Elope or Hometown Wedding?
You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It Twice!
By Lauralyn Harter
When my fianc and I were first engaged he was rushing to set a date while I was saying, "slooooww down, think about our families."
And that's when the real stress began.
People always say weddings are stressful and yes those little details like flowers and food can be stressful, tying up loose strings and making sure everything is as perfect as you can get it. But that's not the real stress people are talking about. The real stress is the family. I've heard it time and again from talking to many brides and brides-to-be. It's an age-old dilemma: How to have the wedding of your dreams when your parents have a dream of their own.
I received lots of advice in planning my wedding, from good sources too: couples who've been married for twenty years and still have regrets about their wedding day because they did what mom wanted and not what they wanted. I've read books written for the NEW modern bride and this is what they say: Have the wedding YOU want, make yourself happy first because you only do it once and it should be special, not commercial as so many weddings have come to be.
So what we decided to do is honor our internal need for an ultra-private, spiritual ceremony in Hawaii for just the two of us followed by pictures on the beach and a romantic dinner at a five star restaurant overlooking the ocean. We finished out our honeymoon in paradise and ventured home for a separate celebration for friends and family in New York, where we renewed our vows at our local church and had an elegant afternoon reception at Sans Souci in Sea Cliff where we danced to our song, "Ice Cream" - "your love is better than ice cream, better than anything else I have known" - sorry, just had to reminisce a little there.
Ironically, our Hawaiian wedding was no paradise. It was a rainy, humid day. We weren't blessed with one of those postcard multi-colored skies, I didn't feel like me in the make-up job the artist did (I asked for spring pinks and greens and got winter oranges and browns), the planner ordered the wrong flowers and cake, the groom and I were drenched in sweat throughout the day and my hair was frizzed and had waves surfers would love. The beach we went to was not white or yellow sand but black volcano dirt, so my $100 resort pedicure soon morphed into dirty troll feet.
Nevertheless there's something about love that makes you glow from the inside out, so I still looked radiant (and jetlagged) and our private, intimate moments were caught on film and look like something out of a coffee table book. After all, when it comes down to it I've always said a wedding is about love not about the little details, though they do mean something at the time in the long run they are distant memories.
Our New York ceremony was exactly like Hawaii but felt more personal. We knew the priest (and brought him back requested Maui chips and chocolate covered macadamia nuts), we love our homey parish in Point Lookout and I felt I radiated even more sharing the energy of friends and family who witnessed our vows and shared in our joy. I had no nervous bride smiles, I looked happy, at home and I felt like myself (this time I did my own make-up and my hair was frizz-free). Our chocolate mousse cake was delicious and the flowers looked beautiful. We felt like the luckiest couple alive to have two wedding dreams come true.
My mother-in-law, Helli, says we look lonely in our Hawaii pictures but we weren't lonely. We had each other, which is how our whole life will be, and we had the awe and bridal high that so many couples have on their wedding day.
What was great about renewing our vows is that we weren't as anxious, we were able to truly enjoy it all without being in that marital daze - we had our "zone" in Hawaii and were now ready to share our day with all of the special people in our lives.
Lots of people have two weddings, usually because they have family in two different places. My brother-in-law got married in Ireland, where his bride is from, and had a separate reception in New York. Gwen Stefani of No Doubt got married in her hubby's hometown in England then renewed their vows on her turf: Los Angeles. For brides, it's heaven to be able to wear your fairy tale gown twice! Personally, I loved having two different bouquets, wearing my veil high in Hawaii then low in New York, wearing different jewelry. I really had fun at my wedding telling friends and family about our honeymoon and sharing our Hawaiian wedding pictures. It was very relaxing.
Whatever you choose to do for your wedding day, make sure it is your choice. Don't be left regretting anything or thinking what if. Your parents had their wedding day, now it's time for you to have yours. So have your cake, and eat it too!