Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

More Than One Way to Tie the Knot

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My boyfriend and I decided to get married a couple weeks ago. As soon as I told my parents, they got all excited about planning a big wedding that I know they can’t easily afford and neither my fiancé nor I want.

Honestly, at this point I just want to elope and get on with my life. It’s my day, why shouldn’t I have it the way I want it to be? --- READY TO TIE THE KNOT

DEAR READY: Congratulations on your engagement.

Not every little girl grows up dreaming of the white dress with all the trimmings, but for many parents, a nice wedding is one of the rites of passage they want to give their daughters.

There’s no doubt eloping is a practical practice, but it can also be a selfish one. Think how you’d feel finding out on Sunday morning that one of your best friends had a big party Friday night and didn’t invite you. Now, imagine how hard it would be on your folks if you got married and they knew they were purposely excluded, by their own child, from one of the most momentous events of your life. And frankly, if you and your fiancé don’t see getting married as a big deal, you may not be ready to take the plunge.

Okay, enough of the mother guilt.

In your defense and being frugal like you – and the mother of two daughters – I truly get you not wanting the bank-emptying extravaganza you fear your parents plan to throw. But there’s such an infinite variety of ways to get hitched that you should be able to find some middle ground.

If big hoopla isn’t your thing, do your justice of the peace service, but let the immediate families and closest friends be in the courtroom. Then, if nothing else, go out for a celebratory bite to eat.

One step up would be to rent a space somewhere local (think church hall, community center, or splurge on a private room at a restaurant), bring in a licensed wedding officiant or member of the clergy to perform a brief, personalized ceremony on-site, and then enjoy a nice, casual meal (catered or potluck) to mark the start of one of adulthood’s greatest adventures.

Indulge your parents just a little, and you might be amazed how much richer the day is when it’s shared with even a select few of the special people who have helped get you to this point in your life.

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