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Savannah couple find career in elopement

  • A Savannah Simple Elopement wedding. (Photo courtesy Bryan Fulton)
  • A Savannah Simple Elopement wedding. (Photo courtesy Bryan Fulton)

Husband and wife team Bryan and Phyllis Fulton discovered the idea for their business, Savannah Simple Elopement, four years ago when they got married in Savannah and found people aren’t allowed to be married in the courthouse.

“So many people come to Savannah to get married, but you can’t get married at the courthouse,” explained Phyllis. “That’s when we found out there are officiants in town who are taking advantage of this niche market, meaning the people who want to get married on short notice or the people who come to Savannah to honeymoon and either don’t realize they can’t get married at the courthouse or they want to elope.”

Bryan, a former Navy SEAL turned electrician, had to have knee replacement surgery before the age of 50.

“I couldn’t do electrical work anymore because I can’t crouch or crawl or climb, so I was looking to start my own business,” he said.

Now, two years in with Savannah Simple Elopement, the Fultons cater to couples who don’t have much money but want to get married, those who’ve been married before, and people who are deploying soon for the military.

“We do up to five weddings a day,” Phyllis said. “You’ll meet all kinds of people in this business. We’ve had some very quirky people; one couple wanted to incorporate a medieval practice regarding tying the knot. Another couple showed up at their sunrise wedding totally drunk. We’ve had people call us up in the middle of the night and say, ‘We’re driving up from Orlando. Can you marry us tomorrow?’ We say, ‘Sure.’”

Since the Fultons specialize in elopements and perform the ceremonies in public venues, they ask that couples keep the number of wedding guests to five or fewer.

“It’s easy to get married in Georgia,” said Phyllis. “All the state requires is your Georgia marriage license. You don’t need to wait for blood tests or have witnesses.”

The Fultons offer several packages to their clients, which include traditional non-denominational ceremonies, secular ceremonies, and simple signing ceremonies.

The Historic Gothic Destination Elopement is hosted in Bonaventure Cemetery and the Beach Premium Destination Elopement is at Tybee Island. Both packages include a photographer for 30 minutes.

Among its simpler packages, Savannah Simple Elopements offers the Ultimate Simplicity Elopement Ceremony, the Simple Signing, and the Say “I Do” with Music, where Phyllis plays her harp.

“You never know what they’ll be wearing,” said Bryan. “Our couples have shown up in everything from T-shirts and jeans to hunting camo jackets to antique lace and top hats. We had one couple show up in Halloween costumes.”

Savannah Simple Elopement is one of the few other companies in town that offer similar services, but Savannah Simple Elopement offers reasonable prices and operates on the quickest notice, Phyllis says. “Our competitors also offer large weddings. We don’t. We specialize in elopement. We like to keep it small.”

“You just meet all kinds of people, but the nice thing is, they almost always come there happy and go away happier,” Bryan said. “I’ve never had a job that made people so happy.”

Contact them at savannahsimpleelopement.com.

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