I'm sure I mentioned it somewhere along the line but The Colonel and I basically eloped at the end of September. In November, we visited a cool event space where we will hold our one year anniversary party and the coordinator there was fascinated by our story and practically begged me to blog about it. I thought it was weird, but she explained that she comes across a lot of people who, after it's all said and done, tell her they wished they would've done something different. I think it's really sad that people let other people or expectations or norms decide how they live their lives and particularly how they celebrate great life moments.
Here's the deal, if you're thinking about eloping, make sure it's really what you want. A marriage ceremony isn't something you'll ever get back. If it means the world to you to have your family there but the wedding planning process has made them difficult to deal with, talk to them about it. Eloping isn't something you decide to do because you're mad or to punish those who wouldn't let you get your way. I don't know what your reasons are for not wanting a traditional ceremony but here are mine:
- I have never loved to be the center of attention.
- I am not warm and fuzzy. I think it's somewhat clear from how (not) often I mention my married life on here that I'm not comfortable sharing romantic feelings with people. Bleh!
- I like to do things my way. As soon as I got engaged I was confronted with an insane amount of questions and pressures from people both close to me and those who crawled out of bushes in hopes of getting a free meal. I don't like pressure or stress, I put enough of that on myself. The more people pressured me the quicker I crossed them off the guest list. All I really had to do was man up and say no but that was hard for me because this was such unfamiliar territory.
- I consulted my soon to be spouse. Hey people, ASK the person you're about to marry what they really want. In my case it was a lot of The Colonel saying he didn't care and for me to do whatever I wanted. But when we got down to it, he hated the planning process because it made me crazy. It ruined the whole reason we were getting married and put too much pressure and stress (which we hate, remember?) on the situation.
- I don't see getting married as a huge milestone. Staying married is what's worth celebrating to me.
I talked to one or two very close friends about what was going on and got the recommendation to check out a small company called My Tiny Wedding (I don't know how to link to their page from my iPad so just google them). They specialize in, you guessed it, tiny weddings. They were even able to provide witnesses if you really didn't want anyone other than each other there. For pennies of what a "real" wedding can cost we got married at Red River Gorge on an absolutely beautiful Friday evening (sped out there after work) and it was absolutely everything we wanted.
A lot of people asked why we didn't even have family there as witnesses. I'm extremely close to my sister and did consider having her there but there's an unfortunate domino effect that comes from that. She's my witness so then The Colonel needs one from his side right? Well he has 4 siblings. Which one to choose? How do you choose one over the others? And then what about my mom? Oh yeah and him and whoever have been friends since they were kids, he's like a brother. See where the problem comes in? By having no one we eliminated a lot of excess potential drama and managed to piss off everyone instead of just a few. (I kid...sort of)
I think the biggest fear people have when it comes to eloping is upsetting people. Nobody wants to make the people they love mad. But I can tell you this, I had plenty of people who were not happy with me and have a few who still aren't. The people who really love me don't care one bit. They know that I'm happy and when you love and care about someone that's all you should want for them. My mom was a tough sell at first but like any great mother she saw me happy and that's all she wanted.
So, if you really are thinking about eloping, really really think about if it's what you want. You don't get tradition and that's hard for a lot of people to swallow. But keep in mind you can always do things your own way. We are doing a faux wedding/anniversary thing this September and the pressure is off because we've already gotten what we wanted. We requested no gifts but I've had plenty of people ask to give us stuff anyway. We declined, we really don't want anything but you can do whatever you'd like. Some people elope and send marriage announcements which can produce gifts. Do whatever you and your partner want to do and for once, be selfish and unapologetic. Don't be an asshole, but be confident and comfortable standing up for what you both want. When I got engaged people said it was my wedding and I quickly learned it had nothing to do with the bride and groom. That was my experience for several reasons, it very well may not be yours.
Whatever you decide to do, do it for the sake of you, your partner and your relationship. Don't regret what should be a great moment in your life.