Author Topic: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?  (Read 14863 times)

blizeH

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Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« on: October 03, 2014, 09:12:46 AM »
Hi,

We've been engaged for almost 2 years now and still have no wedding plans whatsoever. We're going to the Maldives next week and were considering the possibility of getting married there (which sadly isn't possible) or maybe getting married at the very last minute the day before we go - has anyone ever done anything like this?

I'm curious about this from a non-financial standpoint mostly - I appreciate that weddings can incur ridiculous costs (which we are definitely hoping to avoid) but mostly we'd like to avoid the following:

  • The attention
  • he awkwardness - being unsure who to invite, and potentially offending people that we don't
  • The speeches
  • The food - we're both vegan and would like a vegan wedding as whilst we have no problem with people eating meat/dairy, from our (limited) experience of weddings there's generally a lot of food waste
  • The waste - we already have too much stuff. I feel like even if we implicitly ask for nothing, people will still (out of kindness) get us gifts
  • The hassle and stress

Looking at the list above I feel like like eloping is the only option, however one massive positive of having an actual wedding is that it'd make family and friends happy, and we wouldn't offend them and spend potentially years feeling really guilty.

So, as a compromise I was thinking of speaking with a venue that we like and trying to get in a very late cancellation if at all possible, that way it could help solve some of the problems above ie there's less stress/pressure, possibly lower expectations, less chance that people will get gifts, we can invite lots of people and they won't feel obliged to come if they don't want to etc - but will the reality actually be worse and it'll just be more stressful for everyone?

Not really sure what to do - we both love the idea of being married, but the actual wedding part... not so much :)

MayDay

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2014, 09:20:08 AM »
How many people are we talking?  What is the smallest you could possibly do it and not offend people?

The reason I ask is that I think a restaurant is often the best bet.  Find a restaurant that serves vegan food, and has a party room (or will let you rent the whole thing for 3-4 hours).  Find a minister who will marry you in the restaurant, then have guests order their own dinner and beverage (no waste).  Eat dinner, if there are a few toasts, oh well, but if it isn't a long drawn out a affair, if won't be a sack ward. 

I imagine if you are flexible about time of day (how about a lunch wedding or middle of the afternoon so you are out by 5 for dinner?) it would be fairly easy to find a place that will let you take over for a couple hours.  Having it on a weekday would reduce the guest list even more. 

Fonzico

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2014, 09:23:20 AM »
By and large, I think the whole "disappointing family" thing is blown out of proportion. Yes, you might have a few people give you a hard time, but then they will get over it. Most people know several couples a year who get married, and therefore attend more than enough weddings. It's not a big deal.

That being said, DH and I just had a very small (~30 guests, including immediate family and children) wedding in the mountains. No one in my extended family has given me a hard time about not being invited (at least not to my face!) but that may have been helped by everyone understanding that we're not the "traditional" type to begin with. And this is coming from a tight-knit Catholic family, in which every single person before me, aunts, uncles and cousins, have all been married in huge church weddings.

We didn't really mention anything explicit about gifts, although when one friend asked what we wanted, I told her nothing and that their presence was more than enough, and it is possible that she spread the word. At any rate, the only gifts we received were from our parents, and my best friend. Which was great! I kind of think that the very act of not registering indicates your feelings pretty well - at least around here. I don't know any one else who got married and didn't have a gift registry, anyways.

Moral of the story: Do whatever you want. People who really love you will support you in that, whether it is eloping or a small affair, and everyone else can suck it - it's your marriage! And it will be fine.

catccc

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2014, 09:44:45 AM »
Another vote for not making a big thing of it, friends and family will get over it, for the most part.  If you want to invite your immediate families to a small thing after you get married at, say, a courthouse, that could be nice.

My sister had a last minute-ish vegas wedding- we were informed about 2 months out.  Immediate family and my sisters BFF (a guy, who was her "lord of honor), and a 1/2 dozen aunts/uncles/cousins that our dad wanted out there were in attendance, and we ate at a buffet after the elvis officiated ceremony.  She did not get a peep of disappointment from anyone, as everyone understood that she was anything but traditional.

I went slightly more traditional- invited everyone out, but it was an expensive spot to get to for everyone.  We live in PA and got married in HI, and our immediate families, some friends, and some relatives came out.  Made reservations for about 30 at a restaurant after an informal beach ceremony.  It was all very reasonable.  Got a lot of checks in the mail from relatives that did not attend; wasn't expecting that.  Did a registry, but did not stick an slip of paper about our registry in the invite, thought that would be tacky.  It was just if people asked so we wouldn't get stuff we didn't need.

A co-worker once took the morning off, came in after lunch, and walked around informing everyone that she'd gotten married that morning and her email would be updated with a new last name shortly.  Not sure how she handled it from the family side...

Just do what is right for you!

