Surprise! We’re Eloping.

At some point in the wedding planning process, every bride will dream of eloping. With all of the stress of wedding planning, suddenly an elopement sounds like the easiest, most fun and most romantic option. Most won’t go through with it. But hey, some of us do.

How to Elope


Since Mike & I are full steam ahead with our wedding planning (almost got you there, didn’t I?), today’s post is a guest post from a fellow Toronto bride who was all set to have a wedding then decided they should go it alone instead. And no, I won’t be telling you who she is. You’ll just have to guess.

Why I’m Eloping

It wasn’t long in to our engagement that my fiance and I took a 180° in our wedding plans. Like many girls, a wedding was something I’d been planning and looking forward to for years. I was never a kid playing dress up with a veil, but I had a very active Pinterest account and knew my way around a TLC special or seven.

I remember getting engaged and within a few hours was in wedding mode. I was so excited not to “plan” the wedding, but to make everything I had already planned in to a reality. I realized there was a lot of expectation around what being engaged meant, and I poured over every list with the title “what to do when you get engaged”; ring insurance, informing family, manicures, and enjoying yourself.

Within weeks I realized just how much I was struggling with that last piece.

At a time when I knew at least a dozen girls who were engaged my Instagram was full of brunches with their families, champagne bottles and bridal magazines. They were viewing venues, glowing with their bridal parties, showing off their rings, and at a time when you’re “supposed” to be surrounded by love and friendship I’d never felt more alone.  I was unhappy, frustrated and my fiancé was too.10002839_10152350921010955_1226084092_n

We realized a wedding wasn’t right for us. Here’s why:

Financial Obligation

No matter how “budget friendly” or “DIY” you make it, weddings cost money. We’re not all that traditional and had no family pressure for a religious ceremony. That meant we had a lot of flexibility and opted for a casual Friday evening affair. We weren’t serving dinner but planned a cocktail style event. It was hard to come to grips with spending tens of thousands of dollars for a quaint evening event. I’d been saving for years for this and when it came down to it I knew that for me, this wasn’t how I wanted to spend any of that savings.

Identifying Priorities

One of the many articles about wedding planning I read spoke to not just budgeting but sticking to that budget. One of the ways to do that, it read, was to identify the few things you really wanted at a wedding. If a dessert table was an important part of your vision, then knock that out of the park and compromise on the centerpieces, you get the idea.

I sat down to make my “non-compromise list” for what I wanted and it read like this:

  • A unique and beautiful setting
  • The dream dress
  • A photographer who could capture candid pictures we’d love forever
  • And my fiancé.

Sitting down with itemized estimates that felt like they were a mile long I looked at my little list of four and realized that I could have everything I wanted without having the wedding at all.

My fiancé and I looked at our priorities in life, we want to explore the world and buy a home. A wedding wasn’t on the list and was going to take away from what we really wanted.

Emotional Stress

I found that planning a wedding was spotlighting the strain in relationships that already exists. My father thinks weddings are silly and stated very early on that he didn’t own me so he wouldn’t be giving me away. Fine. He didn’t dance so there’d be no dance between the bride and the father of the bride. No matter how untraditional you can be, hearing those things hurt.

The guest list is always a tricky one. Great-uncle-whoever that I last saw at someone’s funeral who I “had to” invite could take the spot of a friend we wanted there. There were so many people who assumed they, and their significant other would be invited. The list kept growing and keeping our vision intimate and light got harder as lists piled up.

When we made the decision that a wedding wasn’t in the cards for us, I finally, for the first time felt like an engaged woman. It brought my fiancé and I closer and helped us focus on priorities in our life and marriage together.

We created lists of all the places we wanted to go and headed to the travel section of the bookstore to research what could be the setting for our ceremony, the honeymoon and the adventure of a lifetime. There was and still is a lot to consider. My travel list simply said “EVERYWHERE!” and it took some time to pick the right location for this trip.

We’ve told our family and close friends and have been elated with the amount of support and understanding shown. There will be a few sad faces I’m sure but we’re looking forward to returning from a far off location as a married couple and celebrating with the people that matter.

I’ve been asked quite a bit “but what if you regret not having a wedding!?”. And to that I say “then I’ll have a wedding”. There are no rules anymore. If in 10 years we decide it’s something we want then we’ll renew our vows with a big celebration.

