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Elopements: Affordable Wedding Photography Vancouver

Picture of All images by Pursell Photography. 
All images by Pursell Photography. 

Quality Photography Experience That Is Different.

In Canada, the average cost of a traditional wedding hovers around CAD $30,000, and as sought-after Vancouver wedding and elopement photographers, we consistently capture luxury weddings exceeding $100,000. However, for couples seeking affordable wedding photography in Vancouver, elopements offer a more budget-friendly alternative. Elopements in Vancouver typically range from CAD $2,500 to CAD $15,000, presenting a significant cost difference that can be attributed to several factors.

Elopements offer flexibility in venue selection, allowing couples to choose unique, non-traditional locations that often come with lower price tags. This flexibility extends to affordable wedding photography in Vancouver, as photographers can work in diverse settings. Seasonal flexibility and a condensed schedule further reduce expenses, as do the minimal accommodation needs and reduced invitation costs. These factors contribute to making elopements an attractive option for couples looking for both memorable experiences and affordable wedding photography in Vancouver.

With fewer guests, simpler decor, and a streamlined vendor team, elopements present a more affordable yet deeply meaningful alternative to traditional weddings. As Vancouver Elopement Photographers, we understand the value of capturing these intimate and cost-effective celebrations.

Flexibility in Vancouver Venue Selection

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Elopements offer unparalleled flexibility when it comes to selecting a venue for your ceremony. Unlike traditional weddings that often require booking popular venues months or even years in advance, elopements allow couples to think outside the box.

  • Outdoor locations in and around Vancouver like beaches, forests, mountains, or parks are popular choices for elopements. These scenic spots provide a beautiful backdrop for intimate nuptials without the high cost of renting a traditional wedding venue. See popular scenic venues to do your research.
  • Many public outdoor spaces allow elopements for free or with an affordable permit, making them budget-friendly options compared to expensive reception halls or country clubs.

elopement first dance

  • Elopements can take place at personally meaningful locations, such as where the couple first met, a favourite hiking trail, or a sentimental family property. Choosing a location with special significance adds a unique touch to the ceremony.
  • The shorter guest list of elopements opens up possibilities for non-traditional venues that can’t accommodate large groups like restaurants, art galleries, museums, or boutique hotels.

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  • Couples can even choose to elope in their own home or backyard for the ultimate in convenience and cost savings.

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According to a report published by The Wedding Report (1), in 2022, couples spent, on average, $5,767.00 for their venues alone. This does not include other costs like catering, rentals, etc.

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So just by avoiding traditional venue fees, an eloping couple could easily save $5,000 – $15,000 or more compared to having a wedding at a traditional venue.

The flexibility to select a venue that speaks to the couple’s personalities and preferences is one of the many appeals of elopements over traditional weddings. By thinking creatively, couples can find a ceremony location that is both affordable and unforgettable.

Cut Costs with Fewer Guests in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland

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One of the most effective ways to reduce costs for an elopement or small wedding is to limit the guest list. Here are some key areas where a smaller guest count leads to significant savings:

  • Venue rental: With fewer guests, you can opt for a smaller, less expensive venue or even choose a free outdoor location like a park or beach. See the best free places to elope around Vancouver.
  • Catering and bar: Food and beverage costs are dramatically reduced with a smaller guest list. You can splurge on a nice restaurant meal for a small group rather than paying for a large catered affair.

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  • Rentals: Fewer guests means less need for tables, chairs, linens, and other rentals, which can add up quickly for larger weddings.
  • Favours and welcome bags: Cutting the guest list reduces or eliminates the need for expensive favours and welcome bags.
  • Invitations and postage: With a smaller guest list, you’ll save on invitation printing and postage costs. You may even opt for digital invites to further reduce expenses.

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Breakdown Of Potential Food and Beverage Savings

  • For a traditional wedding, catering costs for a plated meal can average $75-$100+ per guest. For 100 guests, that’s $7,500-$10,000 just for food.
  • An open bar can cost $15-$90 per person depending on the alcohol package. For 100 guests, that could be $1,500-$9,000.
  • By eloping, the couple only needs to cover their own meal costs, which could be just $100-$300.

By keeping the celebration intimate, you can allocate your budget to what matters most to you, whether that’s hiring an amazing photographer, wearing your dream attire, or creating unforgettable experiences during your elopement.

Minimalist Elopement Decor

Kiss during BC Beach Elopement ceremony
Elopements often require much simpler and more affordable decor compared to traditional weddings. Here are some key ways elopements can save on decor costs:

  • Rely on natural beauty: Many couples choose elopement locations with stunning natural backdrops like mountains, beaches, or forests. This allows them to minimize decor and let the setting take center stage.
  • Fewer floral arrangements: With no aisle to decorate or reception tables to adorn, elopements require far fewer flowers than traditional weddings. A bouquet, boutonniere, and perhaps a small ceremony arch or centrepiece may be all that’s needed.

