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Exploring Life & Business with Stephanie Milosh of ElopeNC

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Milosh.

Hi Stephanie, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I was sitting in my cubicle a month after my wedding in 2017 when a business name popped into my head: “Beauty & the Budget Events.” I never planned to be a business owner and had no idea how large the wedding industry was, but my interest was piqued and I started learning everything I could. Before long, I’d shadowed a few wedding planners, attended some networking events, and booked my first clients. My husband, Matt, joined the team as my day-of assistant, and we spent the next two years working with really cool, diverse clients at venues across the state.

We had 40 guests at our own wedding, and while we enjoyed coordinating large weddings, the intimate celebrations quickly became our favorites. We love celebrating the weird, quirky, colorful, and authentic parts of life and love, and our favorite weddings really represent the couple and their relationship.

When 2020 knocked us all on our butts, we only kept 1/4 weddings on the books, so Matt and I had a lot of extra time to think about our business. We didn’t need to pivot because we’d always loved planning intimate weddings, but we started listening to our friends and the way the industry was struggling as a whole. Through a dozen conversations with different folks, the idea for ElopeNC began to take form.

Nothing can stop two people in love from getting married, even a pandemic, and we saw a flood of intimate weddings and micro-ceremonies. Venues started creating little elopement packages with their favorite photographer, florist, baker, etc, but most didn’t know how to market their packages or connect with couples who wanted a smaller celebration. After all, many people still don’t know what elopement is. With my background as a project manager and editor, I knew I could connect vendors across North Carolina to redefine what it means to elope, provide couples with resources and inspiration to plan an elopement, and give vendors a space to network and grow together. In February 2021, we officially launched.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting a new business in 2020 wasn’t something we expected, but with so much time on our hands, Matt and I pooled our collective skills to create a company with the goals of promoting inclusivity, authenticity, and community. The first major challenge ElopeNC faces is redefining “elopements.” We’re serving a niche industry, and most couples don’t even know they’ll elope yet, so challenges are just part of the journey!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
ElopeNC is a network of elopement-loving vendors across North Carolina who are interested in making the elopement process as easy as possible. We know intimate weddings and vow renewals will gain popularity in the coming years, and we’re here to educate and inspire couples to have their most authentic wedding day.

Our community of vendors is amazing and stretches from the OBX to the Tennessee border, and we love showing off our members. We have a vendor directory on our website and promote them on our mailing list and social media presence; we also do monthly events so folks can network, collaborate, and grow our businesses together! When vendors know each other, everything goes more smoothly for the couple, and we all want elopements to become a permanent part of the wedding planning conversation.

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
The word “elope” still has a kind of icky connotation, associated with running away in secret, dusty courthouses, and sometimes a gorgeous mountaintop view. But we believe an elopement is simply “an intimate exchange of vows,” and it’s up to the couple to fill their day with whatever they want. Without the shackles of tradition, the expectation to buy dinner for 100+, and the pressure to follow a set template and timeline, a couple can truly make their wedding day a perfect reflection of their relationship.

If you were to daydream up your perfect date or the best day ever, what would it include? Where would you be, and would anyone else be around? Maybe you want a romantic candlelit dinner in a beautiful outdoor space with a strings ensemble in the background or a house party with your best friends and favorite DJ. Maybe your dream venue or photographer is out of budget until you decide to have a tiny guest count. Maybe you want to celebrate at home, with your family around you and a delicious meal on the table. Once you have your favorite day in mind, you can build your elopement day around it.

Elopements help couples break away from the big box wedding industry, and elopement vendors help couples bring their dream day to life. We’re here to show how beautiful it is to throw tradition to the wind.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Featured Photo: The Durham Hotel Beauty & the Budget Events MKM Photography FauxReal Flowers Mountain: Grace & Jade Photography Ladies: Cirque91 Photography The Old Cotton Gin Waterfall: Tia Nicole Photography Backyard: Raven Shutley Studio Beach: Blue Satin Bee Summer Adams Photography House: Brian Anthony Photography Indoor venue: Southern Belle Photography Ceremony: Magical Weddings by Carly Kivus & Camera.

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