Elopement Planning: Part II

Elopement Planning: Part II

Last week, QC tutor Heather Vickery introduced us to a new service in the wedding planning industry: elopement planning! Today, she tells us all about Destiny Chicago, the elopement package Greatest Expectations offers, and gets into the marketing that goes into promoting this unique service.

All photos in this post are from events produced by Greatest Expectations.

To give you a clear understanding of my Destiny Chicago package, the breakdown is as follows:

  • In-person assistance in obtaining a marriage license
  • Personal wedding concierge throughout the wedding day
  • A private car for the engaged couple for up to three hours
  • Personal flowers (either two boutonnières, two bouquets or one of each)
  • A petite two-tier wedding cake that serves up to 20 people
  • Up to two hours of photography coverage plus a disc of high resolution images
  • A celebrant to officiate the wedding ceremony (basic ceremony included)
  • Reservations for the post-ceremony celebration
  • Seven hours of miscellaneous wedding planning that can be used for anything else the client wishes

Elopement photos by Fig Media Photographer

Photography: Fig Media

Pricing the Elopement Package

This entire package is available to clients for $3,950 for up to 20 guests and $25 dollars per guest thereafter with a maximum of 40 guests. Once you get beyond 40 guests, it’s really not considered an elopement anymore but rather a very small wedding. It is important to note that this cost does not include things like food and beverage costs, hair and makeup artists, and additional photography or transportation hours. With the seven hours of planning, I can help clients arrange for any additional items they want and then we simply add those expenses to the total package.

Elopement photography by Tuan Bui Photography

Photography: Tuan Bui Photography

It is also worth mentioning that with larger weddings, I never have the client’s expenses go through me. With elopements, however, providing a complete package, a one-stop shop, is really appealing and has been extremely beneficial to the client and very lucrative for my business.

Putting It All Together

In order to put this great little package together, I reached out to vendors I have really wonderful relationships with. We talked about the volume of elopements I anticipated and agreed upon a set rate for each event and, in many cases, what their upgrade options are. It was obvious this would be a mutually beneficial relationship for vendors. Once I knew what the total wholesale package was going to cost, I factored in what I wanted my profit to be.

Another fun aspect to elopements is that they often happen at off-peak times instead of a Saturday night. This is not always the case, but it often is. This is particularly great because, as I am sure you know, wedding professionals are not keen on booking up their time and potentially giving up a big event for an elopement. I like to tuck these mini-weddings into days and times that are not normally open. They fill a very nice gap for everyone involved.

Get Yourself Out There!

I have successfully put myself on the map as an elopement planner to all couples in love. Marketing the package through social media outlets has been very helpful. Be sure to put a lot of (professional) photos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and to tag them properly. In order to make social media work for you, proper tagging is key. Some great hashtags include #elopement #elopeinchicago #chicagoelopement #elopementplanner #miniwedding.

Elopement photography by Tuan Bui Photography

Photography: Tuan Bui Photography

Be sure to talk it up and let people know that you offer a special elopement package and tell interested clients how they can find you! Be available and be of service. Don’t assume that, since these are mini-weddings, the clients don’t want to interview you. Most of my elopement consults happen over the phone or Skype. You still need to build trust with each and every couple that contacts you.

Elopements are so much fun! I find that many elopement couples are even more excited to get married than some of my larger weddings. They have removed the stressful aspect of wedding planning and put their trust in my hands. I take that responsibility seriously. I have had the pleasure and privilege of helping make small wedding dreams come true for couples that, previously, felt their needs could not be properly met, and you can too!

Interested in even more ways to expand your services? Consider wedding proposal planning!

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