Wedding Planning Q&A

Wedding Ceremony vs Elopement – a Weducation Presentation


Wedding Ceremony vs Elopement? What are the costs and is it really more expensive? Find our with our latest Weducation Presentation from Epic Elopement.

Listen to Carly on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…


Carly Straughan from Epic Elopement


James: [00:00:00] So Weducation presentations of course are three minute Golden Nugget wedding planning, Weducation, super… things and they’re going to help you plan the perfect wedding… That’s a technical term by the way. 

Carly: [00:00:15] Yeah yeah. 🙂 

James: [00:00:17] So without further ado I would actually like to hand over to Carly who has very kindly prepared a presentation on the costs, the surprising costs of elopement. I won’t spill any of the beans. 

Carly: [00:00:34] Yeah don’t give away any of my secrets. 

James: [00:00:39] I shall let Carly take over. So I’ll just hand over to you now and you can take it away. 

Carly: [00:00:42] Thank you. So I mean how I’m going to get through this in three minutes… Because I’m just very, very excited. Let me scoot back for a sec. Let’s not give it all away now. So luckily we did discuss this earlier on and I promise it wasn’t, it wasn’t something I dropped onto Tania before, it just came out organically. Is that my discussion of, kind of having a wedding moon. So instead of thinking about having this big kind of traditional wedding and then having this big honeymoon, and them being two very big parts of your life, is actually what can you do to kind of bring those things together. Because as we were discussing that there’s… There’s a lot of costs that kind of can be collected together so that you don’t necessarily have to have a big wedding and a big honeymoon, but you can combine the two things. 

Carly: [00:01:34] One of the things that people say to me all the time is because we got married in Vegas and I talk to people about getting married in Vegas all the time. And when people talk to you about eloping, the first thing that usually comes to mind is Las Vegas because it’s, you know, the wedding capital of the world. And people say gosh it must’ve cost you so much money. Absolutely not. One of the reasons we did it was because it was a lot less money. We had just bought our first house. We’re not particularly kind of big spenders. We took the money I would have spent on a wedding and actually spent it on the stuff that we love doing and I would massively encourage anybody that when they start looking at what they’re spending their, their wedding money on, is actually what parts of your wedding are important. Because not everybody wants to spend £1,000 on a cake. Not everybody wants to spend £5,000 on a dress. And if you do, that’s awesome, but you probably don’t want to spend it on everything. So thinking about what’s the stuff that’s important to you, and then spending your money on those things instead. 

Carly: [00:02:43] So average cost for a U.K. wedding actually shocks me every time I see it, and I talk about this on a regular basis and it still sticks in my throat because I cannot believe it.

So £27,000, just over. The breakdown of it… There’s lots of kind of sundries here and there so it’s not going to add up exactly. But basically your venue’s around £4,000. People spend about £3,000 on outfits, you’re then looking at kind of £60 to £100 a head on everyone that you’re inviting for the evening reception. So we’ve already… You know that adds up very quickly. Photography, videography about £3,000 depending on how much coverage you want, and you know, kind of what you’re looking for, and just the stuff to tell your guests how to get to you. So whether that’s save the dates, the stuff that you’re going to have to print in order to say, this is our venue, this is our reception, all that kind of stuff. Looking about £1,000 and then you’ve got your honeymoon. 

Carly: [00:03:39] So your honeymoon. We’ve kind of put £6,000 in for that. But I mean, that’s a great Honeymoon, don’t get me wrong, £6,000 will buy you a fantastic honeymoon and you’ll see as we go through I’ve kind of… I’ve kept… I’ve stuck with that amount of money. But we’re going to talk about it less of just, you know, a huge blow out for a couple and maybe about like you say, keeping that to a family or whatever it might be. 

