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Location, Location, Location: Where should you get married?

Location, Location, Location: Where should you get married?

By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Recently MSN released a list their experts think are the best locations in which a couple can be married. They included:

*Central Park - New York, N.Y.

*Chapel of Love - Bloomington, Minn.

*Columbia Gorge Hotel - Hood River, Oregon

*Disneyland - Anaheim, Calif.

*Empire State Building - New York, N.Y.

*Graceland Wedding Chapel - Las Vegas

*Little Church of the West Wedding Chapel - Las Vegas, Nev.

*Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco. Calif.

*Philadelphia Zoo - Philadelphia, Pa.

*Westin Beach Resort - Key Largo, Fla.

Personally, my choice is the Elko County Courthouse in Elko, Nev. Why? Because for me it is time tested; 30 years ago this year my wife and I got married there and the marriage has stood the test of time. I still remember having the judge marry us using two of his assistants as witnesses. No friends, no family, but a happy marriage just the same. Obviously it doesn't need to be fancy or big to be successful.

But based on the list above, how many people who don't live in these places actually get married there? Of course Las Vegas is the destination for marriages from all over the country, so that is an exception. But most young people don't have the money to travel to get married and to really travel that far. In our case we used our last $100 to cover gas from Salt Lake, pay for the marriage license, spend a night at the Holiday Inn in Elko and have a wedding breakfast at McDonalds. Luckily my mother gave us a $100 bill as wedding gift when we returned to Salt Lake, which meant we could eat until payday.

The choice of where to get married is enormous; it ranges from the front of the chapel at a local church to one of the exotic locations above. But exotic isn't necessrilly not local either.

People sometimes confuse where the wedding will be held with where they are going to hold the party or reception after. Many do it in the same place, while others plan separate venues for each.

Weddings are usually a product of the brides vision, but not necessarilly. We have all seen news clips where people get married in their scuba gear 40 feet below the surface of a lake or while skydiving from 15,000 feet. So to these people theme is actually more important than place.

So let's break the idea of where to get married into two: theme and place. Sometimes they can be combined; other times it is one or the other.

A couple should decide together on the place; either a place that is beautiful and/or functional or a place that has meaning.

Years ago I know a couple that got married at Black Rock on the beach of the Great Salt Lake. Not really a beautiful place (it actually usually smells bad too) so much as a place where they spent a lot of time together.

Of course a place can have theme too.

We are always hearing about people getting married in their work place. There was one couple that got married at McDonalds, while business in the establishment went on as usual. They had met there years before as employees and she felt it was "very romantic." To each their own.

Another couple got married at a spook alley/haunted house complex. They both loved horror and loved being scared. Nothing better to scare you than marriage. The groom was delivered in a coffin and the reverend was dresssed as the Grim Reaper. She had a wedding dress, but had some red on it denoting her as Carrie, from the movie of the same name.

Some people like to get married outdoors, while others will pick an indoor setting. Time of year has something to do with this, although I have heard of people getting married in storms on ski slopes or at half time on the ice at a hockey game. One couple even got married on Mount Everest. They took their oxygen masks off while the ceremony was going on. I guess if they sent out announcements after they could say the ceremony "took their breath away."

One couple got married at a garbage transfer station. They met there while they were both unloading trash out of pickup trucks and eventually tied the garbage bag ties there.

When I was a magazine editor in California, our vice president of advertising got married on a bluff in back of a church facing the ocean. Below was an Amtrak line and right in the middle of the ceremony a train went by. They stopped the ceremony and the whole wedding party waved at the train while those on the train waved back. A memorable interuption that I think no one has ever forgotton. The unexpected can be good.

So certainly there are many ways to do it.

Theme may be important, but place will affect guests that want to see the ceremony. Here are some things to consider:

*A place must have room for the number of guests that are invited to the ceremony.

*A remote place may be beautiful, but consider the logistics. Getting there is one, having chairs for everyone is another. Also consider the age and the disabilities any guests may have. Getting married on a high ledge of the Bookcliffs could really be an obstacle for some people. Also remember that if you are going to get married on public land you have to consider permits from the BLM or Forest Service you many need, especially if you are drawing a crowd.

*Distance is a problem. Some people can't take long car rides or have the money to travel overnight just to see you get hitched. Time is also a factor. With busy lives, careers and such, it is often hard for people to get away for a long period of time.

*Comfort. Don't get married in the middle of the San Rafael desert at 2 p.m. on a July day. On the other hand don't get hitched standing in a snow storm on a windy point in January either. If you decide on these venues, or anything like them, then plan on a small wedding or warn people about the circumstances. Also make sure that any building you decide to get married in either has good air conditioning or good heating depending on the time of year. It must be able to handle a crowd comfortably, and for the crowd to be comfortable.

*If you are getting married in an outdoor venue, be sure you have a backup plan or at least some kind of cover over the area. A sudden summer thundershower can ruin a wedding ceremony very quickly.

*Just because you love a place, don't get too set on it, particularly if you plan on having a reception at the same place or in the same area. If the place is remote or confined a reception there can not only be a lot of work, but almost impossible (or at least very costly).




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