Where I come from, it is much more traditional, understood, and accepted to have a full wedding. The kind that involves months (sometimes years) of planning, tens of thousands of dollars, bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, wedding rehearsals, ceremonies, and receptions, in which hundreds of people are likely to attend. I know the sentiment of this tradition, but I have never wanted it for myself. That’s why I chose to elope.
From being in over ten weddings in my life, to working umpteen weddings through college, I can say with conviction that I think weddings are excessive and unnecessary. So here are 15 confessions I have as a non-traditional bride:
1. It was a selfish act, and I am beyond proud we did it.
It is common for people to tell you to do what you want, spend extra money on the fancy things, and revel in every moment because it’s your day. In all reality, it’s not your day. It’s your family’s day. It’s a party for your friends and that distant cousin you never really liked. It provides others the opportunity to tell you how much they love you, their way.
Eloping allowed us to make it 100% our day.
2. I kept my last name, and we are happy about it.
We do not agree with the original reasoning behind a woman changing her last name. In American and English history, when women wed they forfeited their legal existence under marital unity. They no longer had rights to their personal or physical property without their husband’s consent. Women were no longer identified as their own individual, but as the “wife of” said husband. Though the law has changed, the tradition has not. Well, not for everyone, at least.
3. Whoever thinks I traded in my Ms. Independent & Fierce Lady cards for marriage can kiss my sweet ass.
I am still financially independent. I am still driven in my line of work and dreams. I still have friends and live the way I want, and now that includes someone else who shares these values and pushes me forward.
No, I wouldn’t be married if it meant changing who I am, but he didn’t change me; he helped me blossom into something far greater than I was.
4. Our day was STRESS-FREE, fun, and we remember every moment of it.
We didn’t have to worry about pleasing dozens of people or avoiding the family and/or friend drama. We weren’t flooded with congratulatory messages, taking away our attention from each other or the day. We just did the day and had heaps of fun in the process.
5. Our wedding didn’t put us (or our parents) in debt. HIGH FIVE.
The average US wedding costs $30,000. Ouch. People spend nearly $700 on attending weddings, and nearly $900 for millennials specifically. Just, no. We are about to move across the world and moving toward a minimalist lifestyle. We aren’t about any of that.
6. I can wear my dress again. Score!
Okay, wedding dresses are expensive and you don’t wear your big, fluffy, attention-drawing dress to summer parties. (Or maybe you do? Do you, booboo, do you.)
7. The amount of sanity I retained throughout this process is cherished like a precious gem.
Again, our day was stress-free, fun, and we would totally do it all over again. I have seen the stress weddings put on couples, their families, and their friendships. I have heard too many people say they are just ready for it to be over.
8. I know I looked good, and it was all thanks to me.
Now, I’m no hair stylist or makeup artist, but I did just fine getting myself ready for the day. I rarely wear makeup or do my hair, so why go over the top and be someone I’m not on my wedding day?
9. I still love all my people, and they still love me.
No, we didn’t include anyone else on this day, and while we all got a little sad about it at one point or another, it was for the best. In the end, everyone was happy for us and we are married nonetheless.
10. I didn’t have anything blue, and I don’t think my marriage will fail because of it.
I had new things, old things, and borrowed things, but no blue. Again, it’s a tradition that many people take part in and take cute photos of, but I don’t think I’m doomed for saying “screw it” to something blue.
11. We didn’t make enough plans for things to go wrong, so naturally, it was all right.
Our elopement was easy. We didn’t have much planned except for brunch for four, applying for the marriage certificate, and getting hitched. The rest was for coffee, photos, and giggling. Oh, and love. SO much love.
12. I got to spend the ENTIRE day with my better half, and I still liked him at the end of it. Boo-yah.
I think this one speaks for itself.
13. I was comfortable the whole damn day. Yes, I’m bragging about it.
Wearing anything uncomfortable on one of the longest days of your life is stupid. Seriously, why, though?
14. I know God doesn’t love me any less because I didn’t get married in a church.
My husband and I don’t share the same beliefs (to be honest, I’m trying to nail mine down).
My choices and life have been questioned/spectated because of this, and that’s fine. It’s no one’s business by mine. Your opinions about my relationship with God don’t affect my relationship with God.
15. After doing our wedding completely the way we wanted, I find it foolish for anyone to do anything but just that.
Every single post-wedding bride I’ve talked to, of all ages, have told me that if they could do it over again, they would have eloped. Every. Single. One. I can’t even fathom the funds or time collectively spent on something you wouldn’t want to relive.