Carly: [00:04:07] So Las Vegas. We got married in Vegas. We took six people all together. Me, my husband and four friends. We probably between all of us spent about £6000 on my wedding because we kind of cut back on a lot of things. There were things that we didn’t want, we didn’t do. And so venue. I mean look at the cost of the venue, it’s hugely different. So the actual part that made me married, the part where I had my ceremony was less than £500. I was married in this place. We had a webcam so all my friends and family could join us back home. The main cost really was that we just didn’t have a big reception. We had a great reception for six of us. Don’t get me wrong. One of the things that was really important to us was feeding people we love really well. So we had oysters, we had steak, we had champagne, but it was not for a hundred people, it was for six of us. We spent a lot of money but we did it on the things that we thought were really important. The things that we then had to tell those people were massively reduced so even if you are bringing maybe 10 or 20 people with you, it’s much easier to say, you know what, we’re all going to be in this hotel, we’re going to be in this space, and then we’re going to go up somewhere together, we’re going to end up in a limo, we’re going to end up… My husband went to our wedding on a bus. He wanted to skateboard there but our best man cannot skateboard, so we ditched that one right away. And then because we are already there we didn’t then have to factor in extra cost for a honeymoon. So we took six people with us and probably our overall travel costs on that was about £3,000. So hotel and travel costs massively different to if we’d have just booked, you know, a two week luxury honeymoon somewhere, and we had a fantastic time. So I factored in about £10,000 for a Las Vegas wedding. But like I say that is hugely overestimating what I spent on my wedding. And that’s, you know, I don’t know, many people who are spending that is definitely the top end of it, of a Las Vegas wedding. 

Carly: [00:06:12] I’ve also put some costs in for things like Mauritius. So Mauritius is a really top quality honeymoon destination.

You are looking at about £6,000 there to take a few people out with you. But again you’re looking at a massively cheaper wedding venue. Your reception costs are going to be a lot lower because guess what, when you’re making people fly halfway around the world they suddenly don’t want some free cake and some cheese, they just don’t. You’ll find that you get a lot more people who want to come because actually they really want to be there as part of your wedding. They’re not just there for the chicken dinner. Don’t worry about it. 

Carly: [00:06:50] So if you know, if you do want to take lots of people with you, just expect that not everybody’s going to want to make it, but it does bring your cost down dramatically. And the really common one is that I see a lot of couples who get married in Greece. So you’ll find a lot of big hotels out in Greece will do wedding venue hire as well, in which they’ll combine things like your actual honeymoon stay, accommodation for guests, accommodation for certain people and your reception. And I think because the living costs are so much lower, you’ll find that actually you get some pretty amazing venues for around the £1,000 mark. And then you’ve got a great honeymoon destination. You’re already there, already in the location, you don’t then have to factor that in. And when you think about that in relation to kind of the £27,000 mark, suddenly, you know, £9,000 sounds like a lot, but what you’re getting out of it is still being married, you’ve still got the people with you that you love. 

Carly: [00:07:50] And one of the discussions we had earlier is that some I’ve interviewed… A lot of couples who eloped and a lot of them will say to me, yeah you know, we eloped and there was a couple of us and then we’re going to have a big party when we get home. If you want to have a big party when you get home, a big party usually will cost you less than a big wedding because the suppliers are different. The way that people price their services to you will be different because there is a lot of pressure as a supplier to be a wedding supplier. Because you don’t want to let someone down. When the pressure is off and it’s just someone’s party, suddenly it’s a lot less stress, it’s a lot less pressure and you’ll find that prices come down around that as well. 

Carly: [00:08:35] And so my last thing that I’m going to leave you with is what can you actually do with £27,000. It is so much money.

I mean where I grew up you could probably still buy quite a big house for £27,000. So you know don’t write it off as as a small amount, it certainly is not. The couple that are in the background here are a couple that I interviewed. They actually had a round the world wedding. So the one that’s up in the top right hand corner, that’s New York, that’s them overlooking the New York skyline. The middle ones are actually them in Las Vegas and the one to the left hand side is them overlooking Hong Kong Harbor at the top left. They had three wedding ceremonies all over the world, with different friends and family because they’d lived in those places. The Las Vegas one actually they just did the two of them. They didn’t have any friends or family there. But New York and Hong Kong they had friends and family come too. They did an around the world trip. They were away for four months and they reckon that it cost them about £20,000. 

Carly: [00:09:39] So that’s what £20,000 will buy you. It buys you a lot more than just one day.

So round the world flights, nights in hotels, a lot of marriage licenses if you want to be married in a lot of locations. Celebrant led ceremonies if you just want to do vow renewals. 500 Days of car hire that will get you a long way and will buy you an amazing adventure. It won’t just be one day that you know, that you can’t look back on and think we spent it and it’s gone. Like you say, you might be able to think about what you want to do with that for a very long time. 

Carly: [00:10:16] If you’re interested in finding out about their round the world wedding cos it’s amazing, the link is just at the top of this here. So if you look up Epic Elopmenent, Kelly and Adam are on there and they’re a… They’re just a very interesting couple and they’re still doing interesting things now. They’re currently doing every country in Europe before Brexit happens. So you should join them. They’re very interesting. And that’s it. That’s my what can you do with £27,000. A lot is the answer. 

