William proposed to Heather about one year ago at Top of the Rock. Throughout the past year, they considered approximately twelve wedding plans, including running to Vegas to elope, which they rejected for its overt showiness and, well, inelegance. Finally — or so they thought — they decided to simply go to their local courthouse in Houston, Texas. While lounging in their hot tub the next day, they changed their minds. “Why not book a flight and go to NYC for cannolis instead of wedding cake?” It made perfect sense. They booked a flight Tuesday, got their license on a Friday, and married on a Saturday at Top of the Rock.
The very next day, a lovely woman called to ask if I ever heard a couple express regret at eloping. She wanted to plan a celebratory brunch later, but wished to elope so she could really feel and enjoy the moment without pressure. When she told a friend about her plans, the friend replied: “that’s sad.” I could only listen with sympathy and recognize the benefits of both eloping and more full weddings. In fact, I had two weddings on that Saturday — the Top of the Rock elopement and a wedding at the Queens County Farm with 120 or so guests invited (blog entry forthcoming). They were both equally meaningful.
It is true that joys feel enhanced when shared: as a (former) sociologist, I am quite familiar with the “crowd effect.” Yet the “sacredness” and intimacy of the moment can feel more profound if stress and performance anxiety are not present.
More simply put, I do have a response in general: look at the faces of this couple — and all the eloping couples — in this blog. I see no trace of regret. After all, you can always plan an anniversary party or vow renewal with all your family and friends later on. If the point is to get married, to commit out of love, then the overall happiness will exist whether you elope or plan a larger affair.