20 May 08

So you think you wanna elope

About two years ago, I, Mr. Huff and four friends traveled to our favorite home-away-from-home city. We asked them to join us for a long weekend in New Orleans so that on Saturday we could stand between a cannon and a huge Catholic church, hold hands, and share some very traditional vows with each other. Neither one of us had our family with us. Neither one of our family’s knew we were doing this beforehand. After our 10-minute-long ceremony we took some pictures, looked at art outside Jackson Square, squinted against the bright sun, laughed, and joked and smiled and we felt so very loved in that moment.

I had huge reservations about getting married and marriage, and weddings and despite the fact that I’ve written about some of it here and talked about it with some of you individually, I wasn’t comfortable having conversations about my dislike with people who didn’t agree with me. I didn’t, and don’t, see the need to convince people who have bought the romantic, white-laced conventions of American weddings, that weddings are actually ridiculous affairs that are a huge waste of money. Most because, its such a personal decision that I wouldn’t want to take the joy away from those white-laced conventions for people who truly want them. I have no problem with their interests and desires as they relate to them. Just as they relate to me.

Our ceremony was short and sweet, but the aftermath of our wedding was very long, over-wrought, and bitter on the family front. I won’t point fingers or criticize those people here. It happened and I did my best to be understanding of their pain while not indulging in resentment for too long. Once I realized what I was doing, I did my best to stop. And it wasn’t easy. And I honestly, may not still be in the resentment-free camp. But the aftermath didn’t taint the joy I felt in that moment where I held Andrew’s hands in my hands and I looked him deeply in the eye and realized that I had made him far happier by being there with him than I had ever understood I could. The love that caught in his chest when he breathed deeply, and the sound that he made just before he said “I do” will keep me warm during any cold marital periods we have for our lifetime.

So all of this is written here to serve one purpose. You should elope. Every single one of you who has a person they love and who they want to spend the rest of their life and they want legal and financial rights that one gains by getting married should elope. Every one of you who wants those things but doesn’t want the ceremony, the conventions, the pressure, the decisions, the drama, the details should elope. But, you should only elope if . . .

Eloping worked for Andrew and I and I know several other people now who have made that decision. We have no regrets about eloping. The location, the people present, the words we shared were what we wanted. But while we don’t regret those things, it sure would have been nice to not have the lingering after effects hound us for what seemed like a year, at least.

So while I don’t wish to change anything about what we did for the wedding, I do wish we’d warned people that it was something we were considering. At least I think so. Because I can’t see the what-ifs, I can’t know if telling our family and friends ahead of time would have spared some of the hurt feelings directed at us. It may have, it may have made it worse when we did elope. Or it may have made it better. And that’s the decision that I can’t even begin to offer advice on. It’s such a personal choice and reactions are so different and only you can know what is likely to happen and what you’re willing to work through with the people you love. Just like with weddings in general.


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