There's something magical about an elopement. Whether you're planning a small, intimate gathering or an elaborate affair for family and friends, elopements are all about infusing your love with the details that make it special. Planning an elopement can be a little tricky if you don't already have all of the elements in place: venue, caterer, cake baker...the list goes on! So let's take a look at some budget-friendly tips and tricks to help you save time and money while planning your big day out!
Tip #1: Hire a smaller sized photography team
Your wedding is only going to happen once, so it's important that the photographer you hire reflects your style and personality. If you want a smaller-sized team on your wedding day, there's no reason not to go with that. You can hire a photographer and a second shooter, or even just one photographer who will shoot alone (but still capture everything beautifully). The most important thing is to find someone whose work you love and who understands what you want for your day!
Tip #2: Save on expensive venues
Make sure you don't fall in love with a venue that would cost a ton of money to rent out. Try to find a place that has the rustic feel you are looking for but is not too far outside of town. If you can, try and find somewhere with a fireplace or any type of warmth, like an outdoor fire pit or even just natural light coming through big windows! These are all things that will make your photos look more romantic and less cheap!
Tip #3: Get married during non-peak seasons
- Save on flowers and other decorations. The best time to get married is in the off season, which means that you'll be able to save money on flowers and other decorations for your ceremony. You will also find lower costs for your photographer, venue, and honeymoon when you travel during non-peak seasons as well as a greater availability of weddings venues than during peak seasons when everyone wants to elope in New Jersey.
- Save on photographers. If you can't afford a professional photographer who specializes in elopements (like me), consider hiring someone who has experience photographing weddings but at a reduced rate or hire an amateur photographer for your wedding day because this is their first time shooting professionally—this will still work out great!
Tip #4: Work with an elopement photographer who works in New Jersey often
- A photographer who knows the area well. Hiring a photographer who has experience in your area can help make things go more smoothly during your big day. Your photographer should know all of the best spots for photo ops and how to get around town efficiently.
- A photographer who can help you find a venue that fits your budget and style. If you are on a strict budget, it is important to find an elopement location that fits within your means while also looking good in photos. You want something unique and memorable, but don't want it to break the bank!
- A photographer who can help you find a great spot for your photoshoot. The perfect picture spot could be anywhere: near waterfalls or lakes; along tree-lined paths; up high on rocky cliffs or abandoned buildings; down into dark tunnels underground...the possibilities are endless! Finding this location will add authenticity to your photos as well as being different than what most people have seen before (which makes them even more special).
Tip #5: Book a weekday or off-season date
- Book a weekday or off-season date. Weekends and holidays are more expensive because they're more popular, so if you want to save money on your elopement, book the day of your wedding when it's less busy. Or, try an off-season date like late fall or winter for an even cheaper price!
Tip #6: Consider sunset/blue hour photos instead of getting ready photography
Sunset/blue hour photos can also be used by couples who plan on having an intimate elopement with just immediate family members present; this way you won't have a lot of people all together at one time at the same location during your ceremony or reception!
The best time for sunset pictures is usually 3-4 hours after sunset (or 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm). Blue hour pictures may last 1-2 hours before sunrise (or 7:00 am - 8:00 am).
Tip #7: Limit your guest list to only those closest to you
If you want to save money on your elopement, limit the guest list to only those people closest to you.
- The best way to do this is by asking everyone who’s invited if they could make a donation instead of buying a gift. You can even make it into a fun game and ask them what they would give in exchange for being invited. That way, people will be excited about giving their money and not feel like they’re being cheap or rude by not buying gifts!
- The second most common thing that can happen during an elopement is stress related issues planned around other people (i.e., family members). It's important that no matter how much time passes between now and your wedding day - whether it's weeks or months - there are still no family members causing drama behind-the-scenes!
Tip #8: Skip the dress shopping and purchase from a thrift shop, consignment store, or friend’s closet
You can save money by purchasing your dress from a thrift shop, consignment store, or through the help of a friend.
- Buying a dress at a thrift shop will save you money because they are generally much less expensive than buying new dresses in retail stores. They also have many styles that may be more unique and flattering on you.
- Selling your old dress to someone who wants it could also be an option if it still fits well enough for another person to wear it after you’ve worn it once or twice. This option is great because not only will this person get something useful from you (the dress), but they'll get something that still looks good!
- If none of those options work out for whatever reason then maybe consider buying one off of Ebay or Craigslist? You never know what kind of deals are out there until you look around!
Tip #9: Forgo the wedding band and ring pillow, and wear your new wedding bands after exchanging vows. Instead of a ring pillow use a wooden box with the rings inside that can be used as decoration later on!
This tip is perfect for people who want to save money but also love having their rings on display during the ceremony. It's simple, inexpensive and makes for an adorable photo opportunity!
Tip #10. Skip the bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages for your family members.
In lieu of a bouquet or corsage, consider adding something from nature that you can wear like sage or a flower crown. If you're not sure what to get, look for wildflowers at your local farmers market. You could also use some flowers from the bride's wedding bouquet!
If you don't want to include family members in the photos, consider keeping them out of frame by positioning yourself between them and your partner when shooting group portraits.
Tip #11 Consider booking someone who is up and coming in their photography career. They are likely to have more affordable rates because they aren’t established yet, but will provide you with gorgeous images.
Consider booking someone who is up and coming in their photography career. They are likely to have more affordable rates because they aren’t established yet, but will provide you with gorgeous images.
There you have it! I hope these tips helped you save money on your elopement. Remember, there are many ways to go about planning an elopement, but the most important thing is that you find what works best for YOU. Don’t let anyone tell you that YOUR way isn’t right or wrong – because there isn't one right way.
If you're interested in learning more about budget-friendly options for your wedding photography, please contact us today! We'd be happy to chat with you about our packages and discounts.
Thank you for reading!
Affordable Wedding photography by Fungirlwithacamera Photography.
Hope from Fungirlwithacamera Photography specializes in affordable wedding photography as well as backyard wedding photography and small intimate weddings. Currently accepting weddings in East Brunswick, Highland Park and surrounding areas in New Jersey.