MgoSam

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2014, 09:55:31 AM »
I would be interesting in this, though I am single, I have absolute admiration for the concept of eloping or having a quick wedding. My family has insanely elaborate weddings, largely due to having a giant family, but it really just destroys the appeal of having a planned event. My sister's wedding was planning out a year in advance, and my brother's became way more costly and bigger than him and his (now) wife had originally anticipated. This will depend of course on if I find someone that I want to marry and who wants to marry me and what her wishes will be for our wedding, but I would absolutely love to just get married at the courthouse and then get dinner somewhere nice. Or as I have told my parents, "I want to elope, and if you want to host a reception for me when I get back, you're welcome to." They seem happy at the concept.

A couple I know had the coolest idea, they got married on Mount Kilamanjaro, which they were planning to go to anyways. One of their friends that came with them took courses online to prefer the ceremony and my brother was there as a witness. Then they honeymooned and came back and had a reception with family/friends.

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2014, 10:10:21 AM »
We eloped, and got married on vacation in Mexico.  It was so easy and perfect for our personalities (which hate being the center of attention) and dealt with issues like equal treatment to all family (not creating drama by not inviting people we don't like, etc.). 

Here's how we did it: 
1 - I bought a nice white sundress ($35 at an outlet store) before we went on vacation (this can be skipped, but it felt right to Mr PoP.)
2 - Hired an boat owner to take us out on the water and officiate our little wedding ceremony ($150), after the ceremony we immediately went snorkeling and ended the boat trip with a sunset cruise in the bay. 
3 - Ate a REALLY nice meal out ($50) after skyping our parents and telling them what we had done.  The emails the next morning asking if it was a dream that we had called about getting hitched are classic. 

Yes, it was technically not "legally recognized", but we took care of that months later when we had time to get down to the Clerk of Courts - and it was such a non-event that the clerk who "wed" us was disappointed we weren't making a bigger fuss than we were.  (He basically forced us to kiss in front of him.  How gross is that!?!)  There was also a brief period when Mr PoP's parents tried to insist that the date of the legal marriage was our "real wedding" date, which we nipped in the butt by not telling them the actual date of our legal union.  (And honestly I would have to look that date up.) 

As we were getting married we were also in the process of buying a foreclosed house, so after taking a few months to fix that up we hosted a belated wedding reception/housewarming party and invited family and close friends.  That seemed to satisfy any remaining grumbles about us eloping. 

I tell everyone I know who gets engaged that they should elope.  It was the perfect way to start our lives together on our own terms, which is how we want to live our lives. 

Why do you think you can't elope in the Maldives? 

sandandsun

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2014, 10:23:40 AM »
we did it... started planning a big event, got overwhelmed, just went out of state (where it was legal) and did it one wknd.  Probably one of our best decisions and everyone got over it :)

hazelkate

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2014, 10:27:13 AM »
We eloped by going to the courthouse and then scheduled a big potluck-type celebration about 6 weeks later. The celebration was in a large event cabin deep in the woods and we paid Boy Scouts to shuttle the drunks to their hotel room or my folks' house. It worked out really well - many fond memories were had by all and people still talk about what a refreshingly low maintenance arrangement it was!

Angie55

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2014, 10:38:29 AM »
We originally got engaged due to the high potential of being relocated for work. We figured if we were engaged it would be easier to get married and get dual relocation benefits when the time came. I avoided relocation attempts, later got laid off, and had a long term of unemployment. All while fielding dreaded wedding planning questions for 3+ years while engaged.

The second week of December I realized if we got married we would get a 5k tax refund since I had been unemployed all year. Two weeks later on 12/30 we eloped with nice ceremony and overnight in cozy VA mountain town, just the two of us. We had sent notice postcards to our parents with an invitation to have an immediate family dinner to celebrate since we didn't invite them to the ceremony. With the 5k tax refund we paid for the weekend, ceremony, and a splurge all-inclusive Mexico honeymoon!

I hate decisions and planning complicated things. So wedding planning is like the worst thing I could imagine.Only bummer was I had a 24 hour stomach bug the day we got married. So I couldn't really enjoy anything too much and I threw up the $100 dinner. That and we both lost significant weight (30 and 40lbs) within a year  so we spent $200+ to have nice pictures that I now refer to as our "fat pictures". I still wouldn't have had it any other way!
« Last Edit: October 03, 2014, 11:02:18 AM by Angie55 »

V

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2014, 10:40:31 AM »
My husband and I got married at the courthouse as well.  I believe it took a week to get the marriage license and then we had to show up on a certain day when they actually performed weddings.  We had my parents there, but no one else.  We went to a friend's house afterwards, who was a chef, and cooked for about 15 people that were invited.  Instead of gifts we asked people to pay for their own meals, so we were married for $65.  3 months later we went on our honeymoon.  A two week vacation Italy.  The amount of money we would have spent on a wedding gave us memories that neither one of us will ever forget and lasted a lot longer than one day.  We have absolutely zero regrets with what we did.

darkadams00

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2014, 10:49:19 AM »
My dad's best friend was planning to get married, and he put a six-month deposit on a townhouse to move into following the wedding. Due to weird circumstances, that wedding was cancelled, and he offered the townhouse to my dad and didn't even ask for repayment of the deposit. He considered it to be the same as a returned engagement ring. My dad proposed to my mom that weekend, and they were married two weeks later. In January they'll be celebrating their 45th anniversary while movie stars spend tens of thousands of dollars on marriages that fail at an alarming rate. So to me the extravagance of the short ceremony is not nearly as important as the marriage of the minds and the intertwining of personal lives that will occur over the ensuing years.

