Why I Eloped and Why You Should Too.
Eloping with my partner of eighteen months was the hardest and easiest decision of my life. As a single girl I often felt frustrated about how modern relationships had began to outgrow old outdated traditions yet wedding’s and celebrating love had not.
When I spoke about my struggle with the history behind why we wear white or why we are given away I was often told I was taking it all too seriously. This confused me to no end. If there was ever a time to be serious - wouldn’t it be here? Sure, I had gone to weddings that felt honest and right in incorporating tradition, I have been honoured to be a bridesmaid in some of those, yet I had been to more where the couples seemed to be suffocating from a need to please others.
A few months after a friend got married, stressed about how much money she had spent on her wedding I asked her “why did you do it?”
She replied “the wedding isn’t really about you, Stacey”.
It was this conversation where I decided that if this is what marriage looked like, it wasn’t for me.
But then I fell in love.
It was effortless. It was calming, it was mature. His name is Ben and I knew commitment was in our future. But like all other newly, loved up couples who had dreams of their own, we found it incredibly hard to see a celebration and a commitment other than what I had seen time and time again. And whilst, the more traditional wedding’s had worked for many of my friends, I knew it wasn’t for me. For us.
How do I launch the biggest commitment of my life with rituals and priorities that don’t seem to match mine? And a big question that I kept coming back to was why did it feel that a wedding equalled marriage?
So this is where we began. Things became clearer once we deciphered the difference between a marriage and a wedding. We made a plan to stick with what worked for us, step by step. This began with the proposal which Ben insisted on doing. I agreed but asked for a timeline. I wasn’t waiting around for a big life event to happen ‘spontaneously’ ie - ON HIS TIMELINE. I kindly respected his wish to ask and quite enjoyed the surprise in the end, but felt involved in a conversation that equally involved me. Again, it was simply finding what worked for us and over time we realised, It didn’t have to be all or nothing.
Once it came to the commitment ceremony and celebration, we decided that it was important that we separated the vows and the marriage to the party. We felt that this decision was one that we made to each other. It didn’t take away from our love for family and friends, we however, believed, our vows and the legality of our relationship commitment was only about us. The party could come later.
It was a serious, conscious and a very legal commitment between two people - capturing our love, hopes and dreams and starting a foundation for a family. The romance was there. We didn’t need to build it. And if you are considering looking at this day, this ritual, the commitment of you and a partner differently to what’s presented, let me assure you - the two of you are enough.
Eloping isn’t for everybody, but if you’re not sure you want to head down the traditional path - I urge you to think about what feels right for you and your partner. Before you start a Pinterest board or begin to pick your bridal party stop and talk to each other about whether you are on the same page. And if you aren’t already engaged, consider what that page looks like for you before you say YES! If after a considered analysis you still land at the Disney dream - then awesome! I love a fairytale wedding - as long as it is for you!
If like us, you’re slightly anxious and some of you (Ben) are somewhat shy and decide that the big ceremony isn’t for you, I encourage you to follow through with it. It’s the beginning of your foundation. It sets up a ceremony, a ritual, for how you want to live your life. What could be more important than being true to who you are than in that moment?
Three months ago, we booked two tickets to NYC and eloped on the first Friday of July. As nervous as I was, it felt calm, mature, slightly effortless; very similar to how it felt when we first met. I looked at Ben as we waited for ticket number A75 to come up on the screen at City Hall, downtown New York. I was dressed in a silver sequinned jumpsuit, flowers were bought from a street vendor out the front and as I stared at him I asked “do you regret anything about this? Are you good?”.
In his summer suit, more chilled than I have ever seen him he answered “I am only marrying you and you’re here. What’s to regret?”
I smiled. Our number came up on the screen, we held hands and went in to sign some papers.