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Seneca County welcomes eclipse watchers to wed at Elope at the Eclipse

The East Green at the
Courtesy of the Seneca Chamber of Commerce
Seneca Chamber of Commerce
The East Green complex at the Frost Kalnow Amphitheater, where the eloping ceremony will take place.

The April 8 solar eclipse is expected to provide residents and tourists across a swath of Ohio a chance to experience a “once-in-a-lifetime” astronomical phenomenon. The festivities announced in the path of totality span from eclipse watch parties to music festivals, and even what’s being billed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get hitched.

Bryce Riggs, the executive director of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce in Northwest Ohio, said he and his team are planning many events for eclipse day, but one of their most anticipated being their Elope at the Eclipse ceremony at the Frost Kalnow Amphitheater.

“What we thought was kind of a crazy off-the-wall idea has been embraced,” Riggs said. “This is a special opportunity.”

The eloping ceremony itself will get underway as the area enters the path of totality that afternoon, Riggs said, allowing guests to get married or reaffirm their love during the period of complete darkness. This will be followed by a toast and a first dance for the couples and live music.

“For us, we want to make it an inclusive experience for all,” Riggs said. “We understand it’s kind of a lot to cram into 3 and a half minutes, but we’re going to make it work.”

Riggs said the experience is open to anyone provided they complete a marriage license with the courts prior to the ceremony. Couples also need to register ahead of time.

“We want it to be a great day for everyone who wants to choose to come to Seneca county that weekend or that day,” Riggs said.

Marisa Stephens, the director of marketing for the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce, said they hope to alleviate the stress of planning a wedding through the event.

“That way, they can really focus on just the excitement of it and being able to be with their loved one and really focus on that versus trying to figure out all the nitty-gritty details,” she said.

Riggs said there will be many specials around town for couples who choose to elope that day, as including discounts at a local hair salon, and wedding bands at a local jewelry store.

“Everyone’s really jumped in on the fun,” Riggs said.

Stephens said with all the events going on and the support of the community, she believes Seneca County is the place to be for eclipse day.

“We really do feel like our community has become the destination of open arms for people to come in and see the eclipse and visit and get to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said.

Janson McNair is an intern at Ideastream Public Media