If there’s anything that 2020 has made clear, it’s the need to think outside the box.
That’s certainly what small Wollongong bar Births & Deaths has done with its latest addition to their offering – elopements.
Births, Deaths & Elopements is the result of a partnership between the team behind the bar, from Good Times Only Group, and local celebrant friend Mitch Bell. The group’s Jared Huk explained that the idea was there pre-COVID, but that the atmosphere created by restrictions meant the time was right.
“It was something we had discussed, partly in jest, with our friend Mitch Bell who has his own business – Ceremonies By Mitch – so it was something we had always wanted to do since opening, especially as we are named Births and Deaths due to the fact we are located in the old NSW registry of births, deaths and marriages,” Huk said.
“After COVID restrictions hit, Mitch came to us again and suggested that now’s the time to try it due to the limitations on wedding sizes, and with plenty of spare time on our hands we jumped at the idea.”
The elopement offering of the bar provides people with flexible, intimate marriage ceremonies and COVIDSafe receptions.
Huk told Bars and Clubs that they created the initiative: “to accommodate the need for small scale weddings in the current COVID climate.
“With people being forced to downgrade the size of their event, we decide to open up [the bar] as a small ceremony wedding venue allowing for up to 25 guest where we provide catering of food and drinks, a recommended celebrant in our friend Mitch Bell and an optional photographer, with packages to suit all price ranges.”
It’s an interesting concept and one that is getting more attention – the bar has had a number of enquiries and bookings, and even had a small ceremony just days into the project.
The idea has also been garnering a great response from the local community and industry. Huk said the feedback has been all positive, with requests to expand the initiative further too.
“Everyone I have talked to has been really behind the idea. I’ve been approached by both dress and cake makers keen to get on board. So it seems like the public and the industry, both bar and wedding, are excited about it,” Huk said.
From the start of the pandemic, Births and Deaths Bar has been able to move with the changing restrictions fairly well. The venue already had seated table service as their norm, so just needed to reduce their capacity from 60 people to 25, with mandatory sign in and increased vigilance about cleaning.
A collection of other factors, including Births, Deaths and Elopements, the operation of a takeaway bottle shop at the bar’s sister venue The Howlin’ Wolf and the desire to give the best possible service at all times to guests, meant that the bar is still able to employ the same number of staff. That’s a huge win considering the climate of the pandemic.
You can find out more about Births, Deaths and Elopements at their website here.