Elopement. Colloquially defined as running away to get married, usually done in secret and more often than not assumed to sprout from a forbidden relationship. The word has a very strong negative associated, so strong that you are forgiven to forget that elopement can also mean spontaneity, impulsiveness, and unbounded joy. Sometimes, a moment of love can get so big so fast that all you can do is get married, because that is the only way that you can express how much you love the other person. Of course I am implying that marriage is the only way that you can show someone how much you love them. But getting married does have its own magic, and brings a certain feeling of contentment with it. I guess that is why the instant-wedding trade in Las Vegas is booming!
But back to eloping. Elopement does not always occur on the whim, sometimes couples plan months in advance. They plan the day as they would a traditional wedding, they just don’t send invites out. If they do tell people about their plans, and even if they invite guests, it is usually a very small number compared to the more mainstream weddings. I would say less than 10 guests in total. Usually the parents, siblings, and best friends. Often, the ceremony is similar to a “normal” ceremony, the couple exchanges rings and vows and everything we have come to know as the rites of marriage, and the reception is then still held afterwards. This reception, because it is usually a very small group, can be held in someone’s home, at a restaurant, or even catered for at an intimate venue. It will all depend on the couple.
I always thought eloping was romantic. Finding someone you wanted so spend the rest of your life with, not wanting to wait months for an available date to get married on, saving all that money so that you can invite a large group of people, spending all of that money… versus eloping – deciding you want to get married, finding your nearest court building, handing in the necessary paperwork, and that is that! Saying your I Do’s and then breaking the news afterwards. You can always have a big party after the fact, where you can invite all your family and friends, to celebrate you becoming husband and wife. It can still be special, maybe even more so since you eliminate the chance of family fights, wedding debt, and other issues that seem to always arise when you are planning your wedding.
We have done our fair share of “elopements” – couples who got married in court, then celebrated with a small handful of guests afterwards. In most of the cases it was not because the family didn’t like the partner, or didn’t approve of the match, or even because they didn’t have enough money to have a big wedding. For some people the glitz and glamour, or extra work, or attention, of spending of unnecessary money is exactly that, unnecessary. They want something small, intimate, and fast. For them it is about the marriage that follows, not the wedding itself. In other cases, their situations have changed drastically and quickly, leaving them no time to plan or wait for months. They need to get married within the week, stripping them of the chance to have the big wedding.
No matter what your reasons are, everybody should be able to have the wedding day that they would like to have. If you want to get married in court, with no hoohah then please do. If you would like to have the more traditional wedding but have no time or money, then there should be an alternative to getting hitched in court by a judge. You do you, just be happy 🙂