My husband and I eloped on May 27, 2017. We told only a select amount of people before we traveled to Lake of Ozark’s and tied the knot. It was one of the best days of our lives and I am so incredibly thankful we chose to elope instead of have a big traditional wedding. I have a list of many reasons we eloped and a list of a few things we would have done differently.
We eloped because:
-So many people had opinions on what our wedding should have/shouldn’t have looked like
-We both come from extremely large families, but we also have a handful of friends we consider family and choosing a wedding party would have been a nightmare and tons of feelings probably would have been hurt
-There were a lot of opinions on who should or should not be in our wedding party
-MONEY!!! Sam, unfortunately, married into my HUGE sum of student loan debt and thinking about spending $10+grand on a wedding instead of debt just seemed unrealistic and wasteful of our resources
-I suffer from anxiety and the thought of trying to plan a party that hundreds of people will attend, as well as knowing it would have been one of the biggest days of my life seemed overwhelming (to say the least)
-My mom. My mom died when I was sixteen and even though I had always dreamed of my wedding day and the details that would make it the fairytale Sam wanted for me, it didn’t feel like I could do it without her. As a little girl and even as you get closer to the age of marriage, many women (including myself) imagine their mom helping them with the dress; looking at their mom during the ceremony and seeing the tears of happiness; knowing your mom doesn’t think your husband is good enough but accepting him because she knows how happy he makes you; and knowing that your mom would do everything in her power to make your fairytale wedding come true. I miss my mom daily and there are so many things I wish she could be on Earth for (I know this is selfish because Heaven is a million times better), but missing her on a day that hundreds of other people would have been at just did not feel right with me. It would have made a happy day a lot harder…
-It was about us. Our wedding night will be remembered as a day that was about our love and what we felt for each other. It was simple, elegant, and imperfect. I did not wake up that morning and worry about if I had ordered enough food for all the guests or if the DJ was going to play something too inappropriate for some of our family. I woke up that morning wondering if the storm would pass so we could elope outside or if we would do the ceremony inside. I woke up feeling nervous, but not because I was fearful something would happen or go wrong at our ceremony, but because I was about to marry my best friend. I didn’t have to think about the guests, details, or anything else. I had to wake up and show up and that alone was enough of a reason for us to elope. (Not everyone worries about those things in a big wedding, but anxious/pleaser-Erica does)
A little back story about how we decided to elope before I say the things we wish we would have done differently:
About a week before Memorial Day Weekend, Sam and I were discussing getting engaged. We had talked about our engagement numerous times as well as when our wedding would be. I had always wanted a winter wedding (winter wonderland with snow, Christmas trees, lights, etc), but we had a lot of other, yet wonderful, events happening in the 2017 year that would have prevented us from having a short engagement. I was planning to visit Sam in Texas that weekend because I had a long weekend and Sam was unsure if he could get off. And because I am impatient and quite frankly, because I’m the move-maker in this relationship, I said “Hey, why don’t we elope this weekend?” Sam had heard me talk about elopement on other occasions, but he knew I was serious this time and so he said “if you’re sure, let’s do it!”
We then spent about two days trying to find somewhere to elope Memorial Day Weekend near Texas/New Mexico. Guess what? NOTHING was available because it was a holiday weekend (duh, Erica). I then started researching places in Missouri to elope and I fell upon Old Kinderhook at Lake of the Ozark’s. I emailed the lady with my questions and she said they had 1 hotel room left for the weekend and no other weddings going on. They had an elopement package, originally $1000+, but because they had nothing else going on, she let us have it for $250. This included her coordination, the Minister, and all the other minor details of the day that she would setup for us. The only thing this wedding package did not include was a photographer. Lucky for me, I have an AMAZINGLY talented sister who happens to also take THE BEST photos (find her at greensparrowphotography.net). We knew we had to have photos of the day, so we asked Mattie and of course she said yes. All of these things happened on the Tuesday before our elopement (which happened Saturday).
I also had to make sure we could get our marriage license. I emailed the Boone County office and the wonderful woman there said she would meet us on Saturday morning to get our license to us. At this point, I know God had his hand in this because all of the things that we should have planned months in advance were happening in such a short amount of time. Did I mention about a week before we decided to do this, the lady I had working on altering my mother’s wedding dress for my future wedding (I know, I know, I jumped the gun before I was even engaged) was moving and couldn’t finish the dress? I was devastated because I had waited to find the perfect person for the job and when I did, she wasn’t able to complete it. I had mixed feelings on whether or not the elopement was the best idea, but when things kept falling into place, I was comforted by God and Sam knowing that this was the right move for us. Even though I was unable to wear my mom’s dress on my big day, I found one at Jc Penny’s on sale for $60 with NO alterations needed 🙂 (SCORE)
I had to call my hair stylist and also find someone to help with make-up and lucky for me, I was able to get both Saturday morning within 1 hour of each other. I used Shannon Orton at The Trove for my hair and a lady at Dermistique for my make-up. They were both excited to be in on our secret as well as supportive and encouraging that the horrible storm brewing that day would pass during our ceremony. After my make-up was finished, I had to rush home and grab the rest of my things before meeting up with Mattie to drive to the Lake. Mattie had eloped five years prior to this and because she knew what things she wished she would have had at her own ceremony, she went above and beyond to make the day even more memorable for us. Mattie ordered me a bouquet and a cake, had Mr&Mrs signs for our chairs, added little photos of our families on Sam’s boutonnière and my bouquet (so our families could be with us that day), and also had a box of ’emergency supplies.’ I cannot thank her enough for all she did to make our day perfect.
Once I arrived at Old Kinderhook and checked in, the wedding coordinator and I discussed the ceremony details and where we would have it while it rained. We had planned to have it overlooking the golf-course near a waterfall, but it did not seem like the storm was going to let up, so we moved the plans around to have it on the patio where we would be shielded by an awning. Sam arrived shortly after I did (we did not see each other until the ceremony) as well as the few friends we asked to come stand with us. Up until this point, only five people knew we were eloping and two of them did not find out until 2 hours before the event. We had really debated on telling our immediate family to meet us, but were afraid only some could come and others would but upset they could not be there. Our ceremony was set to happen around 6:45PM because the sun would be setting, as I was getting ready to go hide before I walked to meet my groom, the storm let up and we were able to move the wedding to our original spot–outside. (Another God thing). I walked out around 6:45 and saw the best looking man I know standing there underneath gray skies waiting for me…
And now the things we wish we would have done differently or wish we would have known prior to eloping:
-Told our families prior to the elopement (looking back, it was unnecessary for us to keep it a secret from them anyway and could have been even more wonderful to let them see us as we got ready)
-Being honest with people when they gave their opinions or ‘advise’ for what our wedding day should have been like
-Go in expecting the hurt feelings of others to also cause us hurt feelings
-Knowing that eventually everyone will get past their hurt feelings and be happy for us
-No matter what option you chose, someone is bound to be upset and also tell you about it
-There are always things we wish we would have done differently (example: telling our families)
Our wedding day was perfect for us. Of course, as I mentioned, there are things we would done differently, but life is short and we cannot dwell on those things. We did what was best for us and our marriage. I LOVE big weddings and I hope that if you are one of those people who want to have a big wedding, you do! They are just as wonderful as any other wedding. Do what makes YOU happy and what YOU want. It is YOUR wedding, not anyone else’s.