Well I think we can all try to remove the correlation between big fancy weddings and failed marriages, because statistically I don’t think there is much correlation. I went to the courthouse and then back to work for my first wedding and that didn’t work out (thankfully).
The first time I got married was so blah and uneventful. We did nothing special and in fact went back to work. I wore some ugly brown skirt that didn’t fit right. I tried to put on a party months later, but we were really poor. It just came and went and my ex wasn’t into celebrating either. Sad!
This time around, it just had to be special! So we took an 11 day vacation to Canada and got married on the vacation. It was a wedding – white dress, suit, bouquet, 2 witnesses, professional photos, 3 course wedding dinner with champagne, wedding cake – but only 4 of us to dinner. I really wanted to get married in a spectacular outdoor setting. It was our first wish – even over making accessible to family (which family didn’t mind not having to travel anyway, so win-win!).
So yes, we’re all married in the end regardless of the pomp or not. But I do encourage you to do something that is special for your wedding whatever route it is. So yes, there is some importance in what you make of the day and how you do it. So I just have two data points (the wedding 11 years ago, and the wedding 4 months ago) I really, really love how we did the wedding 4 months ago – the road trip, hiking every day, so stress free, visiting the mountains, getting to wear a gown for the first time. It was just so “US.” Make it something you two agree upon and want. You get one day for this, so think what do you want it to be and want to reflect on in 50 years?
If just getting the paperwork done and going on with your life (like going to the DMV or something) is what you both WANT, then do that. I do vote for a little more specialness like a nice meal at the end at least!
I think we generally tend to do the opposite of what we did the first time. I had a very very plain elopement (and went to work), for the second time I thought I SHOULD have a wedding, so I did plan it all out but that was cancelled. I think I’m just an eloping kind of person (well having my family also which are all pro elopement helps).