of those awesome people you feel like you've known forever after just the first time of meeting."

"Brooke has such a calming, down to earth presence and is one of those awesome people you feel like you've known forever."

christy + austin

Brooke is the absolute best. She truly went above and beyond for my fiancé and I to be able to get our engagement photos taken with the fall colors. Brooke is so sweet, fun, personable and incredibly talented. We could not be more in love with our engagement photos! Our engagement session with Brooke was such a special experience and a memory we will cherish forever.

"Our engagement session with Brooke was such a special experience and a memory we will cherish forever."

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