We realize it’s not a decision for everyone. I’m over the moon happy for my dear friends (including Steph!) who are planning their fairytale wedding, and know that my fairytale will be just that… my own.


Thanks to our secret guest blogger for her honest post! If you were going to elope, where would you do it?

  • sarah_millar

    OK, you really almost had me there.
    As someone who nearly eloped (our wedding was planned and paid for, and we only invited immediate family six weeks out from our wedding day), I highly encourage other brides to consider doing something similar.

    My husband and I knew we didn’t want the big church wedding. I knew that I don’t do well under stress, nor do I say no well. Especially to my mother. 

    Being the first daughter of my parents’ to get married, I knew there was going to be a lot of pressure to do things one way or another that were not my way. 

    So I decided to circumvent that. While my sister was in on the elopement, I knew I was going to miss the other women in my life: my baby sister, my mom and my stepmom. So I asked each of them to give me something. My mom was something new (since she  wanted to buy my dress), my stepmom was something old, my baby sister was something blue, and my sister (who was to be my maid of honour) was something borrowed. That way a piece of the four women in my life would be with me.

    In the end, my husband and I decided making those phone calls to our parents after we got married was going to be harder than expected. The reaction from everyone was surprise, which meant we were great secret-keepers (or liars, depending on how you look at it!). 

    All this to say, my wedding was my wedding. It was stress-free and lovely. I wouldn’t trade the way we did it for the world. I highly recommend it!

  • erinsulla

    I just stumbled on your blog (we may or may not have a couple of Facebook friends in common). We have way too much in common: I also went to Queen’s, got engaged a week after you (October 13th) to my boyfriend (now fiancé, I always forget to use that word!) of 9 years and we are getting married on the same date: June 6th, 2015! I promise i’m not stalking you haha I just found this blog! We are getting married in Montreal (where we are both from) even though we live in Edmonton right now while I finish up my PhD. We had our engagement part on New Years Eve at a loft in Montreal and also had gold as our staple colour, kind of a give-in on New Years. Reading your blog is so much fun and gets me excited for our date which is still far off but approaching faster than I thought it would! I’m doing a PhD and have little wedding planning time so i’m glad that we are having a long engagement. Anyways, thanks for all of the fun posts. Like you, i’m loving the planning part and am just so excited. We have our venue, officiant, and photographer booked, bridesmaids have been asked, and the dress has been purchased (I know I am way ahead of myself) but so far none of this has been stressful and has instead been filled with giddy “EEEE” ing. 

    That being said, i completely understand the desire to elope. We are trying not to have a huge lavish wedding either because our priorities are on building a future together rather than blowing our budget on one day. So far planning has been enjoyable for me and significantly less stressful than grad school. Stress is NOT fun and if it is more stressful than fun for this couple, it completely makes sense that they are eloping. Weddings should be about starting a life together. Every couple is different and so it makes complete sense that each couple has a unique way of celebrating this. It sounds like planning the trip aspect is something that is exciting and not stressful, which is fantastic. All the best to both couples as they start their lives together. Steph, i’ll be following you on bloglovin!


  • erinsulla Hi Erin,
    Thanks so much for getting in touch! That’s too funny (and exciting!) that we have basically the same path to our wedding days. 

    It’s great having a friend who has decided to have a completely different kind of wedding – we get to share so much with one another about planning and dress hunting and get to enjoy it from two completely different perspectives. So much fun! The trip they’re planning sounds amazing and perfect for them.

    I’ll be sharing lots more about planning – usually on Wednesdays – so be sure to stop by! If you have any suggestions/requests for wedding content let me know. I want my posts about this to be as useful and fun as possible.

    Cheers and good luck with planning,

  • _SarahFoster Gotcha! 😉
    Sounds like you did what was best for you two. I think sometimes even plotting how you would elope / do something on your own really alleviates the stress.

  • Vanilla0_o

    Is it bad that my mother encourages me to elope when the time comes because of emotional stress? Oh well, she knows me too well. I have the same list as you, photos, fiance, setting, dress…but I do want my immediate family and a few friends there. It will likely be a civil ceremony and then a vacation…

  • erinsulla

    stephaniefusco erinsulla  

    Sounds great! I’m assuming you have seen this sale since you seem to like Kate Spade but thought I would send it your way just in case!

  • amesguerra

    I know this bride 🙂 Love her. She made me want to elope when we talked about her reasons. I’ve heard people talk about eloping but she’s the first one to actually make sense of it.