This Boise company helped couples elope for less money. Then this happened

·4 min read

Boiseans Janessa White and Matt Dalley created a business helping couples plan an intimate wedding ceremony without breaking the bank.

Five years later, the honeymoon is over.

On Friday, White announced on Twitter that she and Dalley, owners of Simply Eloped, are no longer a couple.

“After six years of dating, five years of running a business together and two weeks of being engaged, my partner and I called things off this last May,” White wrote.

That doesn’t mean the business is going under. White and Dalley continue to work together at Simply Eloped. They’re just no longer romantically involved.

“It’s been a wacky couple months, but all things considered, it’s going pretty well,” Dalley said by phone.

Business tanked by 80% in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic beginning in March 2020, he said. But it’s slowly built back up.

“Last quarter was a record quarter, and that was when the breakup happened,” Dalley said. “We’re doing more ceremonies than ever, and so the business has been doing great.”

The company now has about 30 employees, up 20% to 30% since before the pandemic, he said.

The breakup with White, he said, was less about the relationship ending and more about it changing.

“The kind of love we have is going to change,” he said. “Obviously it has. But I think we’re still going to be in one other’s lives forever: friend-slash-business partner, rather than romantic partners.”

That’s not to suggest the breakup was easy.

“I don’t want to paint this picture that it’s been like a fun experience,” he said. “It definitely hasn’t been that; it’s been very emotional for both of us. It’s also given both of us this opportunity to reflect on a lot of things about ourselves. We’ve grown as people, grown as friends and grown in this new way as business partners.”

In her tweet, White also acknowledged the breakup was challenging.

“I’d be lying if I said it’s been an easy summer but been doing the best I can given the big change,” she wrote.

Simply Eloped was founded to provide couples an option between a no-frills wedding before a justice of the peace and a fancy ceremony costing tens of thousands of dollars.

“There was no down-the-middle option, where you could have a high-quality, personalized, intimate ceremony while not breaking the bank,” White told the Statesman in 2019.

The company helps with just about everything one might need for a ceremony: officiant, photographer, flowers, hair and makeup, location permits and more.

Simply Eloped allows couples to choose among 32 destinations, including Boise, Sun Valley, New York City, Yosemite National Park, Las Vegas, New Orleans and San Francisco.

A wedding in New Orleans costs between $400 and $2,950, depending on the venue and the number of services provided. The average cost of a wedding from Simply Eloped is $1,500 to $2,000, Dalley said, while a traditional wedding costs about $30,000.

The pandemic, Dalley said, changed a lot of people’s minds about using a service such as Simply Eloped.

“Last year, small weddings became the best option for a lot of people and highlighted the sort of work that we’re doing,” he said. “It normalized it for a lot of people, where in the past it had connotations of being maybe countercultural. Now that it became so normalized in 2020, we’re seeing a lot of the stigmas associated with it falling away.”

Dalley said he didn’t realize White was going to tweet about their breakup, but he wasn’t upset by it. The news came after they told their employees Friday that they had broken up as a couple. Previously, they had talked about it only if someone asked.

“She didn’t tell me she was going to tweet it out, but I figured we were going to generally move into a place where we talk about it more openly,” he said.

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