Is ‘running off in secret’ something couples do to avoid dealing with complicated relations, permission, expensive commercialised wedding days and high-level stress or is the shrouding of the event in secrecy a form of magical intimacy? Culturally we’ve been somewhat conditioned to believe it’s rather anti-social behaviour, and often done in haste, but I would suggest reframing elopement. Perhaps honouring the delicious esoteric nature of lovers’ promises is a healthier way of viewing this less-traditional crossing the threshold?
When my dear friend Tanya confided that she and her beloved, Geoff, were eloping, I did a happy dance. YES! Actually, I was ecstatically happy! I’ve known Tanya a long time, and had the honour of officiating her son’s naming ceremony in Australia 20 years ago.
Why was I so delighted? You’d possibly think, as a wedding celebrant (and, obviously, as a friend), that I’d want to see the gathering of guests and all that a wedding ceremony traditionally entails. Without her giving me any explanation as to their decision, I fully understood why they were taking this path.
There are many reasons for choosing to elope, and while it’s more common for people entering their second or later marriage, even first timers can enjoy the intimacy which comes from ‘just the two of us’.
The benefits of eloping:
- The focus is entirely on yourselves. No expensive venue. No exorbitantly priced disco lights. No wedding invitations. No caterers. No £500 wedding shoes. No having to mediate between parents and in-laws’ ideas about what you should do or have.
- No extortionate wedding expenses. If you fancy going away, you can spend money on travel instead and have an amazing adventure.
- There’s no worry about who to place at what table for the reception, or the hell of divorced parents having to meet up.
- You don’t have to be concerned about who to invite.
- You don’t have to worry about stage fright and nerves.
- It is incredibly intimate and ever so romantic, and the whole day is about you (not anyone or anything else).
Traditionally a wedding is done before friends and family as witnesses, and the sharing of your joy is what helps to make it such a special occasion. In this day and age where weddings have become so commercialised, often costing couples anywhere between £10 000 and £50 000 (in Cumbria, at a registered venue), imagine what a couple could do with that money? Apart from a lovely destination elopement or honeymoon, it could provide a solid basis for creating a home. Or it could feed a few orphans. Or rescue animals. At the heart of any wonderful wedding is the ceremony. No amount of money in the world will make it extra special. The secret ingredient of a beautiful wedding ceremony is the undiluted love the couple share with each other. It’s not dependent on anything but looking into each other’s eyes as they declare their commitment.
Elopement might just become the new norm as more couples recognise how many benefits there are to saying “I do” without an audience.
Your wedding day sets the tone ~ a template, if you like ~ for your married life. Whatever choices you make, it’s important that they feel right to you and aren’t based on keeping everyone else happy.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos with the world, Tanya and Geoff. Wishing you all the best for an amazing life together. You deserve it!
Veronika Robinson is a wedding celebrant who has been officiating wedding ceremonies since 1995. She loves the intimacy that comes with ‘just the couple’.
If you’d love to have an obligation-free chat about eloping in Cumbria or are planning a destination wedding here with guests, contact her: www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant