Jennifer Allen knows first hand that not every bride wants or is able to pull off a lavish fairytale wedding. Back in July 2010, her husband Tavarous popped the question just before being deployed back to the army. Since neither time nor money was at their disposal, they opted for a no-frills city hall wedding on a Tuesday morning. While her husband was away, Jennifer started pulling together the beginnings of a formal ceremony. She even hired a wedding planner. Once she noticed how high the vendor bills were piling up, it became impossible to justify the astronomical expenses, so she canceled the wedding plans altogether.
If there was a wedding service that could have offered The Allens a proper ceremony on the fly and within their budget, it would have made a world of difference. Since Jennifer couldn’t find anything like it, she decided to create it. And just like that, Just Elope was born.
“So many brides that I come across say, ‘Well, we’re just gonna do something quick. Then we’ll come back and do something big.’ I always tell them, part of the reason Just Elope was created is that you only get one ‘first time’ to marry that person, and you want that to be the best time.”
To ensure brides would never have to feel like they’re missing out, Jennifer and Tavarous created what they call the “Airbnb” of weddings. Just Elope offers pop up weddings and special elopements for brides who have hit a wall in their planning, or second-time brides who don’t want anything too extravagant. For a fraction of the price, The Allens take care of the officiant, food, venue, and photography. “If you called me right now and told me that you wanted to get married tomorrow at any of our venues, as long as they have the availability and nobody else is booked, we will make it happen,” Jennifer says. “That includes everything, the open bar, the food, the cake, the everything. All the couples have to do is show up.”
The concept of “pop up weddings” technically isn’t new. In fact, there are several companies on the market that offer brides and grooms hassle-free wedding services at select venues where they’re based. Jennifer says Just Elope is coming with something totally different…and they’re the only-Black-owned company doing it. “We’ve married couples at the State Fair, at professional [sports] games, at Whataburger, at a coffee shop. Whatever their desired location is, we will figure out a way to make it happen.”
Jennifer tells us she and Tavarous even married a couple live on Good Morning Texas…in their pajamas! It seemed like an impossible feat with the deadline only six days away, but The Allens made the impossible, possible. “I’m a firm believer in whatever the task is, I will figure it out. I will get it done.”
Jennifer and Tavarous are currently juggling entrepreneurship with full-time employment and raising two children. But they hope that will change in the near future. For now, Jennifer is using her 9 to 5 income to fuel her 5 to 9 passion.
“People always ask, ‘why don’t you just step out on faith and just [work for yourself.]’ I have to quickly remind them, I have faith. But I also have student loans,” she says. “I think that social media kind of gives people this misperception that in order to be considered a boss, you need to leave your 9 to 5. I do want to eventually, but working and running our business has afforded me the opportunity to perfect our craft.”
Currently, Just Elope offers year-round packages in Dallas, where the business is based. They’re also offering group packages in New Orleans (August 3rd), New York City (September 21st) and the Texas State Fair (October 20th).