I always knew I wanted to elope.
The idea of having a big wedding was frightening to me with my social anxiety. The older I got, the more superficial traditional weddings seemed. Paying thousands of dollars for a dress I’d only wear once and a ring I didn’t want didn’t make sense to me.
I wanted to get married at some point in my life, and, like many people, had an idea for how it would happen. There would be no ring, just my future husband asking me if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. There would be no white dress—just an intimate ceremony where we promised to love each other and make each other better people.
So it made sense, then, when my husband proposed to me while we were lying on a blanket under a tree outside of a cabin in North Carolina, and I said yes, and we planned our elopement over two years later.
We eloped in July 2018 in a river in North Carolina. Sounds magical, right? (It was!) But here’s what I wished happened a little differently.
That My Family Didn’t Express More Interest
My family showed little to no interest in my marriage plans.
I was, of course, excited to be marrying my husband. Most people who were close to us knew we were engaged and what our marriage plans were.
But my mom, dad, brothers, and grandparents, all of whom I consider myself to be close to, didn’t seem to really care. There were a couple questions here and there, but honestly, nothing close to what you’d expect from a family whose only daughter was getting married.
My family had always known that I wasn’t going to have a big fancy wedding. But I honestly expected them to care a little more or express a little more interest. To this day, there are family members who haven’t looked our wedding photos. In fact, when I got the wedding photos back, my family didn’t even ask to see them. It was pretty heartbreaking and to this day I wish my family had cared a little more.
I Wish I Hadn’t Geeked Out the Night Before
I don’t have many friends, so I’m not sure if most brides have this happen to them—but I geeked out the night before our wedding.
I had a moment where, lying in bed with my about-to-be husband, I asked in the dark, “Do we really want to do this?”
We’d already signed a prenup, picked out outfits, and traveled to North Carolina to stay at the same cabin where we’d gotten engaged. I’d been with him on and off for more than seven years by that point. I loved him with all my heart. And yet, acknowledging the doubt that I had was a very human moment for me.
Can we ever be completely sure about spending our entire lives with one person? We talked about all our fears and expectations. Even the next morning, I wasn’t entirely sure it was going to be ok. Even though I wish I had been a little more calm, or maybe even wished I hadn’t expressed those doubts and fears, I know that by doing so I married my husband with a clean conscience.
That the Communication Had Been Better
So, we worked with an elopement coordinator (who also happened to be our photographer) who helped us pick out the location, time, and our amazing officiant for our wedding.
We also had to coordinate with our witness, our friend Rachel, so that made three people besides ourselves who were all meeting on the side of a mountain to hike a mile to a spot in the river that my husband and I had chosen a couple days before.
All that week, they were calling for thunderstorms and indeed, it had stormed and rained almost every single day. Our officiant and photographer were worried that we’d get rained out that afternoon, and so discussed meeting 30 minutes earlier via email.
The problem was that my husband and I had spotty internet connection at our cabin, and didn’t see the email thread until 15 minutes before we would have had to leave to get there at the new time. I agreed we should meet earlier due to the weather, but I was still sitting at the breakfast bar in my pajamas!
After quickly texting our friend Rachel about the new time, I had a whopping 15 minutes to get ready. Fortunately, we had our outfits picked out, but it still felt like a whirlwind rushing out of the house. I wish I had more time to relax with my husband that morning and get ready at our own pace.
Why TF Didn’t I Pack Underwear for Our Reception Dinner?
On account of the storms planned for our wedding day—and on account of the fact we’d gotten soaked in the woods looking for our perfect river spot two days before—my husband and I were smart and packed extra clothes.
But for some reason that to this day I can’t really explain (maybe because I only had 15 minutes to get ready?), the only thing I packed was an organic cotton poncho cape that barely covered my ass. No underwear, no pants, nothing.
So it figured that after our wedding, walking back in the woods to our car, a storm blew up and it began pouring down a torrential rain. We made it back to the car, and had planned on going out to dinner—just the two of us—when I realized the only thing I’d brought was the poncho.
We laughed in the car as the rain beat down so hard on the windows that we couldn’t see, and the interior fogged up from the heat of our bodies. I was soaked and alive and a new wife, on the side of a mountain with my beloved, and in that moment, the events leading up to this day no longer mattered.
Our wedding was a gorgeous, magical moment in time and although I do wish certain things had gone differently, I’ve never regretted for a second my decision to elope with my husband.