Eloping might make people upset in the immediate future, but in ten years you will have a great story. Unless your family/friends are grudge holders, then they'll come around. The caveat is that your children will be able to do the same to you in the future, and you'll have to take it in stride from a much less appealing side of the story.

yandz

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2014, 10:52:39 AM »
We didn't elope, but from friends who did and talked to be extensively after the fact, keep these things in mind:
-Some of your friends/loved ones will love that you did it ("that is what we should have done!") and high five you.
-Others will be incredibly hurt or offended
-It will surprise you which camp people land in.

If you are okay with this and it is what you want and can handle the criticism you get, go for it!  Just put some serious thought to what is important to you. If eloping fulfills those things, you will regret NOT doing it.

Eric

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2014, 10:54:11 AM »
It wasn't last minute, but we were married in Belize 10 years ago.  We didn't invite anyone to join us, just went and did it.  It was great and I don't think either of us would've changed a thing.  Had a couple of parties in our hometowns after the fact to celebrate with family and friends.  Our families are pretty relaxed about most stuff though, so we never had to deal with any issues regarding that.  They just wanted us to be happy. :)

kyanamerinas

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2014, 11:02:10 AM »
Two weeks out from our traditional wedding, i wish we had! Can't wait but overwhelmed at the moment. A well! It will be fun.

RelaxedGal

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2014, 11:46:29 AM »
We realized 3 months before our awesome Europe trip that it would be an unbeatable honeymoon.  Surprised our parents with phone calls letting them know we were getting married.  Decided to get married in my hometown in the hopes that my grandparents would come (they didn't go to their first grandchild's wedding, my brothers, which was only 3 hours from their house).  14 person guest list: parents, grandparents, siblings.  Ceremony and dinner were in the same room of a restaurant/former mansion which is a popular wedding venue.  There was a break in between the ceremony and dinner for pictures while the staff set up the room.  My parents rented a hall the next day for an informal buffet luncheon with the extended family.

The only friend who was vocal about being left out was the friend who brought us together.  It did hurt to leave her out, but "just immediate family" was an easy line to draw.  She threw a party in our honor in my husband's home town with all of his old gang that night. They called us at the reception to cheer/razz us for leaving them out. 

Cpa Cat

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2014, 12:04:17 PM »
I eloped - I was in an immigration situation, and having a big wedding was impractical.

We had eight people there. I told my family not to come (flying in from out of the country with little notice was an expense that I didn't want to burden them with). My husband's mom and stepdad came, along with two siblings. Plus a best man/matron of honor and two other guests. His mom was the minister.

My husband had some anxiety about the guestlist - he's from a smallish town where culturally, everyone comes to your wedding. He knew that if he had his dad there, then his stepmom would find out and if his stepmom found out, then his grandma would know and then everyone grandma ever met or was distantly related to would be at our wedding.

In retrospect, he should have let his dad in on it and told him to trick grandma into getting into the car so she could be at our wedding. It has been a sticking point for years for the stepmom and grandma. They were pretty insulted. My husband wishes his dad could have been there (although he was not insulted).

  • The attention

People still pay attention to you. But there are fewer of them. People you don't invite will ask you about your wedding/motives. But it's not too bad.

  • The awkwardness - being unsure who to invite, and potentially offending people that we don't

It doesn't go away. Actually, to make up for it, the stepmom decided to throw us a 10 year anniversary party. During which she recreated wedding scenes (since I "didn't have a wedding"): the best man speech (given by someone who was NOT the best man), cake cutting, riding off in a car, and insisted on referring to me as only "the bride."

During this party, grandma reminded us repeatedly that we had not invited her to the original wedding.

  • The speeches

You can pretty much avoid this... unless someone throws you a weird fake wedding (above).

  • The food - we're both vegan and would like a vegan wedding as whilst we have no problem with people eating meat/dairy, from our (limited) experience of weddings there's generally a lot of food waste

You could go pot-luck style or BBQ and just send home the leftovers with guests. But obviously, not having a big reception is the best way to avoid it. We went a restaurant after our wedding - with 10 people total, it wasn't a problem.

  • The waste - we already have too much stuff. I feel like even if we implicitly ask for nothing, people will still (out of kindness) get us gifts

They will. But very few people will get you gifts if you elope. Some will still get you something (parents, for example). If you have a wedding, people will bring gifts. That's the way it goes. What's more, people get oddly offended when you ask them to donate to a charity or give you money. If you don't elope, just suck it up and register for stuff that you want or can donate.

  • The hassle and stress

Eloping wins hands down. I would choose to elope all over again. I never, ever want to organize a big wedding.

If you can, do it small-style, in a park or someone's yard. Invite immediate family (parents, siblings, grandparents) - if they are local. Your call on friends - none of our friends were offended about not being invited. Four unrelated people attended our wedding - two were formally invited (the best man/matron of honor) and two showed up when my husband gave a shout-out to his friends on 24 hours notice, essentially saying "If you want to come, then come, but it's not expected." The location of the ceremony was 4 hours away from our home, so that probably helped cull the herd.

