“Elope” is a word that conjures mental neon flashes of romantic teenage foolishness, premature pregnancy, and Elvis-style Vegas Weddings. As a middle-schooler I always used to imagine an antelope bounding through the grassy western plains of my imagination every time I heard an adult throw that taboo grouping of letters around. “Elope.” It rolled off the tongues of most of my elders with a slippery mix of amusement and distain. Tales of those who had eloped were often dramatically intriguing and filled with familial objections. Both sets of parents vehemently opposed the marriage while two young lovers knew they were “meant to live happily ever after.”
Why am I rambling about this one little molecule of language? Simple answer. I’m helping my fiancee’ plan our wedding. Regardless of what I used to think of eloping, its seduction continues to look more and more attractive. Who knew when you ask a girl to marry you, the cost of the ring doesn’t even accurately foreshadow the cost of the wedding. Whether parents chip in or not, I keep thinking to myself, “All of this money would be ours if only we would…” Yes, that once taboo yet glitzy word now sparkles like a little bit of problem-solving magic.
No. My fiancee’ JoAnna and I don’t plan on making a last second dash for the courthouse. And too much money has been doled out to justify slipping off the suits and white dress to head to Vegas. But I have thought about it. As April 14 sneaks up on us like a highly trained ninja, the suspense mounts. There’s bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, invitations to send, marriage counseling, reception plans, a music playlist to pick, flowers to approve, vows to write, and a host of other things I never think about when attending someone else’s special day.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful. I’m not complaining. You should see the help we’re getting. By ourselves this would be a catastrophic mess. But we do have moms, sisters, aunts, friends, cousins, groomsmen, bridesmaids, and Grandmas. You notice there weren’t many categories associated with the male gender in that list? Yeah, I understand why. JoAnna said that she wouldn’t have many preferences with the wedding. I no longer pretend to understand how she defines “many,” because she definitely has preferences.
And I digress. The rabbit trails of wedding planning have transformed into an endless maze with continual surprises and “oh, I never thought of that’s.” I’m eternally grateful that JoAnna’s parents didn’t raise her to be a tear-jerked bride-zilla, because every new detail offers her the opportunity to be a smalltown version of Narnia’s White Witch.
Yet she’s very gracious even in her tears. She’s definitely the kind of girl I’ve always dreamed of strolling down the aisle toward me on my wedding day. Don’t fault me for beginning to imagine that the aisle is in a courthouse or a Vegas chapel. It’ll never happen. The wedding’s too close, and besides, we don’t have the money to fly to Vegas. I checked.
Our wedding: April 14, 2012 3:30 pm
Reception: 7:00 pm
Location: Somewhere in Ohio south of Cleveland
We’ll be sending out invites in the next week.