Author Topic: Poll: Did you elope? If you could go back in time, would you? Were people angry?  (Read 23440 times)

lifejoy

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Hello! I am interested in eloping but am having a tough time convincing my SO* that it won't upset our relatives and friends forever. He really wants a big fun friend and family affair - and I am terrified at the thought of hosting (and paying for) a party for 200+ people. (I realize we could cut numbers somehow, but how? We have huge families and many friends). I like the idea of eloping with parents and siblings in attendance. And a casual bbq party in my parents' backyard. The problem with planning a wedding is that we live in Central Canada, I grew up in Western Canada, and he grew up in Eastern Canada. It would be such a (financial) hardship to have friends and family go halfway across the country just to see us get hitched. I'd rather throw a chill party in the West, a chill party in the East, and no one gets hugely inconvenienced! However, I would also like to respect the wishes of my SO - it is "our" day, not "my" day, and I want his dreams to come true (sort of - haha maybe scaled down a little). I also really like the idea of throwing a REALLY BIG ten year anniversary party.

I couldn't figure out how to make a poll, but if I could, I would ask these questions:

Did you elope?
If yes, how was the fallout? Any family annoyed forever? Did you feel like you missed out on anything? Were people understanding?
If no, do you kind of wish you had?

I am hoping we can discuss the pros/cons. I don't want to burn bridges, but I also don't want the stress of planning a huge expensive day. (ugh) I also realize that marriage is full of compromise, so if you can think of a unique idea that could make everyone happy, I'm all ears!

If this has been discussed previously, I apologize! I did a search and got a ton of resultes for "Developement" Haha!

footenote

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"I like the idea of eloping with parents and siblings in attendance. And a casual bbq party in my parents' backyard."

That's not the definition of elopement: "to run away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent".

So let's say you're looking for social arrangements for gettin' hitched that's an alternative to a traditional wedding + reception.

I love your creative idea of a groovy party on each end of Canada - you could throw low-key backyard bbq's for each event, including being "married" at the event.

Gray Matter

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Also love your idea of a casual party on both sides of the country.

My parents paid for half our wedding and DH and I paid for half.  By that I mean, we paid $60 for the marriage license and my dad tipped the judge $60.  We didn't even buy new clothes for the ceremony.

It was absolutely perfect--only my parents, siblings, and their spouses attended (DH's parents and sibs were also invited, but lived half-way around the globe and therefore didn't attend).  Instead of a honeymoon, we took a 3-week trip to his home country about 9 months after we got married.

I have zero regrets and we got no pushback from our friends and family (who know us well).  I believe I would have had regrets if I had let any societal expectations sway me.

Celebrating 20 years this December!

Caoineag

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We got hitched at the justice of the peace with just 2 friends in attendance. We then threw a very large informal bbq that everyone was invited to. We prepped everyone for the no people at the wedding by telling them that we were poor college students and this made the most financial sense given the size of both our families. No one threw a fit about that and it worked well. So much more an elopement than what you are suggesting but because everyone had fair warning, no one's feelings were hurt (especially since everyone was excluded so no one felt left out, lol).

We did have multiple engagement parties as well so everyone got to meet the future spouse in advance (family and friends scattered everywhere, multiple people wanting to host engagement parties, we didn't favor anyone over the other so no one felt neglected or left out). You will find that if you have enough parties, you tend to cover all your bases. Usually people just want to meet your future spouse and have an excuse to party. We probably ended up with over 200+ people celebrating our nuptials (either by attending an engagement party, the bbq or multiple events). The multiple engagement parties were a concession on our part to friends and family and I would imagine you will need a similar concession to pacify your various friends and family as well.

No regrets and would do it the same all over again. I just couldn't stand the idea of a big white wedding.

Peony

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Yes, eloped. Got married in the month of May in Italy in a small town on the northern Mediterranean coast (ex-husband had grown up spending summers in this town, though he does not have any family there; we were traveling for 3 months while I was on maternity leave. Yes, we had the kid before the wedding). The mayor, wearing his official red, green and white sash, married us in the town hall, with our 5-month-old baby son and 3 Italian friends and 2 Swedish friends witnessing. The friends were actually friends of my ex's -- I had never met them before (but they turned out to be great people; I was happy to have them there). The nation of Italy gave us the most beautiful gigantic bouquet of flowers as a wedding gift -- totally unexpected and delightful!! I think they give a gift to all couples when they have a civil ceremony - our Italian friends said they got a framed print of the historic building in Milan where they were married. All we paid for was a hairdresser for me and a photographer (I wore a pretty summer dress that I already had -- not a wedding dress), and then we took our small group of friends to a restaurant for lunch afterward and we all had gelato on the beach as well. It was tiny and meaningful to us. We sent out picture postcards announcing the marriage afterward (we had a rubber stamp made in Genoa). Our families did not mind, but we were both from kind of underpopulated, spread-out, and not very traditionalist clans. One thing was, we really did not get many wedding gifts. Relatives sent some small checks and trinkets, which was OK with us. I have a bit of stage fright and didn't think I'd enjoy being "princess for a day" in front of everyone I knew. It was more important to be in a place that we both felt was beautiful and to my ex, it had a certain personal history. (I just think everything about nearly every place in Italy is magical, so I needed no convincing to do it there.) I don't feel it harmed our family relationships in any way -- we still got invited to the "normal" weddings of my cousins, etc., later. I thought it was a great way to wed and I would do it again in a heartbeat. But I am not someone who *ever* thought of a big white wedding with anything besides a mild feeling of dread.

