In North Carolina as soon as your wedding license is issued you can get officially married. You don’t have to wait a nanosecond to snag your officiant and say your vows. So if you get the urge to legally merge as soon as the ink is dry, go for it and POOF you will be wed. You’ve read about it in English class, although Romeo and Juliet didn’t live happily ever after, and you’ve seen it in the movies and on soap operas. Here’s what you might miss out on:
DEBT – A traditional wedding is an expensive party filled with special clothes, food, music, venues, and other assorted things like flowers, favors, and photography on a huge scale. By eloping you can scale it back to fit your budget and put those dollars to something even more wonderful like your future free of debt, or a once in a lifetime trip, or the down payment on your first home.
By the way, you can still have the clothes, flowers, and photography and anything else you like because it is your wedding, after all.
PEOPLE – When you elope you have a smaller posse of witnesses. You can opt to have your sunrise ceremony at the beach with just two of you, your witnesses, and your officiant. Or you can zip to city hall and have your parents and BFFs meet you there for the vows.
Then you have the task of calling everyone (make a list) to update your status. And please call your parents or other vitals before you post it on Facebook. Expect that there will be some crushed folks who thought that they should have been invited or told prior to your mad dash and they will be very clear about their disappointment.
Also be aware that if your parents have always dreamed of hosting your wedding, or if there is any question about your selection of spouse, the joy you are expecting to encounter from family and friends when you squeal “We’re Married!” may not be delivered.
Of course, even if you have a large wedding your idea of perfection in the celebration and spouse may not match anyone else’s concept. It’s just that they have longer to adjust to it. This brings us to…
TIME – You will spend long months planning for a traditional wedding. Your life (and check book) will be consumed by the details. You will have to be on your best behavior for engagement parties and various showers and fittings and meetings and consultations and it just goes on forever right up to the wedding day. Elopements can be planned quickly with as much fuss as you need to make it feel special for you (two). This will give you more time to use your engagement moments for more important discussions that cover the day to day topics of money, housing, and personal goals.
Time could also be of the essence if one of you has just been given military orders to ship out to some far away shore, like Tampa, and you’d like to go together as spouses instead of as a side bar.
STRESS – Introverts relish the idea of an elopement. It is a private ceremony usually kept secret from the general public so that you don’t have to endure all the questions about the event itself. You will avoid the discussion of the guest list and where to seat them, the color palate and theme, the first dance song and how the whole world will be watching you as you stumble onto the dance floor. This is the stuff of bridal nightmares.
An elopement gives you (two) complete control of the event but not without judgement. You will be faced with those who will tell you that you did it all wrong by forgoing the more traditional party. They will caution you that without the big shindig you missed out on a pile of wedding gifts (and thank you notes you’d have to write…). They will tell you silly things like you broke your father’s heart not having him walk you down the aisle when you know he’s doing his happy dance with all the moolah he’s just saved. They will say that you are so brave to do such a reckless thing as they smugly look for signs of impending parenthood.
Elopement is for the brave, the sensible, and the silly. You have to be confident in yourself that this is the right choice for you; just as confident as you are that your spouse to be is the right one. If you (two) have the desire and the courage, and can keep a secret, then go elope!