Justine in Ohio: My fiance wants to elope to Florida with just us, our parents, and a few close friends. I kind of like the idea since this is my second marriage and I've already done the big church thing, but I don't know if eloping is the right way to go. What do you think?
Rev. Ann: If you're struggling with the idea because you are uncomfortable with the term "elope," you can relax and start planning. What your fiance has in mind does not sound like an elopement, but rather a destination wedding. I do encounter a fair number of couples who think they are eloping if they get married somewhere far from home and/or only have a few guests in attendance. To elope is defined as "to run off secretly to be married, usually without the consent or knowledge of one's parents" If your friends and family know about your intentions, whether they are invited or not, you are not eloping.You are just having an intimate sized destination wedding. If you find the idea appealing, it seems the two of you are in agreement. Plan away!
Harry in California: We have hired an officiant for our rehearsal and wedding and were wondering if we should invite him and his wife to the rehearsal dinner and reception. What do people usually do when hiring someone they don't already know?
Rev. Ann: I find it admirable you are thinking of his wife as well, but rest assured you are under no obligation to invite your officiant and his spouse to the rehearsal dinner or reception. It's certainly a lovely gesture if you truly want their company, but you needn't consider it either a social or professional requirement. If you do decide to invite them, make sure you do so formally and in advance of the wedding date. An "oh, you are staying for the dinner/reception?" during the rehearsal or at the ceremony can be rather awkward. Please do not be disappointed if your officiant declines. Socializing with strangers, even when one's spouse is present, can be a little uncomfortable for most people and our schedules are usually set weeks or months in advance.
In addition, a good officiant is managing the emotional energy of the occasion and may be mentally exhausted following the rehearsal and/or ceremony. Officiating is work! Personally, I am an off-the-chart introvert in the Myers-Briggs sense and am quite literally drained of energy after some weddings. The idea of staying for a reception and having to be charming fills me with dread at times.
Photo Attribute: Image courtesy of Jeff Carr Photography