Anatidae V

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I casually mentioned in the hearing range of my mum that my partner (of 6 years) and I could elope. I got shot down.

"NO! But you can just throw a giant BBQ"

I think your idea and your fiance's intersect, unless by big party he means a more traditional wedding reception? You want a simple affair, he wants lots of people there - just cos there's a lot of people doesn't automatically make it complicated.

lysistrata

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Did you elope? No, but we did have a really alternative wedding that didn't cost the earth.

Did you have any kind of backlash? About some of the really alternative elements of our wedding, yes, but we showed people images of other people's weddings from blogs and things and once they could see that what we wanted wasn't tacky or silly, it was all cool.

If no, do you kind of wish you had? I really wanted the party - and I don't regret it. We tried to stay away from "Oh, it's a wedding, we NEED this and this and this". And just focused on the essentials of a great party where we happened to get married. I would've been sad not being surrounded by friends and family on such a special day.

Your casual BBQ on either side of the country sounds perfect to me :) Can I offer a couple of recommendations?
1. Read alternative wedding blogs like www.offbeatbride.com and www.rocknrollbride.com - you'll see that casual outdoor bbq weddings are actually INSANELY common, and are really nice and fun. People often throw 1-2 or even 3 wedding celebrations to fit in relatives in different parts of the world. There's lots of advice on how to save money on different aspects, too. Often looking at what other people have done and being able to SHOW your Fiance/Family what a non-traditional wedding looks like, you take away a lot of their doubts.

2. I'm now a marriage celebrant, and I was honoured to do the wedding of my two closest friends a couple of years ago. They have HUGE families and lots of friends, and ended up with 150+ guests. They solved the food problem by having A PICNIC. It still cost a few thousand, but enabled them to invite everyone they wanted. One of the best weddings I've ever been a part of :) So picnic is another way to go.

plantingourpennies

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Mrs PoP here (hijacking Mr's login)

We eloped.  We were already on vacation in Mexico and just hired a boat captain to take us out for an afternoon/early evening on his catamaran.  The captain officiated our vows, his wife took pictures, and his two little children were our witnesses.  We snorkeled, sailed off into the sunset, and then went out for some amazing food and entertainment.  The whole thing cost < $250 in 2009. 

Eloping is amazing, especially if you're not nuts about being the center of attention.  Our families weren't surprised by our decision and were too busy being happy for us to be disappointed that they weren't there. 

And then we spent what the "average" couple spends on a wedding buying a foreclosure and fixing it up.  Close family and friends were invited for a belated wedding reception/housewarming about 3 months later. 

We've seen a fair number of people stressed out and end up hating their wedding days when they're worried about the happiness of too many other people.  With eloping you're only worried about the happiness of yourself and your partner - much easier to handle.  I've never met anyone who eloped and regretted it.  Can't say the same thing about the "big wedding" crowd. 

ichangedmyname

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My father wanted a Catholic church wedding with 300 guests. I don't even know 300 people, let alone spending money to feed 300 people I don't know.
We got our marriage license and that same afternoon got a judge to marry us. We had our "reception" at a Chinese restaurant with less than 10 people as our guests. My father didn't speak to me for 5 months.
We're still married.

Rural

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I can't say we eloped, since we didn't go anywhere, but we got a coworker to marry us after work one day. It caused my mother great angst since she wasn't there. In fact, she organized a second ceremony and reception several months later when we had some time off (with our consent). The reception and ceremony were at a state park, lovely and free. We had cake, punch, and watermelon at the reception, and then went camping for a week as our honeymoon.

I've never regretted either wedding.

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We had a semi-secret wedding.  We invited grandparents, parents and siblings only (10 guests total) to our wedding with only a week's notice.  They all received STRICT instructions not to breathe a word about it to any other family member who would be at risk for wanting to come. 

The wedding was just perfect.  Our landlord happens to be a minister so we got her to officiate.  We had the wedding at a lovely park right across the street.  No arrangements required- we just showed up, got married and left.  My parents bought fancy snacks (maybe $30 worth) and my MIL had a small cake made (maybe another $50) and we had a "reception" on our back patio right after.

 I had wedding announcements made up with a description of of the event and lots of pictures (my brother in law is a hobby photographer and he volunteered his services for the wedding, so we have quite lovely pictures of the event) that I sent to all the relatives far and wide so they could feel included. I think the cards may have also helped ward off any potential hurt feelings. I paid maybe around $200 for all the announcements but consider it money well spent.  The cards were nice and I know lots of relatives held on to them.

I have no regrets whatsoever about having a small wedding.  That's just us- the kind of people we are and how we like to do things so it just felt right.

lifejoy

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I LOVE these stories! Thank you so much for sharing! I'm getting the impression that for many of you, your partner was on board with the idea of a very small wedding or elopement. My SO is not convinced, and I'm stressed at the idea of things snowballing out of control. It makes me want to be satisfied with common law status, so I can avoid the whole wedding debacle :S

Thanks for enlightening me on the true meaning of elopement! The main reason I'd like to include parents and siblings is because they are the people who might not understand if they weren't invited, and I couldn't bear hurting them. It wouldn't be worth it.

