The obvious reason to elope is the money. Over the summer, Brides magazine reported that, even in these tough economic times, the average couple spends nearly $27,000 on their nuptials. I have some doubts about that figure — the respondents were readers of Brides magazine and its website, a group already inclined to go veils-to-the-wall for a wedding. But there is no question that weddings, even those done on the cheap, cost far more than many couples can afford. While I have no qualms with the well-off (and their parents) shelling out for a classy affair, I did not want to go into debt or decimate my hard-earned savings for a party.
My primary objections to a "real" wedding go beyond the financial, however.
There's the time it takes to plan a soiree for so many people. The travel to and fro to evaluate venues, the endless phone calls with vendors, crafting the perfect guest list — and, if you're a modern bride, plain old crafting to capture that chic Etsy vibe. It's not that my time is so valuable. My normal Saturday routine is Zumba followed by some mix of Bravo reruns, Netflix marathons and reading. But I cherish, even need those hours of vegging after a full work week. Planning a wedding, in extreme cases, becomes akin to a job, one that costs money instead of bringing it in.
I also feared the possibility of falling down the tulle-lined rabbit hole. In 2007, when Slate ran a special issue on weddings, the normally sensible Meghan O'Rourke wrote that she was shocked to find herself saying of the invitations her fiancée chose, "But cream is too dark — and I really preferred the square!" When you are planning a wedding, it is easy to get caught up in the wedding sites, the cheerful pressure of vendors, and the excitement of friends. The woman on "Say Yes to the Dress" who breaks into hives because her gown has a scoop neck instead of a sweetheart certainly didn't envision a rash when she first entered Kleinfeld's. When you plan a wedding — and doesn't everyone celebrate the bride who plans down to the last detail? — every decision takes on importance. As well it should — you're spending a lot of money on those tacky favors everyone will throw out. So it's not that I thought I was above the lure of wedding planning mayhem — it's that I knew I wasn't.