It’s true; I want to elope. Why do I want to elope? Good question.
I was never that kid who spent my days planning my dream wedding or running around with a veil on my head. In university, I remember chatting with friends who would so confidently say, “Well, when I’m married…” I was never that person. Marriage was never a for sure thing in my life.
It’s not that I didn’t want to get married. I just knew my life would be okay without it. And it would come down to the person I was with. If I did find that person, we could talk about marriage. If I didn’t find that person or they didn’t want to get married, I would be okay.
Marriage > wedding
I work on the periphery of the wedding industry. I do social media, blogging and emails for a wedding officiant company and two wedding photographers. So I spend a lot of time looking at wedding photos, emailing wedding vendors and chatting with engaged couples. You’d think I’d have my dream wedding totally planned, right? Not exactly.
As much as I love the wedding industry and looking at beautiful wedding photos, for me, it’s about the marriage. One thing I really love about working for Young Hip & Married is that the focus is on a meaningful ceremony and a lifetime marriage. One question they ask is: How much money are you spending on your wedding? How much are you spending on your marriage?
Colin and I both have divorce in our families. It’s a scary thing, but it’s something to learn from. We understand that marriages take work. I would love to invest in relationship coaching, instead of a wedding cake or fancy bouquet. I’m not saying that people who plan a fancy wedding don’t care about their marriage. But I want to invest my limited funds in our marriage, not our wedding.
Which takes me to my next point…
Money, money, money
I want to elope because eloping is cheaper. WAY cheaper. In my experience being in weddings and working in the industry, I know how quickly things can add up. I believe the average Canadian wedding is around $35,000. That’s insane! Colin and I don’t have that kind of money. Our parents don’t have that kind of money. And even if we had it or our parents had it, this is not what I would want to spend it on. I know that your wedding is supposed to be this big, important day but, in my opinion, it’s not worth $35,000+. If I had those funds, I would much rather put them into a new home, an amazing trip or starting a family.
And we don’t want to go into debt for a wedding. I’ve talked about how Colin and I manage our money and our goal to be debt-free by 30. That won’t happen if we have to finance a big wedding. For us, it’s not worth it and not where we want to put our funds.
The best day of your life
They say that your wedding day is supposed to be the best day of your life. It’s the line used to convince couples to splurge on the dress, the invitations and the signature cocktail. “But it’s your wedding day! It’s your day – the best day of your life! You only have one wedding day.”
But how sad is that if your wedding day is the best day of your life? That means it’s all just downhill from there. That’s awful. I don’t want to start my marriage knowing I’ve already had the best day of my life. I want to look forward to so many amazing days. My wedding will be an awesome day, but I really hope it’s not the best one ever. I want to elope because I think by having a more casual/intimate wedding day, I can put off some of this pressure to make it the best.
Weddings aren’t my style
One thing that has always bothered me about weddings is all of this work and money for just one day. It goes by so quickly! And you really don’t get to spend much quality time with the people around you. Colin and I both have big families. If we had the big wedding, I know we’d only get a few minutes to talk to each person, if that, and that sucks.
Colin and I are also both introverts. We need quiet time to recharge. I prefer smaller settings and get stressed in big groups. Colin doesn’t mind big groups but he does dislike the spotlight. And a wedding day is all about a big group and standing center stage with a direct spotlight. That’s not an environment that we enjoy. I don’t want to be stressed and uncomfortable on my wedding day.
What about a destination wedding?
A destination wedding was actually my first choice before deciding that I want to elope. And since we’re not currently engaged or planning our wedding yet, a destination wedding could still be in the cards. I love the idea because it incorporates my other great love, travel. Destination weddings are also much more affordable and give you more quality time to spend with your guests if everyone is staying at the same resort.
But a destination may not work out for us. While they are more affordable, largely owing to the limited guest list, they are still a big expense. The most economical version is usually an all-inclusive in Mexico, but that’s not really us. As much as I have enjoyed all-inclusive vacations, I don’t really want that for my wedding. We don’t do good in heat/humidity. Plus, the ceremony is the most important part for me and I don’t think there are as many options to customize that with a destination wedding.
We’ve also thought about a closer to home destination wedding, like doing a group of cabins or a resort here in BC. It definitely seems more our style (though no outright camping because I’m not using an outhouse or sleeping in a tent on my wedding night) but the dollars will still add up. Plus we’d then be asking our friends and family to travel, take time off work, and pay to stay at a resort/cabin.
What about your families?
Even though I want to elope, I love going to weddings. It’s such an honour to be included in someone’s love story like that and so much fun to dance like a goof at the reception. Weddings are amazing! And I know we would be disappointing a lot of people by not having a big wedding.
And that sucks. If money was no object, we’d do a destination wedding in Europe and pay for everyone we love to spend a whole week there with us. But that’s not possible. We would love to hold a casual marriage celebration sometime after the elopement or an anniversary party where we can celebrate with everyone. But it won’t be the full wedding some people are expecting to attend.
There are some people who I know will be disappointed and I don’t get why. These are the people I haven’t talked to in ages and haven’t seen in even longer. I know they’ll be disappointed because they think they ought to be at my wedding because that’s how things are done. Sorry, but I’m not having a wedding just because I’m supposed to. Don’t be disappointed that I’m not buying you an overcooked chicken dinner from the only caterer we could afford – you won’t miss it.
But then there are other people who I am close with who still wouldn’t be part of the elopement. People who I text regularly, send snail mail to, grew up with and can depend on no matter what. Some of those amazing people probably won’t be a part of our elopement and I hate that. But, I know that those people love me. They might be disappointed to miss out on this one day, but I know they will respect our decision. And they’ll still get to spend the rest of our lives with us.
My dream elopement
This is what my dream elopement would look like. We’d invite our immediate family and closest friends to join us out here in Vancouver. We’d get ready at home, together, maybe with a few friends/family members sipping on mimosas nearby. Even though it’s an elopement, I’d have to hire someone for hair and makeup because I’m hopeless. We’d do a first look in our apartment and then some family photos with Ellie pup. Next, we’d meet up with our officiant somewhere scenic and meaningful to us, like the New West Quay. We’d say our I do’s and the personal vows we wrote for one another. Naturally, I’d be bawling.
After the ceremony and some more photos, we’d head out to lunch with our group – somewhere delicious where we could get a nice long table that everyone fits around. And even though it’s a casual day and small wedding, we’d still do some toasts around the table. My dad would get teary during his speech, which would make me start to cry, which would make my best friend, Andrea, start to cry. But there would be so much laughter too. It would be a nice long lunch with champagne flowing and a love so thick you can feel it. The day would end with us checking into a fancy hotel room and then getting ready to set off on an amazing honeymoon.
So that’s why I want to elope. And I do want to be clear: this isn’t me passing judgment on anyone who had a wedding or is planning a wedding. I love weddings! But for me, I want to elope and these are my reasons.
Have you considered eloping? Why or why not?