Is your idea of a dream wedding a little less than a massive wedding? Elopement may be just what you need. Don't worry; you're not the only one who thinks so.
According to University of Chicago sociologist Linda Waite, elopement has become an "increasingly attractive option" for many American couples. Whether you're hoping to avoid the high costs and debt associated with a large wedding or simply want to get married ASAP for pragmatic reasons, elopement is a stress-free, adventurous option. Of course, the choice is ultimately between you and your fiancé, but these three couples eloped and haven't looked back.
1. "I never planned to elope."
For PR coordinator and author Cheryl Koning of San Francisco, eloping was never in the plans. In fact, she writes "I always dreamed of the giant wedding and the gorgeous dress." However, once she and her fiancé Kyle came back from a trip to Paris and spread the news of their engagement, they learned that a lot of other people had visions for their wedding, too.
Cheryl and Kyle got engaged in April and planned to take a small vacation to Colorado in August. It quickly became clear—based on some suspicious questions about Cheryl's vacation wardrobe—that Kyle was planning to elope! He was concerned that wedding planning had become too stressful on Cheryl, when all they wanted to do was focus on their exciting future. Eloping turned that dream into reality.
Cheryl and Kyle said their vows in Colorado on a mountain overlooking Vail Village (where a witness isn't required); she describes being overwhelmed with a sense of "peace and joy." She was married! While Kyle still jokes that the elopement was related to health insurance, Cheryl knows that the choice made her really happy.
2. "It was liberating and stress-free!"
Administrative professional Christine Noel Thompson of Spring, Texas, thought her elopement was the perfect end to a very long courtship. According to Christine, she and her husband Sean knew each other for "nearly thirty years," including periods of brief dating. However, the timing was never quite right. Finally, destiny aligned and Sean proposed on December 31, 2012. Initially, the couple planned to get married in June 2014, but Christine began stressing after realizing they'd need to invite hundreds of guests to the event. When Sean began mailing weekly countdown letters to Christine, her stress grew. She writes, "I didn't have it in my heart to tell him I wanted something simpler, smaller, and sooner."
When, a a few months later, the couple was on the beach with their whole family, Sean could tell that Christine was feeling tense. He asked the million dollar question—did she want to elope in Vegas? She gave an enthusiastic yes and felt an immediate sense of relief. On an early November morning, the couple hopped on a flight. They spent 22 hours in a state of "insanity and amazing fun" as they scrambled to get a marriage license, a venue, and an officiant, and then got dressed. In perfect weather, they noticed a dozen witnesses had gathered to view their vows, which were exchanged at the Las Vegas Wedding Wagon outside Caesar's Palace.
According to Christine, there was nothing "more liberating—and stress-free—than our post-nuptial romp through the Vegas Strip in my wedding gown and his tuxedo." The couple dined, gambled, and finally headed back to the airport for a flight home.
3. I got married to the same man twice!
Award-winning author, vineyard owner, and Renaissance woman Danuta Pfeiffer got married to the same man twice. You read that right! She clarifies by writing, "I married my husband twice—legally and then socially. The first time, we eloped; the second time, six months later, we faked getting married for our friends and family with a big wedding in our vineyard."
Danuta and her husband, Robin, chose to elope because her husband had a "great health insurance plan." Robin sensibly wanted to get Danuta coverage as soon as possible, not to mention there were significant tax benefits to being married soon enough to file their taxes jointly. Danuta was shocked when her officiant didn't just agree to officiate at both occasions but told the couple the choice to marry twice was more common than Danuta thought. In fact, 15 percent of couples choose to marry once legally and a second time for "a social announcement and celebration."
Twenty-one years after the two wedding ceremonies, Danuta and Robin celebrate their anniversaries six months apart. Robin jokes that he gets "clipped" for presents twice a year. Despite two decades of successful marriage, both Danuta and Robin still enjoy the "secrecy and romance" associated with their initial elopement.