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.
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.
We realized a wedding wasn’t right for us. Here’s why:
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.
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.
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.[line]
Thanks to our secret guest blogger for her honest post! If you were going to elope, where would you do it?