I was the little girl who dreamed of a big white wedding from the time I was old enough to make Barbie marry GI Joe. I’d walk around with a doily on my head and pretend to be a bride. As I got older the obsession with the wedding industry only grew. I soaked up every wedding show I could. I worked seasonally for a wedding coordinator. And yes, I was one of those crazy American girls that set their alarm for 4 a.m. to watch Kate and Williams’ Royal Wedding.
So imagine my family and friends reactions when I ran off and eloped! No white dress. No big reception. Just me in a pink dress, my handsome man by my side, and an officiant that dressed a little more like a witch than a pastor.
Nearly five years after we had our little beach wedding, I have to say it was the best decision we made as a couple. When my friends joke that they are going to elope I turn serious and try and talk them into it! So in case you are considering eloping instead of doing the big shindig let me help you see why eloping is so amazing.
Before you think that eloping means wearing everyday clothing to the courthouse and allowing a strange man behind a counter to sign your license, let me tell you that it does not have to be that way! My husband and I got married on the beach, with a very nice officiant that allowed us to write our own vows to incorporate into a still religious ceremony while the most amazing local photographer took beautiful pictures of us while we said “I do.”
Eloping can be as simple or as over the top as you would like. Run to the courthouse if that makes you happy. Plan a trip to the Caribbean island of your choice. Look into the beautiful locations in your own city that would provide a private backdrop for your intimate moment. Eloping doesn’t mean it has to be rushed; it means it is just you, your spouse-to-be and the officiant. Make it you!
Recently a friend of mine was talking about her wedding and I said I couldn’t wait for that day.
She responded with “I am more excited about the marriage than the wedding.”
You know what? That is exactly the mindset I think you should have! The wedding will be one day. Sure, it’s one big important day, but it is still just one day. You and your other half should be thinking about the future you’re about to start together far more seriously than you’re thinking about the wedding party. Yes, it is fun to celebrate with your family around and dance the night away with the friends that have been by your side since elementary school.
But once you say “I do” your family is now you and your spouse so being excited for the wedding is fine as long as you don’t forget to be excited for the marriage. Eloping allowed my husband and I to become legally wed to each other in a way that focused just on us. We weren’t worrying about who would be mad if we sat them at the same table or which family member would be drunk on the dance floor before the cake was cut. We were able to have a very “us” day where we celebrated the new life we were about to start together.
On top of being able to focus on us and our future, eloping also allowed us to save so much money! While I’m writing this I am watching brides on TV say yes to their dream dresses that cost more than my car! When I was younger I was sure that spending $10,000 on a wedding was normal and practical.
By the time I was getting married all I could see was what else I could be spending that money on. Had my husband and I spent that much money on a wedding there is no way we would have been able to travel the way we have (which was a necessity since we were stationed at bases 400 miles away from each other!) or to set ourselves up for success when we separated from the military. We would have been paying off debt from a one day affair instead of buying furniture for our very first house!
I know that some people have families willing to dish out the money for wedding, but even that comes with string attached. Moms that pay think that they should have input on how the money is spent. Dads that pay become overbearing on how each penny is spent. And if you’re like me, allowing your parents to spend that much money on something that will become a pretty photo album may make you feel a little guilty.