In this day and age, wedding planning can be daunting and expensive. Rochelle Bergstrom, founder of Elope 253, believes that weddings should be fun, relaxed and not cost a mini fortune. Elope 253 is a charming and modern Vegas-inspired elopement chapel with a Northwest vibe located in downtown Tacoma where couples can retreat to escape the high costs and stress of planning their big day, and instead focus on the love that brought them together.

In 2002, Rochelle and her husband Craig knew that they wanted to get married, but wanted their special day to be affordable, and most of all, memorable. Venues in Washington failed to offer such an option, so the two decided to pack their bags, invite some of their closest friends and family, and elope in Las Vegas.

Rochelle Bergstrom
Rochelle Bergstrom, founder of Elope 253. Photo credit: Gabriella Kinner

“We were young and didn’t have any money, so we just wanted something small, intimate and low stress,” Rochelle told us. “You show up, everything’s already done, you pay one fee, and that’s it.”

Inspired by the simplicity of their fun and unforgettable wedding, Rochelle knew that this was something she wanted to be able to provide local couples who were looking to get married in a way that worked best for them. Rochelle connected with elopement chapels across the country in Denver, New Orleans, Washington D.C. and Las Vegas to learn everything she needed to know. In 2017, her dreams became a reality when Elope 253 opened its doors, providing beautiful and easy weddings for awesome couples.

“We wanted our business to be a pretty place where people can come and not have to stress about their wedding plans,” Rochelle says.

While eloping seems like it’s the perfect scenario for couples in love to get married on a whim, according to the state of Washington, you must wait a mandatory three days after receiving your marriage license in order to get married. A marriage license is valid for 60 days, so once the first three have passed, couples are free to do as they please. Elope 253 has performed day-of ceremonies, but also allows clients to plan ahead and pick a date of their choice.

Elope 253
Rochelle and Craig Bergstrom transformed this former office building into a dreamy, modern chapel, accented with crushed blue velvet and Northwest inspired decor. Photo credit: Gabriella Kinner

From traditional ceremonies, to laid-back or spur of the moment, the diversity of each couple’s preferred style is special in its own way. Elopers have the choice of choosing from three different packages. “Elope and Go” is a 30-minute ceremony for couples to quickly tie the knot and carry on with their day. This Vegas-style ceremony is affordable, short and sweet, which allows couples to spend the rest of their wedding day however they’d like just after Elope 253 sends the newlyweds off with a to-go gift of champagne and sweet treats.

Elope 253’s two other packages, “Let’s Elope” and “Elope and Celebrate,” include more customizable ceremonies tailored to how long your celebration lasts and how many guests you’d like to attend. Each of these packages includes beautiful flowers for the couple, a reception of champagne and decadent donuts, as well as professional photography to commemorate your special day. Elope 253’s priority is to take the stress out of getting married, and encourages clients to simply show up and wear something that makes them feel amazing.

Wedding chapel Tacoma
Elope 253’s beautiful space is decorated in lush greenery with bright pops of color, making it a stunning setting to tie the knot. Photo courtesy: Gabriella Kinner

Rochelle and her husband Craig help each couple plan the logistics of their ceremony and both are certified ordained wedding officiants. “There’s just so much joy and emotion in that moment,” Rochelle says. “All the backgrounds and all the stories of each couple are incredible.”

Elope 253 has married more than 100 couples from around the South Sound and Washington State region, as well elopers from across the globe. They have even made it possible for friends and family to join the celebration from afar by live streaming ceremonies online for couples who have loved ones in different destinations.

“Our weddings are for couples looking to celebrate their commitments to each other in style without social pressures, stress or high price tags,” Rochelle explains. “The average cost of a wedding in Pierce County is in the mid $30,000 range. Why not put that money towards an epic honeymoon vacation or use it to buy a home?”

For couples looking for an intimate, fun and memorable way to say “I do,” allow Elope 253 to take the pressure out of planning and make your wedding dreams come true. Be sure to visit their website for more information.

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