Anyways, keep the stories coming! You're loading me up with inspiration :) And answer me this: how can I defend the idea of a small wedding, if someone sees a marriage as the melding of two families, and they really want everyone to meet? I like the idea, in theory, but in practice - opposite sides of Canada make this seem totally unnecessary.

PS - I love the idea of mailed out marriage announcements :)

AlexK

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Yes we eloped. Got married at Glacier Point in Yosemite a year ago. My friend is an ordained minister and he and his girlfriend were the only other people there. We have great wedding photos and most people think the backdrop is fake it's so spectacular. Do not regret it.

RRock907

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libraryjoy,

My wife (also a librarian) and I did not elope but we had a non-traditional wedding.  I proposed on April 26, 2013 which was one year and one day from our first date.  After the huge high from being engaged we started to realize that planning a wedding sucks.  We had a ton of stress in trying to pick a date let alone a location.  We decided to take it slow and not rush anything.   

So on June 23, 2013 while at my company party we started to talk and joked that maybe we should get married on the day our two families were supposed to meet for the first time (July 21).  I thought that it was a joke and that we could not work that fast.  But the more we talked about it the more we decided to just do it and surprise our families.  So when we got home we found a reverend online and we started to make plans to have a surprise wedding in less than a month. 

A few days later we then got a call from her Mom saying that her Dad was going to have some unexpected surgery on July 8.  We thought that our plans were ruined but I said let’s get married on July 7, the day before his surgery.  So that is what we did. 

We both called our brothers and her sisters and both our parents and told them that they had to be at our apartment on July 7 for our wedding.  We told them that it was going to be small and to not tell any of the extended family.  Of course our family was shocked but they were all on board with it.  Her one sister provided the food.  Her two friends planned the wedding for us by getting the decorations, an arbor, flowers, and serving platters.  They then decorated our apartment and made it just the perfect place for us to get married. 

At first we thought that our extended families would be mad at us for not having a large wedding but it was just not the case.  Our families went along with whatever our plans were because they knew that we did not want a large wedding.  We had a party for the extended families and friends to come an celebrate our wedding  in the afternoon on Sunday October 20.  We had the wedding at a local bar/bowling alley just down the block from us with over 100 people. 

Since then I have had about 10 of my cousins and friends say that this was the best wedding they ever been too.  It was just a great fun party to that people were able to celebrate our wedding. 

I you want a complete stranger’s advice it would be to fight for what you want.  Have two chill parties, one for each side of the country.  Why make it “such a (financial) hardship to have friends and family go halfway across the country just to see us get hitched”?  This is not their wedding it is yours.  If people are getting offended by having a small wedding and two parties, tell them that you are fine with them paying for a very large wedding. 

But my opinion is to keep it small.  Why spend tens of thousands of dollars for a single day just to make a few people happy?  Keep it small and make yourself happy.  After our wedding no one complained about how and where we got married because there were happy for us. 

All told after our wedding in July and the party in October we only spent about $5,000 out of our own pocket.  We actually made a large PROFIT on our wedding!  Can it be any more Mustachian than that? 

rubybeth

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Didn't elope but I liked the idea. I wanted to go to Hawaii (you can buy elopement packages online), but DH really wanted his grandmother to be there. In the end, we had a very elegant small wedding with 50 guests and I don't have any regrets about how we did it, but might have regrets of my parents not being there if we'd eloped. I never heard from anyone that they were disappointed that they weren't invited, and honestly, I didn't care much if they were. I think it helped that, right when we got engaged, we just told people we were planning a very small wedding, mainly with immediate family. Everyone understood we couldn't really afford a huge wedding and it wasn't really our style. I actually wrote a pretty extensive blog post on how we did everything and what it cost (about $5k back in 2008), with some photos: http://rubybeth.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/how-to-get-married-for-less/

Also, it sounds to me more like you want to have a destination wedding vs. an actual elopement. That can get very costly quite quickly. Little costs can add up, esp. throwing multiple parties later in order to appease your own guilt--I honestly don't think people care as much about weddings as we think they do. You need to figure out what you can actually afford, and then look at options to stay within budget. And if someone other than you+SO are going to be footing the bill, you'll want to make the boundaries/expectations very clear about whose preferences really matter. If someone else foots the bill, or even part of it, they often feel they get a "say" in who is invited, how things are done, etc.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2013, 11:12:44 PM by rubybeth »

Charlotte

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We eloped -- flew to Vegas, got married by Elvis, etc. No one seemed to mind. Different people (family and friends) threw small parties for us when we got back and life moved on.

Of course, I happen to be one of those people who don't care what other people think.... S I guess it's possible someone cared and I didn't even take note of it.

I did what I wanted to do. And it was perfect!

lhamo

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We didn't elope, but did have to consider how to deal with the separated families issue -- mine is the the US and his is in China.  I was back in the US on a break from my dissertation research (getting rid of an intestinal parasite -- how romantic!) and we decided we would get married before I went back to China.  Got our license shortly before Christmas, and told my family we'd be getting married at Christmas.  A couple of days after that, I did a projection on our taxes and realized that because DH had nearly no income we'd save something like $4000 if we got married before December 31 due to the combined deduction -- even more romantic!  We booked time with a judge at the courthouse on New Years Eve and invited my mom, my sister, and my best friend from grad school and her husband to be witnesses.  It was a lovely, happy, very small ceremony that cost us nearly nothing.

