I was talking to a young friend recently about marriage. She said she'd probably elope. When, if, whenever. Usually I'm a total libertine. I couldn't care less if one marries or not, has kids or does not, enjoys whichever sexual gender. But this got me pissed off. "We'd have a big party a few weeks later," she said. "Not the same," I replied.
I didn't wear a traditional white dress and god knows I'm self conscious to the hilt, but I still swore my vows in front of 125 people we cared about, and who cared about us. Yes, it feels goofy as hell but it's also sacred to stand up in front of your family and crew. My sister eloped, married at a tiny ceremony with just my Dad and their best friend, and I'm still pissed off about that. It was painful not to be with them. Similarly, another close couple eloped @ 8 years ago - fine for them, but it still bothers me not to have been a part of it. Their marriage meant a lot to me. They renewed their vows more recently - in the form of a surprise birthday party at a somewhat exotic locale - but we couldn't make it. It just wasn't the same.
I'm surprised at my irritation but still feeling it strongly a couple of days later. Yes it makes sense to try to make your wedding as personal as possible. No you shouldn't just do it for your parents or let them run the show. Make it special. But include those you care the most about. In what I know could be construed as the pot calling the kettle black, I feel her desire is selfish. I care about this girl, I'm close to her guy. My wedding, no, not the best day of my life, but a sacred, sterling moment. I remember every single person that was there. I remain grateful to them for the few hours they chose to share with us as we formally tied our lives together.