But perhaps the best reason to elope is that a wedding should be about the marriage. It wasn't my day, but our day — mine and Chris' alone.
Many men and women have told me that their weddings were so frantic — worrying about whether the caterer was late, whether a simmering family feud was about to boil over, whether everyone who should have been thanked was acknowledged — that it felt like a blur. We all know people who were too busy on their wedding day to eat the food that they so carefully selected — and if that isn't a demonstration that a wedding is for everyone else but the couple, I don't know what is.
Inevitably, something will go wrong at a wedding, and until science can erase bad memories, most people will always look back on the drunken fight or collapsed cake. And the more people in attendance, the better the chance that disaster — minor or major — will strike.
Instead, I remember an utterly calm, peaceful day. I worked in the morning, dialing in to a conference call from home. No one on the call knew I was about to get hitched. Then I put on the white dress purchased online (on sale!) and took a cab to get my makeup done — just because a girl's eloping doesn't mean she wants to look sloppy. Chris, who went into his office that day, and I met outside the Arlington, Va., circuit court clerk's office to get our wedding license. (Virginia is like Nevada: You can get your wedding license the same day as your marriage — and no witnesses are required, either.) There, we stood in line behind a man who works for a hospice and was trying to arrange for a dying patient, unable to make it to the clerk's office, to get married quickly — a story that reaffirmed my belief that marriage is about far more than a party.