Several months later we had a bigger blow-out, local-style wedding for the benefit of his family and friends in his hometown.  The custom here is for people to give cash gifts at weddings, and the gifts we got almost covered the full cost. 

I would say if you want to do something atypical it is really important to listen to your partner talk about what he really wants/what the experience means to him.  There may be ways you can meet those needs through non-conventional approaches, but you need to really understand him. 

Zaga

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We didn't elope, but had a non-traditional wedding.

We rented out a boy scout camp in the off season (May 5th, it was beautiful!), got married in the little chapel in the woods with about 60 people there.  We only invited immediate family, there were some extended family we didn't want there.  Plus it was very nice to remove the stress from families far away, I think most of them were relieve that I didn't want them to fly in for such an informal wedding.

The other odd thing about our wedding, it was all medieval.  Most of the guests got dressed up, we even found a minister willing to wear a friar's habit to officiate.  Many of our favorite wedding gifts were people helping with the wedding.  One brought costumes for people to borrow, 2 took pictures, 1 made the cake, 1 did the cooking, 1 supplied the bar, 1 made the tablecloths.  Most of the rest we did ourselves, there were games and such like office chair jousting, mini catapults with mini marshmallows, and little banners for each table to color on.

All very inexpensive compared to most modern weddings, I think we spent a total of about $2,500 and had an amazing day that people still talk about 6 years later!

Jane

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We wanted to do something similar to you where we would just have our immediate family at our ceremony followed by dinner somewhere. Then a month or so after the honeymoon, we were going to throw a party at a park. We started planning for this, then got calls from my husband's aunts actually crying about not being there, one of his uncles called and said we were being selfish, and his mom wasn't too thrilled with the idea either and said she wanted her brothers and sisters there, although she would have gone along with whatever we decided to do.

We decided to keep the peace and invite them. If we were going to invite his extended family, we couldn't leave out my extended family, and at that point we may as well invite a few of our close friends too. So we caved and had a more typical, but small wedding. I do regret caving. We only see his extended family maybe twice a year for a few hours at a time (Thanksgiving and Christmas), my husband isn't particularly close with them, and in hindsight I think they would have gotten over it. At the time I was scared about ruining any future relationship with these people, but I don't think it would have mattered in the long run.

I say do what you want. I will never understand why people get so worked up over seeing or not seeing a couple get dressed up to do choreographed ceremony and say a few recited words.

On a more positive note, we are very happily married regardless of not getting to have our first choice wedding day. :)

lifejoy

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Rubybeth - you make a good point about the East/West parties having the potential to create large costs. However, I see them as appeasement for family members - as in, if you want it: you pay for it. I would skip the parties all together, or host potlucks, but would really use them as an opportunity to make the parents feel like they didn't get their dreams totally shafted, and if they really want a big to-do they are welcome to throw one :)

Haha maybe that is crazy?

Spork

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Depending on how strict your "elope" definition is...   We eloped.  But with some advance notice.

We did not invite friends/family.  We politely announced we were going to Vegas to get married.  My mom got her feelers hurt slightly when I explained it was going to be "just us."  She got over it.

My inlaws (parents of the bride) were ecstatic.  The idea they didn't have to fund a wedding?  WAHOOO!

Do what you want for you.  People will get over it.  It's been almost 19 years.  I don't regret any part of it.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2013, 10:16:21 AM by Spork »

rubybeth

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Rubybeth - you make a good point about the East/West parties having the potential to create large costs. However, I see them as appeasement for family members - as in, if you want it: you pay for it. I would skip the parties all together, or host potlucks, but would really use them as an opportunity to make the parents feel like they didn't get their dreams totally shafted, and if they really want a big to-do they are welcome to throw one :)

Haha maybe that is crazy?

It's a little crazy if it isn't your dream or your SO's dream to do it this way. Why not just have one smaller wedding with those who are most important to you, and call it good? Or have a larger wedding that's very inexpensive, and if people can't make it, tough? Planning or even being part of multiple parties just sounds complicated.

I also don't totally understand the "our families are merging so they all need to meet each other" argument, especially if they live on opposite sides of the country and will likely never see each other after the wedding. In some cultures, that may be the norm to have everyone meet, I don't know. Marriage is really the merging of your two lives, not everyone who is related to you, you know? They have their own family and likely their own in-laws and don't care much about your in-laws. :)

TheDude

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I love all the different weddings in the list. The fourms is really full of a bunch unique people. My wife I got married in Rocky Mountain we had about 25 family/friends join us.  Its rained no poured on us. It was pretty awesome. My poor 92 year grandma. Then we took everyone out for a steak dinner at a local restaurant in Estes. I challenged my friends to spend as much drinking as we paid for food. They lost by about 8 bucks. It still only cost us about 1K for dinner and my parents paid it since we didn't have a rehearsal dinner.  When we got back home we had a bbq at a local park. We bought some beef some charcoal and a keg of boulevard. All in all we paid about 4K and I think parents paid about 2K. We spend 2 days in a b and b and hiked/camped for 3 days. Awesome experience.

impaire

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We were planning on a "family only" wedding (we each have 4 siblings and 2 parents, so we were already at 20 people total with in-laws and children), plus a small party on each of our continents. I dislike being a center of attention, and asking people to fly between France and the US felt outrageous. Talking about it with some of my friends, they indicated that they were fine with the idea if that was what I really wanted, but that they would *like* to be there, so I shouldn't make the decision on their behalf. After some soul-searching, we ended up having a wedding for 50 people: close friends and immediate families only. The wedding was a bit more fancy than initially planned (we kept organization *very* simple, and had friends help with some aspects, but spent a bit of money on really nice food and a comfy, convenient, and pretty venue--a thank you for our guests for coming so far. We also *had* the money, of course). No registry (we provided a list of the charities we support in case anyone felt money burning a hole in their pockets, but I don't think it saw much action.)

