Tacoma, WASH — Right off a Tacoma alleyway as gritty as the city itself, two lives are becoming one.
It’s happening inside Elope 253, a low key, low-cost wedding chapel that has been Rochelle Bergstrom’s dream ever since her own Las Vegas elopement in 2000.
“I love the fact that it was really low stress,” said Bergstrom. “We just showed up and everything was already done for us.”
Bergstrom isn't just the officiant at her weddings. Hours before the ceremony, she's the one lighting candles and decorating the reception area with flowers and colorful doughnuts.
“Because doughnuts are easy, a little funky and very unique,” she says.
Elope 253 offers several packages starting at $595, but Bergstrom says many of her couples aren't just looking to save money.
“It's more about a state of mind,” she said. “This is what they want. They want something that is small and intimate”.
That's exactly what the bride wanted.
“We had the people we wanted to here,” said Alesha Straley. “We got to be with each other and our loved ones, and we got to celebrate and keep it intimate.”
Her ceremony was more of a micro-wedding than an elopement, but they can all be pretty moving.
“I get emotional when they write their own vows,” said Bergstrom. “I get caught up in that a little bit. I'm doing that right now just thinking about them”.
No, the couple didn't spend hundreds of dollars on a wedding cake for the reception, but the doughnuts were a big hit.
And so is the little chapel in the Tacoma alley.
“I feel married which is great,” said Straley. “So it got me where I wanted to be with this man for the rest of my life. I'm very happy”.