If your families are small, then the 24-hour-shout out works well for friends - invite them for a drop-in reception at your house. If your families are large, then I advise you don't invite any friends. Then you tell people that it was immediate family only, because you wanted it to be small. Your goal should be to keep the guestlist to 20 people or fewer.

If not everyone in your family is local, then the courthouse is a clear winner for eloping. Real easy to use geography as an excuse for not having a wedding.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2014, 12:08:09 PM by Cpa Cat »

VirginiaBob

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2014, 12:11:48 PM »
I basically was travelling the world, met someone during my travels and got married 2 weeks later.  I didn't even tell family/friends until after she arrived in the states (about 8 months later).  Still married 9 years later.

On the other hand, a friend of mine was dating the same girl for 7 years, finally got engaged, got married 2 years later.  Divorced after 6 months of marriage.

It is really a crapshoot.

iluvzbeach

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2014, 04:21:46 PM »
My husband and I will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary one month from today. We got engaged, but didn't want a big wedding for almost the same reasons you describe. We had planned a trip to Italy and decided to make it our honeymoon. So, we hired a judge, got our marriage license and got married with my best friend and her hubby serving as our witnesses. We went out for a great dinner that evening and left for Italy the next morning. No one gave us a hard time at all and, to be honest, it's your day and your decision how the day should be handled. Any one who tries to make you feel guilty is more concerned with what they want than what you want. We have zero regrets and I'd do it all the same way again. Best wishes on your decision!

P.S. And let's not forget about the costs associated with throwing a big wedding. So glad we did not spend a pile of money that could have (and did) go to more productive things.

resy

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2014, 04:45:54 PM »
Hi,

We've been engaged for almost 2 years now and still have no wedding plans whatsoever. We're going to the Maldives next week and were considering the possibility of getting married there (which sadly isn't possible) or maybe getting married at the very last minute the day before we go - has anyone ever done anything like this?

I'm curious about this from a non-financial standpoint mostly - I appreciate that weddings can incur ridiculous costs (which we are definitely hoping to avoid) but mostly we'd like to avoid the following:

  • The attention
  • he awkwardness - being unsure who to invite, and potentially offending people that we don't
  • The speeches
  • The food - we're both vegan and would like a vegan wedding as whilst we have no problem with people eating meat/dairy, from our (limited) experience of weddings there's generally a lot of food waste
  • The waste - we already have too much stuff. I feel like even if we implicitly ask for nothing, people will still (out of kindness) get us gifts
  • The hassle and stress

Looking at the list above I feel like like eloping is the only option, however one massive positive of having an actual wedding is that it'd make family and friends happy, and we wouldn't offend them and spend potentially years feeling really guilty.

So, as a compromise I was thinking of speaking with a venue that we like and trying to get in a very late cancellation if at all possible, that way it could help solve some of the problems above ie there's less stress/pressure, possibly lower expectations, less chance that people will get gifts, we can invite lots of people and they won't feel obliged to come if they don't want to etc - but will the reality actually be worse and it'll just be more stressful for everyone?

Not really sure what to do - we both love the idea of being married, but the actual wedding part... not so much :)

I faced a similar problem. Finally right as summer started we decided we just wanted to be married... but we also wanted the special memory if a "wedding". We planned everything in less than 2 weeks.
What we did:

-The ceremony was held in a small chappel that fit 20 people-exactly enough for both families. Non religious, super low key. Wore a simple tailored white wedding dressed purchased at a resale store and he wore a black suit. We are also both introverts so the ceremony was the most stress inducing for us-doing it in a chappel really set the easy going vibe and helped us A TON.
-Called around town to different restaurants to host a dinner of 28 people. We went with an awesome italian place that let us order off the menu (as opposed to making you order from a special, more expensive menu as I learned ead the norm for lots of other places). We used their nice lounge area, brought in a simple cake and some flowers.
-There happened to be a city night parade going on that night blocks from the restaurant so once we had had a few hours at dinner (actually had about 5 hours of it because it turned out so fun-lots of singing and laughing) we headed to the parade and welcomed anyone that wished to join us.
-invited those only i wanted there and excused myself with all others blaming it on the restaurant's and chappel's low capacity.

 It was perfect. We never imagined it would come out so great!  I think a lot of it was because the event was as much about our families as itvwas about us and it was truly a joyous night :)


