The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on carefully laid wedding plans for couples. Experts anticipate several years of financial trouble for the $300 billion wedding industry.
Charity Parrish, owner of The Elopement Co., is sympathetic to the plight of those trying to adjust their wedding plans. The elopement expert, whose business was up 50 percent this year even pre-pandemic, wanted to find a way to create an equally romantic alternative experience for couples.
On August 1, her business will partner with other local vendors to put on an “Elopement Day” for couples affected by COVID-19. Participating couples get a turnkey elopement experience, allowing them to legally marry and celebrate with a small group of loved ones, even if their original plans are on hold.
Parrish says, “Maybe couples are scrambling like, ‘How can we still get married?’ or they’ve postponed their larger celebration but are looking for something nice now. It’s a slight twist on a traditional celebration and a way to offer something fun and sweet.”
How it works: For $2,600, couples receive an all-inclusive package featuring a 15-minute ceremony at The Andrews Farm in Midland, about 20 miles east of Charlotte. The venue usually charges up to $3,000 for weddings. With their package, they’ll have an hour-long reception, photography, an officiant, florals, a mini cake from Delish Cakery, and a mobile bar offering beer, wine, and champagne from The Grey Duck Co. The goal is to make the experience as low-stress as possible with no chance of decision fatigue, but couples still have choices when it comes to basics like the color of flowers.
COVID-19 precautions: Parrish says they have strict procedures in place to keep couples and their guests safe. Weddings will be held outside (weather permitting) and couples are limited to 10 guests. All vendors will be wearing masks, and the elopements are staggered throughout the day to prevent the mixing of non-related groups, plus thorough sanitation in-between weddings. There are seven Elopement Day spots available, with a few still remaining.
How to participate: Click here to get in touch with The Elopement Co. about booking your spot.
Parrish explains, “Couples can still have a really sweet day. Maybe it’s not exactly what you’d planned for, but it’ll still feel like a great celebration. Then, if you want, you can have your larger celebration later when things settle down.”