It was awesome, and I have wonderful memories of it. Zero regrets. The key for us was taking care of the people we love but eschewing the family traditions that were not meaningful to us (given the size of my and his families, we were looking at a 300-people-invited, 150-people-attending wedding--accounting for the fact that we'd get a lot of negative answers because of the travel). I guess the wedding properly speaking was about our "tribes" more than about our couple. What do you want yours to be about?

rubybeth

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Anyways, keep the stories coming! You're loading me up with inspiration :) And answer me this: how can I defend the idea of a small wedding, if someone sees a marriage as the melding of two families, and they really want everyone to meet? I like the idea, in theory, but in practice - opposite sides of Canada make this seem totally unnecessary.

PS - I love the idea of mailed out marriage announcements :)

Also, how would multiple parties allow everyone to meet? I don't see how that would be a compromise your SO would be into if his dream is to have a 300+ guest list and everyone parties together.

My suggestion: tell your SO he can have the big party if he plans it. You'll pick out your dress and get flowers and help with writing out invitation addresses, but he does everything else. Then see how big a fan he is of having a huge wedding. :P

ghatko

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I say that my husband and I essentially 'eloped'. We got married with only 4 friends in attendance, and we would have been married by ourselves except that we needed at least 2 witnesses (we each invited a friend + spouse/other). Our friends and family knew about our plans in advance, so it wasn't a surprise. Both of our sets of parents wanted to have celebrations for us (I'm from SK, and his family is from ON) so we let them plan informal parties/gatherings in each location in the month or two after we were married. It was great because I planned out our entire wedding in a day, so there was no stress, and our parents got the parties that they wanted without any work from us.

We had a few family members express some disappointment, but they quickly got over it. My husband was adamant that he would never have a 'traditional' wedding, as he really hated the idea of standing in front of everyone and being the centre of attention. It would have made him miserable, and I obviously wanted what would make him happy as well. In the end everything worked out great, and I have no regrets about our non-traditional wedding.

We have been happily married for 8.5 years now, and I am very thankful that we kept it simple. We got married immediately after we finished university (literally the day after my final exam), and we didn't want to spend a lot of our savings on a party that we wouldn't enjoy. I think it set us up for a very good start to our life after university.

happy

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Great stories. I wanted to elope, but my ex didn't. Other interested parties wanted a moderately large wedding and had a variety of stipulations. Basically I just went along with it all, on the day I was stressed and exhausted, but everyone else apparently had a good time: obviously I was the anti-social minority of one.  Did that matter? well yes and no. Depends who the whole thing is for.

Next time I'll marry someone who wants to elope.


esperto

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At one point before our wedding, my mother said, "Go ahead and elope but be sure to to tell us so we can be there too."  That year two of my sisters were also getting married and two other siblings had babies all in the span of about 4-5 months.  I think she was getting a little shell shocked by all of the joyous moments.

We didn't elope but we cut out the reception and kept most of it pretty simple.  My wife and I put about 3000 into it and my parents put in about another 3000 toward it.  I would have been fine if we had spent even less.  I wanted the girl, not the party.

Dicot

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We kind of eloped. Got married Down Under while on vacation, but both sets of parents knew in advance and were okay with not being there. If it's what you (both) want, your friends and family should understand. Doesn't mean they will, but they should.

We have no regrets whatsoever. The day of the wedding was spent on a long hike and we met some amazing people at our B & B who attended the "wedding" and came out to dinner with us that night. It was a perfect day: sweet, personal, and very "us." In our minds, it was the only way to start our lives together.

mm1970

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I LOVE these stories! Thank you so much for sharing! I'm getting the impression that for many of you, your partner was on board with the idea of a very small wedding or elopement. My SO is not convinced, and I'm stressed at the idea of things snowballing out of control. It makes me want to be satisfied with common law status, so I can avoid the whole wedding debacle :S

Thanks for enlightening me on the true meaning of elopement! The main reason I'd like to include parents and siblings is because they are the people who might not understand if they weren't invited, and I couldn't bear hurting them. It wouldn't be worth it.

Anyways, keep the stories coming! You're loading me up with inspiration :) And answer me this: how can I defend the idea of a small wedding, if someone sees a marriage as the melding of two families, and they really want everyone to meet? I like the idea, in theory, but in practice - opposite sides of Canada make this seem totally unnecessary.

PS - I love the idea of mailed out marriage announcements :)
I wanted to elope because I hate planning parties and being the center of attention.

My fiancé wanted a big party, and he wanted his family, and he was willing to pay for it.

So we had the party, 100 people, church wedding (to placate my mother), hotel reception, $10k back in 1996.

I still would have preferred to elope or do the backyard BBQ, but I was 26 and didn't feel hugely strongly about anything.