Spartana

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2014, 04:54:53 PM »
Vegas baby! Or better, beautiful Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side. now ex hubby and I were both in the coast guard on ships in 2 different states 1500 apart when we wanted to get married. Due to things like blood tests and waiting periods for licenses we couldn't get married in either state in the 2 week leave time we could both get at the same time. So we opted for a wedding in Vegas which was a place you could get a license and married on the same day and didn't require blood tests or residency. It was one of those one-price-includes everything kind of places but was in a lovely little chapel. Included a limo that picked us up at the hotel, took us to the place to get a license (included in price), took us back to the chapel where they had a dressing room to change, a nice flower-filled very traditional candle lit chapel, a lady playing the organ as I walked down the aisle, a minister (NOT Elvis!) to do the vow things, and a limo ride home. Also included the bouquet (a nice one of my choosing) and some other stuff. All I needed to do was get a dress and him a tie and jacket. Easy, fast and pretty inexpensive. Enough room for friends and family in the pews. After wards we all went out somewhere to eat, dance and party a bit. Nothing lavish but fun.  Then a honeymoon of approx. 2 weeks in SoCal doing fun stuff. I'm not a wedding person - hate all the hoopla and stuff - and was happy to do it with little planning so we could focus on the fun stuff afterwards like the honeymoon! While I am also NOT a Vegas person at all,  hate all the neon and glitz, it was actually not bad. I would have preferred it to be done in North Shore Lake Tahoe as that is more my kind of place, but this worked good. Afterwards, when we had time, we had a small second ceremony at a lovely outdoor chapel in the woods in Maine (where I was stationed at the time).

Several friends of mine did basicly the same thing but in Hawaii. Beautiful outdoor ceremonies overlooking the ocean and an all inclusive price for hotel and wedding package. These are much more expensive because they are in very nice resort hotels far off the beaten path - and not on Oahu although I imagine they have them also.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2014, 05:02:52 PM by Spartana »

zinnie

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2014, 04:55:12 PM »
It has been more popular with my friends recently to get married alone or with a small group of family, and then hold a party afterwards--days or even weeks later. They just phrased it on the invitations as "help us celebrate our marriage" or something. It seemed like a happy medium--family is happy they get to feel like they celebrated a wedding but couple didn't have to be on display for the ceremony. You can have it at your house, a park, a local vegan restaurant, etc. and make it as formal or as casual as you like. Just an idea!

RockinLife

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2014, 04:56:14 PM »
YES!  ...and it was awesome!! 

The 'guilt' wears off, people move on, and you're left with the wedding that suits you, not everyone else. 

Wishing you two all the best!

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2014, 05:05:36 PM »
We eloped.  A more formal ceremony was going to be a challenge given that my husband's father had suffered a stroke, had limited mobility and bodily function.  Our family members live in several states so we knew that there would be a lot of travel expenses associated with this.  It just seemed easier.

One comment that I received decades later after my Mom died came from someone on my husband's side of the family who said that she was sorry she never met my Mom.  Weddings are often the opportunity to meet various relatives from the opposite side of the family who are otherwise separated geographically.  But really--it would have been a trivial meeting in the best in the circumstances.

Another comment that came many years later was from my brother in law whose son was getting married. He asked if we could inspire his son to follow suit with what we did!

Eloping does not mean you can't have a party. We had a lovely one.


Glenstache

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2014, 05:23:41 PM »
Check your local regulations for the paperwork requirements so that you know the logistics. For example, in Washington there is a short waiting period between getting the license and when it can be signed (ie, when you are married). If you want something other than a courthouse, have a friend get ordained and act (or at least sign) as the officiant. One couple I know used random people they met on a beach as their witnesses for the paperwork. If you're in Seattle, I'd be happy to facilitate your elopement.

Ultimately, it is about you and your partner and you should do what is right for you and your relationship. Weddings are a cultural tradition while being married is a statement of commitment between two people and a legal contract.

hdatontodo

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2014, 06:41:13 PM »
We were going to Aruba using FF miles but hurricane Felix was there. So we flew to Las Vegas and got hitched. Then we went to Ocean City.

rocklebock

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2014, 07:28:15 PM »
We're talking about getting married next year, and leaning towards courthouse, followed by a bbq in a public park. We'll probably invite most everyone we know, and they can show up if they want to. I'm sure someone in the family will be disappointed that we didn't do it right, but whose special day is it? Not theirs.

sugarsnap

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2014, 08:59:38 PM »
5 days notice for us and we only had about 5 friends plus 15 of our closest family.

The short notice meant only local friends and family could come and the small number of people meant folks weren't offended that they were not invited since it was just immediate family and lifetime friends.

I hate attention and waste also, I can't imagine walking down an aisle with 200 people staring at me.

Wile E. Coyote

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2014, 09:27:01 PM »
I proposed to my wife while on vacation in Hawaii. While we were there we decided to get married. We called the hotel and asked if they we could get married on their beach. They aid they had packages starting at $5k. We laughed. They gave us the name of a local wedding planner whose husband also was a minister. He married us on the beach at our hotel at sunset. She took pictures with our camera.  The whole thing cost something like $350, and it was the most beautiful place I could imagine.

We didn't tell anyone until our layover in LA. Family was surprised but not upset. We had a party for everyone when we got home at my in laws house so we could celebrate. The best decision we ever made.

 That was a little more than 8 years ago, we have an amazing daughter, and couldn't be happier. All my guy friends are envious and wished they could have eloped.  I'm my case, my wife had been married before so she didn't "need" a big wedding.

