Dear Grandparenting: My oldest grandchild has really put me on the spot. Brianna and her boyfriend, Gordy, are both 21. They have been dating since their second week in college at the University of Vermont. I got Brianna out of trouble when she was in high school and afraid to tell her parents, so she trusts me to keep my mouth shut. She told me Gordy asked her to marry him and now they are thinking they might elope to Las Vegas. I’ve been sitting on this for a few days now and my conscience is really starting to bother me. If you were a parent, wouldn’t you want to know?
Here’s what really gets me the most. I never asked to get involved in any of this but here I am smack dab in the middle. Either way I lose. If I tell the parents, Heather hates me. If I don’t tell, I feel like I’m cheating on my son (and daughter-in-law) since they have a right to know. Still trying to make up my mind. Which way would you go? Undecided, Boston, Massachusetts
Dear Undecided: Back in our day, the word elopement was semi-scandalous, summoning images of young lovers sneaking out of a bedroom window by moonlight. So grandparents might be surprised to learn that elopements have never been more popular — a cheaper and less stressful alternative to the traditional multi-family extravaganza. Just steal away!
In America’s less formal society, clandestine nuptials may have special appeal to grandchildren with multiple sets of in-laws, stepsiblings or otherwise complicated family situations, or who simply can’t be bothered with the planning and protocol. Smaller, simpler ceremonies, whether planned or spontaneous, are often more intimate and meaningful. But cost is the biggest factor in these hard times, when the average American wedding flirts with $20,000 without really trying. For its part, the wedding industry markets a range of elopement packages, as do municipal zoos, vineyards, scenic venues and thousands more destinations.
Best as we can tell, your granddaughter’s decision to marry her longtime beau was already a foregone conclusion. The decision to elope is her personal preference and rightful prerogative, and you should honor it. To help heal any bruised feelings, we suggest you start your granddaughter thinking about planning a subsequent wedding celebration with family and friends. With the money saved, it should be a great party.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Kelly from Sidney, Ohio, remembers what a “splendid time I had last Christmas when my grandchildren were carrying on about who would sit in my lap next. That memory carried me for a whole year!”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.