Post # 1
So after several months of wedding planning, we’ve realized that a wedding just isn’t going to be what we want. I had always hoped that a wedding would be a wonderful experience of community love and, well, that people would be happy for us. Short background: I was in fostercare and have no family coming to the wedding. His family doesn’t care about weddings and thinks the whole thing is a little ridiculous. I and my fiancé are both shy and don’t have a lot of friends. Nobody was interested in looking at wedding dresses with me and my FI gets constant comments from his family whining about having to dress up for the wedding.
So this week we started to wonder why we were spending so much money (nobody has offered *any* financial assistance, not even a token gesture, nor have we been offered any help) for people who aren’t really interested in coming to our wedding. Any time I envisioned the wedding, I just saw frowning, disapproving people sitting in a beautiful decorated ballroom making snippy comments while we had our first dance. It just feels miserable and lonely. I realized that my family is my FI and he is the person who makes me feel not lonely. So why not have a wedding with the people we want to? Namely, the two of us :-). And if we’re not having a wedding, we can actually afford to take a honeymoon.
We’ve decided to elope – city hall and maybe two friends as witnesses. We’ll take the photographer we’ve already put down a deposit for. And we’re absolutely dressing up with full wedding gown and tuxedo for the occasion.
My question is: how to we tell people we’re going to elope? We sent out Save the Dates for next year in August and we can’t really get married sooner than next August because we’ll be leaving the country for a year, returning next July. It would be hard to just quietly elope without telling people because they’ll notice we haven’t sent invitations and some people from out of town might make travel arrangements. (and no, we’re not getting married abroad – the paperwork where we’re going is nuts!) FI is very much against saying we’re eloping to save money. He’s worked very hard to get his mother to understand he’s a financially stable adult. Besides, she’d just say we should have a punch-based wedding. (previously she suggested we invite 250 people and just serve them non-alcoholic punch all night without any food, all in an effort to not spend money). Ideas??
Post # 3
Oh wow. This is a tough one. You can’t just send out a note saying the wedding is cancelled, because that will send out the wrong idea. You can’t go out and get married right away because of your trip. I guess you’ll have to just contact each person you invited and say that you realized a big wedding just wasn’t for you, but you thank them for their well wishes (even though it doesn’t sound like they were giving many!). If they press you on it, I’d just stick with being vague: A lot of factors went into the decision…maybe you could blame it on being abroad for so long, and the difficulties of planning from afar.
Regardless, congrats on coming to a decision that’s right for you guys. It sounds like you’ll be much happier!
Post # 4
Hmmm…I wonder if you could make your original wedding date the date of a smaller, more casual reception that people can choose to attend if they want. And that way people don’t have to snip about getting dressed up, etc. Then you could always elope at city hall a week earlier. Spread by word of mouth that this is just a reception or announce it when people get there and surprise them. It sounds like you are working with a tough crowd and people are going to be pissy no matter what you do so just do what makes you happy. Good Luck!
Post # 5
Elope. Just do it. I know you sent out the STDs, but maybe send out a memo and say like "actually, we’re not having a reception afterall…" Explain it not like its a financial burden, but that you two just want something small and personal. I’m sure with all their complaining they won’t be hurt, and now they don’t need to spend money on you guys since there is no more big wedding.
Do what feels right, big weddings aren’t for everyone.
Post # 6
Since you’re eloping sooner rather than later, just send out wedding announcements afterwards, with a little note explaining that due to "extenuating circumstances" you were unable to have the wedding you had planned on, and that you got married at city hall. Don’t include any other information. Some people will scoff and think that it’s because you weren’t financially stable, but that’s their problem.
That said, it’s no one’s duty to offer you financial assistance. It’s my opinion that all couples should pay for their own wedding (though I also believe that a wedding should not cost $25K), and if someone offers to help, then BONUS! But you should by no means expect someone to chip in.
Post # 7
You could get pictures taken in your wedding attire and send out "surprise we decided to elope" cards to the same group you sent save the date cards to.
The timing of the actual ceremony isn’t important to anyone other than those that will be attending the small ceremony. You could contact them individually and let them know what you are doing.
Just an idea.
Post # 8
From what you’ve said here, I think eloping is a great decision for you guys. Congratulations! I’m sure you feel like a weight has been lifted.
As for announcing it? Just elope, go on your amazing honeymoon, and send out a picture card to everyone after saying that you’re married, and eloped for personal reasons. Don’t be specific, of course, and keep it positively focused.
Post # 9
Thank you to everybody with the advice. Under other circumstances we’d just elope and send an announcement, but we’re getting back to California July 2010 and the wedding was supposed to be August 2010. There’s really no room to *not* send invitations in that timeline; people will be asking about them and I don’t really feel comfortable leading people on for a year, telling them that there will be a wedding next August.
@ Jenniphyr: I completely agree with you! I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear. I just meant that nobody has offered to, say, help tie bows on favors and there haven’t been any token gestures either. His mother demanded that we invite 200 more people and she didn’t offer to help pay for any of them. I thought that when making that sort of demand, she might offer at least to help/contribute in some way, you know?
I think everybody is right about keeping it, sorry for the pun, cheerful. 🙂
Post # 10
Your wedding is about you and your fiance. If you want to elope, elope! But since you already basically invited some people — and your FMIL obviously has quite a few people she’d like to be included – I would sent out an invitation that invites everyone on your guest list to a casual reception. I’m a bit at a loss for the wording, but there are tons of online resources that will be helpful. Basically, make it clear that you will have eloped prior to the reception. Ms. Mary Jane might actually be a great help in this regard, as she’s having a small wedding at the courthouse prior to a big BBQ reception.
Keep the reception simple, casual and low-budget though. The reason you are doing this is to reduce the stress and pressure that is taking away from the joy of your wedding, so don’t have the fancy ballroom reception that you think will be a bust with your less than kind guests. Have a get together where they can feel like they had an opportunity to celebrate with you, and screw what they think!
Post # 11
You have received some wonderful suggestions here! I particularly like the idea of hosting a casual reception rather than a major event. There is something so inimate and romantic about eloping. I love the fact that it is centered around the two of you – especially in a situation like yours. But it is also nice to give others the chance to celebrate with you. Keep us posted on what you decide to do!
Post # 12
Honestly, I’m so hurt right now by the constant sniping (just received another bad email this morning) that I don’t want to have any reception at all. I can’t imagine any of them wanting to celebrate with us. I’m hurt enough that the thought of being honest and saying "we’re not having a reception because we felt thoroughly unloved" sounds appealing – not that I would ever be so rude, but it sure sounds nice!
Post # 13
sending hugs Cheerful.. its sad you didnt get any support but elope and enjoy starting your life with your husband is my advice!
we eloped last month and we sent everyone a "message in a bottle" (we eloped to the a tropical PNG island in the south pacific so had an island theme). the message simply said we had decided to elope with some of the details
we are planning a family catered event at home in a august so it will be much more relaxed (no dressing up) get together
im sorry youre not feeling the love but look to your FI as your future and the 2 of you plan your day for yourselves and enjoy
Post # 14
I’m sorry people are being Negative Nancies about your wedding. It should be a happy day, and it’s not very fair that they’re making it anything but that.
I do like the idea of taking a great photo at the ceremony and/or on your honeymoon and then sending out announcement cards. Those who remembered that you sent out Save The Dates may inquire, and if they do, you can tell them then what decision you made.