Good luck!

studentdoc2

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2014, 09:54:20 PM »
We did not have a small wedding (~130 people) nor did we do it last minute (got married a year after getting engaged) BUT we did have a pretty non-traditional wedding celebration in keeping with our very feminist, egalitarian relationship and mutual hatred of many wedding-related traditions. Some push-back from other people, but we crafted a day that was perfectly us. I'm a firm believer that your wedding/marriage celebration should be exactly what means the most to you. If that's a private ceremony with the two of you on a mountain and a picnic lunch, that's AWESOME. If it's a surprise wedding (to the guests, that is) for 20 friends and family at a restaurant, SUPER. If it's a big party (and note that big party doesn't need to equal expensive party) with dancing and revelry, GREAT. Craft the day that you want (and if you hate planning, craft a day that doesn't require much!). There are some sites geared towards more not-traditional  marriage celebrations (including celebration of elopements and very small weddings) -- Offbeat Bride and A Practical Wedding come to mind -- if you want some inspiration from other marriage stories off the beaten path. Whatever it is, make it a day that makes you excited and happy and gives you the warm fuzzies when you look back on it. If you do that, you can't go wrong.

hazelkate

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2014, 11:13:41 PM »
We did not have a small wedding (~130 people) nor did we do it last minute (got married a year after getting engaged) BUT we did have a pretty non-traditional wedding celebration in keeping with our very feminist, egalitarian relationship and mutual hatred of many wedding-related traditions. Some push-back from other people, but we crafted a day that was perfectly us. I'm a firm believer that your wedding/marriage celebration should be exactly what means the most to you. If that's a private ceremony with the two of you on a mountain and a picnic lunch, that's AWESOME. If it's a surprise wedding (to the guests, that is) for 20 friends and family at a restaurant, SUPER. If it's a big party (and note that big party doesn't need to equal expensive party) with dancing and revelry, GREAT. Craft the day that you want (and if you hate planning, craft a day that doesn't require much!). There are some sites geared towards more not-traditional  marriage celebrations (including celebration of elopements and very small weddings) -- Offbeat Bride and A Practical Wedding come to mind -- if you want some inspiration from other marriage stories off the beaten path. Whatever it is, make it a day that makes you excited and happy and gives you the warm fuzzies when you look back on it. If you do that, you can't go wrong.

Perfectly written. Best advice yet.

kaetana

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2014, 01:35:21 AM »
My husband and I considered having an intimate wedding, but the smallest guest list was 19 people, of which 8 were interstate and 11 were overseas. We were starting to get stressed out about the logistics of just getting everyone together at the same time in the same place, and finally just threw all the plans away and got married at the registrar's office with two witnesses. We used nice clothes we already owned and went straight home to... ahem... celebrate. ;) No fancy dinner, no reception, none of that fuss.

Cheapest wedding ever! I personally think it's not the wedding you should spend time/effort/money on - it's the marriage. Everything else is just icing.

2ndTimer

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2014, 09:42:08 AM »
We were living about 100 miles apart.  I called him and said, "Come up here early Friday afternoon.  I made an appointment at the courthouse for us to get married."  He did, we did and we told, everybody  including our families, afterwards.  People were mildly surprised but nobody was angry.  It was, after all. our business not theirs.

Goldielocks

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2014, 09:59:30 AM »
If you or a relative are loosely affiliated with a church, give them a call.

Our church will have a simple wedding added on to the end of service, (rare, but common in the good old days), or provide a simple short service after lunch on sunday.  You can ask to use the hall for simple beverages and finger foods after.

$200 for the officiant, $200 maybe for hall janitorial.  Much lower if you ask to just add it to the service like a baptism.

Able to invite everyone who may want to come. It is held indoors. "Everyone is invited to join us...". and grandma or whoever gets to see you married in a religious ceremony, and will be delighted with you for the next 25 yrs. Two weeks should be enough time arrange. 

Great alternative to a courthouse wedding, if you are at all religious or want lots of close relatives invited.

justplucky

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2014, 05:03:55 PM »
I pseudo-eloped to Las Vegas. Only my immediate family and my husband's immediate family were in attendance. It was a low-key affair on a Friday morning. I have no regrets; I was too busy with my career and lacked the desire to plan and execute a wedding.

Dicey

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #34 on: October 04, 2014, 10:42:40 PM »
DH and I got engaged in September, 2012. On 10-10-12 we decided to get married on 10-11-12. We told my family on the morning of 10-11-12. We got an appointment at the courthouse where my sister lives (she was being treated for breast cancer at the time and wanted to stand up for me). While were driving the 1.5 hours to her town, she arranged for a photographer. My brother also lives near my sister. He got one of his customers to host an intimate reception at his lovely restaurant between lunch and dinner service. There were only nine of us and we had a blast. DH & I wore clothes we already owned. I splurged on a last-minute bouquet ($100 & worth it!). I always dreamed of a lovely wedding with all of our family and friends, but I'm so glad we chose to "elope". I would it again in a heartbeat.

