How Much Does It Cost To Get Married Without A Wedding

If you’re curious about how much does it cost to get married without a wedding it can be as affordable as under $500. Of course, some couples might want a more personalized and unique experience even if they have a wedding without a marriage ceremony. 

For comparison, you’ll also know the cost or expenses you might get if you want to modify a city hall elopement slightly. And for ideas, here’s what to do instead of a wedding.


How Much Does It Cost To Get Married Without A Wedding

Getting married without a wedding can range from $200 to $5,000. We’ll discuss the budget breakdown for this marriage style while ensuring that your union remains valid and legal. 


Costs of marriage legalities

You can get married without a wedding by having a city hall elopement setup. And for this approach of getting married legally, you can expect to spend at least $200. 

While you can omit a traditional ceremony with a venue and guests, it’s still important that your marriage will be legal and recognized. The cheapest way for this is a civil or city hall wedding that most couples who want an intimate ceremony or elopement often choose. 

The costs to marry at a city hall vary from place to place, so it’s essential to check with your county clerk’s office to know the expenses to expect. It’s a marriage without a wedding since civil ceremonies are quick and only require a witness or two, depending on the state’s requirements. 

A sample budget breakdown for a civil or city hall elopement would be at least $35 for the marriage license, $25 for the civil ceremony, and other potential expenses that the state might include, like the fee for the officiant and witnesses if you’re not bringing any. Overall, it can be anywhere from $200 to $500. 


Cost of wedding vendors

The average wedding cost is about $28,000, but if you’re planning on getting married without a wedding ceremony, it shouldn’t cost as much. You won’t need to allocate expenses for the venue, catering, stationery, and postage, especially if it’s an elopement where the couple won’t have guests. 

So how much does it cost to get married without a ceremony but still make it sentimental and unique? After acquiring the legalities for your marriage, you can still allocate a budget for other vendors to make your civil wedding or elopement personal.

This could mean hiring a photographer, getting custom wedding attire or hiring wedding stylists, buying meaningful wedding bands, and then treating yourself to a dream location for your honeymoon. And with these vendors, your initial budget of $200 can go up to $5,000, depending on the vendor fees and specializations. 

Couples who get married without a wedding ceremony might also opt for a reception-only wedding. While this is still cheaper than having a ceremony and a reception, the expenses for the reception venue, catering, alcohol, favors, and musician can cost you up to $15,000. 

To help you plan the costs for this approach to celebrating your marriage, you can read our guide on how to throw a reception-only wedding


What Is The Cheapest Way Of Getting Married?

The cheapest marriage would be something intimate or even considered an elopement. You won’t need to spend for the venue and guests’ needs like stationery, favors, catering, and drinks.

But of course, you want to get married legally, so most couples elope at the city hall. Civil weddings are cheaper since there’s no ceremony venue, and you can comfortably explain to friends and family that you can’t have many guests with you. 

Alternatively, you can always opt for a micro wedding or a ceremony with under 20 guests. If you still want to celebrate, an elopement and a reception-only wedding would cost less than a traditional back-to-back ceremony and reception. 

Are you curious about how much does it cost to get married at the city hall or courthouse? Know the budget needed for a civil wedding by checking how much does a courthouse wedding cost


What Are The Requirements For Secret Marriage?

While expenses can vary significantly, the cheapest way to get married without a marriage is an elopement. However, you still want a recognized and valid union, so you should know the requirement that states often request for elopements or secret marriage.

Here is everything to accomplish for a couple interested in getting married at the city hall in secret: 

  • Choose a city hall where you want to get married and know their specific requirements for the marriage and marriage license
  • Accomplish the legalities and apply for the marriage license
  • Make an appointment for your secret marriage
  • Prepare the ceremony requirements that vary per state; they can be ID documents, the marriage license, fees for the officiant or ceremony, and witnesses
  • Have a photographer document your marriage
  • Buy the wedding rings and wedding outfits
  • Even though it’s a secret marriage, you’ll avoid conflicts with your closest family and friends if you let them know that you eloped and why you chose to do that kind of wedding



Was this discussion helpful? You just learned how much does it cost to get married without a wedding, which can be $200 to $15,000. 

A civil wedding or city hall elopement would be ideal for a valid marriage, and it’s also cheaper than a traditional wedding with a venue and guests. But of course, you would still want a personal experience, so set a budget for a photographer and other vendors. 

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