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  • Minimal rentals: Elopements rarely require the extensive rentals (tables, chairs, linens, etc.) that large weddings do, significantly reducing those costs.
  • Simple lighting: While traditional weddings often have elaborate lighting setups, elopements can rely on natural light or a few simple candles or string lights to create ambiance.
  • DIY elements: Eloping couples can more easily personalize their decor with DIY projects like handwritten signs or photo displays since they need fewer of them.

The smaller scale of elopements allows couples to create an intimate, personalized aesthetic without breaking the bank on extravagant decor.

If couples were to elope and not pay for wedding decor, they could save a substantial amount of money. Here is a detailed breakdown of potential savings based on the provided sources:

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Average Costs of Wedding Decor

  1. Floral Decor:
    • Bridal bouquet: $100 – $300+
    • Bridesmaids’ bouquets: $50 – $150+ each
    • Boutonnieres: $10 – $30+ each
    • Centrepieces: $75 – $200+ each
    • Ceremony floral arrangements: $100 – $500+
    • Aisle decor: $50 – $200+
    • Flower arch or backdrop: $200 – $800+[1][2]047 - forest elopement
  2. Table Decor:
    • Table linens (per table): $15 – $60+
    • Table runners or overlays: $8 – $25+
    • Charger plates: $3 – $15+ each
    • Place settings (per person): $7 – $25+
    • Napkin rings: $2 – $8+ each[1][2]
  3. Lighting:
    • String lights or fairy lights: $60 – $250+
    • Uplighting: $25 – $60+ per fixture
    • Custom monogram or gobo lighting: $200 – $600+
    • Candle decor: $25 – $120+[1][2]
  4. Signage and Stationery:
    • Welcome sign: $60 – $250+
    • Seating chart or escort cards: $60 – $350+
    • Menu cards: $3 – $12+ each
    • Table numbers: $7 – $25+ each
    • Ceremony programs: $2 – $8+ each[1][2]
  5. Backdrop and Drapery:
    • Ceremony backdrop: $120 – $600+
    • Reception draping: $600 – $2,500+
    • Photobooth backdrop: $120 – $350+[1][2]
  6. Rentals:
    • Chairs: $3 – $12+ each
    • Tables: $15 – $75+ each
    • Dance floor: $250 – $1,200+
    • Lounge furniture: $60 – $600+ per piece[1][2]

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Total Potential Savings

Based on the average costs provided, the total potential savings by not paying for wedding decor can be substantial. Here is a rough estimate:

  • Floral Decor: $500 – $3,000+
  • Table Decor: $200 – $1,000+
  • Lighting: $200 – $1,000+
  • Signage and Stationery: $200 – $1,000+
  • Backdrop and Drapery: $200 – $3,000+
  • Rentals: $500 – $2,000+

By eloping and not paying for wedding decor, couples could save anywhere from approximately $1,800 to $11,000 or more, depending on the extent and extravagance of the decor they would have otherwise chosen. This significant range of savings can be redirected towards other aspects of their lives or used to enhance their elopement experience in other ways.

Citations:
[1] https://www.weddingforward.com/wedding-decor-prices/
[2] https://revivalist.com/how-much-are-wedding-decorations/
https://www.brides.com/average-cost-of-wedding-decorations-8419095
https://www.toastevents.ca/blog/the-real-cost-of-wedding-decor

Skip the Wedding Party

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Elopements typically do not include a wedding party, which can lead to significant cost savings for the couple.

  • Traditional weddings often involve multiple bridesmaids and groomsmen who require special attire, accessories, hair styling, and makeup. This can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Elopements avoid these expenses by not having a wedding party.

pre-wedding elopement in the mountains and ocean best photoshoot locations around vancouver in squamish bc

  • Couples who elope can save money on bouquets, boutonnieres, and other floral accessories for the wedding party.
  • Gifts for the wedding party, such as jewelry, cufflinks, or personalized items, are an expected expense in traditional weddings. Elopements eliminate the need for these extra gifts.
  • Some couples may still invite a few close friends or family members to their elopement. However, guests are not expected to fulfill the traditional wedding party duties and expenses, like matching attire or planning pre-wedding events.

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If couples choose to elope and not have a wedding party, they can potentially save a significant amount of money compared to having a traditional wedding with a full wedding party. Here’s a breakdown of the potential savings:

Attire Costs:
No need to purchase attire for bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer, etc. This can save $100-$300+ per member of the wedding party.
The couple only needs to pay for their own wedding attire (dress, suit, etc.)

Hair and Makeup:
No costs for hair and makeup services for the entire wedding party, which can range from $75-$300+ per person.

