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.
7 Reasons To Consider Eloping
1.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?
2.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.
3.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).
4.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.
5.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.
6.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.
7.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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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images