jas15 : My (now) husband and I eloped late last year to a different state in our country. We flew down, splurged on a boutique accomodation, got married in a beautfiul national park just us 2, our 2 witnesses and celebrant. There is a one month notification of marriage required in our country, so it wasn’t “spontaneous”, but all planning relatively quickly (1 1/2 – 2 months from idea to marriage day) Quiet, relaxing day. We’d been together for 6 years and engaged for 1 year. Due to family drama, anytime I thought about planning a “traditional’ wedding day, I just felt sick to my stomach and apphrensive of what kind of day it would be – I envisioned a lead up and day of s***-stirring, drama, selfishness and opinionated pushy inlaws. I kept putting off booking or planning, I was looking forward to being my Husband’s wife but the thought of a wedding held no joy. It’s also alot of money for one day, when you think of what average wedding is (I read an article today that average wedding is $33,000.00) My husband is also a quiet, reserved sort – he is not one for being the centre of attention at a party, hates photos & smiling (self-concious about his teeth/jaw), or big fusses.
I raised the possibility of eloping to him and he agreed to it with no reservations – I knew his family (in-laws) would not be happy so we agreed that telling them was his responsibility. My close family knew beforehand and were fully supportive (slightly disappointed to not be there, but respectful that it was our choice and happy for us). A fair chunk of the in-laws were offended/angry/sad. Husband has had a massive falling out with his brother over it (who has had badmouthed me and run me down to the in-laws behind our backs for years, so I think we can infer that he was just angry we got married at all!)” One sister said they all felt “ripped off” to not have a chance to welcome me into the family.
I felt like they didn’t know their own brother at all, to think he would be comfortable or what a wedding being centre of attention – it’s just not him. Not once did they actually ask if it was what he wanted, they just presumed that we were being selfish and that I made Husband to elope, criticising photos saying that he didn’t look happy, did he even want to be there etc (my name is mud with the in-laws now – but that’s not really a drama cause we barely saw or heard much from the main Offended ones anyway!)
No regrets at all about our elopement from either myself or husband. The day suited us perfectly. Due to the family issues, we felt no matter what did or how we did it, even a traditional wedding day, someone would find something to whinge about. At the end of the day, you have no control over what people think or their feelings. Some of them will be sad, angry, disappointed. You’ll need to gauge what is genuine, justified hurt over not being at your wedding, and what is selfishness. You can hope for the best, but you need to prepare for the worst (reactions wise). Be prepared some people may guilt trip or gaslight. Be prepared that no matter what you say or do, some people will still not be happy and you will just have to let it roll off your back. It is your marriage and your choice. Unless they are paying or contributing, you don’t “owe” them a wedding.
You could soften the blow a little by a party afterwards,perhaps with a photo or video show of the day.
Know that your family and friends who truely care about you and your happiness, although they may be sad to miss it, they will be genuinely happy and supportive of you and respectful of your decision. Bar some of the inlaws, all other family friends etc were happy for us, and not at all surprised we eloped due to my Husbands personality. Focus on the positives and those happy for you 🙂