Lake Tahoe is one of the most stunning (and I think possibly underrated and unknown still?) places on the West Coast! When it comes to eloping in Lake Tahoe – as with anything – there is a spectrum of what you can expect to spend! This guide is going to break that down for you.
One of the important things to highlight about eloping is that there are no rules – and no one is telling you what you can or can’t do or should or shouldn’t do. However, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be open minded in what eloping will look like for you. A lot of people will come into planning an elopement thinking it’s just a standard 2 hour thing and that’s it. If that’s what you want, I love that for you! But if that’s what you’re envisioning because no one has ever told you it can be more, I am probably going to blow your mind!
Here’s a quick table of contents for you to find exactly what you’re looking for:
Different kinds of elopements
Estimated Vendor Costs
Vendors to Consider for your Lake Tahoe Elopement
Sample Lake Tahoe Elopement Budget
1. Simple Adventure Elopement Budget for Lake Tahoe
2. Mid-range Adventure Elopement Budget for Lake Tahoe
3. All-out Adventure Micro Wedding Budget for Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe Elopement Packages
If you’re looking for general advice on How to Elope in Lake Tahoe – click here!
There are soooooo many different types of elopements and no one kind is better than another. I specialize in creating luxe experience based elopements that are not about doing less, but being part of more. However, this isn’t everyone’s desire. Some folks really just want to have their ceremony, take a few photos, and be done! If that’s you, that’s ok too.
This guide is based on the kinds of elopements I help plan and execute – as an elopement photographer my job is so much more complex than just taking photos. I am very hands on to ensure that my couples have a top notch experience in an incredible location.
Elopements are no longer considered just the two of you or all about “running away” – they’re about being empowered to have a day that is authentic to who you are. I work with couples who have up to 25 guests – at which point I’d consider it more of an adventure “micro wedding” – but in general a lot of people will still refer to anything under that number as an “elopement”.
Everyone has a different idea of what their day is going to look like and the priority of each vendor – but typically the most commonly included vendors for elopements are:
At minimum, I would say almost all couples have a photographer and officiant.
Average costs vary for each vendor, so of course be sure to do your own research depending on where you’re eloping! But, as someone who has lived in Lake Tahoe my whole life and works with dozens of couples every year to create epic Lake Tahoe elopements, I have a good amount of insight on the average costs for the vendors listed above. Here’s a breakdown of the cost ranges you can expect for your Lake Tahoe elopement – these numbers are based off of the 2023/24 wedding season.
Photography is all over the place depending on hours, the services provided, experience, location, etc., so it’s important to familiarize yourself with what services you need so you find the right photographer for you! For me personally, I provide couples with location assistance (so you don’t have to worry about it), timeline planning, vendor recommendations, and local expertise in addition to standard coverage. I also include a printed album in my collections which impacts the cost – but that’s not a standard practice. With all of that said – Elopement Photography can range from $2500 for a few hours, to $10k+ depending on what you’re looking for in total.
Video, just like Photo, has quite a range. I have seen videography packages for $2500 all the way up to $10k+.
Professional officiants range from $400-$1000 in Lake Tahoe
The cost of flowers for your elopement is dependent on how many you want! In general, for couples who are just looking for a bouquet & boutonniere, you can expect $400-$800 depending on the season, kinds of flowers, and overall size of your bouquet.
This is one vendor who I will always, no matter what, tell you not to skimp on! Bad makeup is worse than your everyday makeup – always. Quality HMU artists average $600-$900 for elopements in Lake Tahoe. My main gal is
I loooove catered meals because it means you can be in your own space and not have to rush out of a restaurant or worry about being on time to one, either! Catering varies depending on the food you choose of course – but I think a general estimate is $120-$150 per person. This does not include rental fees for any dinnerware, having a bartender (a lot of companies offer this for small events!) and the chef fee itself.
If you choose to have a cake, you can expect anywhere from $50-$250 for it.
This one is SUCH a spectrum and will depend on season, exact location, amenities, etc. Rental houses in Lake Tahoe range from $180-$1500/night. Huge difference, I know! The size of the house, location (like if it’s right on the water or has an epic panoramic view) will determine cost. Peak season also impacts this – so if you’re looking for a great spot with a little bit of a discount, off season can be the way to go! I always recommend staying for 4+nights if you can! Giving yourself a solid day to get here, a day before the elopement to chill, the day of the elopement, and then the day after to wind down is crucial to a great experience.
Some couples will choose to incorporate sailing, snowmobiling, skiing, rock climbing, etc., into their elopement. These are all varied in cost depending on season and how many people are participating – but I can’t recommend enough exploring the options!
Coming up with a budget for your elopement can be hard – especially in a place like Lake Tahoe that has it’s own micro economy and where the wedding industry is hyper specific. None of these budgets take into account getting here – so please keep that in mind! Lastly – I’m using my photography packages as the placeholder because it’s what I know – but as with anything, there is a range! It’s important however to ensure you’re booking someone who knows the area and will advocate for your specific vision for your elopement.
This budget is based off of a small elopement with no guests. Be sure to check out the notes below.
4 nights @ $200/night
$800 before taxes and fees
I’d say this is the most common kind of day I see, and a really comprehensive breakdown for what a lot of elopements look like on the west coast, not just Lake Tahoe. Again, using one of my real packages as the base for photography. This is based off an elopement with 10 guests.
4 nights @ $550/night
$2,200 before taxes and fees
$1,200 before tip
Dinner for 12 people at an average of $180/person (catered/private chef)
$13,150 (dinner out) – $14,110 (catered meal)
If you were going to plan a big wedding and want to throw it out the window but still have the most epic of days in the most epic of places – here’s what I’d do! This is based on a guest list of under 20.
4 nights @ $1120/night
$4500 before taxes and fees
If you’re on the hunt for a stress free execution but don’t want to skip anything, I offer elopement packages that leave you with the task of simply getting here, getting your outfits, and deciding where you’re staying/what you’re eating. Vendors & logistics are all taken care of!
An 8 hour day (including photography, timeline, location, and an album) with vendors to cover hair & makeup, florals, and an officiant is $9800. Inquire below to get started!