When my husband proposed to me almost the first words out of my mouth were “Can we elope?” Luckily, he said “no.” Even at the time, I was secretly glad. Now, seven years and two kids later, I’m incredibly grateful that we had a wedding. At times, planning it drove me crazy, but I’m glad we did it.
The most common reasons for a “planned elopement” (as opposed to a couple deciding to get married on the spur of the moment) are:
• Difficult family relationships
• Discomfort with being the center of attention
• Need for speed (due to pregnancy or military deployment)
• Feeling like weddings are meaningless
• Did I mention money?
All of these reasons are valid and understandable, but let me offer a different perspective. Here are the Top five reasons NOT to elope.
1) Planning a wedding is good practice
So many of the lessons that a couple learns planning a wedding together apply to married life, too. How do you make decisions together? How do you handle opposing points of views? What role do your parents play in your finances, your decisions, and your life? All of these themes will come up again and again in buying a home, having a child, making career decisions and healthcare decisions. I write an advice column here at OneWed, and usually when someone writes in with a question about a difference of opinion with her fiancé, I can see that the wedding is just the situation, not the issue.
2) You deserve it
I’m the last one to encourage anyone to play the princess card, but here’s the thing: A lot of times people choose to elope because they don’t want to bother anyone. For some of us, being the center of attention is a scary idea. I get that, but unless you’re Angelina Jolie, there are very few times in your life when you get the star treatment. If you’re thinking of starting a family, trust me those times will be even fewer! When you’re planning a wedding you get to focus on yourself. You don’t have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable, but why not let yourself shine?
3) Your marriage deserves it
Some people get so hung up in the wedding that they forget what’s really important, the marriage. Agreeing to marry someone is an important, life-changing moment. It shouldn’t be shoved off to the side as though it doesn’t matter.
4) It’s not all about you
Remember the last guy who dumped you? Remember your friend who sat and listened to you cry for weeks on end? So, you’re willing to let her help you when you’re sad, but you won’t give her the joy of seeing you happy? Yes, a marriage is between two people, but it’s also about the joining of two families. Your family and friends have a right to help you celebrate.
5) Don’t let THEM win
I work for a wedding website, but even I think people get a little carried away with wedding planning. Ice sculptures, grooms coming in on white horses, just because you don’t want all this, doesn’t mean you can’t have a wedding. Don’t reject the idea of a wedding just because you don’t want to have THEIR kind of wedding. I’ve been to weddings with potluck dinners, backyard weddings, destination weddings and weddings held at the Ritz. They were all equally meaningful and beautiful.
Whatever you decide to do, we here at Onewed.com wish you the best of luck!