Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsWeddings

A Perfect Wedding Is One on the Run

A new book validates an old option for couples: ditching the fuss, flowers and guests to elope.

March 28, 2001|JANELLE ERLICHMAN | WASHINGTON POST

Falling in love, that's the easy part. Easier than picking a florist. Easier than finding the Perfect Wedding Dress. Easier than deciding between caramelized onion tartlets and shrimp pot stickers.

When Jeana Foley and Jay Gaglione of Washington, D.C., opted to elope to Las Vegas, they had to make only one more decision: Elvis or no Elvis.

"To know us both, it's the most natural thing," said Foley, 32, about eloping. After all, Gaglione, 40, already owned a gold brocade tuxedo.

When they met, it was mutual admiration at first sight. She worked at the National Portrait Gallery; he worked at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. They both collected "junk" from the '40s and '50s.

"Within two weeks we were together constantly and knew we were going to get married," said Foley. At four months they moved in together. After nine months of dating they brought up marriage again. For Valentine's Day he gave her a Las Vegas travel guide.

"Eloping isn't just for pregnant brides anymore," said Scott Shaw, co-author of "Let's Elope: The Definitive Guide to Eloping, Destination Weddings, and Other Creative Wedding Options" ($12.95, Bantam Doubleday Dell).

While some couples dream of the Big Wedding, others dream of bright toenail polish, pina coladas and a private beach wedding in Tahiti--something "more 'them' and more fun," Shaw said.

But unlike more traditional couples, most eloping couples don't get advice from been-there, done-that twosomes. Shaw and his fiancee wanted to elope but were unsure about many things: whom to invite, what etiquette to follow, how much money to spend.

In the end, they eloped to a Charlottesville, Va., inn, surrounded by a small group of friends and family--and a book idea was born.

The true elopement is characterized by minimal planning, total surprise, and no guests. Nothing could be simpler--you swing by the courthouse and then go straight to the airport stopping only to drop your announcement cards in a mailbox. Pack a bathing suit, but leave behind all the stresses and worries.

--"Let's Elope"

Between student loans and credit card debt, Larissa Guran and Tim Priest knew they couldn't afford the wedding they wanted. "We realized the reality would be really different from the idea," said Guran.

They decided to elope to Savannah, Ga., when Guran's little brother was scheduled to graduate from boot camp at nearby Parris Island, S.C. Her mother would be in town as well, but the couple told no one. They had to scramble, however, when the January graduation was postponed for two weeks.

They arrived on a Thursday. They spent Friday morning at the health department and courthouse in Savannah. On the way to Parris Island, Guran read a tour book aloud as Priest drove: In case anyone asked, they wanted to be prepared to lie about "sightseeing."

Saturday was wedding day. "That day happened to be Valentine's Day. We have this really corny anniversary," said Guran.

Las Vegas bills itself not only as the "Entertainment Capital of the World," but the "Marriage Capital of the World" as well, with approximately 120,000 couples getting hitched here annually.

--Frommer's "Irreverent Guide to Las Vegas"

"Las Vegas is the easiest option" when it comes to eloping, Shaw and co-author Lynn Beahan write in their book. "All you have to do is prove you're 18 and pay $35."

Foley and Gaglione arrived in Vegas with a "best guy and best girl"--the couple who introduced them.

The ceremony was at the Graceland Wedding Chapel. For $300 they got a limousine, bouquet and boutonniere, video, photos (well, a roll of film they developed) and a little concert by the King himself, who then gave Foley away.

The minister had them light a unity candle and even gave a sermon, telling them: Live a good life and be good to each other. And finally: "By the power vested in me, by the King of Rock 'n' Roll and the state of Nevada, I now pronounce you man and wife."

They'd enlisted a friend back home to drop off announcements to their co-workers, cluing them in that it wasn't a typical vacation. Co-workers called the chapel and sent a huge "Good Luck" horseshoe wreath. Tacky, yet perfect.

Afterward, lugging the horseshoe and "Just Married" T-shirts, the foursome dined at Spago in Caesar's Palace and had their pictures taken in front of as many chapels as they could find.

The next day they called their parents. Hers were "happy, silly, crying."

He called home. "Hi, we're in Las Vegas and we just got married." Asked Mom, "How's the weather?"

You out there in bride-land, you sweet thing: are you planning your wedding so that it will be perfect in every detail? Do you expect it to be the happiest day of your life? Miss Manners sincerely hopes not.

--"Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior"

Even eloping isn't always anxiety-free.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|