Alterna-brides offer a new take on the fairy tale. No hissy fit required.
PARTY OF TWO
Holly Helin, 32, and Max Frixione, 35, had been together for seven years, but the Portland couple had never felt any urgency to get married. "We were already living the life of married people--we shared a mortgage, a dog, a cat and bank accounts," Helin says.
But when Helin miscarried a baby last year, they changed their minds."In going through that very painful experience, we decided that we wanted to be closer as a couple, that we wanted to get married to each other," she explains. "We also wanted the recognition from our families that we are indeed committed to each other in the traditional sense."
The lingering sadness after the miscarriage, coupled with a rainy Portland winter, had them yearning for sunshine. "So we decided to turn our Hawaiian vacation into a wedding/honeymoon," Helin says.
Their wedding took place on gorgeous sunny day in April 2008, on a beach in Maui, with just the couple and the officiant. Though elopements can cause strife, especially with family, "pretty much everybody expressed excitement and support for the decision, since many figured we would never get married anyway," she says. "We initially weren't going to tell our parents or siblings about it beforehand, but the woman who tailored my dress recommended--from the perspective of a mother--that I tell them. I'm glad I listened, because my mom basically said she would have ripped my head off if she had found out after the fact."
Besides, the newly minted Mr. and Mrs. Frixione are throwing a reception in July, catered by one of their favorite restaurants, for about 100 friends and family members. "We'll do the cake cutting and a first dance," she says, "but no bouquet, no garter, no grand entrance and definitely no doves!"