Samantha Leitner has been marrying couples since 1989. She became a certified wedding officiant and ordained minister in 2017, and recently decided it was time to take her services one step further.
Leitner held an official grand opening last week at her new office space and elopement facility, Midlands Wedding Officiant SC, in Cayce. She said she wanted to be able to offer the elopement option to the local community, especially after COVID prompted so many large weddings to downsize.
"I'd be at bridal shows as a vendor and people would say they're thinking about eloping and there was no place you could really go," she said. "I felt I needed to address that niche. It's not Vegas, where you can walk down the street and get married. I want to be able to give couples that option."
Her new office building, which is about 200 sq.-ft, has an area prepared where she can officiate the elopements. Due to the limited space, guests are not permitted with the exception of children. Three backdrops are available for photo purposes including an English garden, wooden wall with flowers and sheer curtains with lights.
Since her soft opening May 1, Leitner said she's already officiated four in-office elopements, with another planned for Friday.
In addition to marrying couples in-office, she also offers notary services and full service for wedding ceremonies off site.
"My ceremonies are very personal, they're personalized for each individual," said Leitner.
She charges $75 for elopements and her full-service rates begin at $125. Additional charges may increase due to travel mileage. She said she is happy to officiate for any couple.
"I am an equal-opportunity love artist, that's what it's all about. Love is love, and there should be an equal recognition of that. We're all here for happiness," said Leitner.
Leitner's office is located at 989 Knox Abbott Dr., Suite 101. Additional information about her business can be found on the Midlands Wedding Officiant SC Facebook page.