Between updating an Offbeat Bride advertorial and recent comments from my couples, the underlying reasons why couples elope are central to my thoughts.
One couple invited a brother and his wife only. As Liam snapped away, the sister-in-law turned to me with “this is so nice and romantic.” Apparently, their wedding –while wonderful– had to undergo some compromises due to familial needs. When one needs to accommodate demands and expectations from family and friends, the moment of marrying and photos become less central to the wedding itself.
Please do not misunderstand. I not only married my partner. I did indeed marry my partner’s family. I do strongly believe in family. I love and like my own. This is why I do agree that inviting parents and siblings or best friends or children is genuinely ideal for many coupes: the true elopement becomes a sort of planned elopement or intimate wedding. Yet once the guest list elongates past a dozen or so, so does the stress. (After “just Mom and Dad and Brother Joe,” thirty guests seems to be the magic number.) Lots and lots of couples elope because they are overwhelmed with anxiety over details. Planning a large wedding is just not for everybody. Maybe you are shy, private, non-frilly, not into crowds, or your parents drive you crazy. Why increase nerves and drama?
Eloping facilitates unique possibilities. I’d never advise inviting fifty people to a ceremony in Grand Central, MOMA, a public park, or a community garden. From sound to seating, logistics are obstacles. But, if you elope, you can do a guerrilla style ceremony by the Little Red Lighthouse (it’s a long walk through in Riverside Park), at Top of the Rock, by the Renwick Ruins on Roosevelt Island, on Govenor’s Island, or in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You could also tie the knot in a gorgeous private hotel suite…or your favorite coffee shop.
Eloping or planning a small wedding allows you to enjoy luxuries you may not otherwise be able to afford. If you budget $2500, you can get fabulous clothing, rings, flowers, a great photographer, a celebrant, and finally visit an extra fancy restaurant. If you budget $5000, you can do all of the above and finally take a well-deserved honeymoon vacation, stay in a fantastic hotel, and see a play in great seats without worrying about how all the little expenses add up (Yes, you can elope for less too!)
Personally, I find I enjoy life more when I set priorities. I may not have cable, but I never would buy what I refer to as “plastic cheese.” Likewise, you may not be able to invite all co-workers and every friend you’ve ever known, but you can indulge in videography or photography or shoes or whatever. I could have invited thirty to my own wedding for so-so food and no entertainment and a host of comments as to why I wore what I wore (it was not a dress). Instead, we had nine at a Moroccan restaurant with incredible food for all (I’m a long-time vegetarian) and belly dancing….without an ounce of regret.
Finally, eloping sculpts conditions for a gentle wedding day. A tight schedule need not be followed. You can marry at nine in the morning and celebrate for the rest of the day. After brunch at the Plaza, you can nap, visit a museum, watch movies (one of my couples planned a trilogy movie marathon the day-of), or see a play. Later, you could go to a jazz club, hop on a plane to Paris, or even party with family and friends in the evening. Or vice versa. Do massages for two with champagne and strawberries and marry as the sun casts its warm late afternoon light. The day will belong only to you and yours.