A Wedding Chapel service may not be exactly an elopement, but can help simplify, yet keep your special day extremely special
This article appears on refinery 29.com
When we were just starting the whole wedding-planning process, my best friend said something that has stuck with me all these months: “I had always imagined that you’d get married barefoot on the beach somewhere.” I keep going back to that carefree image every time I feel like I just can’t handle the wedding-planning anxiety anymore.
That’s why I’ve started entertaining alternate wedding fantasies: Eloping on a beach somewhere far, far away with about 20 guests (there are so many great elopement packages that include flowers, an officiant, dinner, and more for a couple thousand bucks!). Having a meat-and-cheese buffet on my favorite vineyard in Long Island instead of a formal, sit-down dinner. A less-formal rooftop party at a small boutique hotel. No printed programs or menus, no three-course dinner, no logistical puzzle of assigned seating: When the Ojai Valley wedding of Jaclyn Johnson, the founder of the Create & Cultivate conference, crossed my desk, it very much crystallized everything I had wanted — friends, food, and fun on a ranch, vineyard, or beach; no extra decor. Sometimes, it feels really good to “research” these ideas on the internet to see what could have been.
Part of the reason I’ve been two-timing our original traditional wedding plans is that the formal, sit-down dinner might actually be going out of style. When most people imagine their dream wedding, the conventional image that pops into their head might be one with a perfectly designed tablescape with floral centerpieces, candles, and fine china.
Of course, alternative weddings have been breaking the formal-dinner rules for years. What seems new, in the past year or so, is that they have entered the mainstream. If blogs and magazines — plus watching friends’ weddings get progressively more casual since attending my first one at the age of 21 (there were updos and Disney-princess cake toppers) — are any evidence, it looks like they’re here to stay. And that’s probably a good thing, giving more options to those who want to break with tradition.
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