Same-sex fiancés living in states that don’t grant same-sex marriages must “elope” to legally marry. Obviously, this scenario differs significantly from the typical elopement attitude of “screw everyone, we’re out of here.” Hospitality Morality would like to explore these differences in an attempt to discard the word “elopement” as applied to same-sex out-of-state weddings and, therefore, dispel any sense of rejecting. HM would like to investigate some of the delicacies of this situation and offer a few hospitality lessons—learned, as usual, on the heals of failing big time at each of them. 😦
Lesson #1: Don’t use the word “elopement” when the couple has informed people, including their parents, in advance of the wedding. Merriam-Webster guides us to believe that eloping is secretive. So the couple is not eloping, per say. They are escaping. The rhetoric is important because it eliminates that “screw them…” attitude. Rather, these escaping fiancés are fleeing a state that fails to grant them a legal union (although it might recognize it, which seems hypocritical to HM). The couple is forced to escape their state and find another that will license their marriage. But escape doesn’t necessitate secrecy. So if they’ve told their family, friends, co-workers, facebookers, etc., it’s not an elopement. It’s an “escapement.”
Lesson #2: Accept that the couple’s plans may appear desultory only because they’re not afforded the traditional wedding guidelines. Without a script to guide them, they struggle whether to invite people to witness their non-traditional wedding. Let’s take a minute to visualize the actual wedding “ceremony.” Does the couple escape to (or reside in) a state that requires them to submit paperwork in advance, waiting a few days before being wedded? If so, should they invite people to witness this filing? Probably not. So now they’re down to the wedding “ceremony.” Let’s inspect the most non-traditional wedding: they’re not religious. So they’re standing before some unfamiliar justice of the peace for a quick “ritual.” Names, a simple Q&A, vows, affection, and finis. If they’re not constructing a religious or more elaborate ceremony and they’re simply appearing before a justice of the peace, are they setting their guests up for a bit of disappointment? After all, their guests have likely experienced far more intricate wedding rituals. The last thing the couple wants, beginning their lives together, is to turn and face their loved ones who seem to convey, “That’s it?”
Lesson #3: Embrace the couple’s intentions to include their loved ones and achates in their joy although they’ve decided not to invite them to their wedding. Parties, vacations, restaurant meals, holidays, and family reunions are but a few suggested occasions for everyone to come together, celebrate this lovely union, and enjoy some raillery. If these events are planned and announced before the wedding, supporters have a better chance of feeling appreciated and included. And they should be grateful for that.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Freedom to Marry: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/
Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays: http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2