Only a few generations ago, the leaks had a scandalous smell. They were associated more with the Romeo and Juliet types and shotgun weddings than they were with prudent couples trying to save money.
Even the definition of “leak” has changed. Traditionally it meant that the only people in attendance were the couple, the officiant and the required witnesses, and the wedding took place in secret, perhaps on the courthouse steps. Today, it is generally accepted that a wedding with a guest list under the age of 10 can be called an elopement. It’s even smaller than what is often called a “micro” or small wedding, where the guest list can reach a whopping 30 people.
A recent Helzberg Diamonds poll found that 91 percent of single millennials would consider eloping. It also found that three out of five young married couples would choose to elope rather than have a traditional wedding again.
One of the most attractive aspects of the leak is the money-saving factor. Runaways spend much less than half what a traditional ceremony would cost. The average American wedding cost $ 19,000 in 2020 (that relatively low figure was partly due to severe downsizing and social distancing regulations due to the pandemic; in 2019 it was $ 28,000). Brides magazine reports that leaks typically cost between $ 50 and $ 5,000.
But what if there was a way to even split the cost of your escape? This gives you the opportunity to get creative, choose which items you think are most important, and be able to splurge even more for your honeymoon.
15 ways to save money by escaping
Two wedding planners who specialize in dream escapes offered their ideas on how to look at pennies without sacrificing a memorial experience.
Erika Hernandez, owner of The Greatest Adventure Weddings and Elopements serving the Pacific Northwest, began planning weddings in 2012 after noticing the growing popularity of adventure weddings and escapes. Laura Coleman is the production manager for Simply Eloped, which plans ceremonies across the country.
One of the best things about leaks is that you don’t have to live up to the expectations of a traditional wedding.
Coleman recalls some of the ways his clients put their own spin on their leaks.
“Do you want your dad to walk you down the hall? Sure! Want to skip the traditional vows and take them in Klingon? Hell yes! Do it! And guess what? You don’t have to wear white. There have been some incredible leaks where the dress is green, purple or, best of all, black, ”she says.
Before we get into more fun stuff, Hernandez told me the reality he gives clients when they plan escapes: Like everything else, you get what you pay for. In other words, you can’t expect a Kardashian-level celebration on a standard budget, let alone one that saves costs. Still, there are many ways to save money without sacrificing quality.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West reportedly spent $ 2.8 million on their 2014 wedding ceremony to a whopping $ 30 million, including pre-event festivities. He filed for divorce in 2021.
Without further ado, here are the 15 best ways to save money from Coleman and Hernandez on the run:
1. The clothes
You can rent clothes, buy ready-to-wear items instead of made-to-order, or buy something used. (There are some amazing thrift stores that even carry new designer dresses and dresses from previous seasons. Some good online stores that sell rarely used dresses and accessories are Still White, Used Wedding Dresses, Almost Newlyweds and even Facebook Marketplace is worth a look.
2. The relics
Take advantage of family heirlooms or vintage clothing. “Your mother or future mother-in-law most likely has a boxed dress in her closet that is probably back in fashion,” says Coleman.
3. The Flowers
Be thrifty with your bouquet. Make your own package of beautiful flowers or buy a pre-made bouquet at a local market.
4. The sound system
Use your own technology. Rather than renting an expensive professional speaker, a bluetooth speaker connected to your phone is light to pack and works well for the ceremony and first dance.
5. Drinks for adults
Save money on alcohol. Instead of having a full bar, consider creating an exclusive cocktail named after an inside joke that you share with your friends or a nickname that you have as a couple.
6. The style
Do your own hairstyle and makeup. “An intermediate option that we love is to teach a lesson with a hairdresser and makeup artist, so even if you go simple. You have a couple of options a day, practice a bit, and they can recommend which products to use to make sure your hair doesn’t frizz in the rain or your mascara doesn’t fall down your face after the ceremony, ”Hernandez says.
7. The food
Choose quality over quantity of food. Have a beautiful picnic with a charcuterie board or just drinks and dessert. This is more intimate than dining out and less expensive than hiring a personal caterer / chef.
8. The place
Use public land. If you were to have the ceremony and reception in a private location, the cost would be similar to a much larger wedding party due to the rental fee. Instead, use a scenic location in a park or on government-owned land. There are 423 beautiful national parks in America, so you can be sure there is one just a short drive from you. Permits generally cost around $ 100. For decorations, see the next tip.
9. The decoration
There is a way to get your decoration for free; To go outside! “The beauty of outdoor getaways is that nature is your decoration. Let Mother Nature do all the work for you. Trees are your decoration, ”says Coleman.
10. The location
Escape where you are. Travel can often be the highest cost. An escape doesn’t have to be in the most epic place, it can be just as beautiful if it escapes somewhere closer to home that is meaningful to both of you.
11. The cake
You don’t need a traditional cake. “Especially if you’re not cake people – go with cake, donuts, cookies! All much less expensive options, ”says Hernández.
12. The date
Leak on a business day. Providers have more availability and more flexibility in the number of hours they are willing to reserve. For example, if they can book a 10-hour package on a Saturday, during peak season, they can choose to book that wedding instead of a four-hour getaway.
13. The Officiant
Don’t pay more for an officiant you don’t know. “If you are having a small group of guests on your escape, ask a friend or family member to officiate the ceremony. In some places, like Colorado, you can officiate on your own, which means you don’t need an officiant at all, ”Hernandez says.
14. The accommodations
Don’t feel the need to stay in a 5-star hotel to create memories. “Hotels can be expensive, so opt for a nice Airbnb near you. I’ve even seen some couples rent a van and a sweet conversion camp, ”says Coleman.
If you want to choose a more remote location, keep an eye out for flight deals. There are tons of websites that will notify you if a flight is discounted for any reason.
Don’t skimp on memories
One thing you shouldn’t go in the middle of?
“We don’t recommend skimping on vendors, especially photographers and videographers. Not only will you keep your photos / videos to remember for the rest of your lives, but they are the best way to share your day with those who couldn’t be there with you, ”says Hernández.
At the end of the day, weddings are about celebrating your love with your significant other and family and friends who are delighted that you have found your special someone. You could spend $ 1 million on a wedding but still have a miserable marriage. Just look at the recent influx of celebrity divorces. Leaks are a perfect way to save money that you and your growing family can use in the long run. Down payment on the house, anyone?
Olivia Smith is a writer based in Washington, DC, who has experience in public and political advocacy work. She is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.