Hands up those of you who at one point or another during your wedding planning journey have thought or said, ‘F*** this shit, we’re eloping.’ Yup. I’m sure there’s a hell of a lot of you who’ve still got your hands up. (You can put them down now!)
There’s no doubt about it, but sometimes wedding planning can be enough to drive anyone and everyone to want to elope, and some do, but there are also those who know from the start that eloping is the path they are going down, literally.
So going back to the question, is eloping selfish, if you take the word selfish in its most simplistic definition ‘concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure,’ then I guess the answer is ‘yes’. Eloping is selfish, but in no way is that a bad thing, at all. Eloping is good selfish, all good.
So why elope?
Modern eloping gives couples the chance to have a wedding day that focuses only and solely on them; their needs, their wishes, their preferences, their wedding goals. I mean let’s face it, although having a conventional wedding is also very much about the couples’ wishes, preferences and dreams, the fact that you are in effect, hosting an event with a whole load of other people to consider, your day does also become about managing, juggling, catering and dealing with other people and all the crap that can come with dealing with other people!
For me, eloping is definitely the ultimate way of getting back to basics. It a way of stripping back a wedding day, laying it naked and exposing what is important. Where the fluff and fuss is removed and ALL the focus is on the union that a couple are about to undertake. Because this IS after all, what a wedding day is all about, but as we all know, this IS also the very thing that can get lost and buried under the wedding day pile of theming, styling, dress-hunting, beautifying and general event-planning.
Every couple has got its own reason for eloping. And as with anything when it comes to your wedding day, it’s always about what is right for you. So let’s have a look at some of those reasons that might make people decide to elope.
Because couples really want their wedding day to be just about them
Eloping doesn’t mean that you love your family and friends, any less, it just means that you and your love bunny want to start you marriage off in a way that focuses on just the two of you and no-one else. There is no wedding more personal than an elopement wedding.
Because it’s less expensive
You don’t need to be an Oxford Maths genius to figure out that a party for two is way cheaper than a party for 22 or 222. Way cheaper. Especially nowadays when many couples are struggling to get on the property ladder or even just to live in a decent space, added to the fact that a lot of couples are now paying for their own weddings, you can see why some choose to put aside their money for their future, rather than shell out for what is essentially, a one-day event.
Because it’s fun
How cool is it to run away to somewhere lush, just you and your love bunny and maybe a suitcase or two, to do something momentous that only you two are a part of? Yup, that fun. Or to be away in the country or place of your dreams and spontaneously decide to get married there and then? Oh yes, that is definitely my idea of a fun time! For this reason alone, I can see why anyone would want to elope.
Because it’s less of a headache
I think a lot of people have a fantasy moment about eloping but maybe don’t take it any further because they don’t want to upset their friends and family with the idea. But sometimes it’s those same family and friends who you’re worrying about upsetting, who are the ones adding to your wedding headaches! Cutting out people, cuts out stress, fact! And even if you aren’t having any family troubles, organising an event for x amount of people is still a time consuming, brain-munching, energy-draining thing to do, without or without help. And so naturally, eloping removes all of that!
Before we got married, and in the rare moments when I used to think about getting married, I always pictured myself getting married on a beach with just me and my man (and our children) because I always could envisage myself having children before even getting round to thinking about being married.
I am from a huge-ass West Indian family and I did not want the huge-ass type weddings that my family members before me have had. You know, the ones where your grandmother’s friends are invited by your grandmother, where your uncles and aunts and second cousins you’ve barely seen or spoken to, and someone who babysat you once are invited too, because your parents went to their kids’ weddings and have to save face and return the kind gesture. Where people won’t get why you aren’t marrying in a church and your culinary tastes will be wasted on your family members who are stuck in their ways and will not understand that food can still taste good even when it doesn’t contain meat or when it’s made to look pretty! Oh boy, I am so glad I did not go down that route.
We had what I would say was the next best thing to an elopement, a destination wedding in Mexico, where we were living at the time. This definitely allowed us to ditch the distant aunts and uncles and to have only the people that we wanted to be at our wedding, namely 50 of our closest family and friends.
Yet, with the simplicity in what we did, we still had our share of people-attending-events-induced stress, from late and non-existent RSVPs to becoming a tour guide/travel operator/general problem-solver for our family and friends’ many and varied issues! All of which, anyone could do without!
So I didn’t have the beach wedding that I had thought about once or twice, and the baby came after marriage, but we most definitely had the wedding that we wanted. If we were living back in the UK at the time of getting married, I know without a doubt that we would have eloped, for all the reasons I outlined above and so many more that I didn’t!
Eloping isn’t the end of the world for your friends and family, especially if you plan on throwing a party or having some sort of celebration when you get back. So many couples choose to do this because throwing an informal party is much less stressful than organising a wedding reception. A party to celebrate your marriage can be just as special and meaningful (maybe even more so) as a wedding reception that follows directly on from a ceremony. And I still think that friends and family can revel in your joy and be really happy for you even if they didn’t get to witness the actual moment that you tied the knot.
Personally, because I am Mrs No Nonsense, I think that if there are family and friends who fail to get onboard with an elopement choice and feel hurt that they are excluded from such an important moment, even with time, then the problem is with their way of thinking, not with your choice of marriage celebration. People (even parents) do need to get over themselves a little when it comes to someone else’s wedding day choices. It’s not about them, it’s about you (two).
And so at the end of the day, your marriage is only about you two, and that is all. And so if that’s selfish, so be it.
Sorry, but not sorry.
Photos by Pedro Bellido Photography