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With COVID-19, big weddings give way to “planned elopements”

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A couple is married with just an officiant as friends join via Zoom in Virgina.

A couple is married with just an officiant as friends join via Zoom in Virgina. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

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Summer is wedding season, at least it is normally. COVID-19 has changed a lot of things, including nuptials. These days, more engaged couples are canceling their big day in favor of something smaller, often outdoors, with a handful of attendees.

The nature of elopement is evolving. What used to mean a wedding held in secret, often at a government building, now encompasses small planned events.

Couples want to get married quickly as states ease up on stay-at-home orders, knowing restrictions could be put back in place if the pandemic worsens.

There’s a financial advantage to elopement. According to the wedding website The Knot, the average cost for a wedding in 2019 was $34,000. Eloping is often a couple thousand bucks. 

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