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When I found my soul mate, I was already in my forties, and I’d had plenty of time to figure out what I didn’t like in weddings. I loved seeing my friends jubilant on their big day, and I’d had my share of fun at the parties. But I had also developed a distaste for the formulaic staging of many weddings—I felt they all managed to end up looking more or less the same—and I was appalled by the expense some couples endured. When my turn came, I was clear. “Why don’t we elope to Vegas?” I asked my fiancé, Jim. “Sounds good,” my once-divorced betrothed replied. “But . . .”

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Excerpts from Green Wedding by Mireya Navarro