Saturday, July 07, 2018

The Case for Faux Elopement

The shore of Lake Ontario at the Drake Devonshire in Wellington will be the site of a pop-up wedding chapel on Thursday, July 12.

We'll be in Wellington Ontario this morning for the Farmers Market. Wellington is a pleasant village in Prince Edward County, on Lake Ontario. It's becoming one of those toney/quaint, escape-from-Toronto destinations with nice caf├ęs and the Drake Devonshire hotel. I mention the Devonshire because it is offering what is described as a pop-up wedding. Here is a portion of an article in the Belleville Intelligencer:

For $1,999 plus HST, couples get to enjoy a full wedding experience without the extravagant expenses or worrying about the details.
Each elopement package includes: ceremony venue and decor, styled by Love by Lynzie; a legal officiant; photography of ceremony and a 45-minute portrait session; bouquet and boutonniere (or two of each); toast and treats for up to 20 guests; live ceremony music; and a personal wedding coordinator.
A portion of the fees from the event will be donated to Photographers Without Borders. The two Toronto events raised almost $10,000 for a pair of charitable organizations.
“We are able to provide such a unique setting for a fraction of the cost, but at the same time also giving a charitable kick back,” Johansen explained. “The wedding industry is often seen as inflated and money hungry which, in my opinion, it’s not and I think this is a really cool opportunity for us to use an industry as a way to give back to the community.”
On July 12, beginning at 11 a.m., a different bride, or groom, or bride and groom will walk down the aisle every hour on the hour until the last couple is officially married.
Each couple is confined to a strict limit of 20 guests and after a 15-minute ceremony the party will be able to mingle for about 40-minutes on the Devonshire grounds which will have vendors and aesthetics, including fresh lavender, lemonade stands, homemade pies and lawn games. There will be a photo-booth with a backdrop of a two-person bicycle.
Despite being just a week away, there is still time for anyone interested to get involved. A check with Belleville city hall staff confirmed with proper documentation a marriage certificate can usually be obtained on the day of application.
“We still have a few spots left, so if anyone local wants to take part in this it would be great to have them,” Johansen said. “Sometimes it’s just two people or maybe the bride and groom with a few family members. We can also accommodate people wanting to renew their vows – every wedding seems to be a little different.”

Now, given that there could be nine weddings at $2,000 a pop on one day the Devonshire is hardly altruistic in offering these "elopement" opportunities. Still I applaud this initiative for a couple of reasons. I agree that wedding costs have become absurd and the pressure is enormous on everyone involved. A young friend lamented to us recently that the cost of being a bridesmaid in an upcoming wedding was going to be well over a thousand dollars, with dress, an expensive pre-wedding getaway for the participants in the wedding party, and blah, blah, blah.

Also, this is one more step toward freeing clergy from presiding at marriage ceremonies where the couple and participants have no real interest in the religious aspect of getting hitched. One of the best aspects of retirement is not having the feeling that I am compromising my faith to do secular weddings where I am just another item on the wedding checklist. I'm not a total cynic -- I officiated at lots of deeply meaningful marriage ceremonies -- but the "tradition" became increasingly secular and commercial through the decades.

And, hey, if a charity also benefits from all this, why not?

What do you think? Is there a case to be made for faux elopement?

We love paddling the Bay of Quinte and I reflect on why in today's Groundling blog

Image result for wedding cartoons

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