On Facebook, 210 friends “liked” the wedding announcement of Zita+Jeremy. Almost immediately, the good wishes began pouring in.
"Congratz!" "Good Looking couple!" "Wowowow!"
But offline, no one attended the ceremony. Unless you count the handful of customers getting their early morning caffeine fix at the Kaldi's Coffee Shop.
|Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Company Elopement|
The couple picked up the papers from the courthouse, and left to see Carolyn Burke with Elope in St Louis. They found two witnesses and a quiet nook. Carolyn performed a 3-minute meaningful ceremony, and the marriage license was signed.
“We didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. It was nice,” Zita says. “A little bit romantic even.”
Instead of a bouquet, the bride carried a tall latte out of the crowded coffee shop. Rushing to make a 10 a.m. meeting at work. Carolyn snapped a quick iPhone picture to document the momentous occasion.
|Went to Courthouse This Morning and Became Husband and Wife This Afternoon|
And 24 hours later, the photo made its way – where else? – Facebook. Zita, holding a sign that says, "We Eloped in St Louis" beaming in a yellow sun dress beside her new husband. The caption: “Went to the courthouse this morning and became husband and wife this afternoon."
And that was that. Oh, except, several months later, the pair hosted a three-day garden after-party – complete with wedding gifts – in a St Charles County winery, with 65 guests. Still, the total cost of all the festivities was less than $6,000.
“Everything we did, we did ourselves,” Zita says. “There wasn’t any fanfare to it.”
Forget wedding fanfare: the $45,000 blowout, the extravagant white dress and the 200-plus-person guest list. More and more couples, particularly pragmatic millennials, are kissing tradition goodbye and saying “I do” to elopements, courthouse nuptials and intimate small-scale weddings.
But don’t worry, friends and family. You still get to join in the festivities – sort of. In the era of sharing, these modern couples are taking to the web to broadcast their oh-so-low-key nuptials to the world through Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Some couples may go a step further and, thanks to services like Periscope and Skype, live-stream their ceremony virtually to “guests” wherever they may be.
Maybe you weren’t there to offer a champagne toast in person. No problem: You can hail the happy couple with likes, comments and reactions instead. Although, turns out you may still be liable for a gift, too.
So what’s behind the new embrace of nuptial simplicity?
For the newlyweds, it’s simple. Think of it as Romeo and Juliet 2.0. No guests = no planning, no politics, no pressure. Plus a whole lot less expense, of course. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $29,858, according to the consumer finance website ValuePenguin.
Who can afford it while shouldering massive student-loan debt, even years out of college? Couple these expenses with rising housing costs, along with car payments, and it’s easy to slip into significant debt. And even if the couple's parents are willing to chip in, many are simply unable to fully bankroll that pricey an undertaking.
So a frugal, less-formal ceremony is a win-win all around.
And really, who needs a big wedding in today’s ultra-connected world when you can track a couple’s relationship all the way from “Friend added” to “Facebook official”? Fifty years ago, sure, a large wedding made sense – a lot of guests were meeting the couple for the first time. But nowadays, you’ve had the blow-by-blow of a couple’s courtship long before they get formally hitched. Which means that the idea of a grand, fancy celebration has lost a lot of its luster.
Not to be outdone, the wedding industry has tapped right into this latest trend. New websites like A Practical Wedding and Offbeat Bride not only offer engaged couples cost-cutting advice and DIY solutions, they also share ideas for eloping and real-life elopement stories. Because, you know, running away to get married isn’t just about leaning a ladder against the side of the house or a quick Vegas rendezvous anymore.
Couples elope to make a break for freedom. “The really hard thing to tell people about weddings is that they aren’t really meant for you. They’re meant for your family and your friends,” says Brandi Carrier, 38, who had a private ceremony with her wife, Suzanne, in Collinsville, Illinois. “We decided to make a very selfish decision that would make us both happy."
Resource : WashingtonPost and JournalGazette