Classic APW: Please define elopement. And use it in a sentence.

WARNING: Sass alert! Avert your eyes, you sensitive souls.

This is one of the first posts I wrote five weeks after getting engaged, and oh, four weeks after I’d realized that the wedding world was Totally. Nuts. I hadn’t even found out about, erm, ‘first glance dresses’ and boudoir pictures. No. I was still in the wading pool of crazy. In the wading pool, I found out that I could spend five figures on a elopement package at a vineyard in Napa. Which? If we had planned on eloping, we could have taken that much money, gone to Italy for two weeks, and popped into a courthouse in Rome to married-get, and then vaaacccaaaattttiioooonneeeeeddd. Which actually sounds really nice…. hum.

I had no readers to speak of in the way-back, so I was less, um, censored. So, vintage Meg, coming ‘atcha:Once a week (at least while we were picking our venue, tough on a limited budget) one of us would say, oh hell, lets just elope. But then we found out even elopement isn’t what it used to be! Now people sell “elopement packages.” They offer you a lovely venue to say your vows, a photographer, and dinner for your closest family and friends. You bring the dress and the flowers.

You tell me what’s wrong with this picture.

On the plus side, I’m sure $10,000 or so is considered a decent budget for today’s more modest elopement.

Photo via flickr.

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  • Rosie H.

    What is a "first glance dress"? I have never heard of this!

  • Someone is going to have to draw me a Venn diagram of "Elopement vs. Destination Wedding".

    I mean, if you bring all your guests and a photographer and have a dinner, how is it eloping? How would that have been less stressful or more spontaneous for past-Meg?

  • vanessa

    I had a wedding for less than their "elopement" package! Hmm.

    I must admit I hadn't heard of a "first glance dress" either.

    Guess that just means I've spent a lot more time on this site than at others that spit the crazy wedding nonsense :)

  • Yah, people kept telling me I eloped. 'Cause we got married in a courthouse. But we told people! I think with eloping, you don't tell anyone. You just go do it and announce it later.

  • Meg

    It would not. It is not. I'm pointing out the absurdity. So is past Meg.

    It's a dress, different from your wedding dress or your reception dress, that you wear to see your to-be-husband the first time. Whaaa?

  • sam

    Seriously!? That is totally absurd. Isn't the point of the "first glance" moment (if you choose to have one) that it is the first time your soon-to-be spouse sees you in the wedding dress? No wonder brides go crazy…

  • bahahah what?? I had never heard of a first-glance dress either. That is reeeeeDiculous.

    Yeah I think someone offering an "elopement package" at any price, particularly for $10k, doesn't have a really strong grasp of the English language..

    love this Classic APW series! there's so much gold in the archives, why not air it out again?

  • I'd never heard of a first glance dress either. But then again I've never heard of any of the crap kay Jewelers comes up with to sell at Christmas, and that doesn't stop them from coming up with a new mystery each year: the "open heart" pendant, "love's embrace" design, etc, etc. Someone's got to keep the marketing people employed…

  • *faints* This is completely insane!!!

    And for reference, I think the best definition of an elopement can actually be found in one of the early Princess Diaries books by Meg Cabot.

    In it the princess, Mia has a mother who is going to get married. Mia's grandmother takes complete control of the wedding and turns it into a HUGE mess. So on the big day, when Mia and everyone else is searching frantically for the bride and groom and they are nowhere to be found, guess where they went? Vegas (or something like that, it's been a while since I read these books). They didn't tell anyone, they didn't even take Mia, they just abandoned everything and everyone because they loved each other so much they couldn't stand to ruin the beginning of their life together with something they didn't want.

    This is what I think of as an elopement, not some "low-key" destination wedding.

  • Meg

    Or going to Italy, and getting married while you're there, without giving anyone warning. Also elopement.

    Someone should try it and report back.

  • At an elopement the "guests" are called "witnesses." So if there are guests at your elopement, I think you are actually having…a wedding.

  • Yeah, for me, elopment meant "not telling anyone"… a co-worker did that, and told her family AFTERWARDS.

    This is crazy…

    Btw, be careful with elopment in foreign countries, not always easy ! (not sure you could do that in France for eg.)

  • i think i came across mention of a "first glance dress" early in my wedding blog reads and it may have caused me to step away from the computer for a bit. As in "whoa all these bride types are completely nutso!" Luckily I've found little sane havens like APW around the web! And it's a good thing- because some of these so-called elopement packages are more expensive then our wedding is going to be! LOL.

  • Seriously? First GLANCE?!? Wow. Glad I'm not the only one this is new to….. I only need ONE dress for that day, thanks!

