Here is what you need to know before you elope. I asked on Instagram what you want to know about getting eloped. The most common question was “Someone I know doesn’t approve / is upset by the idea of us eloping. What do I do?”
Let’s take a step back. Let’s pretend you’re gung-ho about having a traditional marriage. We’ll also assume it also happens to fit in your financial planning, family planning, and hectic military lifestyle.
Even “normal” weddings are infamous for friends and family having strong opinions and hurt feelings. After all, when you’re footing the bill for a venue, food, and booze, the price goes up for every person you invite. Lines have to be drawn and you can’t invite everyone.
Getting eloped is no different. You have to draw the lines where it fits your life and no matter how hard you try,
Someone’s feelings are going to be hurt.
This is a part of every human relationship you will ever have, and that’s okay! Have a little faith in your friends and family that they will still love you and support you even if they wish you’d have a traditional wedding. That said, communication goes a long way. This goes beyond what you need to know before you elope into what your loved ones need to know.
Take the time to explain to them why you are eloping.
Everyone elopes for different reasons. Sometimes family will assume you’re shrugging off a wedding to avoid them. Not everyone has a smooth relationship with their family, so that is a completely valid reason to elope, too. But if that isn’t why you’re eloping, make it crystal clear so there’s no room for assumptions.
“Mom, I really want you and the rest of the family present on my wedding day, but it’s not a financial commitment we can make. We are ready to get married now, for richer, for poorer.”
Is it just a financial decision? If so, be prepared for objections. They might offer to chip in a little, or say that if you hold off on eloping, they will come for a micro ceremony anyway. Would these reactions sway your decision? Changing your mind is fair game, too. Plenty of girls with big wedding dreams end up flying to Vegas after all the planning stress!
Family offered to fly out if I could give them enough warning. I wanted so badly to say yes, but there was no way we could schedule a day in advance after holiday leave due to my sailor’s rigorous training schedule. I still wish I could have had my loved ones present, but I have no regrets about eloping, either.
You can have a wedding ceremony later.
This is incredibly popular in the military community. Tons of military couples end up getting a quick courthouse wedding over leave. (Shout-out to all my holiday leave anniversary buddies!) They pick a date down the road to do all of the fanfare, such as on their first anniversary.
You can have a beautiful ceremony to recite your vows in front of loved ones and a reception to celebrate, but with none of the legal stuff or name change paperwork to stress over!
Bonus: if you choose this route, you not only get to be married now and have the ceremony of your dreams, you can also comfort friends and family by letting them know there will be a celebration for them to attend soon.
When I agreed to marry my guy on short notice, I actually agreed on the condition that we have a ceremony to celebrate later! Read more about why I didn’t invite a single guest to my military wedding.
In hindsight, the financial implications of a big ceremony, especially with family all over the country, make it feel a lot less urgent now that we’re already committed to each other.
Instead, we’ll probably have a ceremony to celebrate a special anniversary, like the 5 year mark. We can use it as an opportunity to renew our vows after we have a deeper understanding of the commitment of marriage compared to the newly wedded bride & groom.