Saturday, 13 July 2013

What kind of crazy person elopes?

This kind of crazy person!

When I was planning our non-wedding, I did a whole lot of Googling. I hope that this post comes up in somebody's search when they are feeling alone and confused about their choices. Mostly, I just got traditional wedding forums, where "eloping" is a dirty word.

The legal minimum number of attendees at a wedding in Vanuatu!

Even in our modern world, where we have endless possibilities for romantic partners, living arrangements, and family structures, eloping is rarely discussed. There are wedding websites where women planning small ceremonies are told not to bother with a dress or flowers, because who was going to see them and care anyway?

Eloping is rarely presented as an option unless:

  • There is some sort of desperate situation;
  • You're old;
  • You're pregnant;
  • You've been married before;
  • One/both of your families dislike one/both of you; or
  • You're broke.
Those are all totally valid reasons, of course! But I was surprised how intrusive some people were when we said we were planning to/had already eloped. They wanted to know which of the above was a factor. Why we couldn't afford a wedding. Why we didn't just have "a cheap wedding". Why we would "do this to our families". Why we would get married at all if we didn't want to have a wedding. And so on.

Ner ner ner, wedding forums. I had both flowers *and* a dress.

From an outsider's point of view, I cannot see why having no wedding is seen as abnormal. When a wedding can amount to spending two thirds of the average annual before-tax salary on one day, some perspective is a good thing. Not to mention that nobody has ever died from not attending a wedding!

Some other reasons to not have a wedding might include:
  • The bride/groom being completely uninterested in the whole concept;
  • A desire to avoid being the centre of attention;
  • It is not a priority;
  • The geographic locations of family and friends;
  • Health/finances of potential guests;
  • Conflict between religions/traditions/cultures; and
  • Any other reason you like!
Nobody needs to validate their choice, because it is nobody else's business. My advice, if anyone asks why you are eloping, is to simply say "because it's right for us". It's pretty hard to argue with. This answer also works if somebody asks you why you've spent $50k on a wedding!

Okay, this photo is really just so my sewing friends can see the bodice detail.

Bonus tip: the people who are cranky about your choice would be cranky about any choice you make. If they weren't complaining about your elopement, they'd be complaining about the guest list, the flowers, or something else.

Have you ever made an unpopular or non-traditional choice? What do you do when somebody asks you a rude or personal question?

40 comments:

  1. Totally agree. Why can't people just be happy for you. Thanks for sharing and those are lovely pics.

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    1. Thanks BeaJay. I really do hope that somebody stumbles upon this when they are thinking about making a different choice than a wedding - nobody should feel pressured to do something they don't want or need to.

      Glad you enjoyed the photos!

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    2. " Why we would get married at all if we didn't want to have a wedding. "

      That really is the most ridiculous question at all and it's indicative of a problem that some people with the big expensive weddings have - that it's all about the wedding and not about committing to spend the rest of your life with this person. And then what do you do when there's no wedding to look forward to any more?

      Congratulations Kat. Your wedding looks lovely - and if it was right for you that's what matters.

      KathleenS

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    3. Absolutely. People asking that question have really missed the point! It's somewhat understandable when you look at the images and literature we're surrounded with. It would be nice if people felt free to do what really makes them happy, and not worry so much about other people's opinions.

      Thanks Kathleen!

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  2. I will never understand why people get so judgey about weddings. After all, if the two people getting married are happy with said wedding, why the hell does it even matter what anyone else thinks?!

    Also, I'm fairly certain that wedding forums are populated exclusively by bridezilla lunatics and should therefore be stayed away from at all costs... ;)

    YAY PHOTOS!! (Even though I've seen them like ten times already)

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    1. We were reading the wedding forums for the entertainment value during lunchtimes! They do offer a skewed version of the world.

      Thanks for getting it :-)

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  3. Life would be generally enhanced by an understanding that marriage is about two people and their personal commitment. You look beautiful, great dress. I hope you will both be very happy.

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    1. Thanks Heather. I'm sure it's only in the last, say, 40 years that big weddings have become such an aspiration. I hope we'll be happy too!

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  4. I had a small wedding (10 people including the minister), but I wanted to elope. My husband was afraid my mother would murder him, which was possible. So we didn't. The amount of $$ people spend on a wedding is completely out of control and insane (IMO), so good on you for bucking the trend.

    How I respond to a rude question.

    1. That is a very personal question, why do you want to know?

    2. Because.

    3. That really is none of your business.

    4. I beg your pardon? This one can make rude people very uncomfortable, just stare at them. They will usually go away.

    Given time, I am sure I can come up with more. Then again, if someone is rude to me, I have no problem responding in kind.

    Congratulations on your wedding!

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    1. Thanks Elle. Very understandable that you had to have the bare minimum number of guests! I love your responses - will definitely remember them.

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  5. You look simply stunning in all of those photos, not to mention insanely happy, which just goes to show you made exactly the right choice. Actually, I think you've inspired me to think about sharing my own secret wedding story, because it certainly wasn't your standard sort of choice for a wedding, but it was perfect for both of us and it all ended very well indeed. There's so much pressure out there to have the perfect, expensive and very public wedding and it's stories like ours that might help other people realise they can have the wedding that's right for them, too. That's definitely worth sharing.

    Congratulations to both of you and may you have many, many happy years together.

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    1. Oh, thank you Katie. I'd love to know your story if you ever share it.

      You've nailed it - I'm not saying everyone should have a tiny wedding like mine, but I wish everyone knew that there are options!

