When you decide to elope, you will not be prepared for the long list of unromantic- bureaucratic-hodge-podge of documents you must submit at least two weeks in advance of the date you would like to be married. When you plan to elope, wait, who plans to do it in two weeks? When you decide to elope, you will not be thrilled to find out that you must provide proof that you are indeed free to marry, that you are in fact “single,” and that no, you’ve not married before. Because if you had, why would you be rushing to elope in a foreign country outside of the foreign country you’re currently living in? If you are an American not living in America, you will not be prepared to make an appointment at your local embassy in order to secure the Civil Status Certificate with the Grand Apostille that the EU is infatuated with and only costs $50 (which will delay your marriage application, as usually there are no free appointments for two weeks, or if you’re on a strict work schedule-never! because American professionals are only open 9-5!).
Once you’ve managed to get that, you will not be prepared to go to the local municipal office to get proof of your residence in that foreign country, because to get married, why wouldn’t you have to prove that you live somewhere legally? And when you go, you won’t be prepared to find out that this whole week, all municipal offices across the city are closed due to a new software program they are installing into all computers. Then, when you go back the following week in a valiant second effort to prove your love to your lover, it is no surprise that all the old and dedicated women working at the office naturally have no idea how to use this new software program.
But when you can elope, because you finally have all the proper documentation that says you can (including your birth certificate because your existence in life is not proof enough that you were born and inhabit the world), although none of your loved ones are aware, besides for your lover, and you’re driving to that secret spot you specially chose with your fiancé five hours across the border, not because of its ethereal existence, but because it is the only place that allowed you to do it within a week, and it’s the day before you are to be married, but you have to show up at the marriage office the day before you are to be married with your passports so they know you’re real, but really it’s to force you to spend at least one night in their village to increase local tourism, your fiancés’ request to stop at Ikea may be a bit unnerving.
You’re almost a three hours drive south of the marriage office, it’s currently noon o’clock, and the office closes at 4 p.m. Your fiancé says, “But we have a car for once, and those bins you want for your shoes are huge. Do you really want to carry those on the metro? Come on it’ll be quick.” Stopping to make sure you get those bins for your shoes while risking losing your marriage appointment, while having Germany’s autobahn at your disposal, doesn’t seem so bad. In the first place, you’re not even aware of what you’re doing. Marriage? LOL, what does that mean? Unlimited speed limit, aka no speed limit? F*ck yeah we will cruise right into that marriage office. Sure, why not cross Ikea off of our to do list before we go get married? Quick in and out, two large bins, white living room curtains, and colorful band-aids later, we are on the road to being married, literally.
Oh, and then you remember you’re crossing borders, in the Schengen area, and currently there are 60 million refugees in the world, and like at least one million of them are in the EU, and the other 59 million want to be, and like Denmark has that special status in the EU and is allowed to “opt-out” of any refugee sharing programs and can just like militarize their borders at any time, and you have to cross those borders, and you remember that you look Middle Eastern, and your first name derives from Arabic although white people don’t know that shit, and your mom is Muslim, but thankfully she married a white man so your last name is not your mother’s maiden name which boasts direct lineage to the prophet Mohammed, and you’re the driver and you totally think you’re going to be stopped, but then they don’t stop you; sigh of relief, we will make it in time.
Maybe it was the Harry Potter glasses; I prefer John Lennon though.
When you decide to elope, if someone had told you that you would be in two different countries, driving for six hours, buying four colorful hand knit monkeys, touring a Russian submarine, and forced to sleep separately from your ill husband because the hotel does not have any rooms with double beds and never has, all on the same day of your marriage, would you have believed it?