The thought of planning a wedding was emotionally exhausting, especially since he had been married before, and I had not.
While my now-husband and I were dating and thinking about marriage, we often discussed what our wedding would look like. Every time we talked about it, it looked a little different.
I always tried to play it cool and never address the elephant in the room: it would be his second wedding, but my first. But the one thing I knew for sure in the privacy of my own thoughts, was that our wedding could look nothing like his last wedding.
A Surprise Proposal
Over time, I asked him all of the questions I needed the answers to… where was your first wedding at? Who was in it? What were the colors? Who was the officiant? What song did you dance to with your mom? With her?
I got the surprise of a lifetime when he proposed on vacation at Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia.
By the time we got engaged, we still hadn’t decided on anything in regards to our wedding. At that time, I started thinking about my own family. Who would be able to travel the 2.5 hours to our city for the wedding? Would anyone even want to come?
Since my upbringing was non-traditional, I didn’t have the normal pressures from the family in regards to my relationship. No one needed to give their blessing before he proposed. I didn’t have anyone waiting to sit in the sacred front row for parents, and no one was anticipating a father-daughter dance.
With my non-traditional upbringing, I also didn’t have anyone expecting to pay for my wedding. And since my fiancé’s family has presumably assisted financially the first time, I didn’t want to ask that of them again.
We finally started to ask ourselves, “Should we elope?” At first, the thought seemed crazy, but once we realized that “different” is actually our style, eloping seemed like the natural thing to do.
Our Eloping Plan
We made a deal that once we had both of our wedding bands purchased, we would elope. I searched for eloping ideas and weighed the pros and cons of eloping. I considered what my dress would look like. I knew that if we eloped, we would still invite a few people and make it a small wedding ceremony.
About six weeks after we got engaged, we purchased our wedding bands. As we were leaving the store, I got anxious wondering if my fiancé remembered the deal we made. As we were pulling away, he said, “Call the courthouse to see what we need to do to elope.” This was it! We were really doing it!
I asked him if he wanted to invite anyone, or if he wanted to plan a small ceremony. His response was simple: “Why wait?! I don’t want to wait any longer to marry you.” *swoon*
We got married the very next day by a court-appointed officiant in her family’s real estate office. We had just come from ringing the Salvation Army kettle bell at our local Sam’s Club and were both wearing jeans. We had no plan, and it was amazing.
We invited his parents, who were on their way to a social gathering and had two friends in the car with them. One of those friends was the pastor who officiated his first wedding. What I thought would be awkward turned out to be absolutely perfect.
We had a beautiful, five-minute ceremony with wedding vows scripted by the officiant, which my mother-in-law filmed on her iPhone. The officiant was having trouble navigating Microsoft Word, so I sat at her desk and typed our marriage certificate myself. It was awesome.
Just like that, we were married. What started as a normal weekend ended up being our wedding weekend!
We left “the venue” and went to dinner at a nice steakhouse in the area, just the two of us. We let the waiter, a family friend, know that we had just been married and that he was having the pleasure of serving us at our “reception!” It turned out to be such a nice evening.
I wondered that night if I would regret eloping… if I would resent the fact that I missed out on a big wedding later down the road.
In a blended family, especially as a childless stepmom, you miss out on a lot of firsts with your husband. You know going into it that he’s had these experiences before; however, you still don’t really understand what you signed up for. Nothing can prepare you for the emotional roller coaster that comes with being a second wife, especially if it’s your first marriage.
Would eloping be something else I’d add to this list of missed opportunities later in life?
Today, I’m here to proudly proclaim that eloping was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made… here’s why:
The Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Elope
I’m the type of person who wants immediate gratification. I’m impatient. As a millennial with all the information I could ever want right at my fingertips, I hate to wait for something that I want.
Eloping presents you with immediate gratification. No waiting ten months to get all of your big wedding ducks in a row! You want to get married, so you go get married.
I’ve never planned a wedding, but all I’ve ever heard about wedding planning is that it’s stressful. I’ve been in several weddings, and each time I’ve been part of a bridal party, I’ve heard the bride express that she wishes they would have eloped.
When you elope, you don’t need to worry about who to invite, who can’t sit next to whom, or who you may offend by not having enough religion tied into the ceremony. There is no stress involved in eloping.
Here’s your “duh fact” of the day: Weddings are expensive! The great news is, eloping is cheap! In addition to our wedding bands (which are not a legal requirement to be married), all we paid was $37.50 for our marriage license from the courthouse and $50.00 for the court-appointed officiant.
You read that right… the entire cost of our wedding was $87.50! It is so satisfying to get married knowing that we didn’t put ourselves or our families into debt.
Our city does not do “courthouse weddings,” which is why there was a court-appointed officiant involved. If you are thinking about eloping, call your courthouse to see what the deal is… it may be even cheaper for you!
Let’s be honest, weddings are about the guests, not about the bride and groom. The bride and groom get rushed through dinner and spend their evening walking around to each table mingling with distant relatives they barely know. They are worried about logistics, family dramatics, and getting the right pictures. It’s exhausting.
Eloping is selfish, which is how a wedding should be! Our wedding was all about us. We didn’t worry about who we may have offended by not inviting, or how drunk our relatives would get at the reception. We were able to focus on ourselves. We wanted to get married, so we did.
It Keeps the Focus on the Marriage, not on the Wedding
Weddings of all sizes are about the entertainment factor. There are tremendous amounts of detailed planning that go into even the smallest wedding. Couples and their families often get so caught up in the wedding that they forget about the marriage.
When we eloped, it was all about our marriage… our future. We got married because we knew we were meant to be married. It wasn’t about the hype… it was about our lifelong commitment to each other.
If you’re on the fence about eloping, I hope this has helped you to see why you should elope. There are no “rules” to eloping but personally, I couldn’t even imagine doing it any other way than how we did it: simply.
P.S. If you’re looking for tips on how to make it a family affair, here’s how Kristen included her stepdaughter in her wedding.