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Flowers:
Only need bouquets/boutonnieres for the couple, saving costs on additional floral arrangements for the wedding party ($50-$200+ per person).

Gifts:
No need to purchase gifts for the wedding party members, which can cost $25-$300+ per person depending on the gift.

Transportation:
May not need transportation services like limos/party buses to transport the wedding party, saving $500-$1,500+.

Accommodations:
No need to pay for hotel room blocks for the wedding party, which can cost thousands depending on the number of rooms and nights.

According to some estimates, having a full wedding party of 5 bridesmaids and 5 groomsmen can add $5,000-$10,000+ to the total wedding costs for attire, hair, makeup, flowers, gifts, transportation and accommodations.

By eloping without a wedding party, couples can easily save that $5,000-$10,000 range, significantly reducing their overall expenses. The tradeoff is not having the traditional experience of having close friends and family members standing beside them at the ceremony.

Condensed Elopement Schedule

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Elopements typically have a much shorter timeline compared to traditional weddings, which can significantly reduce costs.

  • Traditional weddings are full-day events that include a ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, and often other activities like a first look or grand exit. This longer timeline requires more time from vendors like photographers, videographers, caterers, and coordinators, increasing their fees.
  • In contrast, elopements are usually just a few hours long, focusing on the ceremony and couple portraits. This shorter timeline means less time is needed from vendors, reducing their costs.

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  • With a shorter event, elopements require less food and drink. Instead of providing a full meal and hours of bar service, eloping couples might opt for a small cake cutting and champagne toast or a brief cocktail hour with light appetizers.
  • The compressed timeline of elopements also reduces the need for extensive rentals like chairs, tables, and linens, as the event does not include a formal seated dinner reception.
  • Elopements often take place entirely at one location, such as a scenic overlook or beach, rather than moving between a ceremony site and a reception venue. This eliminates the need for transportation costs and saves time.

By simplifying the wedding day schedule, elopements can cut down on vendor hours, food and beverage quantities, and logistical expenses, resulting in a more affordable celebration focused on the couple’s union.

Streamlined Vancouver Vendor Team

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Elopements typically require far fewer vendors compared to big traditional weddings, resulting in significant cost savings for the couple.

  • Traditional weddings often involve a large team of vendors, including a venue, wedding planner, caterer, band or DJ, florist, videographer, hair and makeup artists, and more. Hiring this many professionals can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
  • In contrast, elopements usually only require a few key vendors:
    • Officiant: To legally marry the couple. This can be a hired professional, or in some areas, a friend or family member can become ordained to perform the ceremony. See the paperwork you need to get married in BC.
    • Photographer: To capture intimate moments and stunning portraits. Elopement photography packages are often more affordable than full wedding day coverage. See more about our photography.
    • Florist (optional): To provide a bouquet, boutonniere, and perhaps a small ceremony arch or centrepiece. With fewer arrangements needed, floral costs are much lower for elopements. See more on how to elope in BC.
  • Some eloping couples may also choose to hire a videographer, musician, or hair and makeup artist, but these are not essential. The reduced vendor team helps keep costs down.

167 - snowboard wedding whistler village elope micro

By cutting out the need for a large reception with catering, bar service, rentals, and entertainment, elopements can save couples a significant portion of a typical wedding budget.

The smaller scale and simplified logistics of elopements allow couples to invest in a few high-quality vendors they truly connect with rather than juggling the expense and coordination of a large vendor team.

Non-Traditional Vancouver Venue Choices

009 Bloedel Conservatory rainforest wedding
Elopements offer the opportunity to choose unique, non-traditional venues that reflect the couple’s personalities and interests. Here are some creative venue ideas for an unforgettable elopement:

  • Museums, libraries, or art galleries: Perfect for couples who appreciate culture, history, or the arts.
  • Zoos, aquariums, or botanical gardens: Ideal for animal lovers or those who want to be surrounded by natural beauty.
  • Historic buildings, landmarks, or monuments: Offers a sense of timelessness for history buffs.

the-distillery-wedding-venue-13

  • Breweries, wineries, or distilleries: Great for foodies and craft beverage enthusiasts who want to incorporate a tasting or tour.
  • Private estates, villas, or Airbnbs: Allows for a more intimate, customizable setting with built-in accommodations.
  • Boats, yachts, or cruise ships: Perfect for couples who love the water or want a scenic, seafaring adventure.

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  • Theaters, music halls, or concert venues: Ideal for performing arts or music lovers.

The flexibility and creativity of elopements allow couples to choose a venue that truly speaks to their shared passions and creates an unforgettable experience.

Seasonal Flexibility

033 - mountain top elopements
Elopements offer greater flexibility in choosing a date and season compared to traditional weddings, which can lead to cost savings.