My eldest sister eloped (when I was a baby) and the extended family didn't forgive her for a long time.  She had a reception later and nobody came.  This was in the early 1970s though.

mm1970

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We didn't elope, but had a non-traditional wedding.

We rented out a boy scout camp in the off season (May 5th, it was beautiful!), got married in the little chapel in the woods with about 60 people there.  We only invited immediate family, there were some extended family we didn't want there.  Plus it was very nice to remove the stress from families far away, I think most of them were relieve that I didn't want them to fly in for such an informal wedding.

The other odd thing about our wedding, it was all medieval.  Most of the guests got dressed up, we even found a minister willing to wear a friar's habit to officiate.  Many of our favorite wedding gifts were people helping with the wedding.  One brought costumes for people to borrow, 2 took pictures, 1 made the cake, 1 did the cooking, 1 supplied the bar, 1 made the tablecloths.  Most of the rest we did ourselves, there were games and such like office chair jousting, mini catapults with mini marshmallows, and little banners for each table to color on.

All very inexpensive compared to most modern weddings, I think we spent a total of about $2,500 and had an amazing day that people still talk about 6 years later!
That sounds very beautiful.  Where north of Pittsburgh?  I grew up in Clarion county.

notquitefrugal

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I don't even have a significant other (or any prospects) at this point, but I always loved the idea of eloping then sending out announcements (possibly with a photograph) later. Also, I would prefer that nobody give any gifts, and would consider adding something like "the gift of your love and friendship is more than enough" on the announcements, although I have also seen the more blunt "no gifts please."

moestache

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We sort of eloped. The only people at our wedding were our parents, my sister in law and my cousin. We had the ceremony down by the lake near where we live. Some of the local wildlife got curious and joined the ceremony about half way through, which was quite amusing.

we went overseas for our honeymoon a few days later. When we got back we had dinner with our friends and told them we got married. They had no idea we were even thinking about marriage.

My parents and my mother in law were supportive of what we did. My father in law was not. He wanted us to have the traditional big wedding, wanted us to fly in all the relatives and friends from overseas just for the wedding. It would've turned into something with at least 1000+ people. He was upset for quite some time afterwards that we didn't do this. We did try to pacify it a bit by going overseas a little while later and meeting with his side of the family.

Zaga

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We didn't elope, but had a non-traditional wedding.

We rented out a boy scout camp in the off season (May 5th, it was beautiful!), got married in the little chapel in the woods with about 60 people there.  We only invited immediate family, there were some extended family we didn't want there.  Plus it was very nice to remove the stress from families far away, I think most of them were relieve that I didn't want them to fly in for such an informal wedding.

The other odd thing about our wedding, it was all medieval.  Most of the guests got dressed up, we even found a minister willing to wear a friar's habit to officiate.  Many of our favorite wedding gifts were people helping with the wedding.  One brought costumes for people to borrow, 2 took pictures, 1 made the cake, 1 did the cooking, 1 supplied the bar, 1 made the tablecloths.  Most of the rest we did ourselves, there were games and such like office chair jousting, mini catapults with mini marshmallows, and little banners for each table to color on.

All very inexpensive compared to most modern weddings, I think we spent a total of about $2,500 and had an amazing day that people still talk about 6 years later!
That sounds very beautiful.  Where north of Pittsburgh?  I grew up in Clarion county.
I grew up in Mercer County, the wedding was at Camp Bucoco in Slippery Rock, and I now live in Lawrence County.  I'm not too familiar with Clarion, I've only driven through there.

mustachianteacher

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Did you elope?

Yes, and it was awesome. No regrets whatsoever, and we've been married over 12 years now.

If yes, how was the fallout? Any family annoyed forever? Did you feel like you missed out on anything? Were people understanding?

Everyone but my mom (i.e the bride's mom) was fine with it. My husband's parents eloped themselves, so while I know they were also kind of bummed we did, they didn't say anything except that they understood. My mom, however, was another story. She claims to have cried the whole day. She's never been fond of my husband, though, and I was only 23 when we got married (hubby was 26), so I think she was also upset that we got married relatively young. Oh, and we had already started wedding planning (which gave me hives) so she was all excited about the idea of a big, traditional wedding, and I think she felt cheated out of that. My husband and I were nothing but stressed by the idea of a big wedding and all the family drama that would ensue, though, so I felt incredibly relieved when I realized eloping was an option. So, aside from my mom, everyone else was 100% fine with it. I definitely don't feel like we missed out on anything; I feel like we dodged a bullet!

One thing we did to appease our families was that we had a faux ceremony on the date we had originally planned on getting married. I wore a dress, had some flowers, etc. We had been planning an August wedding, but we eloped in April. Still, on that August date, we had a friend "marry us" and then we all went out to dinner afterwards. To an outsider, it probably seemed just like a nice, little outdoor wedding with maybe 20ish people present. All of that was really for everyone else, though. To me, it felt like a silly show, but the parents seemed to like it (and paid for most of it out of desperation, I think). We also went on a little 3-day budget-oriented honeymoon (hiking, canoeing, cycling, etc.) in August because that had already been booked.

FWIW, the money we saved by eloping made it possible for us to buy a house at a much younger age that our peers. To this day, many people assume our parents must have helped us buy our house, but nope, we did it on our own, and I am very proud of that. Had we waited longer, we would have been priced out of this neighborhood. So, for us, eloping was also a smart financial move that had quite a few positive effects down the road.



Bakari

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Where is the poll?


