Going Your Own Way: Choosing to Elope

SarahIn the second post in our “Going Your Own Way” series, DIY bride Sarah talks about the options you have when you don’t want to (or can’t) plan a big wedding. This week, we’re focusing on eloping.

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Sometimes the idea of a big wedding just doesn’t appeal. Maybe you don’t like being the centre of attention, or much as you’d like to, you just don’t have the cash to spend on 80 of your nearest and dearest. Maybe you have members of your family that you can’t imagine being able to stay in a room together without fighting – it happens more often than you’d think. Add to that all the stress and expense that wedding planning can bring, and some folks decide that it’s just not worth the hassle. But then what are your options?

If you definitely want to get married (not everyone does of course, and that’s A OK too), you could just have a simple registry office ceremony with fewer guests, or disappear to an island and come back betrothed, having told no one beforehand that you were going to do it. Either way, if you want to get married without the fuss, then perhaps choosing to elope will give you the options you’re looking for.

Choosing to elope can seem daunting and scary. Many people are put off the idea because they worry their family and friends might not understand the decision, or might be hurt by not being included in the ceremony. I remember all the way through our wedding planning, telling people over and over again “I would have been happy to elope, but Tzevai didn’t want to”. I also clearly remember nobody really believing me – I was planning a wedding so I must want that wedding, right?

Well, yes and no. I loved our wedding day when it finally came around – but would I have been just as happy with our parents and a small, no fuss ceremony somewhere warm? I think I would have. Eloping has to be something that you choose to do together – I gave up my opinion on it because I wasn’t dead set against having a planned wedding, I just thought it would have been easier (and cheaper! I am the budget bride, after all) for us.

But it can be done, and if you’re both into the idea (or both just really, really anti the idea of planning a big day) then eloping can be a great alternative wedding style to choose :) If you’re really worried about your friends and family then let them in on it, and make it clear that it’s not because you don’t want them there – you just don’t want a fuss. Eloping doesn’t mean that you have to do it alone, so if you want people with you then go for it. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t have the dress, or the suits or decorations if that’s what you want –  it’s still your wedding so if you want those things don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t have them and still call it eloping.

Our biggest piece of advice would be: do what whatever you can afford that makes you comfortable. If spending thousands of pounds on one day makes you feel slightly green, then it’s okay not to want to do that, but to still want to celebrate your union together. Take it easy, decide what you really can’t live without and then plan your wedding around that, rather than what other people think you should do :)

We asked on Facebook if anyone had any elopement stories they’d like to share, and Cwtch the Bride reader Kelly got in touch. We liked her story so much we asked if we could share it on the blog along with her photos, and luckily for us Kelly said yes! Thanks very much Kelly! :)

Kelly’s Wedding Story

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We got married in Gretna Green on Sept 3rd 2012. We didn’t have an engagement and planned the wedding about 2 months before, around the end of July.

We always knew we’d end up getting married but we were never keen on the big white wedding thing. We both love weddings and feel honoured whenever we’re invited to one but the thought of being the centre of attention for the whole day and being shuffled around for photos etc wasn’t our idea of our perfect day. We wanted it to be about us, and our little boy who was 15 months old at the time.

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My dress was high street, I didn’t run around the wedding dress shops trying on loads of different types to make sure I got the perfect one, I simply did what I do best and shopped on the Internet! It was from Phase Eight. I’m so glad I got a high street dress as it’s just sat in my wardrobe now.

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We only told two friends each, who we also invited along with us and were sworn to secrecy. We drove up to Gretna the day before and returned home the day after. Our day was very relaxed, we didn’t have any professional photographers so we just asked our friends to take some pictures for us. The ceremony was lovely and afterwards we headed to the nearest pub for drinks and a few packets of crisps! After that we headed off to our hotel for a meal. We dined as ‘normal’ guests at the hotel and didn’t have a wedding package. Some of us had a curry, some had lasagne, some had burgers and some ordered from the al a carte!

When our son started to get tired we all went back to our hotel room where we had many bottles of champagne and good conversation with our bestest friends.

The next day we told our parents….it went ok :)

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(all photos © Kelly Brace, with thanks)

5 thoughts on “Going Your Own Way: Choosing to Elope

  1. Great post! And I loved Kelly’s story and pictures :)

    We very nearly got married in Vegas, we were there on holiday after being engaged a month or so (was meant to happen in Vegas as some of you know from my proposal story!) and my BFF/bridesmaid and her husband were there and they all ALMOST had me convinced but I just couldn’t face telling the family it was already done. Like Sarah, because we’re planning this big wedding some people don’t believe that I would have considered eloping and really I would prefer to have the day we are planning to a quickie in Vegas. Vegas would have been a cool story though! (And a whole lot cheaper!)

  2. I think, as with a lot of wedding decisions, it comes down to the couple. When I got married, I really wanted to celebrate with all of our families but can see that for some people eloping would absolutely be the right choice.

  3. Great post and fab story too. We strongly considered eloping and seriously looked into it, I wanted to send a simple text after it was done saying ‘married!’ But our parents caught wind of it and begged us not to. I’m still very envious of anyone who does do it and I suspect if i had my time again i’d go for it!

  4. I love the idea of eloping! There’s something so romantic about just saying “no” to spending the money and doing what is actually the most important part of a wedding and declaring your love for one another! Saying that, our families live so far apart that we really wanted to have our loved ones under one roof for what will probably have been the only time in our lives. But what’s to stop you having a big party when you return?? I’m all for it! Unless it involves one of my best friends and I’m not invited ;-) x

  5. Aw I always think it would be so romantic, but i think you’d end up regretting it.. I’ve heard stories from a lot of people who look back a few years down the line and wish their friends and family were there, saw a cool infographic on pros and cons of eloping if anyone wan’t to see it? – http://bit.ly/1bir7f9

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