Laura Cannon, 37, is the founder of DC Elopements. She says her favorite place for couples to get married in Washington is the D.C. War Memorial, near the Tidal Basin. “It’s outdoors, there’s a cover, it’s quintessential D.C.” She lives in Ellicott City.
Your company handles the legal paperwork and planning for people who want to get married fast and simple in D.C. You do a lot of standing in lines for other people. You’re right there at the nexus of passion and the opposite of passion, bureaucracy. What’s that like?
I started the company really with the purpose to serve same-sex clients when D.C. was the most Southern place that same-sex marriage was legal. When DOMA was struck down, a lot of same-sex couples realized: Oh, we need to do this. The courthouse was so overrun that they couldn’t get dates, and then there was a three-day waiting period at that time. Not convenient for people to be able to come in from out of town and get married. We can go on a couple’s behalf and get their marriage license.
What’s a memory of this work that stays with you?
I married these two women who had been with each other for 35 or 37 years, and it was just the three of us in a church in D.C. They just sobbed the whole way through. [They said,] “We never thought in our lifetimes that we would have the right to be recognized by others as married partners.” They were so in love and had not been allowed to have other people understand their love. Just tears and tears.
What’s the least romantic moment of your career?
We had a couple — for them it was really just paperwork. “Oh, well, my fiance can’t get off at lunch. Can we just meet in the Metro station?” One person came in on one Metro, one person came in on another Metro. We did the signing in the Metro station, they both got on different Metros and went in different directions to go back to work.
Romeo and Juliet eloped. It used to be elopement happened when it was socially unacceptable for whatever reason for these two people to get married. Is that what brings people to you now?
Definitely not. We think of it as an intimate way to have a legal marriage — having a ceremony that focuses on the most important part of the day. With a traditional wedding, the focus is often more on the party. With an elopement, people are doing it for the purpose of being legally married.
Are you married, and what did you do or what will you do if you plan on it?
Sorry to ask that.
I’m divorced, and I now have a partner that’s the father of my child I’ve been with for five years. Having already had a big, full wedding, if I had to do it again I would definitely elope.
So you probably won’t get married?
That I don’t know.