Feb 19, 2015

Eloping - We're Doing It, But Why?

Ryan and I decided shortly after getting engaged that we would elope.  Up until the engagement I had been pretty gung ho about weddings and planning and, while I hadn't started a secret Pinterest board, I did have a pretty extensive Google doc with resources and a list of all the things we would need to decide upon.

Planning don't scare me!  Bring it on!

But then, when the engagement happened and I was finally allowed to start talking about this stuff, I realized Ryan really wasn't into it.  He wanted to get married, but every conversation about how and when and where seemed to leave him feeling drained and unenthusiastic.

Obviously not what I was going for.

So after rather carefully feeling him out to see what was going on, I realized my dream wedding was his worst nightmare.  We talked about the difficulties of collecting his family from various parts of the South, mine from the East and West, and all the expectations we would have to deal with.  And I thought, "Why am I doing this to him?"

He'd joked a few times about running off to Vegas or eloping, so finally I asked him if that's what he really wanted.  Yes.

So while we're putting our own twist on it, and there is a small bit of planning involved, that's essentially what we're doing.  And magically, as soon as we started using that word - Elopement - the expectations seem to fade away.  Are people disappointed?  Probably.  But no one's seemed too upset about it, and a lot of people have been really supportive.

Let me give you a list of the reasons I'm convinced this is one of the best ideas we've ever made.

8 of our Reasons for Eloping

1. Money

"Just think of all the money you'll save."  Yes.  Weddings cost a LOT.  Sister2's wedding, originally intended to be a modest event, has ballooned somewhere to the vicinity of $20,000.  Of course, this was only after my father got involved, leading to...

2. Expectations

You think everyone's going to go along with what you want because it's your "special day."  But they don't.  Everyone has a request, or a demand, even, because they know what the right way is to do things, and it's not whatever you had planned.  I had 2 different people tell me what their expectations were before Ryan and I even got engaged.  And yes, I still sometimes get pissed off about that.

3. Stress

While I was still convinced that planning would be delightful and I'd get to do everything all my own way (Eff alla ya'll - I'ma do what I want!), it was obviously going to be a major source of stress for Ryan.  And that alone would have caused me some unhappiness, even before all the other bajillion decisions and financial issues got involved.

4. Time

Even if planning is your thing (like it is mine), putting together all those little details is going to take a long time.  An engagement quite frequently lasts a year or more, not because the couple isn't ready to go all the way, but because that's how long it took to get everything figured out.  It's kind of nice to have that time to do and plan other things.  Like school, and house hunting.

5. Flexibility

You don't have to worry about who can afford what.  Or whether your guests will be able to travel to your location.  You can just do what you and your partner want to do, no one else's needs to be considered.  And you don't even have to worry about offending people - either they all will be or none of them will.  No one has a right to feel singled out, because everyone received the same thing.

6. Freedom

This probably sounds like a repeat of some of the others, and it kind of is.  But I guess I'm thinking specifically about not having to tailor our ceremony to be something everyone else will be comfortable in.  We're gaming, because that's what we like, and the few people there can either appreciate it or are willing to go along with us because we're so close.  Could we make our wedding into a game with 100 guests?  No, no we could not.

7. Public Speaking

When I have to talk in front of a bunch of people, I get blotchy and red.  Even when I'm comfortable.  And with the number of people attending a wedding, I wouldn't be.  I'd be thinking about how to say my speech, and whether it's properly memorized, and it really wouldn't be that special moment between Ryan and myself that I'm hoping for.  The last thing I want to think when I'm pledging my life to him is my splotchy, red face.

8. Guilt

Ok, so maybe this is just me being a control freak.  But the thing I enjoyed most about the idea of a wedding was the fact that I was in total control.  Everything was going to be my way.  For once in my life, I could be totally selfish and do everything the way I wanted - you know, with a few exceptions for what Ryan wanted.  So either I was going to cave to all the expectations and be unhappy, or I was going to stick to my guns and then feel guilt for all the people I upset or pissed off.  And faced with those 2 options, I'd really just rather piss them off A) From a distance and B) In a much cheaper way.

So there you have it.  Will I still feel guilty if people's feelings are hurt.  Probably.  And will I feel wistful that I didn't get to have my moment in a big princess-y dress with everything the way I want it?  A little.

But I think I'd rather accept those feelings gently now, than realize them in the midst of a stress-crazed battle with some guest who refuses to make things easy for me.  Because it's impossible to make everyone happy, and there's no way the event will go down exactly how I want it to.  The real world doesn't work that way.

If you want more to think on, here's a couple fun links:
P.S. Offbeat Bride and A Practical Wedding were my absolute favorite resources when I was still in research mode.  Oh, and while I do encourage eloping as an option, I do still very much enjoy weddings and all wedding details!  Just don't complain to me about it - you had other options.

Would you ever consider eloping?  Are you married and if so did you have a wedding?  Tell me all about it!

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  1. IF I were to get married I would elope, I see no point in paying for a huge wedding.

  2. I wish we eloped. Leading up to the wedding was the worst time in my life. Someone will get hurt no matter what you do, you may as well make the two of you happy.

  3. Chris and I ended up eloping...sort of. We had a wedding planned and things happened. It was so damn stressful and lots of people were trying to tell me what to do and that the silver table cloths I wanted were not appropriate for a wedding and that I had to have white and this that and the other. It was going to be expensive even though we were cutting everywhere we could. We decided to put off the wedding for awhile....

    Then one day in 2012 Chris said, I am ready to be married but not ready for a wedding. And we decided that we didn't have to have a wedding. We called a non-denominational officiant and told him to meet us at Oak Mountain the following Saturday. I wore my dress my mom had bought me when we had started planning the first time and we invited our friend Adam and his wife to come with us because they were professional wedding photographers. We told our parents the day before that we would be doing it and it was going to be just us. And we did it! Then we changed our status to married on facebook and let the comments fly!

    1. The day was just about us and our love and marriage. We did it for us and no one else and it was perfect. And I still have my pictures, which is all I really wanted from a wedding anyways.

  4. My first one we eloped very spur of the moment. I was wearing a black hoodie (my daughter wears it all the time now) The second was a small thing in our backyard. I'm doubting there will be a third.

  5. Saving money and having it be more about the relationship instead of a party would be reasons why I would choose to elope. That fact that I spent a fortune attending everyone else's weddings for the last 5 years would be why I'd have a wedding lol. Kidding, sort of! I think I've always had this idea of a big wedding from when I was young, but definitely for the wrong reasons, and it's not something I would want anymore.

    So now that you've done it, have you found any cons with elopement?!


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