We've been married nearly two years and are still happy about the way we tied the knot. It is all about what happens after the wedding, not the wedding itself. We never bothered to add up costs, but I'm sure it was well under $500, including gas and the lovely (and stupidly expensive) bouquet.

lifejoy

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #35 on: October 05, 2014, 10:09:43 AM »
I REALLY wanted to elope. But, my husband really DIDN'T want to ;) So we had a small wedding with 45 people. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed our wedding. I really planned it as though I was "putting up" with the idea. So... I guess I'm a convert? Part of why I loved our wedding so much is that we only said "yes" to things we cared about. Everything we didn't care about, got cut. It ended up being an event that was very "us". Great food, and a bubble of love surrounding us. So... Weddings aren't the worst. Plus, we spent $5k and got $11k in financial gifts... Which was unexpected, very generous, and very nice.

iris lily

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #36 on: October 05, 2014, 10:29:56 AM »
We got married at the court house and I've never regretted it. I just wasn't interested in a big fluffy wedding, and because DH and I were in our mid-30's my parents were so relieved that I got married that they gave me no guff about "being there." Each set of parents threw a reception for us and that was fine, but I could have lived without those events. They were simple affairs, one at a restaurant and one at a town hall.

SailAway

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #37 on: October 05, 2014, 10:34:00 AM »
I think eloping was one of our best decisions ever. We basically had a "weddingmoon". Flew off to a resort in Jamaica, got married overlooking the ocean. I still got a foufou dress, cake, first dance, flowers - and NONE of the stress. I wanted something "more" than a courthouse wedding but hubby was pretty much having panic attacks over the idea of a full blown wedding, so this ended up being the perfect compromise for us. I highly recommend it and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Honestly it is 99% about the marriage and 1% (or less) about the wedding. Family and friends will get over it. Deep down have you ever really been that concerned about anyone else's wedding? If it's important to them (it was to my MIL, strangely) you can have a small informal reception when you get back so that others can celebrate your special occasion. Bonus if you get two cakes out of the deal...

myrax

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #38 on: October 05, 2014, 11:40:33 AM »
We had a lot of the same concerns, right down to being vegan and not wanting a lot of attention. We planned our wedding 2 months in advance, but it could have been done in 5 days.

How we dealt with issues:
Family: We told everyone that we were planning on getting married in the near future but it would be a courthouse type wedding and they weren't invited. It gave our parents and siblings a chance to argue that it was a bad idea before the wedding, instead of when they first heard about it. My sister is still sore about it, but her hobby is planning weddings...

Venue: When we first started talking about marriage, we actually considered a more traditional wedding and looked into the cost of renting out a venue. Then I realized that you don't have to rent out an entire botanical garden or venue to get married. You can just pay the admission for everyone in your party and have a discreet ceremony once you are inside. We got married in the St. Louis Arch in a pod on the way up. The pods hold five people max, so it was a perfect excuse not to invite family. The ride up takes 3 minutes, so we also had a reason to avoid speeches or lengthy vows. The cost to rent a pod was $60 and it came with a free parking space, though we rode our bikes to the wedding.

Paperwork and legal aspects:One of my husband's good friends was ordained over the internet and performed the ceremony for free. The witnesses were also close friends. We got the marriage certificate at City Hall a few days before we got married, and the officiant had to mail it in and finalize the paperwork. This stuff varies a lot, so check your local regulations.

Vegan food and reception: We invited about 20 local friends to a reception at our apartment after the wedding. We bought some wine and beer, and told people it was BYOB. For food we ordered takeout from our favorite restaurants. It was a random array of Vietnamese food and pizza, but it was all vegan and our guests loved it. I made a vegan cookie dough cheesecake for the wedding cake and we bought cupcakes from a local bakery, but people were too full on the savory food to eat much of it. I am SO happy we did takeout- the food was good, it was cheap, and everyone seemed to really enjoy it, much more so than a traditional wedding buffet.

Since we didn't have a traditional cake, we didn't have a slice of cake to freeze for a year (such a weird tradition). My husband bought a bottle of very nice Scotch just for us to enjoy a dram after the guests had left. We bring it out every year on our anniversary.

I am really happy that we chose to get married this way. It was fun, low-stress, and memorable.

Iota

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #39 on: October 05, 2014, 02:27:05 PM »
We did this.  We started planning the wedding on Monday and got married on Friday.  I wanted a pretty venue, so we splurged and did it at the Santa Barbara courthouse, which is about two hours north of Los Angeles (where we and my parents live) and two hours southwest of husband's parents.  The short time time frame was to make sure his parents could attend, as the week after, which I would have preferred, wasn't good for them.  Both sets of parents and one college friend who was living with us at the time were in attendance.  The friend took lots of photos, so we have a bunch of non-professional candid photos from the ceremony and dozens with the family all together.  Parents also took photos, but this way they were able to concentrate on the ceremony.  My parents took everyone out to lunch afterwards as our wedding gift, and the restaurant's delicious coconut cake served as wedding cake.  We went to the botanical garden together after lunch.

My husband is uncomfortable with a lot of attention and big groups of people, so this was better for him than a big event, by far.  I've always been neutral to negative on the idea of big weddings.  I never fantasized about a fancy dress or anything.  If he had really wanted a formal wedding, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it (especially seeing him happy), but never would have enjoyed the cost.  As it was, we bought a duplex in Cleveland five months later for a bit less than the average wedding cost.  The seller was getting divorced.

