A friend of mine found that the whole wedding thing was beginning to literally give her a headache. She was experiencing such pressure all round (mostly from her own expectations of what she should and shouldn’t do, but there was a fair amount of familial presumption too) that she woke up one morning, and decided to elope.
In the process of exploring elopement as an option, she was so relieved, so freed by just thinking about running off to get married that she knew this was the avenue she wanted to pursue.
And then a little while later, she realised that, whilst this was still the case, she really, really wanted her friends and family with her.
And so she eloped, and invited us all along.
I love it. No longer was she faced with an all or nothing scenario. The all wedding pressure was too much for her (it is for many brides), whilst the idea of nothing but the two of them also left her feeling something was missing.
She was courageous enough to explore it all and honest enough with herself to come up with something totally original.
Whilst most of us are saying ‘huh?’, there is a really strong detachment that comes from having a wedding but calling it by another name. Severing the links with ‘wedding’ and associating her exchange of vows with ‘elopement’, she disentangled herself from numerous accepted norms around venue, dress, procedure and reception.
20 people attended her elopement. The invitations said something like: we’re getting married on this harbour quay in this country on this date at around sunrise. If you’d like to witness our exchange of vows, we would love you to be there.
No block bookings of hotels to worry about, no synchronising of bridesmaids’ dresses and mother’s of the bride outfits, no rehearsal or rehearsal dinner, and plenty of time to focus on what was important to her – the exchange of vows.
After the simple but moving ceremony, she invited us all to join her around a table she had booked at a nearby hotel. We had no expectations, other than the excitement of having made it to her ‘wedding’. And all the more grateful that we’d gone to the trouble. And she ended up with only those people who really wanted to be there.
Happy Wedding Planning!