Updated: Nov 18, 2018
A note from Emily:
This is a guest blog by a dear a friend and client turned eloper, Maria. Maria and Jon hired me to guide them with planning their wedding. When they decided to cancel, I had zero doubt they were doing the right thing for them. I was so excited that Maria was willing to share their story with you all! I hope it helps you decide the best options for you.
For the majority of women, planning the “perfect” wedding starts at a very young age. An elegant, flowing dress, a humongous and elaborate cake, the freshest, most beautiful flower arrangements and much more are usually at the forefront, and every little detail has to be exactly how they want it to be.
In my case, the flowers were the thing I thought the about most. Being out in nature somewhere with all of my family, and all of my husband’s family surrounded by flowers of all kinds was all I wanted. But, like it is for most newly-engaged couples, trying to make that dream a reality entailed much more than I had once thought.
A lot of times, the fairytale wedding or the weddings you see in movies can seem so beautiful and make every woman want to have something like that, but what they don’t show is the amount of hours you and your fiancé spend touring venues, or talking to caterers, or florists, or bartenders, or any number of other vendors you might need.
Whether it’s the sheer volume of things that go into planning a wedding that most don’t think of going in, or it’s the financial burden that you could potentially take on, or in some cases an over-bearing family that might make it more about their visions than yours, what was once your daydream can quickly turn into a huge source of worries, stress, and anxiety.
When my now husband and I initially started planning our wedding, it all started with the guests. Who was going to be invited, and who wasn’t? We initially wanted a small wedding, but when we included one person, then we had to include another, and another, and another, until our initial guest list of 50-75 ballooned into 150. After that, we had to find a venue that would accommodate that number of people and still feel like we were out in the Pacific Northwest wilderness. As you could imagine, it was extremely difficult finding a place that fit both of those pre-requisites.
After making decision after decision, it became increasingly clear that my idea of what our wedding would be was getting pushed to the wayside. It started causing a lot of unnecessary tension between my husband and I, and made what was once a fun exercise of planning our wedding feel like a chore. We were more focused on making it more of an event for our family and friends than we were on celebrating starting our future together.
Sometimes, that realization is hard for couples, particularly the brides-to-be. After spending hours on end working on what your invitations look like, what your caterers will have on the menu, and everything else in between, the thought of backing out of all of it can feel like weeks or even months of wasted time. But if you make that decision for the right reasons, it can be one of the best decisions you make.
When we decided to drop everything we were doing, we wondered what our families would think, especially our mothers. In most cases, moms are a huge part of a wedding. Getting to walk down the aisle, and see their son or daughter get married and embark on one of the most challenging, but most rewarding journeys life has to offer can be hugely important to a mother, and we worried that they may feel like we excluded them, or robbed them of that experience. Fortunately for us, both of our mothers were extremely proud of us for choosing to make a decision that was so focused on doing what was right for us and our relationship to start our marriage off in a way that made us both happy.
We scrapped all our plans, and “cancelled” our wedding, and instead opted for a tiny ceremony. We spent a few weekends hunting the King/Snohomish County area for the venue we wanted where we could feel relaxed. We decided to say our “I-do’s” on the beach at Deception Pass with a handful of friends, and we could not be any happier with what we did.
We had our wedding on our terms, not anyone else’s. We didn’t have to worry about who got offended by not getting an invite, and we didn’t spend any money we didn’t need to, and most importantly, we didn’t have to cater to anyone’s desires but our own. We were able to put our relationship first and do what we felt was perfect for us.
This may not be the best option for everyone. But, from my experience, I will say that it was completely worth it. It saved us from the undesired and unneeded stress and expenses. I will admit that I was worried I would end up regretting the decision to elope because I would be missing out on the childhood dreams of having a big, beautiful wedding. But, I still pride myself in making one of the best decisions on my life.
Are you thinking about eloping? Emily has a full blog about what you need to know to elope in the State of Washington. Check it out!
Photos by Connie Castaneda, a friend of Maria and Jon.