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  6. Looks like you had a gorgeous day. congrats, again.
    We too "eloped". With my family & friends in one hemisphere & the hubsters in another, we tried to avoid the bickering that would go on "Why dont you get married here" "no why dont you get married here"...so we decided, we would get married half way between the 2 & if you wanted to be there you would have to travel - everyone would have to travel!! It turned out to be 12 of our nearest & dearest which was perfect - the best wedding ive ever been too *wink wink*.

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    1. Yes, geography alone is a compelling reason to not try and make the impossible happen. I love your 'compromise', and I'm glad it was the best wedding you've ever been to!

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  7. Congratulations! And well done - life is about living it as you wish, and now together you will have many happy years ahead - doing it your way! Great start to a wonderful life together...and just love the dress...J

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    1. Thanks Judith. I appreciate the well-wishes! And aren't we all lucky to have the skills to sew clothes that make us happy :-)

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  8. I am glad you had a beautiful day that was right for both of you. Your dress was lovely, thanks for the close up.

    People do get intrusive. My responses to such questions are
    1. Thanks for asking but it really is none of your concern
    2. I would rather not talk about it.
    3. It's what we chose to do.

    These will also work for the intrusive/rude baby questions that are bound to follow any day soon :)

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    1. Oh, Valerie, you must be psychic. Those baby questions have already started! Hahaha I'll try to use some of your responses too, they're great.

      Thanks for your kind comments :-)

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  9. Congrats! We did a semi elopement going to Tasmania with our nearest and dearest, and some people are still grumpy about it, even though they had never met my husband before.

    You do what makes you happy, and everyone else can just bugger off! They can do whatever they like for their wedding :)

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    1. Thanks Sarah! Some people are impossible to please, no matter what you do. Your wedding would have been lovely, I'm sure.

      As you said, the people who have such strong ideas about how weddings 'must' be should just have their own :-)

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  10. Your dress is beautiful and you look very happy. Best wishes and congratulations. It is lovely that you made a special dress for your private wedding.

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    1. Thank you! Even though it was just me and Chris, I wanted to mark the occasion by looking as nice as I could :-)

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  11. In this day and age I can quite understand the decision to elope - weddings aren't weddings anymore, but large performance events, high stress, high anxiety, when really a wedding is the two of pledging your troth etc in front of witnesses, just as you have done.

    People are very rude nowadays and ask the most nosy questions - it is none of their business.

    A lady I knew some years ago was making a dress for her daughter's wedding. Her daughter lived in Switzerland, where she was a musician in a symphony orchestra. The wedding was small- just the bride and groom and two witnesses - the bridesmaid and the best man. Very common there, according to Josie. Eminently sensible, if you ask me :)

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    1. Yes, I'm not sure how things have slowly slid out of control with regards to 'average' weddings. The Swiss wedding you speak of sounds lovely! I don't cope that well with stress at the best of times, and I wanted my wedding day to be a happy one, not an anxious one.

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  12. And yes, you were right to make the effort to look nice - its a special day and a special memory for you both.

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    1. Thank you - we did have the photos taken to share with our family, so wearing sarongs and flip-flops might have been a tad too casual ;-)

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  13. Congratulations on the wedding! I love your dress even more after reading your previous post about how you sewed it yourself! I understand all your points completely, I cannot believe people spend that much on a wedding, you could buy all sorts of other things that will last for a lot longer with that much money.
    The weddings on that program 'Four Weddings' always make me cringe.

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    1. Thanks Zoe :-)

      I think it's lovely when people have big fancy weddings, if that's what they are comfortable with. I just hope that people know it's okay to do something different or more low-key.

      That Four Weddings show is so terrible... though I'm sure they choose the most outrageous people to be on it!

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  14. We never called it eloping but got married while away on holiday. My secretary and hairdresser knew about it before but we told my family the next day. Oh and my husband "chickened out" on the surprise and called his mother 1 hour before the service. That lead to him calling his brother so that he could explain the time differences to his mother.
    Why did we do it? Lots of reasons as we were living miles from his family and on a different continent to my relatives. Also my mother died the year before so if nobody was there then her absence would not be the main thing.
    Congratulations on your marriage and doing it your way.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story here. I think it really helps people to know that there are lots of different ways to get married, and lots of different reasons for doing it.

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  15. We eloped. Told everyone afterwards. I've never regretted it. Still very happy nearly 13 years later. Your dress is really really beautiful. Thanks for the close up pic for the sewists!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your success story, and the dress compliments :-)

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  16. Absolutely couldn't agree with you more. And massively massive congratulations. You look soooo beautiful in your dress and what a gorgeous location. I love this post and all that it means x

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    1. Oh, thank you so much! You've brought a huge grin to my face, which takes some doing on a busy Friday morning :-) It really means a lot to think that other people are getting some enjoyment and use out of this post.

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  17. Congratulation und all the best! :o)

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  18. Oh Kat, this is so true! My boyfriend and I talk about the big M but we have religion/ one enormous step family/ family and expectations that neither of us want to meet just so that other people can be happy. We'd be happier running off and then inviting people over for a bbq, with the announcement being the certificate stuck to the front door. Would lead to a great party we think! Unfortunately it's not going to happen soon, due to family angst on my boyfriend's part (particularly, how does one convince Mum in Hamilton to come down to Palmy for 'just' a bbq?), but I'm looking forward to it! Eloping sounds so much more romantic in my mind too!

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    1. Juliet, I so understand what you are thinking.

      With Mum in Hamilton, you might have to get married first, then let her (and only her!) in on the secret to get her to make the journey... You can do whatever you like if you put your mind to it!

      If you do ever want email support/an eloping cheerleader, you can always email me on kathryncampbell.83 at gmail dot com :-)

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  19. hahahaha this is awesome. Good on you and you're right it is your decision (and his) and no one elses. XD Awesome dress btw and congratulations.

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    1. Thank you! Even though we did it for us, it's good to have support!

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