Welcome to part two of a very candid series I’ve written on how me and my husband were able to get married and buy a house in the same month – without significant financial help – and with money still in the bank. I’m sharing this with the world in hopes that others can take a page out of our book and also pursue this path if they choose to do so. This week I’m sharing more about our decision to elope and why it made the most sense for us.
Carson and I both come from divorced families.
Most of our parents have been married at least twice. I knew from early childhood that having a big wedding was not something either of my parents were willing or able to spend big bucks on (to be clear, the traditional ideal that the bride’s parents paid for the wedding applied in our situation). I wouldn’t consider either of my parents influential in our community, they don’t have dozens of well-off friends to impress, and large bombastic weddings were simply not part of our family history.
It’s hard to blame my parents for not trying to spend almost forty thousand Big Ones on a wedding when that had not been stitched into their cultural and demographic make-up.
My parents, respectively, were both self-made guardians of the security they had created for themselves and survivors of the broken socioeconomic system that plagued their generation. To put it simply: the over-the-top nuptials that somehow slipped into mainstream American culture (no thanks to Pinterest and Instagram) was not in the cards for me.
The further reality is that I’m not very close to a lot of my relatives, especially when it comes to extended family. Some aren’t alive anymore, others have drifted away as a result of divorce, and others still simply don’t seem to care about having a relationship with me. Before you start to feel sorry for me, don’t worry, I’ve come to terms with it (thanks therapy!). On a serious note, understanding and embracing my personal family dynamic has been instrumental in prioritizing needs and wants as I entered into this season of life.
I knew that ultimately, I wanted physical and financial security above all, and Carson and I both shared the desire to buy a house over having an expensive party.
Another piece to our decision was simple logistics. Carson and I met while living in Colorado but were both Florida natives with most of our family and friends living in the South. We knew we wanted to celebrate our marriage in the beautiful, mountainous place that we fell in love, but struggled with the thought of making the majority of our friends and family come here.
Like I said in Part One, neither of our families are wealthy.
Asking them to book airfare and hotels while also getting us a wedding gift was a burden that I didn’t want to place on anybody.
Considered a character flaw by some, I also have this irrational need to make others happy before I make myself happy. I feel uncomfortable when people do favors for me. (For those of you who like to put personalities in little boxes, I am a two on the Enneagram Scale.) I knew that having 150+ people flying out to Colorado for ME would make me very uncomfortable! The ceremony and food would have to be perfect! Nobody should have to buy any drinks! Everybody MUST have a good time! This is problematic for two reasons; one, we don’t have the capital to host a wedding that would allow for perfection and two,
how would I even enjoy my wedding day if I was so worried about everyone else?
Understanding this about myself was also a very important part of our decision-making process.
Here’s the broad picture I want to paint for readers:
· You DON’T have to have a big wedding! Nobody is making you!
· You CAN still celebrate your nuptials with family and friends and make lifelong memories during that season (I will get into this more in Part Three).
· You SHOULD consider the specific implications of your situation to make the best decision for you and your fiancé. This means taking into consideration your family dynamics, financials, and priorities for all involved.
Carson and I’s decision to elope is certainly not a decision all can or should make, but if we could do it again, we would do it exactly the same. Like I stated in Part One, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. last year was $38,700. Almost a third of couples actually go into debt to pay for them.
Throughout the process, we got a lot of feedback from those already married, and I can assure you that not a single one of them tried to change our mind. In fact, many told us that if they could go back, they would have eloped as well.
Tune in next week for Part Three, where I will get into the process of planning an epic elopement that still allows you to celebrate and enjoy this fun season in your life!