I didn't think of it as eloping, but me and my (now ex) wife just went to city hall one day, did a tiny quick private ceremony with a city employee on break as a witness, and got our certificate.
I felt it was incredibly intimate and romantic, much more than a huge social event would have been, but maybe that's just my introvert nature.

We had a party in a local park, rented out the pool, and had a big dinner with family and friends about a month later. 
No one said anything about it - actually, I never thought about that until just now when I read the question here!

mm1970

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We didn't elope, but had a non-traditional wedding.

We rented out a boy scout camp in the off season (May 5th, it was beautiful!), got married in the little chapel in the woods with about 60 people there.  We only invited immediate family, there were some extended family we didn't want there.  Plus it was very nice to remove the stress from families far away, I think most of them were relieve that I didn't want them to fly in for such an informal wedding.

The other odd thing about our wedding, it was all medieval.  Most of the guests got dressed up, we even found a minister willing to wear a friar's habit to officiate.  Many of our favorite wedding gifts were people helping with the wedding.  One brought costumes for people to borrow, 2 took pictures, 1 made the cake, 1 did the cooking, 1 supplied the bar, 1 made the tablecloths.  Most of the rest we did ourselves, there were games and such like office chair jousting, mini catapults with mini marshmallows, and little banners for each table to color on.

All very inexpensive compared to most modern weddings, I think we spent a total of about $2,500 and had an amazing day that people still talk about 6 years later!
That sounds very beautiful.  Where north of Pittsburgh?  I grew up in Clarion county.
I grew up in Mercer County, the wedding was at Camp Bucoco in Slippery Rock, and I now live in Lawrence County.  I'm not too familiar with Clarion, I've only driven through there.
If you aren't from there, it's drive through country. 

My sister lives in Greenville and my niece went to Slippery Rock.

lifejoy

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Where is the poll?

I couldn't figure out how to make one! Silly me.

Btw your court house ceremony sounds lovely. In Canada, you can't get married in a court house (as far as I know). But you can get a marriage commissioner to come to your house or wherever.

Snow White

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Yes...eloped and would do it over in a heart beat.  Hubby and I had each been married before and were living together with our two 12 year daughters (we each had a daughter from previous marriage).  We went to the justice of the peace while they were in school one day and got married the first thing in the morning. We then went to a beautiful park and sat in a gazebo and repeated vows we had written for each other.  Hubby sat up his camera and took several nice photos of us and then we had a fancy lunch out and with fabulous cheesecake for dessert. It was lovely and the only thing I would do differently is to take the girls with us as they expressed disappointment at not being there.  It must have worked as we are working on year 26 of being happily married.  We eat cheesecake every year on our anniversary too.

Here is one thing I know for sure; many, many people will be thrilled and relieved to not have to attend your wedding.  They may love you to pieces but it is time consuming and expensive to travel to weddings and they can wish you well with out attending the event.

Debbie M

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My sister sort of eloped--she got married on the other side of the world where none of us could afford to join her.  My mom was really disappointed that she couldn't come.  Other than that, they had no regrets.  Oh, yeah, except for picking the wrong spouses.

So for my sister's second marriage, even though she wanted a small quick wedding followed by a nice expensive party in a year or two when they could afford it, she had medium-sized super-cheap wedding (mostly hosted, planned, executed, and photographed by friends) for the first wedding just in case.  Which worked out because she moved to another state and still can't afford the big party.

The stereotype is that the bride wants a fancy wedding and the groom doesn't care, so the bride ends up doing most of the work.  Would your SO be up for doing most of the work?  Or it might be worth hiring a wedding planner?

Maybe you could sit down with some sort of written wedding guide and find out which specific things he really wants--maybe the things that are freaking you out are not things he cares about.  And maybe the things he most wants can be done in a way that's fun for you, too.  I was looking at one of those wedding guides and during the depressing chapter about trusting unknown caterers I thought--actually, I do know some "caterers" I already like: pizza delivery!  I've heard one future groom propose sack lunches in nicely decorated paper bags--sadly the future bride nixxed that idea.  For your situation, I'm imagining that you could invite everyone to both weddings so they could meet each other--then everyone could go to a close wedding, and people who have the funds and think the other place would be fun for a vacation could do that, too.  (You can always say your vows in both places even if only one wedding is officially recognized by your government.)  I knew one gal who had three weddings--one with their friends in their college town, one with his relatives and childhood friends in another state and another one with her relatives and friends in another country.  They hadn't yet decided which to celebrate as an anniversary.

I think it's good to ask close friends and relatives about their wishes, but it could also be scary.  In my case, it's easy.  My mom and sister really, really want to come, whatever the wedding is like.  I can do that (and even invite my dad and brother, too!)  My grandma wanted to come, too, but it's too late--most people over 50 don't get to invite their grandparents, so that's no big surprise.  My sister actually would love to control the whole wedding because she loves that kind of stuff, but she won't get to!  We will talk with her through the whole planning phase just because it's fun, though.  Most of my friends and family just want me to be happy, though, so that works out.  And I don't have a big family or a lot of friends, so it's easy to limit it to 50 people (25 each).

I've heard of people whose mothers really want a big deal wedding, probably because they didn't get one themselves, and I've always thought those folks should renew their own vows in a big, fancy ceremony instead of worrying about their kids' weddings.

