Written by David Vogel Tuesday, 31 May 2011 17:06
Fiancée Hanna and I are well under the two-week marker in our wedding countdown.
As you can imagine, these last few days will be filled with abundant joy, great anticipation, last minute jitters, and the annoying buzz of teensy-weensy details hovering just outside our ears, like mosquitoes on a humid July afternoon after you have just fallen into a giant vat of black cherry Kool-Aid.
By now, all of the major wedding elements have already been decided upon, confirmed and tucked safely away where no one can worry about them anymore.
Hanna and I have the church reserved, a minister or two enlisted, the wedding party assembled, the wedding party balloons aired up, the cake baker on call, invitations sent, RSVPs received, Hanna’s wedding gown altered and my tux at the dry cleaners, with hope that it will get back in time.
With all those major decisions made, we have reached the point in the planning process where only the small, tedious detail work remains.
You veteran wedding planners know what I’m talking about: How are we supposed to word the ceremony program? Does the photographer know exactly what we want? We needed table centerpieces? Why do we have to use little black studs on tuxedo shirts, and what’s wrong with the buttons that actually come sewn on?
I’m just thankful our ongoing saga of the pastel-colored cream cheese mints has finally come to an end. (There are now 518 of them in the basement freezer, and I have no idea where the other two went.)
Recently, somewhere between discussions of tying purple ribbons around bubble soap bottles and wrapping our attendants’ gifts, Hanna and I looked at each other—as I’m sure thousands of love-struck couples have done since composer Richard Wagner first penned the lyrics “Here comes the bride” almost 200 years ago—and asked “Why don’t we just elope?”
Not that I have ever given it much thought, but an eloped wedding ceremony appears logistically simpler to me.
First, it seems like it would be a breeze to plan. You wouldn’t have to send RSVPs or haggle over whose church to use or order 520 cream cheese mints.
Second, eloping seems much more cost effective. There are no decorations to buy, no cakes to order, no custodial staffs to bribe.
In theory, eloping would be the Wal-Mart of marriage ceremonies. Everything is in one place, prepared and on rollback prices, and all the couple has to do is show up at a little chapel and say “I do.”
In the immortal words of ALF, “Eh! Wrong!”
Purely for research purposes, I did a little online investigating and it turns out that a modern elopement requires a lot more planning than I originally imagined.
Case in point: I assumed that eloping was just a couple running off on a whim (the newer versions of which are apparently getting great gas mileage). But it turns out there are entire websites devoted exclusively to planning the perfect dream destination elopement.
One website I found, letsrunoff.com, helps a couple plan an elopement with the same cold, calculated meticulousness given to traditional ceremonies: tips, resources, location suggestions, registries, who to tell or invite, checklists, frequently asked questions, legal advice and a forum for brides to discuss plans.
Another website, groomgroove.com, offers more planning advice in an article entitled “How to elope with style and not (PG-13 word) off your family.” Real classy.
Apparently in our society, the whimsical spontaneity of eloping is now as cute as a ring bearer with the stomach flu, and therefore the fanciful notion of budgetary benefits is a flower girl throwing a temper tantrum.
Again, strictly for research purposes, I looked up one of the tackiest eloping options imaginable: a Vegas Elvis ceremony.
One website, Elvisweddings.com, claims to be the original Las Vegas Elvis chapel and has one ceremony listed at a whopping $920 after required fees.
But bear in mind this package includes “use of chapel, two different Elvis impersonators performing two different stages of Elvis’ career (gold lamé young Elvis and the flashy sequined ’70s Las Vegas jumpsuit Elvis)… and a copy of Elvis and Priscilla’s marriage certificate.”
Throw in the Pepto-pink 1964 Cadillac convertible offered by an imitation Elvis chapel down the street, and it might be tempting.
Of course, I’m just kidding.
The thrill of planning a wedding, even with the stressful minor details, is a special opportunity that Hanna and I are really enjoying. And I wouldn’t trade our nearly traditional ceremony for any far-flung elopement.
But I might still look into that pink convertible.