"Trojan: Easier than slipping on a ring."
Every day, we had elopers come in, and the ensuing drama could be Shakespearean. One couple showed up the minute the bride turned 18, so that's one red flag. Right before they went up to the pastor, there was another in the form of a phone call from her parents. It turned out she had run out on her last few months of high school to marry her Romeo. She stood there for a while, arguing with her parents in the lobby, giving the other waiting couples a little pre-wedding entertainment and possibly second thoughts.
I brought her into one of the pastor's offices in the back so we could be alone, and so she could stop scaring away customers, and she gave me the rundown: They met last year, her parents had forbidden it, you already know the story from high-school English. They got the idea to elope to Vegas from a movie (of course). She cried while I talked about my marriage and what it meant to me, and eventually she called her parents to sheepishly request a plane ticket home -- a single one.
And hopefully not carrying an extra passenger ...
The boy she almost married had left by that point without even trying to convince her to stay. She was devastated, of course, but marrying some dick who wouldn't even argue with a Vegas wedding chapel employee for the "love of his life" probably would have devastated her more.
The Customers Are Often, Um, Unclear On The Legalities
The couples I've mentioned so far spoke English, but we get plenty from all over the world unfamiliar with both the language and the process. They'd seen the same movies and sitcom reruns as everybody else, so they assumed they could pop in and out without the hassle of paperwork -- an Elvis impersonator sings some vows, and that's that, right? We kept instructions in several different languages explaining what they needed, but even then, some thought we were looking for bribes. They'd take out a few c-notes and ask us if it was enough, as if we could reach into a drawer and get them a black market marriage license.
And then there's the same-sex marriage issue. The practice had been legal in Nevada for less than a year when I left my job. It turns out that even same-sex couples can make abrupt, poorly thought-out decisions. We had to say no to one gay couple because one of them was already married to a woman. He told the pastor, "Gay marriage is different, though. It's not polygamy. I can be married to a man and a woman. It's different. It's two different kinds of marriage." Did the wife know about it? Or did he intend to bring his new husband home and try to sell her on the idea?
"Try to think of this less as a betrayal of trust and more as having a third person to help with the housework."
Marriage equality opened a whole new market, but it also caused us some personnel issues. Two of our pastors were completely fine with gay marriage, but one was not. They worked in eight-hour shifts, so we had to awkwardly tell gay couples wanting a quick wedding to come back at 7 a.m. when one of the other pastors was on the clock (they often didn't, because a willing chapel was never more than a brisk walk away). Then they'd watch as we'd promptly marry a giggling hetero couple who'd met an hour ago.
Evan V. Symon is an interviewer, writer, and interview finder for the Personal Experience Team here at Cracked. Have an awesome job/experience you'd like to tell us about? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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