But in your case, it's the groom, so of course he should get things he wants!  So, since you love each other, you'll be able to find a way to compromise.  Just make it clear exactly what is freaking you out and why, what's worrying you, what you fear might happen, etc.  Help him picture the worst-case scenarios in your head.  Exaggerate for laughs and edification.  Then work from there.  Good luck!

StarswirlTheMustached

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We did; we would; just my MIL, but she's a miserable old bat.

BronzeSpoon

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My husband and I didn't "elope" exactly, but we did marry at city hall. We told only our immediate families in advance. My parents and one of my siblings decided to make the trip to attend the 5-minute ceremony. We went to a local diner for beer afterwards, then made them dinner. That was it.

Would we do it again? Yes.

About the aftermath, most people we know were really happy for us. A few people complained and said that marriage should be a celebration. Interestingly, all of those people are themselves divorced or separated from their spouses.

yyc-phil

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My wife and I eloped to Las Vegas four years ago. In the evening of our arrival, we got our marriage license and were married at one of the chapels of love the next day, without an appointment. It was great, just the two of us. We celebrated with a small bottle of Champagne (we both do not drink much) and the best dinner for two at Emeril's Grill. Our wedding was much more memorable and romantic than the extravagant and expensive weddings I hear about. And it didn't cost much, as I was working for an airline at the time, so we flew all the way from Yellowknife to Vegas and back for less than $100 for both of us, and got a super airline employee deal at the MGM Grand.

Eric

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We gave our families notice, but they weren't invited, and we got married on a beach in Belize.  It was our combo wedding/honeymoon.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  10 years this Feb.  That summer, we had a small party in each of our hometowns for our families to celebrate with us.

Yes, eloped. Got married in the month of May in Italy in a small town on the northern Mediterranean coast

Can I ask which one?

Peony

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Levanto. Near the Cinque Terre.

Eric

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Nice!  I spent some time in the Cinque Terre last summer (2012) and just loved that area.  I've been pining to go back soon.  What a great place to get married!

jrhampt

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Yes, eloped.  Justice of Peace with no witnesses, then honeymooned in Switzerland.  We told our family a few weeks later.  I don't think there were hard feelings (or if there were, people got over it pretty quickly and didn't say much about it).  Other siblings on both sides had already had large weddings, and it just looked like a stressful and potentially expensive event to plan, so we didn't.  Would totally do it this way again.

brand new stash

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Your SO wants a big reception with 200 people.  You want a small ceremony and a casual BBQ reception.  Neither of those are eloping.  You might have a lot better luck negotiating with him if you drop the term elopement...which implies getting married without friends and family there at all.

I'm glad I didn't elope.  I loved having all the people who are most important to my husband and I there as we started our marriage.  But I also didn't have 200 people there either.   Having two receptions in different parts of the country is sort of a compromise, but also gets away from one of the things that I think is one of nicest parts of a wedding, the joining of two different families to celebrate.

You said that you have big families, and lots of friends, so can't really cut it down from 200, but that's not really true.  I bet if you both went through the list of 200, there are a lot of people who are on the list but who aren't people that either of you will feel sad in 10 years if they weren't there.   I'm sure that the list of 200 includes cousins  you aren't close with but put on the list just because they were cousins, etc.

rockstache

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We did the big wedding thing. I wanted small and sweet, he wanted huge....he won. My MIL paid for half of it and invited everyone she had ever known. By the end of the night I was tired of introducing myself to people, and I wish we had cut out half of them. I had a great time and I don't "regret" my wedding at all, and I went that way with it because it was easier than causing conflict over the whole situation with my new in laws. I'd probably still do it again the same way if I had a do over because all I really cared about was getting married to the man I love. But I would have enjoyed a smaller guest list and a more intimate setting.

lifejoy

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Your SO wants a big reception with 200 people.  You want a small ceremony and a casual BBQ reception.  Neither of those are eloping.  You might have a lot better luck negotiating with him if you drop the term elopement...which implies getting married without friends and family there at all.

I'm glad I didn't elope.  I loved having all the people who are most important to my husband and I there as we started our marriage.  But I also didn't have 200 people there either.   Having two receptions in different parts of the country is sort of a compromise, but also gets away from one of the things that I think is one of nicest parts of a wedding, the joining of two different families to celebrate.

You said that you have big families, and lots of friends, so can't really cut it down from 200, but that's not really true.  I bet if you both went through the list of 200, there are a lot of people who are on the list but who aren't people that either of you will feel sad in 10 years if they weren't there.   I'm sure that the list of 200 includes cousins  you aren't close with but put on the list just because they were cousins, etc.

You make some great points. I now realize that "elopement" is perhaps not what I'm going for. I also think you're right - I could cut down 200 people to 100, but then I ask: what's the point of inviting 100 people, possibly/probably spending a fair amount of money on food and drink for ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE, if doing that is going to upset the 100 I didn't invite? I figure, keeping it small (like 20 people) and intimate will at least lump the 180 people that didn't get invited all in the same category. If I invited some cousins and not others... eeps. I think that would bother people more than not being invited at all. Maybe I'm wrong? Man this gets stressful fast.

I am the kind of person that cares a LOT about offending others / hurting their feelings. I also don't want to spend more than $3000 on getting married. Because that is CRAZY (to me). I really like how MMM and Mrs. MMM got married: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08/17/royal-wedding-shloyal-fledding/

I would be so down with that.