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Growing up, odds are you dreamt of a fairytale wedding filled with all the trimmings, but for some couples running away together ultimately proved the perfect way to begin the happily ever after.
"It wasn't meant to be a shotgun wedding but I was pregnant. We'd long talked about getting married but had been happy with living together. The big day was Town Hall, a handful of people and ice cream cake. Ironically, I'm a high-end wedding planner!" — Kara
"Originally we planned a 150-person wedding. We whittled it down to 100 to save money...then to 60 people. I told my husband I wanted a house more than a party and a headache. So he and I, along with our parents went to Vegas and eloped in the mountains at the Valley of Fire." — Danielle
"Once we knew we wanted to tie the knot, we didn't want to wait a year or longer to secure the perfect venue, dress and guest list." — Barb
"John proposed when I was 18 and he 20. His parents were horrified and made plans to send him to Europe to study for two years...Instead he convinced me to elope. His mother took to her bed upon hearing we were married. Several decades, four children and twelve grandchildren later John is still my Prince Charming — most days. I guess it worked!" — Sherrill Bodine
"My bitterly divorced parents met up for the first time in 10 years at our engagement party. And my brother-in-law-to-be couldn't stop at my husband! Hubby and I leaned in towards each other and decided to elope to Hawaii. It was us, a pastor, photographer and a lady clapping from her surfboard as she paddled by." — Maria
"I did the big, expensive wedding the first time around to a man I had doubts about. With Dave, the day was just about us." — Jamie
"When people find out I eloped they assume I missed out on the excitement of a wedding. The opposite is true. Sam and I had all the fun, none of the drama, saved a ton of money, and threw three parties afterward to celebrate...No downside." — Ellyn
"It started to feel like too many cooks in the kitchen wedding planning, and too little focus on what the bride and groom wanted. Whose wedding is it anyway? We figured let's do it our way — so we did!" — Lisa
"The number of people we felt obligated to invite was over 100. Instead we married in a beautiful courthouse. It felt amazing and surreal. Our moms and my husband's sister were there. The ceremony was short, sweet and meaningful. I loved what I wore, and had the small, private wedding of my dreams." — Rose
"I wanted something small and stress-free. My parents and sister flew into New York for the ceremony. We met at 3 pm at the High Line — an elevated public park built on a historic freight rail line. It's where a few weeks earlier Roohan proposed. We hired a civil officiant to perform a short ceremony and read vows we'd written. Afterward we enjoyed popsicles and champagne...We were able to pull off a contemporary wedding in New York for under $1,500." — Jessica
Sherry Amatenstein is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.