I was never the girl who imagined a big white wedding. When I daydreamed, I pictured a marriage with a loving husband and some kids playing together. I never actually imagined what my wedding dress would look like. I really wanted to elope.
My husband and I have been married for seven years and one of my best friends recently asked me, “Why don’t you blog about why you wanted to elope?”
In short: I have an incredibly practical personality, I never wanted a big wedding, and I am super private and introverted about my relationship. (Side note: upon proofing this blog post my husband said, “But you blog about our relationship all the time!” Ehh…details, details Honey.)
14 Reasons why I wanted to elope instead of have a wedding:
- My practical personality could not justify spending the money on one day. The extreme cost just doesn’t jive with who I am at my core.
- I would rather spend money on long term stuff: a house, travel (especially internationally), and babies (more than anything else, I wanted kids).
- I don’t want to pay for my own wedding. Growing up in a single parent home, money was not abundant, so at a very young age I decided if I wanted something, I would earn the money needed to pay for it myself. I like earning money and paying for what I want. (I was babysitting at a super young age). Subsequently, I have never been in credit card debt (college loans are a different story). I never ask others for money and I pay for everything in full when the bill is due (I’m not comfortable with payment plans unless absolutely necessary, like a car).
- I did not feel comfortable putting an excessive financial burden on others for a 1-day event because according to my personal value system, planning a big wedding for myself is not money well spent. I can justify taking out loans for college (because a good education lasts a lifetime), but taking loans out for a big party? Nah. Even if someone was willing to take out loans to pay for the wedding, it was not what I wanted. Paying off a huge sum of money on less than one day of activity (like thousands of dollars for a dress I would wear for less than 8 hours?) is not in my comfort zone. At a later date, I saw my wedding dress on sale and I was bummed I didn’t get the sale price! Our parents contributed significantly to our small wedding, and I know they would have gladly given more if that’s what we wanted.
- Doing a simple garden/park potluck wedding was never in the cards – too many strong opinions wanting glitz and glam to even broach the idea. Doing something less traditional was not an option.
- I was NOT going to ask my best friends to be bridesmaids because I told them I wouldn’t be their bridesmaid. I had put a moratorium on being a bridesmaid. I wasn’t about to become a hypocrite and ask them to shell out tons of money and time planning different stuff in honor of me when we were all young, busy and kind of penniless. (Instead they surprise kidnapped me and treated me to the most amazing bachelorette weekend. I had the time of my life!)
- My best friends understood why I didn’t want a wedding and were not offended by not being invited. Just this past weekend one of my besties said, “I’ll take over 15 years of friendship over seeing you in your wedding dress in-person. Besides, there are pictures!”
- My heart was not interested in sharing this moment with anyone but my husband. I acquiesced and went with the bare minimum of required attendees, and if we had anything bigger, the wedding wouldn’t be for me and my husband-to-be, it would be for everyone else.
- Wedding planning was giving me major anxiety. We attempted to put together a guest list including everyone who wanted to be a part of the day. I was not holding up well to the pressure of trying to please everyone else. The focus was on what everyone else wanted instead of what we wanted on the day we were meant to join our souls together.
- I was going to need mental health therapy or medication to survive even just trying to plan something slightly bigger (50 people). It quickly spiraled out of control.
- Planning even a small wedding was sending me towards a nervous breakdown. My husband saw the incredible stress I was under and agreed we should keep it as small as possible (just immediate family: 9 people). He didn’t want to visit me in the psychiatric floor of the closest hospital.
- I don’t like big crowds. Oh yeah, there’s that. Growing up, my family was incredibly small. I never had the experience of giant family dinners with tons of cousins, aunts, uncles and more extended family members around. It’s not my norm. Even now, outside of my hubby and daughters, I prefer to keep my social scene very small (like a handful of people).
- I do not want my personal life to be the center of attention. I may look like a social butterfly, but I have never felt good in a sea of people, let alone a large crowd clamoring to see the bride (ahem, me). I am a secret introvert. Conversely, I did theater all throughout my childhood, and feel incredibly comfortable performing on a stage and even public speaking in front of thousands of people, but pouring my heart out to my husband in front of everyone I know is a different ball of wax.
- My heart was only interested in sharing a special moment with my best friend (my husband). As much as I realize you need witnesses, and people had the best of intentions to witness the joining of our lives, I am intensely private and have no desire whatsoever to put my relationship on display in a wedding ceremony. It just makes me SUPER uncomfortable.
So, instead of inviting you to my wedding, I will gladly invite you over to my house for Shabbat dinner with my husband and my three daughters. I bake an amazing challah.
How would I feel if my daughters eloped?
Complete strangers see me with three little girls and often remark, “Better save up for the weddings!” I laughingly reply, “No, I’m saving for college and I encourage eloping!”
True story: the first night we were home with our baby girl I whispered to my husband,
“Psst, you awake?”
“I can’t sleep, I’m so excited. She’s so amazing! <<long pause>> Where do you think she’ll go to college?!”
Husband: “Can we NOT think about where our two day old baby girl will go to college?”
Clearly I value education way more than a white dress!
If my daughters want to elope, I would respect their decision to have a private moment with their beloved in the way they want it to be. Would I like to be there? Sure, but it’s not about me. I want my girls to feel the freedom to do whatever they want without having to justify or defend their reasons other than because it’s what they want. In actuality, I am fairly certain my oldest wants a big splashy wedding (she has told me she wants her 5th birthday cake to look like a wedding cake). If that’s what she wants, then I’ll do it because it’s about what my daughters want, not what I fantasize for them or hope to create for myself. I actually have no vision of what their weddings may look like except seeing my husband cry while watching his baby girls become wives.
Conversely, I LOVE attending weddings
Tons of appetizers, a yummy meal, delicious cake (maybe even a Viennese table?), music and dancing, beautiful flowers and everyone dressed to the nines? What’s not to love?! Weddings are an instant date night for me and my hubby. It’s always a good time.
I can see how this blog post could easily be interpreted as my looking down upon big (expensive) weddings. NOT SO. Everyone deserves the wedding they truly want. I love the excitement and splendor of a beautiful wedding, just not for myself. Weddings are super special and I always feel honored to be invited. I have even been ordained and officiated a wedding or two!
Being a wedding officiant has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I had the best seat in the place and putting together the wedding ceremony with the couple was so special and meaningful. I loved everything about the experience.
When it came to my own wedding, I wanted to skip all that and just get to the marriage which lasts a whole lot longer than the wedding day and requires a lot more work and attention than one day of planning. The wedding day was just the start of the rest of my life and I was ready to say “I do” the second after he proposed. I would have eloped the very same day he proposed if he said ok!
My dream wedding:
Attendees: Me, my groom, and a Rabbi
Location: Somewhere in nature (forest or ocean). If I could have gotten married in a forest glen (preferably amongst the California Redwoods), I would have done so in a heartbeat! The redwoods have been around for thousands of years, there is a sense of deep spirituality amongst them. Their timelessness will outlast my lifetime and many more. It would be incredible to have my wedding ceremony amongst something created to stand the test of time.
My actual wedding:
Attendees: 9 people total (including bride & groom)