By Thea Marie Rood
Photo by Travis Hoehne of Stuido THP
Weddings are shrinking: Where it wasn’t unusual to see 300 guests at an event a few years ago, now most weddings are topping out at half that. You can take this trend a step further and plan an elopement instead, an idea that is growing in popularity and, in today’s parlance, means just the bride and groom or an intimate gathering of up to 20 guests. Either way, what are the advantages to going really small?
FUN MONEY—Take Light Rail to the Sacramento County Clerk’s office ($149 for a license, ceremony and witness) and you can easily afford that honeymoon in Acapulco. But even if you want a wedding, planning an elopement can change the way you spend your budget: Instead of buying 300 plates of chicken, you can fly your nearest and dearest to a spectacular destination (think Poolenalena Beach in Maui or The Plaza in New York City). Closer to home, you can take over an entire bed-and-breakfast for a weekend in Tahoe or the Shenandoah Valley.
MAKE IT AN EXPERIENCE—Your options open up when you are not dragging 150 people around behind you. You can have a private chef cook your gourmet wedding dinner if it’s just a few of you; you can take a chairlift to the top of a mountain and get married with a panoramic view of Lake Tahoe. (Can you imagine carting your extended family—and his—up there?)
AN ESCAPE HATCH—If you run away to get married, you leave all those awkward social obligations behind: your former college roommates wrestling over maid-of-honor status, your father’s second wife and your mother in the same pew, all your annoying co-workers. Have a romantic day, weekend or week with your beloved, then come home and throw a party in your backyard. Done and done.