According to The Knot, the average wedding in the USA is sitting at about $35k. Whether that’s the norm where you live, or absurd, there’s no denying that weddings come with some hefty price tags, even “budget” ones. There’s a loophole we all know about but most don’t consider too seriously: elope. “Couples who elope to Europe spend — even at the luxury end of the scale — half of that, and often much, much less” says Maddie Mae, an adventure elopement photographer based out of Colorado. “And,” she adds, “that includes their honeymoon.” As far as where to go, “Each country in Europe has its own rules […] and some countries lend themselves to eloping more than others,” says Mae. She points out there’s also the option to do the formal paperwork in your home country, either before or after, and then the eloping comes down to the emotional aspects of reading your vows and exchanging rings, rather than legalities. Regardless, when you look at the cost of a wedding these days, consider what you could get even if you went all out on flights, photographers, a romantic set up, dinners, and a posh hotel… it’s worth mulling over. While you do that, let me tempt you further with 17 jaw-dropping photos of elopements across Europe. Ready to run away?