My son's girlfriend was on the line from Las Vegas, where the twosome had gone for a vacation.
"What's new?" my wife asked. "My last name," the young woman said. "We've eloped!"
Well ... that's one way to have a wedding away from home, with or without Elvis in attendance, but others might prefer a more elaborate event in an exotic location, with family and friends attending. For them, a sampling:
SuperClubs will give the loving couple a free wedding with a minimum three-night stay at one of its all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Curacao or Brazil. Included are the marriage license, minister fees (except in the Dominican Republic), a wedding planner, recorded music, champagne, a decorated wedding area, the cake, the bouquet and boutonniere, a candlelight dinner for the bride and groom and a continental breakfast in bed the morning after the wedding. There are government and administration fees of $200-$650; these are waived on stays of seven nights or longer. Go to superclubs. com/activities/wedding.asp or call 877-GO-SUPER (467-8737).
The $850 Ultimate Wedding Package at the Crystal Cove hotel in Barbados features a wedding arch, marriage license; services of a magistrate-priest-minister, the bouquet and boutonniere; witnesses if required, champagne, a wedding cake for up to eight people, an in-room champagne breakfast the morning after the wedding, a candlelight dinner for two, a complimentary room upgrade if available and a gift. Call 800-467-4519 or go to www.crystalcovehotelbar bados.com.
If you're seeking a really unusual wedding, you could exchange vows under water. Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort has four wedding packages focused on underwater weddings in the Belizean Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world. Costs are $850-$3,200 and include a judge, decorations and corsages. Other wedding items are extra, but if you're not concerned about costs, the $3,200 Luxury Underwater Wedding Package features accommodation in a Tropical Casita Suite for seven nights, a buffet breakfast daily, dinner for two, a private scuba diving boat, a bride and groom tank, belt and weight, plus other amenities in and out of the water. Call 800-FIESTA-1 (343- 7821). For resort information, go to fiestamericana.com.
At Treasure Beach Hotel in Barbados, 14 suites that cost $750 in winter are $265 in spring, summer and fall - a savings of nearly 65 percent. A Honeymoon Package can be booked in conjunction with any of the resort's 34 suites for $790 a week. The newlyweds get limousines from and to the airport, welcome drinks, a catamaran cruise, a massage and a rental car for one day (guests pay for gas, insurance and a local driver's license). Go to www.treasurebeachhotel.com or call 246-432-1346.
African Travel Inc., which has been operating safaris since 1976, has a Southern Wildlife & Roses package geared to honeymooners or those celebrating an anniversary. The trip includes four nights in a five-star hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, with wine and a dozen roses, a spa treatment, a romantic dinner and private sightseeing, plus three nights on a deluxe safari. Available through November, the trip begins at $3,895 per person with airfare extra. Go to afri cantravel.com or call 800- 421-8907.
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki includes a daily room service full American breakfast for two in its Romance Package, which also includes a bottle of wine and cheese plate on arrival. Rates start at $416 a night. Call 866-716-8140 and ask for rate plan RPKGWEB or go to royal- hawaiian.com.