Five years and one day ago, an elopement occurred (includes 7 photos from last night)

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Summary: My fifth anniversary happened last night. Too bad it kind of occurred at the end of a rough week, but it was still delightful. I discuss the beginning of the marriage, some, and talk briefly about our anniversary night.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

(13:11:33 CDT)

Five years and one day ago, an elopement occurred (includes 7 photos from last night)

Five years and one day ago, an elopment occurred. It was not originally planned as such. It was originally planned as a big to-do with the bridesmaid and reception accoutrements. Once it was made plain, one weekend, that my to-be in-laws would only pay for the wedding when they felt she had done her part to earn a wedding, or maybe when they granted her some highly subjective certificate of being practically ready to move on from them, or whatever reason they cooked up in their clever pot not having to do with using her as a tax write-off (to the tune of waiting a handful of years down the road, mind you)—and her to-be in-laws did not have enough to really pay for one—it became an elopement the next Tuesday. October 26, 2004.

My nephew Jonathan and our friend Becca came along, and we said our vows in front of a Justice of the Peace. It was brief, blessedly cheap, and by 3pm on a still warm October Tuesday, we were married and we went, broke as we were, to eat at one of our favorite restaurants: Dragon Garden. I then had to go to work, but once they found out what had happened, they sent me home for the night so I could spent my first married night in quiet repose. A storm came up, of the personal nature, as something like punishment for what we had done; but there has never been a moment of regret.

I have two general pieces of advice and commentary. First off, never turn your daughter's wedding into a tool to get what you want; especially if what you want is for her to live some life that you have picked for her even though she has moved on from your dream. Sorry, in-laws, if you read this and think I play you unfairly. It was a low-blow, and you need to be reminded of that. Young couples are a force to be reckoned with and trying to stand between them is doomed to absolute and painful failure. At best, you sour your relationship with your kin. There are worst outcomes. Luckily, we never experienced them.

The second piece of advice is that "elopement", by which I guess I mean "informal wedding", is not as bad or as weird as the stories like to make it. It is very cheap, and very quick, comparatively, and depending on the JP, you may get a ceremony and you are allowed to bring some family along. While I still want to get Sarah her "church" wedding, one day, it fit our budget in more ways that one and let us focus on the important things. Some act like they are tacky, but I feel better spending $60 that spending $6000. That's kind of neither here nor there, but I just want to say there is a lot more dignity in it than many realize. It is not a "secondary wedding". It's what you make of it. I now have more friends that have eloped than gone through a formal wedding, and some that have done one at one time and one at another. If any of you want to share any of your stories, just let me know.

By the way, I clarified "elopement" up there because we now use the term more and more to refer to the informal style marriage, where a JP oversees it instead of a clergyman. However, the term's root means "run away". At some point in time, it changed to "run get married". Now it tends to refer to a quick, possibly clandestine, marriage.

Whatever the term means, Sarah and I returned to Huntsville just to check into another hotel only a couple of blocks from where we got married: The Embassy. It's the big one with the big "E" near Big Spring Park. The room was awesome. It was on the ninth floor, facing the park directly, giving us a great view. By the time we checked in, the roses, chocolates, and champagne had been delivered (the latter chilled in ice). We were too tired to have be truly outgoing, but we got to have a nice, relaxing evening.

After a quick complimentary gin-and-tonic (and she had a glass of wine), we ate at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. The largest, and best, New York Strip I have ever seen was given to me. I would guess something like 16-18 ozs. Sarah got the petite filet (in which the word petite was something of an overstatement, it was as large or larger than your average steakhouse full filet mignon). We had a side of spinach au gratin and they gave us a big slice of frozen chocolate mousse gratis. All in all, a very civilized start to the evening.

Afterwards, we walked down to the Klatsch-at-Night and had a pitcher of Olde Towne and listened to some local musicians on the Open Mike (and lots and lots of bar-sitters talking about football for hours). We made our way back to our hotel room, surfed the "On Command" selections for a few minutes—including the worst porn title I have ever seen—and then, like the true loses we are, were out by something like 11pm. Heh, we are old and worn, apparently. After my mom visiting, the classwork being due, the out-of-town class, and some other things; I simply had no more energy. In a perfect world, we would have had more time and the ability to do more. Ah well, it was still a well-spent evening.

While it was a nice bed, I got up about 4am because I could not sleep in a hotel bed any more, and read for a bit before taking something like a catnap and getting back up about 7am. We packed up, went downstairs to a made-to-order breakfast (part of the room, too) and then checked out so we could be back here about 10am. It was a great night, but I'm now completely zonked and soon will sleep an hour or two before going to work tonight.

Si Vales, Valeo

Here are seven pictures from various times in the evening. (1) The view from our room looking towards the park. (2) Sarah coming into the room and looking around. (3) The chocolates the delivered to our room. (4) The dozen roses and, in the background, the champagne. (5) Sarah in her evening dress, standing by the window (also shows the view looking away from the park). (6) The view from earlier, except taken at night. Heh, bonus pic of me taking the picture, too. (7) Sarah and myself getting ready to go out for the evening.









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Written by Doug Bolden

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