Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Slate

September 24, 2012

Slate: Everyone should elope

WASHINGTON — When I recently called my mother to tell her that I was getting married, she was ecstatic. After all, my boyfriend, Chris, and I had been together for nearly 10 years, so he had long been part of the family. "When's the big day?" she asked me.

"In about 20 minutes!" I said, trying to sound perky instead of scared. Though we had decided to get married a few weeks prior, we told almost no one beforehand — not even our parents. And now, we were standing just outside the office of the man who would perform the ceremony.

"You're getting married today?" she said, shocked. I braced myself for the worst — for her to say that I was robbing her of a precious time in a mother's life. But she instead declared her unmitigated delight. And with that blessing on hand, I was wed. Chris, the officiant, and I were the only three people in the room.

Now a mere month into my marriage, perhaps it is dangerous to declare, "We did it the right way." But as I look back at my humble little wedding, I feel pride — and the more I think about it, the more it seems that everyone should elope.

I love a good wedding just as I love any party with an open bar and "The Electric Slide." But unless you are wealthy, come from a family that has never known strife, enjoy giving up an entire year of your life to planning, and can smile in the face of any possible wedding disaster (and mean it, not just for pictures), you should elope. That's because weddings — even small-scale ones — are more pageant than sincerity.

True, I was never the fairy tale wedding type. As a child, I didn't play bride unless peer-pressured. I can't recall ever fantasizing about my wedding dress, let alone the flowers, the color scheme, or the cake. (Well, maybe the taste of the cake.) My father died when I was 11, and though I could foresee regretting many moments we would never share, walking down the aisle wasn't among them. Because despite the popular idea that "every little girl dreams of her wedding" — an idea that keeps TLC churning out wedding reality shows — this is not so. I always dreamed of a lifelong partnership but never thought much of the froufrou affair.

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