Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah Anderson, owner of Wolfville Wedding Chapel, located in Wolfville, NS, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Wolfville Wedding Chapel is Maritime’s only full-service wedding chapel. Offering all-inclusive wedding experiences, Chapel celebrations offer effortless romance in every detail for a stress-free, happily-ever-after. From start to finish, the Chapel experience is designed to offer an elegant wedding alternative in a thoughtfully designed space that leaves the expectations of traditional weddings behind. Each booking comes with our in-house JP, a photographer, and a variety of fun add-ons to make it a party (i.e., bouquet rentals, confetti toss, champagne toast).

Our space has welcomed nearly 100 couples in our first year of business alone. The Chapel encourages fun and spontaneity in what is often a cookie-cutter wedding world. The Wolfville Wedding Chapel aims to offer feel-good weddings for everyone by offering fun, easy, and affordable wedding options. We’re here to encourage couples to focus on the heart of a wedding: them getting married.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Sarah Anderson, and I own and operate The Wolfville Wedding Chapel. I became a Justice of the Peace (JP) in 2017, and from the very first wedding I officiated (an elopement), I was head over heels for the tiny wedding approach to marriage. I created East Coast Pop-Up Weddings, which has allowed me to marry couples all over Nova Scotia in the most beautiful, intimate, and sometimes secretive spots.

I've always been into colour, kitsch, and the idea of the Las Vegas wedding chapel idea and when the pandemic really highlighted the attractiveness of small weddings, I decided to take the plunge and offer an inclusive space to host weddings. I love encouraging people to think outside the box to create fun, memorable weddings. And so, the Wolfville Wedding Chapel was born.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I'm proud to have taken something that's existed forever (the elopement) and to have rebranded the heck out of it. Gone are the days when couples have to run off in secret. Gone are the days where smaller means "lesser than." Elopements are beautiful and are for everyone. Over the past 12 months, our couples have been: culturally diverse, same-sex, parents with young and adult children, on their second marriage, in their 20s-70s, introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between, folks who’ve always wanted to elope, folks who had plans thwarted by COVID, etc. But the common thread is that they’re people looking for a wedding where they can just be themselves. That’s why we’re here! It's an honour to marry people for a living.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

My biggest challenge has been to avoid the pressure to grow, grow, grow, and dominate an industry. Success for me = free time and flexibility. For many years I felt pressure to say yes to every inquiry, to work 7-days a week, and to just never say no. I've realized over time that success is measured differently for everyone, and I've learned what it looks like for me. It's still a struggle, and I always have to remind myself why I'm here and how much of myself I'm willing to give to my business.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. You don't need to have every single element of your business lined up to start. As long as you know who you're there to serve and what exactly you offer, you are good to start. The rest can be tweaked and will fall into place as you grow and evolve.
  2. Hustle culture is a terrible culture. The grind isn't glorious and should not be celebrated. Burnout is real and so take time to follow how you feel. Sometimes I go through waves where I'm inspired, nothing feels like work, and I have endless energy. Other times I want to step back, have more time at home with my kids, and reflect on where I want to take my business. You're working for you! Don't forget that.
  3. There are so many amazing people doing really creative things on the east coast. Find people who align with who you are and what you're offering, and you will do well. There's an incredible community of female-led business owners in Nova Scotia; some of them have become my strongest allies and truest friends. Reach out to those around you, and participate in workshops, masterminds, and collaboration opportunities. There's often no water cooler when you're an entrepreneur, and these relationships can be invaluable.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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