  • Wait. Maybe I'm a little slow, or maybe I just don't want to believe what I think I'm reading, but tell me if I'm right:

    Are you saying that a "first glance dress" is a dress that you wear on the morning of your wedding that your fiance has never seen you in before, so y'all can have that special moment of him seeing you in some special dress for the first time? Because presumably s/he's seen you in the actual wedding dress a bunch of times at home already while you tried on shoes?

  • My sweetie and I are eloping – but really eloping, in the traditional sense! We haven't told anyone. The vacation we are taking was already planned, so we just thought why not do it there? And, wait for it wait for it – It is free! So total cost of my wedding = my dress and his suit (together we spent around $500) and a photographer. Pictures are important to us. But, we are spending a fraction of what most wedding photographers cost. 10 grand to "elope" is ridiculous! And taking you fam and friends is not eloping.

    First glance dress? Crazy!
    Boudoir photos? Ok, Ok, I succumbed to this one. (don't judge, lol)

  • Meg

    No, he hasn't seen the wedding dress either, but you don't want him to see it till you walk down the aisle so you wear ANOTHER wedding dress to take first glance pictures. And presumably a third reception dress. Nuts!

  • Allison

    @allthingsjuice please tell me I'm not the only one that thinks the "open heart pendant" kind of looks like balls?

    I'm sorry but I live in the Napa Valley and I would definetly NOT spend that much to "elope" when we have the amazing SF City Hall just 35 minutes away!

  • I think some of this stuff (multiple outfit changes, photos up the wazoo, etc) stems from some idea of "I deserve this because I am a BRIDE!" Like as a grown woman you have to save up to get spoiled rotten when you get hitched and then, dammit, you should get everything your heart desires because it's your big day.

  • Meg

    Do you think part of that comes from this idea that "it's all downhill from there"? Because I think this is maybe part of the cultural noise that tells us that wives and moms tend to "let themselves go" and "put themselves last."

  • Ooh, interesting point, Meg! I think you may be on to something. I also think there is some sort of little girl/ grown up woman dichotomy happening. Maybe it's a throw back to when women were routinely passed from fathers to husbands at age 20. I need to think about this more.

  • Marie

    Meg I think part of the problem is that whole…now you'll be a mom and a wife and your whole life will be dedicated to others and you'll loose your figure blah blah blah (Clearly these statements miss the sassy, sexy, independent moms and wives).

    I think another MAJOR problem is the princess complex. Many of the women getting married today were part of the first wave of the "princess generation". SO much crap telling little girls she is entitled to anything she wants and that one day she will be swept off her feet by her knight in shining armor and that day should be as close to a palatial ball as possible.

    IF you've been conditioned to believe you're a princes and your worth is tied up on how "grand" your wedding is and that this one day is a measure of your worth/love/life…then are we surprised when many women turn into divas?

  • lisa

    Hmmm, Here's my thought.
    Ok, so as women we are taught that our wedding should be "magical" in the most Disney sense of the word. And this is our only time for this kind of magic, URGENT URGENT. So weddings get stuck with all this pseudo-pageantry to make our own loves specialness big enough to be caught on camera ("First glance pictures": two chances to try to catch the groom crying because he loves you).

    And the thing is that he really does love you. I guess what bothers me most about this kind of thing is that it's trying to commodify these personal moments into something more to buy, or something else to pose for. And teaches women that their own three-dimensional in-real-time love isn't "magical" enough.

  • Anonymous

    I think the "princess for a day" concept does have a small fact that traditionally (as in way in the past) you were going to belong to your husband and were his "house wife". Wives let themselves go, serve others, brides get to shine and be the center of attention.

    Now – I think it's just become such a social norm that brides get to be the center of attention and get whatever they want – so a lot of girls run with it. "It won't be looked down on if I ask for the world for this one day… it's EXPECTED… so I may as well roll with it and play princess for a day and live out my Disney fantasy"

    That being said – my friend had a dream the other night she was on the way to her wedding and got punched in the face by a stranger. (odd, yes – she's not engaged) She tried to look up what it meant in a dream dictionary – this led us to find that apparently if you have a dream where someone else is in a wedding dress it means you feel inferior. How absurd! What amazing social commentary that a dream book says if someone else is the bride that they are better.
    My friend and I both agreed that though absurd, it actually probably isn't too off for those some girls whose life goal is to get married and be a pretty, pretty princess.

    hahaha I never thought of the open heart pendant as balls.. I always thought it looked like a snake when it's in diamond… hilarious! Now I will have a NEW reason to laugh at the commercials!


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