This year, the average wedding cost is $29,000. And in some cities, that number can reach as high as $35,000. But Dallas-based entrepreneur Jennifer Allen believes you don’t have to spend a fortune to make your special day one to remember. Her company, Just Elope, helps couples plan elopements and micro weddings that are both beautiful and budget-friendly. And since 2017, she’s helped nearly 400 couples tie the knot without breaking the bank. Just Elope takes care of every detail. All you have to do is show up and say, “I Do.”
I caught up with Just Elope’s Founder and CEO, Jennifer Allen, to learn how she got into the business of giving couples the affordable and stress-free weddings they didn’t know they could have.
Allen’s business idea was inspired by her own unremarkable wedding experience, when her then-boyfriend proposed just before learning of his deployment. With just days to play her wedding, Allen says their only options were City Hall or Vegas.
“I was supposed to start planning this extravagant wedding, and I quickly realized that my definition of extravagant was more than I could afford,” she said.
After settling for City Hall, Allen held on to hope that she and her husband could have a big wedding one day. But once kids and bills came into the picture, she quickly realized that a big event wasn’t in the plans.
In 2017, Allen decided to create a business that prevents other couples from choosing between running off to Vegas or City Hall, and Just Elope was born.
“It’s like that saying, ‘those who can’t do teach.’ I say those who can’t have a nice wedding throw them for other people,” she said.
Allen says her clients come from all backgrounds, including some well-known couples ,including rapper and reality star Da Brat and Social Media Guru Jesseca “Judy” Harris-Dupart and Jaqui Rice, the CEO of GOAT Fuel and daughter of football legend Jerry Rice.
“My best customers don’t need to be convinced. They’re just thankful they’ve found a company that can give them what they want,” she said.
Couples look to Just Elope to coordinate everything from the venue to the photographer and curate a customized package for between 0 and 50 guests. And they rely on Allen’s partnerships with businesses across the Dallas area to get the best rates. The Dallas Arboretum, the rooftop of the Lumen Hotel and the Lazy S Hacienda are just a few of the beautiful backdrops couples can choose from.
“We give [our clients] pricing for 2-hour time slots. And it’s a one-stop shop that involves zero thinking on their part,” Allen says. “If they were to book the locations on their own, it would cost thousands of dollars just for the venue to open the doors.”
Allen pitched her micro-wedding idea to venues as a way to help fill scheduling gaps and convinced them they were leaving money on the table.
“Monday through Thursday, nine times out of ten, your venue is open. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the evening slots may be full, but what if we came in at 9:00 am and were gone by 11?” she said.
Just Elope packages range from $500 to $6500 and wrap everything up from the ceremony to the first bite of cake into a 90-minute ceremony.
As Just Elope grows, Allen hopes she can help more couples take the stress and the debt out of their wedding day.
“Even if you’re doing something small, I want you to have an intentional day – get up, get beautiful, wear a pretty dress. Make it a day where you feel good,” she said.