As a twenty-something, I’ve become intimately familiar with weddings. Attending them, being in them, rolling my eyes at them, etc. But it wasn’t until I started planning my own wedding that I realized just how insane you actually have to be to have one. Unfortunately, by the time I noticed, it was too late – the date had been chosen and the guest list had been alerted.
I’ve lost my chance, but I didn’t want my newfound knowledge to go to waste. Maybe it can save someone else from the pitfalls of wedding planning. The list below is in no way comprehensive or in order of importance, but provides a few reasons to consider bucking tradition and running away together instead (See? That sounds more romantic than a hotel ballroom already!).
- You get to keep your name.
Your first name at least. You can do whatever you want with your last name. If you elope and either surprise everyone or at least make it unnecessary to involve anyone in the planning, you’ll avoid being constantly and solely referred to as “bride.”
- Becoming a bridezilla is inevitable.
Whether it’s demanding your bridesmaids start a “clean eating” regiment to slim down pre-wedding or launching a text message attack on your sister for not e-mailing you photos of your wedding dress fast enough. It’ll happen. And you’ll be embarrassed.
- An extended honeymoon.
If you’re eloping, you’re probably doing it somewhere awesome like Vegas or Tahiti. Get there early, get married, get honeymooning. I promise you’ll enjoy your wedding more if it’s in the middle of a vacation rather than a family reunion.
- A healthy bank account.
Or a bank account with any money in it at all. It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. Some people take out personal loans to pay for them! A typical wedding is equivalent in price to a four-year college degree. In an attempt to recover from my wedding sticker shock, I read about 100 articles describing, “How to throw a wedding for under $5,000!” After cutting your guest count, making it a potluck, and sewing your own wedding dress, you’ll wish you would have just eloped and spent the $5,000 on a private villa over the water instead.
- Family drama.
I can’t promise that your family won’t be bent out of shape about an elopement, but at least you don’t have to hear about it for 12 months while you’re trying to plan a wedding – unlike a traditional engagement that is almost guaranteed to enhance already existing family tensions. Before you know it, you’ll be redoing your entire seating chart because Aunt June is feuding with half of your guest list.
- Smaller guest list.
Oh, sorry second cousin and college roommate that I haven’t spoken to in 7 years – it was kind of a surprise and we only included our immediate families. A smaller guest list means smaller guilt about not including people that you don’t talk to anyway. And why pay $100 to feed someone that doesn’t know or care about your new spouse anyway?
- Avoiding the stockpile of mason jars.
Because seriously, what do you do with 30 lid-less mason jars wrapped in twine?
- No invitations.
This means no printing costs, no design fees, no pressure to “set the tone for the big event.” How many weddings have you been to? And how many invitations have you kept or even remembered? I promise your invitations will get thrown away too. It’s wasteful and yet somehow still totally necessary for a traditional wedding.
- Minimum thank you cards.
Do you really want to hand write 150 thank you cards? Sure, I’ll think of that person every time you use your new casserole dish, but my hand is cramping and they’re going to throw this card in the garbage anyway.
- The wedding will actually be about you and your marriage.
There is so much pressure and expectation and etiquette surrounding a wedding that it’s all too common for brides and grooms to give in to whatever the family or the coordinator or the wedding party is clamoring for. Somehow, the event planning leaves you in the dust and your 7 minute ceremony (shortened in consideration for guests that can’t sit for extended periods of time) is now the last thing that anyone will remember of your wedding. You’re having a wedding because you’re getting married and that should be the most important detail of the day. Why let 150 other people dictate how it should go?