My only slight sadness was not having my sisters, who live out of state, at the wedding.  I would have really enjoyed that.  On the other hand, I would have felt guilty having them fly all the way out to California for such a low-key courthouse thing, so planning it so last minute helped with that potential problem.  No one has expressed any disappointment in us for doing it this way, just happiness for our happiness.  The reactions you get from new acquaintances when they ask how you got married are interesting.  Older people tend to seem really enthusiastic and either say they should have done it that way, of that friends of theirs feel that way now.  Younger people are always really polite about it, but you can also see in their eyes they're thinking how they would never want to give up the fairytale wedding.  Since I never really wanted one to begin with, I never felt I was giving it up.  Basically, eloping or modified eloping is super great and I have no regrets.

Siobhan

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #40 on: October 06, 2014, 01:18:16 PM »
We did this, planned a wedding in Maui with a months notice.  Hubs desperately wanted to get married prior to deployment (we'd been together 6 years and through 2 previous ones, he was more concerned I had health care).  Best. choice. in. the. world.  My family was getting so pissy, trying to plan this whole massive wedding in NJ (we lived in CO) because it was "traditional".  I kept saying NO...yes the family is there, but his entire family is in CA and our friends are scattered around the globe.  Plus, I hate NJ and try to avoid going back whenever possible.  My mom started throwing a fit, and then started sending me brochures for places that were like 150 a plate (mind you they weren't going to be contributing one red cent to this wedding). 

I put my foot down, said no way in hell are we forking out 20k plus for a wedding, talked to my husband and said I don't care about the wedding, I want to be barefoot on a beach.  So we planned a trip to Maui, got married, with pictures, and music and dinner at the Ritz and a two week stay for around 5k, the bulk of that being the hotel and airfare.  We told our families, if you want to come, feel free, we don't care if you do or don't.  We had about 15 people come, every one of them said it was the nicest wedding they had been to, no fuss, no last minute details, no crazy crap.  I wouldn't have changed it for the world.  We used the money that would have gone to a wedding to buy us a house instead.

LAL

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #41 on: October 06, 2014, 08:20:13 PM »
We went down to the courthouse on a Friday afternoon in 2004 just us.  We got married.  A year later on Saturday the same "date" we got married in front of our 60 friends and family.  Not a huge elaborate thing but something for family. 

Till today my DH and I joke about "our" wedding. It really was just ours.  And we went out for late night chinese food.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #42 on: October 07, 2014, 07:44:58 AM »
We had planned on eloping in Costa Rica.  The timing did not work with a wedding there so we planned a last minute wedding here.  We were married on my parent's farm in October.  We used hay bales for seating and were married by a family friend who is a judge.  We decorated with many candles and mason jars and made a taco bar for our friends.  We also made a big batch of Sangria.  It was really cheap, planned in a week and was very simple.  A year later we had the "real" church wedding for a bunch of family members.

blizeH

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #43 on: October 07, 2014, 07:48:28 AM »
Thank you all so much for the replies! So much fantastic information and some great anecdotes in here :) We sat down last night and read through all of them and have to say we're both really warming to the idea of eloping  and throwing a party when we get back but trying to keep it very casual and low key, whilst also inviting lots of people (and putting some good food/lots of free drink) for them too.

This time next week we'll be in The Maldives which tbh would be a perfect way to get married, but it wouldn't be an 'official' wedding so it'd probably be a bit pointless too... will have to wait for another big holiday (possibly to Hawaii, Florida or Thailand) in a year or two.

Once again thank you all very much!

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #44 on: October 07, 2014, 05:20:45 PM »
This time next week we'll be in The Maldives which tbh would be a perfect way to get married, but it wouldn't be an 'official' wedding so it'd probably be a bit pointless too...

What do you mean by that?  Or illegitimate Mexican wedding was certainly far from pointless =) 

Icecreamarsenal

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #45 on: October 07, 2014, 08:55:13 PM »
I was married in the summer of 2011 and had the ceremony in 2013. The actual marriage in 2011 cost $100: $25 for the wedding and marriage certificate and lunch for the witnesses and bride and myself.
The wedding in the summer of 2013 cost $10,000, and though we tried to keep it to 25, it burgeoned to 120. I think we actually made a profit; I had it under a tent in a relatives backyard.
Good luck: these things tend to spin out of control.  Nearer the date, I recognized it for what it was: one of life's milestones. There are only, at most, 10 milestones, in your short existence. My wife still doesn't have, nor wants, a diamond engagement ring. If the mmm perspective of spending money is weighing whatever purchase you make against the prolongation of FI, I would say I would definitely work extra days to make that happen again.
Have fun!
Post pics.

firedup

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Re: Has anyone eloped, or had a very last minute wedding?
« Reply #46 on: October 07, 2014, 09:19:57 PM »
Both! We woke up on Sunday and decided to get married that Thursday. The girl planning our honeymoon (which ended up being a month after) was a JP and we got married by her and we told no-one. A friend since 7th grade & her hubby were our witnesses and no relatives were there. We had a lot of complex issues at the time and felt it was the right thing to do at the time. 18 years later no regrets.

 It's your day! Do whatever makes you happy.