Many people assume that an elopement is very cloak-and-dagger. The bride (or groom) has been forbidden to marry his/her loved one and is locked away. Bravely, the prisoner escapes in the depths of the night and, together with the beloved, somehow goes to Gretna Green. There they find an officiant and then present parents etc. with a fait accompli.
All very exciting and romantic!
It can indeed be like that. However, my experience of elopements is a little different.
No, I haven’t eloped myself. But I have been asked to conduct an elopement ceremony – in fact, two.
In one case, the couple (American) were travelling through Europe on a Rhine river Cruise. They already had their wedding booked (register office) in the States for their return, but thought it would be a lovely thing to arrange a blessing ceremony with me at Cologne, one of the ports of call. It was just to be the three of us, but pretty well a spur-of-the-moment decision. Hardly an elopement, I’d venture to say, although it did offer some of the expected elements.
In the other case, the couple were also American. This time they were travelling for just over a week to the UK (predominantly London). Like the first couple, they had the legal ceremony booked for their return to the US.
They were both very shy and the idea of any kind of public ceremony featuring them was intimidating.
Additionally, unlike the case of the first couple, there was some actual secrecy involved. Relations between them and their respective families were not good, and not all parties were being informed of the match. At least, not until after the register office ceremony.
The event in London would be just for the two of them, with myself as celebrant and a photographer also in attendance. Such a ceremony was something they could both enjoy, feeling relaxed, and we could put together a suitable, unique and beautiful ceremony.
In truth, it was one of the most moving sights I have witnessed, seeing the obvious love radiate between the two of them. They were so grateful and happy. But I don’t know how they fared with their families, once the latter found out the news!
So an elopement doesn’t have to be cloak-and-dagger; it doesn’t have to take place in Gretna Green. It can be relaxed and a delight.
Why not try it?!
I’d be happy to have a chat with anyone contemplating such a move.