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It’s easy for someone who was always for eloping to say, “You should totally elope!” but it’s something different coming from someone who initially wanted a more traditional wedding.
I’m a big fan of getting both sides of the story, so I decided to interview the closest person I knew who originally wanted a traditional wedding, but then changed their mind during the planning process:
He’s known for being polite, but not mincing many words in regard to his opinions. I figured he would be a great starting place, and give way to potentially more interviews from other sources down the road. I wrote precisely what his responses were (maybe I took out an “uhm” here or there, but what can ya do), so you’re getting his honest thoughts. We sat down during dinner (vegetarian meatballs) and I typed while he ate. So, without further ado…
So you originally wanted a more traditional wedding?
At first, when we first got engaged, what kind of wedding were you hoping for?
I grew up envisioning a middle-class, WASP, sort of, both families get together, medium-sized wedding. It was always the expectation I had in my life, and that was what I was told made sense.
How was it dealing with me, who didn’t necessarily want that?
At the time or in retrospect?
I’d say both.
So in retrospect, you know, most of the planning process, I was expecting something, and anticipating something, but did not do much to make that something happen. At the time? One of the other expectations that has been kind of established in the average guy’s head is as the guy, you’re supposed to back out of the picture, when asked questions you nod and smile, and the bride and her mother are like a freight train, steamrolling through all the planning. Even though that was the image in my head, I didn’t realize that is normally what a bride wants, even though my bride said that was not what she wanted.
So, when you say “make something happen”, what did you mean by that?
The various bits and pieces of the wedding. All the details that go into putting together that event.
Gotcha. So, do you remember when exactly you realized, “I might want to elope”, or is that something you just decided would be easier since that’s what I wanted?
Honestly? I don’t remember the specific time where I thought that was what I preferred – to elope instead. It was definitely after we came back from Hawaii, so it was within a month or two of the date.
What there anything in particular that lead up to you feeling like that?
What was the reasoning? At some point it settled in and I recognized that at the end of the day, it is an event that will be forgotten. The finer details will be forgotten. Of course, the vows won’t be forgotten no matter where you were, though. It became apparent that it was just going to be a day full of chaos and the whole idea behind marriage is togetherness, quality time, and even with a fairly modest wedding of 100 guests, there wasn’t enough time for quality time for bride and groom, members of the family, friends; it was just chaos.
What is one regret you have with our wedding?
That there wasn’t time to spend with anyone?
Do you have anything you wish we would have done instead?
Well, like, what in particular (laughs).
Well, long and short: eloped. But if we were to make the best out of that, I probably would have parried down the guest list a little more. There are definitely some guests I would have not invited and others I would have.
Any location in particular?
Ghost town. I’m obsessed with an elopement in a ghost town (hint hint to Sam’s future clients). Or somewhere, you know, grand, very “nature”. Like Avenue of the Giants in the Redwoods, or the Trees of Mystery. Nude beach. That would have whittled down the guest list!
You know, I really haven’t gotten to sit down and talk about this with you at length. I really appreciate your insight. Did you have any big takeaways that you want others considering whether to elope, to know about?
Listen to your partner. You’re probably not going to agree on everything, but decide which one of you is more bitter than the other, and do what they want (laughs).
So I’m the bitter one? (chuckles)
*Brian takes a huge helping of dinner while giving me the proverbial hairy eyeball*. Eloping isn’t for everyone. Big weddings aren’t for everyone. Instead of deciding on the ceremony you want, and then trying to make that what you think you want, approach it from this way: prioritize what you want from a ceremony, and then decide what kind of ceremony matches that. If your partner is a narcissist and wants a big show (it’s okay to be honest with yourself here, people), that’s what a big wedding is. It’s a big show with you on stage. If the goal is cost cutting, if the goal is quality time spent, if the goal is nontraditional, consider your size and placement. Eloping might be a thing that you’d consider.
Focus on your own feelings about the matter, and the feelings of your partner. And don’t worry so much about the people that you feel would want to be there. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, someone’s feelings are going to get hurt. You can make the conscious choice to hurt some feelings, or spend months bending over backwards to please everyone, only driving yourself crazy in the process.
See, in my experience, the people who really do care about you, will support your decision, whatever it is.
They’ll support your decision, it doesn’t mean their feelings won’t be hurt.
Sure, but the people who care the most will usually understand.
Right, they won’t hold it against you.
Something I learned from our wedding was that inviting someone who makes a huge stink about being invited – inviting them isn’t going to magically fix your relationship with them.
That is the case.
So, if someone asked you if there was just one thing that you could tell them, to make them seriously consider eloping, what would it be in a sentence?
The beauty of an elopement is that it’s a personal event that can truly be about the couple. A big wedding is just as much about the guests as it is anything else.
That’s two sentences.
Alright, so get rid of the second sentence.
Would you consider doing a vow renewal?
Yeah. I think so.
Okay. Thanks for your time, B.
For sure. *Brian leaves to get second helpings of dinner*
Would you like to be interviewed about why you or your partner wish you eloped? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can hear your story!