On Facebook, 210 friends “liked” the wedding announcement of Zita de Pooter and Jeremy Meek. Almost immediately, the good wishes began pouring in.
Good Looking couple!
But offline, no one attended the ceremony.
Unless you count the handful of customers getting their early morning caffeine fix at Seventh Street and Indiana Avenue NW.
“We picked up the papers from the courthouse – it was really easy – and left to Starbucks,” said de Pooter, 28, a program analyst with the World Bank, of her marriage to Meek, a 32-year-old freelance photographer. “We found a quiet nook, Jeremy said some silly words about our time together, uniting us in marriage, and then we signed the paperwork.”
“We didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. It was nice,” she said. “A little bit romantic even.”
Instead of a bouquet, the bride carried a tall latte out of the crowded coffee shop. Rushing to make a 10 a.m. meeting at work, she asked a stranger on the street to snap a quick iPhone picture to document the occasion.
And 24 hours later, the photo made its way – where else? – online. De Pooter, beaming in dark-wash jeans and a gray fleece hoodie beside her new husband, points to their crisp white certificate. The caption: “Went to the courthouse yesterday and became leap day husband and wife. Anniversaries every 4 years for the rest of our lives.”
And that was that. Oh, except, several months later, the pair hosted a three-day garden after-party – complete with wedding gifts – in the Belgian countryside, in de Pooter’s native country, with 65 guests. Still, the total cost of all the festivities was less than $6,000.
“Everything we did, we did ourselves,” de Pooter says. “There wasn’t any fanfare to it.”
But don’t worry, friends and family. You still get to join in the festivities – sort of. In the era of sharing, these modern couples are taking to the web to broadcast their oh-so-low-key nuptials to the world through Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Some couples may go a step further and, thanks to services like Periscope and Skype, live-stream their ceremony virtually to “guests” wherever they may be.
Maybe you weren’t there to offer a champagne toast in person. No problem: You can hail the happy couple with likes, comments and reactions instead. Although, turns out you may still be liable for a gift, too.
So what’s behind the new embrace of nuptial simplicity?
For the newlyweds, it’s simple. Think of it as Romeo and Juliet 2.0. No guests means no planning, no politics, no pressure. Plus a whole lot less expense, of course.
It’s a relief for cash-strapped guests, too. According to the latest American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, wedding attendees expected to spend an average of $703 in 2016. That figure’s even higher, $893, for millennials specifically.
So a frugal, less-formal ceremony is a win-win all around.
And really, who needs a big wedding in today’s ultra-connected world when you can track a couple’s relationship all the way from “Friend added” to “Facebook official”?