Military Marriage

Courthouse Wedding: 5 Really Good Reasons to Elope

We have a little secret here in the military community that the rest of the universe is not so quick to embrace.

Does the phrase, “Courthouse Wedding,” ring any bells to you? While we might be more comfortable with this phrase than most, some of us have some reservations and can’t quite hurdle the the hump of ditching tradition so easily. If you need a little coaxing to swap your elaborate celebration adored with all the details, read on. Here are five reasons eloping might not be such a bad alternative.

1. No more people pleasing.

Is your brother in law offended that you choose his drill weekend to be your big day? Did one of your girlfriends post a passive aggressive meme on social media because she wasn’t selected as bridesmaid? Do any of these situations sound a little dramatic and trivial? Say hello to real life my friends. Elopements are wildly intimate. Sure you might run into hurt feelings for lack of invitations but common knowledge gives you a “get out of jail free card,” because… YOU ELOPED.

2.  Your union is the focus.

We’ve progressively lost sight of the most important aspect of wedding celebrations, the couple. In 30 years when you relieve your big day, your grandchildren are not going to be interested in your golden sprinkle dipped cake pops or what your centerpieces looked like. The details of the decor will never trump the way you felt when you promised a lifetime of partnership. Elopements are a perfect excuse to make sure the “main thing stays the main thing.”

3. You can elope almost anywhere.

Are you stressed about your wedding venue? If there’s an officiant there’s a way. Destination weddings dip into your future children’s college funds as soon as you open Google. However, if you aren’t flying a whole entourage halfway across the world, you have a sea full of options. A courthouse for mid-tour leave, R&R on a beach in Hawaii, or just your favorite spot with a good view — done, Done and DONE.

4. Better story, better memories.

How many people do you know who have had a traditional wedding ceremony? Now how many do you know that have eloped? Nothing reeks of romance more than a good love story with a “throw away all the gawking and run away together,” punch line. Get a photographer, choose an intimate location, document the whole thing and then tell the world (or if small circles are your jam, do that) your story. Contrary to semi-popular opinion, elopements aren’t code for, “I just don’t care.” Rather, a message of “I care about the things worth caring about,” is more accurate. I want to read that story.

5. Money.

In 2014 the average wedding in America was calculated at $29,000 according to the Knot. That’s almost enough money to get a master’s degree. Thanks to the rise of social media and TV shows dedicated to documenting “real <cough> life,” wedding ceremonies are getting to be more and more out of control. Live bands, wet bars and gourmet dishes aren’t exactly cheap nor are the practical. Yet, these things are today’s “Pinterest Standard.” If you don’t want to start your married life knees deep in credit card debit, consider eloping. If that doesn’t convince Google, “top reasons for marital stress.”

Your wedding day should be centered on you, the wedding couple. If you feel that you might get lost in modern tradition don’t be afraid to do something different. Your marriage as or to a service member is already abnormal and special. Follow your intuition, consider all avenues, and then no matter what — remember to focus on the big picture — you and your partner.
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