TALLMADGE, Ohio — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many couples to change their wedding plans because of health concerns and limits on mass gatherings.
Stephanie Singleton, the owner of A Princess for a Day, a micro-chapel in Tallmadge, is offering a more intimate alternative to big ceremonies.
The venue’s chapel is 700 square feet and can accommodate up to 10 people.
Singleton said she came up with the idea of a micro-wedding venue after years working as a wedding officiant in Las Vegas, a city where quick chapel weddings without all the bells and whistles are a dime a dozen.
“That was the key to the micro-wedding. What was really important to have a marriage? And it was just the three things.”
Singleton said those things are a fiance, a marriage license, and a ring.
“And a ring is not even mandatory,” Singleton said.
Singleton also spent years in the hair industry and as a wedding planner in Los Angeles. She said while planning large, glamorous and expensive ceremonies, she realized those elements were not necessary to have a meaningful wedding.
"If you want to put all that money, invest a lot of money you can do that. But you start to water down the whole purpose when you get into having to have all of the frills and the thrills of all the extra celebration parts of a marriage,” Singleton said.
Family issues brought Singleton back home to Summit County, and in February 2020, she opened A Princess for a Day in a Tallmadge strip mall.
The pandemic shut her down shortly after opening.
“I was left with no choice but to drive for DoorDash. I didn't qualify for any loans,” Singleton said.
But in June, things started to pick up - big time.
Couples who had to cancel or alter their wedding plans flocked to Singleton’s chapel.
“We were just saturated with weddings,” Singleton said. “A lot of the other couples from the courthouses or people who just needed a quick ceremony for whatever reason.”
Singleton said operations were very busy during the summer, but slowed down in November and December, and are now starting to pick back up again.
Since June, A Princess for a Day has hosted nearly 100 weddings. She’s hoping to hit the 100 mark by the venue’s anniversary on Feb. 28.
Melissa Thompson, of Hiram, married her husband Ralph at the venue last Saturday.
They got engaged in November 2020.
“He had called my dad and got his permission. He's very old-fashioned. So I called my dad and asked if we could get married. And my dad was very excited. He started crying. That was a Tuesday,” Thompson said. “And then that was the last day that my dad was involved with before going into the hospital and then he passed away.”
Thompson’s dad, Donald, died from COVID-19 in January, so they wanted a small and safe ceremony, and for him to be a part of it all somehow.
So they turned the overflow table inside the chapel into a memorial table for him.
“To my left, the space for where I had the picture and the things of my dad was in my vision. So it was almost like if he was truly standing there,” Thompson said. “It was just amazing that she respected my wishes and incorporated him into the ceremony.”
Singleton said she liked the memorial table so much, she’s offering it as an option for future ceremonies.
Because the joy of brides like Thompson and the satisfaction at the end of the ceremony is what being a princess for a day is all about.
“Whatever way that we can make memorable moments for them that last for generations to come. That's what we're actually shooting for - as well as five stars,” Singleton said.
Wedding packages at A Princess for a Day start at $50. The most expensive option is $100.
More information can be found here.
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