Elopement Expert Interview with Dave Westfall Founder and Publisher of WhereToElope.com
Almost everyone knows a couple that has eloped. A big wedding with all the fancy trimmings holds no allure for them. The number of couples who choose elopement over the big traditional wedding increases every year. To accommodate these adventuresome, practical, trending couples there have been an increase of vendors who cater to couples who choose to elope. Whether the couple chooses a local elopement, or a destination elopement the local courthouse or justice of the peace is no longer their only option.
In our day-to-day web search we here at WhereToElope.com (WTE) peruse new blogs or information related to eloping. Our Editors recently came across a magazine interview with an Irish elopement expert. We were thinking, we have our own resident elopement expert, Dave Westfall, Founder and Publisher of (WTE) and author of the book, How to Save 90% on Your Wedding and Still have a Honeymoon. So the editorial staff at WTE gathered a list of questions and presented them to our own Elopement Subject Matter Expert (SME).
WTE: What was your draw to eloping?
DAVE: Because my own marriage in 1968 was a small elopement-style wedding, before eloping was cool. So you could say I have experienced the fears, rejection and excitement of eloping first hand. With my RE/MAX Event Planning background I was my Daughter’s “Wedding Planner”; she had a small garden wedding in 1994. After the ceremony the experienced Minister complimented me on what he called “the best planned wedding” that he had ever attended.
WTE: How did you get the idea for an elopement vendor directory website?
DAVE: In 2011, I discovered the “elopement niche” while consulting with Innkeepers and the Tourism Industry in Northern California who wanted to get into the “small wedding” market. With my SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experience, I found that the keyword terms used to describe that small wedding market were: “elope”, “eloping” and “elopement”. I also saw that elopement was an under-served market and that there was a growing need to provide better information to eloping couples to make it easier for them to find their place to elope.
During the research phase, I found that keyword search results on the Internet Search Engines were confusing depending on the way advertisers chose to be listed. My Internet Marketing and Website Development skill set plus my Real Estate Industry background made filling the needs of this Elopement niche a great match for me. So, the idea for WhereToElope.com was born. I thought that we could do all the work of gathering elopement vendor, package and venue information for the engaged couples and put it in an easy to use format, like what they do with real estate listings: by location, type, price range and features. After a lot of hard work, my Team and I, made this information available to couples seeking places to elope and elopement packages.
WTE: What are the top three reasons couples elope?
DAVE: WhereToElope.com has an ongoing poll of eloping couples that answers this question. According to our readers, their top 3 reasons to elope as of March 2016 are:
1. 72.82% said saving money on the cost of the wedding,
2. 58.85% said to have fun and enjoy your own ceremony,
3. 48.38% said to avoid family politics.
WTE: Is there a slow time for the elopements as there is for big weddings?
DAVE: Yes, but only in November-December. This is probably related with the fact that November-February is the “engagement season“. So, people are announcing engagements at family events between Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day . Unlike traditional weddings that are seasonal primarily in May, June and July and really only on weekends during that season. Couples elope all year around and a lot of them combine their elopement with a vacation, for what I dubbed an elopacation.
WTE: What is the most popular type elopement destination for eloping couples?
DAVE: Beaches, ocean or lake, basically anywhere near water. So, that also includes cruises. For example, friends of mine where married at Magens Bay on St. Thomas Island at sunset, during a cruise we were taking together. I would also say mountains are one of the most popular elopement destinations. Couples elope to the mountains, because of its natural beauty in the summer or winter. Winter season also offers exchanging vows on a ski slope or in a chalet. But Wedding Chapels and most Resort destinations are also very popular, as are Parks and Backyards…
WTE: What about elopement has surprised you since you started WhereToElope.com?
DAVE: The multitude of words that people use to describe small weddings (aka elopements). Despite strong evidence to the contrary, there is still some stigma associated with elopement that motivate people to come up with different terms to describe a “small or tiny wedding”. Now we estimate that elopements have grown to be 25% of all weddings. I even wrote a blog on the many names used for “eloping”, called “What Do You Call an Elopement?”
DAVE: There are two groups who I have found elopement to be especially attractive, Remarriages and Millennials. Though there are over 750,000 couples from many social and economic situations who have found that “WhereToElope is the easiest way to Just Married”!
WTE: In one sentence describe your website WhereToElope.com
DAVE: We are the “matchmakers” that connect elopement vendors to eloping couples so that they can find their place to elope.
WTE: What makes your sight so unique?
DAVE: The fact that we offer the only searchable database of elopement packages, like real-estate listings based on: location, type, price range and features.
WTE: Thank you Dave for taking the time to answer the questions your staff and many couples are asking.
DAVE: My pleasure!
Please click on this link to see the Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about Elopement under our Eloping tab provided by WhereToElope’s Resident Elopement Expert, Dave Westfall.