James: [00:10:44] Fantastic thanks so much Carly, that’s really, really interesting. 

Carly: [00:10:46] I hope that’s inspired you to spend £27,000 on doing something amazing. You might have to save for a little while, but it is worth it. 

James: [00:10:58] Yeah, I don’t think we’ve got quite that much in the piggy bank yet, but you know, maybe in a little while. Hello Terry. We see that you’ve popped in there. 

James: [00:11:19] Right. So Carly. I guess we should ask you what kind of questions guys do you think Brides and Grooms should be asking Carly about elopement? 

Tanya: [00:11:33] For me really it was just about elopement in this country. Do you get many people asking about elopement here because it’s the… 

Carly: [00:11:41] I do. 

Tanya: [00:11:42] I think of America you know American couples elope quite a bit don’t they. 

Carly: [00:11:46] Yes yeah. So one of the reasons American couples tend to elope is that it’s very, very easy to get married in pretty much any State in America.

Even if you’re British. We were having this discussion off air earlier and I was saying actually as a British person, it was still quicker to get married in Las Vegas than it was if I wanted to get married here. So one of the things we found was that the legalities were very simple. If you are British and you want to elope in Britain, it’s actually relatively simple. You still have to give notice but there are a number of places that will allow you to have a small wedding ceremony. So I know a couple of places up in the Lake District for example that do weddings for two, weddings for four, weddings for up to 10 guests etc. And you know stunningly, stunningly beautiful places, but we still have that kind of tradition of oh, all that for a legal wedding, at least having to be indoors which puts a lot of people off when they think of eloping, they’re kind of these big epic vistas that you have etc. So one of the things we talk about when we talk to brides and grooms in this country is that, if you want to elope, what we actually would recommend is that you do the legalities either first or after your ceremony and then we go and do something amazing. But it’s a non-legal ceremony and that actually frees you up to do a lot more. As I’m sure you know. But yeah I mean that’s, that’s it for me. I think for most people if they’re looking in the UK I’d say separate your legal marriage from your ceremony because that’s going to make it so much easier and open up the world to you really. 

Tanya: [00:13:28] Just tying back into your your wedding moon thing is with destination weddings. That’s where I heard of the wedding moon where there were people who were doing the legal stuff here. So go to the register office doing the, you know, the £50 legal bit, and then taking their family overseas and having a ceremony there. Which is something that I would do or local celebrant would do. But as you say separating the two. 

Carly: [00:13:54] Yeah. I just recently met a couple who contacted me about organising their elopement. Where they’ve already had their ceremony in England but they didn’t do it legally and they’re now going to Las Vegas on their honeymoon, and they’re going to do the legalities in Vegas because it’s easier and they’re British, they’re a British couple. It’s frustrating as I’m sure you can feel, having been a registrar before. 

Tanya: [00:14:31] What’s frustrating for me is I’m actually legally entitled to marry couples in America. I set myself up for most states but unfortunately Nevada isn’t one of them. I would love to do Vegas Weddings but unfortunately not legally able to. But most other states in America I can, and they would be legal weddings. 

Carly: [00:14:53] My favorite fact that I tell people all the time is if you get married in Colorado you can actually marry yourselves. You don’t actually need a celebrant at all. You don’t need anything, you can just go and sign your own paperwork and off you go. It’s amazing. I love that. I think that’s the… what a great forward thinking society. Just sign some papers it’ll be fine, it’s great. 

James: [00:15:18] That’s amazing. So Terry I know we’re going to drop you in the hot seat here a little bit because you didn’t see the whole of Carly’s presentation. But have you got any questions you think brides and grooms should be asking Carly about elopement. 

Terry: [00:15:36] Not really, it’s not something I’ve thought about. It’s not something that crossed my path that often, it has, especially when people are going to somewhere like Gretna Green. I have actually done a wedding cake that went up there so obviously have to think about transporting things. If somebody decides to take everything with them. But, and I have said, we have had them go abroad to Ireland and I think we had one go to Holland. But there again you’ve got to remember it’s getting things there. You have to pay for a seat on the plane if you’re going abroad. 

James: [00:16:13] A seat for the cake. 

Terry: [00:16:16] For the cake, yes! 

James: [00:16:16] Like it! 

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