Ever since I was a toddler, I've been a Nashville girl. That's why it brought a smile to my face when I recently read the headline "Couples from Around the World Visit Middle Tennessee to Elope." Cool. Very cool.
Since I'm a marriage life coach, I oftentimes get asked what I think about eloping. Honestly, if I were to ever jump a broom, I'd probably be the rent-a-vacation-home-and-have-a-really-small-wedding-there kind of gal. But when it comes to big weddings vs. eloping, let me just say that I personally believe eloping sometimes gets a bad rap; specially since a lot of people think that it's some sort of consolation prize rather than a well-thought-out plan.
You might be shocked about how much of the hype surrounding throwing a big wedding is rooted in debt and superstition. The diamond engagement ring? It came out of DeBeers going broke and then convincing us that it's a symbol of love in order to keep their doors open. Big white wedding dresses? In the Bible, women wore colorful attire; it's actually Queen Victoria back in the 1800s who started the white dress, long veil, and ridiculous huge wedding cake thing. Bridesmaids all looking alike? Supposedly, that's to confuse evil spirits (so is being carried over the threshold).
So yeah, whenever I hear that a couple is taking the "No thanks, we'll pass" approach to the idea of having a huge ceremony and reception (or even not wanting folks present), I don't look at eloping as being cheap or not thinking things through. For (at least) the following seven reasons, I find it to be quite smart, financially-savvy, and a wise approach to marriage overall.
Eloping Is MUCH Cheaper
The average wedding right now? It runs somewhere around $33,340. I promise you, if there's one thing I still can't manage to figure out is how a couple comes up with that kind of cash when monthly bills have the potential to take us all out sometimes.
Anyway, the cost to elope? If you went the City Hall route, based on where you live, you're looking to spend no more than about a hundred bucks. If you decided to have a super intimate affair in your home or a friend's house, you could pull that off for $1,000-3,000 easily.
Just think about the kind of down payment you could put on your starter home or the amount of student loan debt you could pay off if you went this route. Isn't the savings alone just a little bit tempting?
It Leaves Room for All Sorts of Other Possibilities
No one said that just because you're not going the traditional route that you're forced to see the Justice of the Peace. The true definition of elope is "to run off secretly to be married," so what immediately comes to my mind is having a destination wedding. The two of you can go to Hawaii or you and a few of your closest friends can head off to a resort in Colorado (there are some really nice ones during the fall and winter seasons).
Or, if it's time for you or your beloved to get a new vehicle or you want to start a company together, the thousands that would've went to one day can now go to something that will last even longer.
You Can Have the Honeymoon of Your Dreams
Here's something else that's pretty interesting. There are studies that indicate that big wedding marriages actually increase a couple's odds of ending in divorce. Meanwhile, going on a honeymoon improves a couple's chances of staying together.
I get that too. While weddings are (or at least should be) a public declaration of two people's decision to commit their lives to one another as their loved ones celebrate that fact along with them, the honeymoon is all about just the two of them. It's about building intimacy and making quality time a top priority.
Keeping all of this in mind, did you know that only 1 in 4 married couples say they had the honeymoon of their dreams? If you elope, you don't have to be this kind of statistic. The Bahamas, Italy, Greece, Belize—these are just some of the fantasy spots you can actually afford to visit because you've got more money in your pocket (Google "affordable dream honeymoons" for more info on how).
It’s Virtually Stress-Less
Another article that I checked out on this topic is "Stressed-Out Americans Embrace Elopement." Although it's several years old, since eloping is actually a current wedding trend, it still holds relevance.
A lot of marriage therapists and couple counselors believe that if there are two things that can really test an engaged couple, it's a road trip and planning their wedding. On the wedding planning tip, it makes sense why they would say that. If you want to really see how someone handles money, pressure, family, and expectations, watch them in the months leading up to their nuptials.
Why choose to be stressed out if it can be avoided? Marriage is going to come with enough challenges without volunteering to put some on your plate. If you want to enter into your union cool, calm, and collected, this is another reason why eloping may be the best thing to do.
You Don’t Have to Worry About Naysayers
Now, I'll be the first person to say that if the 10 people closest to you are looking at you like you are absolutely crazy for getting married, it would behoove you to ask them why. Like I said in another article, until you're officially a man's wife, you're not. This means that until you say, "I do," YOU are your top priority. You need to make decisions that are best for YOU alone. If the ones who truly care about you see red flags, pause and look into them.
But then there are just haters. Folks who are being critical, just because that's how they are. That said, what you don't have to do (ever) is get someone's permission to get married. Blessings are nice, but you are grown and so is your beloved. With all of the energy that you might be tempted to spend while trying to get everyone on board with your decision, the two of you could already be married and done with it—and by "it," I mean the (potential) drama.
It Frees Up Romantic Space
Some of y'all remember when Beyonce played the love interest in Case's music video "Happily Ever After" (that song is still the jam!). That marriage proposal was dope! I was the bridesmaid in a wedding where the husband did something very similar for his own bride, including having a car pick her up from work with her outfit awaiting her.
Why am I bringing this up? I can't tell you how many wives I've talked to who have hindsight regrets as they've run down the list of concessions they ended up making when it came to their wedding, all because something wasn't in the budget or they felt pressured to please—and by that, I mean appease—a picky or dissatisfied family member. I also can't tell you the amount of husbands who've said they wish they could've done some extra-special things for their bride but they didn't feel like their voice was being heard during the wedding planning process.
When two people elope, since it's just them, not only does it keep the background noise down to a minimum, it frees up cash to be all kinds of romantic and extravagant. With no budget worries or regrets.
It’s Just About You and Yours
Why is this article bringing all sorts of slow jams to my mind? Somebody please cue in "Just Me and You" by Tony Toni Tone because out of all of the reasons why I am Team Elope, this is probably the biggest one. I say that because, honestly, probably one of my favorite things about eloping is it puts the focus right where it's supposed to be—on two people who are in love and want to spend the rest of their lives together. No more, no less.
They don't need an audience. They're not caught up in a lot of extras. So long as they've got together, it's all good. And you know what? It really is.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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