  • Couples can select a date that works best for their schedule and budget without having to compete for popular wedding dates like summer weekends.
  • Eloping during the off-season or shoulder season in Vancouver and certain destinations can result in lower costs for accommodations, vendors, and activities.
  • Venues and vendors may offer discounted rates for weekday or off-season elopements when demand is lower.

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  • Flexibility in date selection allows couples to choose a time with ideal weather conditions for their desired location, such as mild temperatures for hiking or colourful foliage for fall photos.
  • Planning an elopement with a shorter timeline is easier than organizing a large wedding, giving couples the option to take advantage of last-minute deals or spontaneous opportunities.

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By not being tied to a specific date or peak wedding season, eloping couples can often secure better rates and availability for their desired vendors and accommodations. This flexibility helps make elopements a more affordable option while still allowing for a personalized and memorable experience.

Lower Accommodation Costs In The Lower Mainland

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Elopements often require fewer accommodations compared to traditional weddings, resulting in significant cost savings for the couple and their guests.

  • With a smaller guest list, couples can book more affordable accommodations like a vacation rental home or a boutique hotel rather than reserving a large block of rooms.
  • Elopements that take place in the couple’s hometown or a nearby location may not require any accommodations at all, eliminating this expense entirely.
  • For destination elopements, couples can choose budget-friendly options like Airbnbs or camping sites instead of luxury resorts, allowing them to allocate more funds toward experiences or photography. See ideas for adventure elopements.

037 wedding photos at Parq Vancouver hotel

  • The shorter timeline of elopements means that even if accommodations are needed, they are typically only required for a night or two rather than the extended weekend often associated with traditional weddings.
  • If the couple does invite a handful of guests, they can consider covering a portion of the accommodation costs as a way to thank them for attending, which is still likely to be less expensive than hosting a large wedding.

By minimizing the need for extensive accommodations, elopements can help couples save money while still creating a memorable and intimate experience in a beautiful location.

Reduced Invitation Expenses

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Elopements typically require far fewer invitations compared to traditional weddings, resulting in significant cost savings for the couple.

  • With a smaller guest list, eloping couples can save on the cost of printing and mailing invitations, RSVP cards, and other stationery.
  • Many couples who elope choose to send simple announcement cards after the fact rather than formal invitations, which can be more affordable.
  • Digital invitations or wedding websites are popular cost-effective options for elopements, eliminating the need for physical stationery altogether.
  • Skipping extras like envelope liners, wax seals, or custom illustrations helps keep invitation costs down for elopements.
  • The smaller scale of elopements also reduces the need for additional stationery like programs, menus, or place cards, further cutting expenses.

Evoto

By minimizing the number of invitations needed and opting for simpler designs or digital alternatives, eloping couples can allocate more of their budget to other priorities while still sharing their happy news with loved ones.

Average Cost of Wedding Invitations:

  • According to multiple sources, the average cost for wedding invitations for 100 guests ranges from $400 to $800.
  • This cost typically includes the invitations, RSVP cards, envelopes, and any additional enclosure cards.

Elopements: Meaningful and Affordable Way to Get Married In British Columbia

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Here are the key reasons elopements are more affordable than traditional weddings:

  • Smaller guest list: Fewer guests means reduced costs for food, drinks, rentals, invitations, and favours.
  • Simpler decor: Elopements often rely on the natural beauty of the location, requiring minimal flowers, rentals, and lighting.
  • No wedding party: Without bridesmaids or groomsmen, couples save on attire, gifts, and accessories.

elopement-barnet-oean-mountain-sunset-dramatic pre wedding-Affordable Wedding Photography

  • Shorter timeline: Elopements typically last just a few hours, reducing vendor fees and food/drink expenses.
  • Fewer vendors: Most elopements only require an officiant, photographer, and possibly a florist, streamlining costs.
  • Unique locations: Outdoor spots like parks or beaches are often free or low-cost compared to traditional venues.

By opting for a smaller, simpler celebration, couples who elope can save thousands of dollars while still having a meaningful and personalized wedding day that reflects their unique love story.

Book Your British Columbia Affordable wedding Photography Package Today

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If you’re dreaming of an intimate, personalized elopement that captures your unique love story, Pursell Photography is here to make it a reality. With our affordable a-la-carte packages starting at just $800, we offer:

  • Customizable coverage options to suit your needs, from a short ceremony to a full adventure.
  • The guidance of two experienced photographers to create stunning images in any location or lighting.
  • A $500 product credit to choose the prints, albums, and digital files you love most.
  • An online ordering session to select your favourite photos and design artwork for your home.

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Our goal is to make your elopement stress-free, meaningful, and tailored to your vision. We’ll be your guide every step of the way, from location scouting to capturing all the candid moments and epic portraits of your day.

Ready to start planning the elopement of your dreams? Get in touch with us today to check our availability and learn more about how we can help you create an unforgettable experience that celebrates your love story, your way.

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