I recently got an email from a college friend who was filling me in on the details of her boyfriend and their relationship and a wedding she recently went to and her thoughts on weddings… And as it oftentimes does with most of my friends, the conversation led to her throwing out the idea that she will probably elope if she decides to eventually get married. Actually, more of my good friends have eloped (or had a super small wedding) than have had a more ‘traditional’ ceremony/celebration. Before I met the Husband, I had always assumed that I would elope or run off somewhere and just get the whole thing over with. However, he wanted a wedding.
On a tangent – I do not think that men should get to throw out the whole ‘I want a wedding’ card if they do not actually want to plan the wedding. The Husband really and truly thought that it was every woman’s dream to spend every waking hour for months planning her wedding. He also thought every woman naturally loved to cook and clean. I set him straight on all of these accounts and more, don’t you worry. Anyway, when we started talking about getting engaged he told me that he wanted a wedding and basically got super pissed when I told him I had no interest in planning one. After thinking about it for a few more minutes (it doesn’t take me too long to make a decision) I decided that since getting married is a two person thing, I should probably agree to a wedding so we wouldn’t have any regrets. We compromised and decided to have a destination wedding in Jamaica. BUT, I still ended up having to plan almost the entire thing. While the Husband helped me accomplish some tasks (stuffing envelopes!) I had to do a majority of the work and scheduling and stressing and talking to families/friends and coordinating… you get the idea. I’m still bitter. He’s lucky I love him and that it turned out to be worth it!
Now, there were times during the planning of our wedding that I wanted to rip my hair our / vow never to speak to anyone ever again / call off the wedding and elope in a private ceremony … you get the idea. I practically burst into tears (wait, maybe I did burst into tears) multiple times a week over the anxiety this one day, November 17 – to be exact, caused. So, I totally and completely understand why women wouldn’t want to put themselves through this torture.
But, the thing that kept me going was knowing that in the end I’d probably be glad that we ended up having a wedding. Isn’t there some quote about how we only regret the things we didn’t do? Well I think there is a quote like that, and although I know that it’s not true in all situations (I can think of quite a few dates I wish I hadn’t gone on!), I definitely applied it to this event and am very glad that
I we went through with it.
Yep, I’m going to say having a wedding was one of my very best life decisions. And we all know I have made A LOT of excellent life decisions. (Feel free to roll your eyes at this point.)
Reasons I’m glad I did NOT elope: (I would write a list of reasons to elope, and I might later, but basically if you go on any wedding website and look at the ENDLESS lists they have, that should convince you. If it doesn’t, look at how much this list of things will cost to implement).
- The Bridal Shower – I could write a whole post on bridal showers, because generally I dislike them and don’t understand them and never ever wanted one… But I loved mine. It was my aunts and cousins and love and happiness and a great time to get together with people I don’t see enough. Although they aren’t for everyone, I think it’s nice to give relatives the opportunity to celebrate you in a way they want to, so I’m glad I gave my relatives the chance to keep tradition and have a shower (or two).
- Engagement party – Our friends came over and met our dog and played games and talked together and we gossiped and had a great time in our new home. Basically, we used our engagement as an excuse to party, and I’m glad we did! It would have been super-awkward to celebrate our engagement and then not be able to talk to people about a wedding that would follow… but that’s my opinion and I’m sure it’s possible to have an engagement party and still elope!
- Bachelorette party – One of the top 5 nights of my life, easily. My girlfriends are amazing. Once again, I’m sure this could have happened without a wedding, but it may have to happen after the fact.
- Cards/Notes – I’ve received the kindest notes and cards from people! I will keep them forever. I’m sure if I had eloped people would have sent me cards. Other people (my mother included!) would have written me hate mail. I prefer cards.
- Dress shopping – I bought my dress with my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. We went to one store, I found a dress, and then we had brunch. It was such a wonderful day. Plus, I loved trying on so many pretty dresses! Maybe I don’t go shopping enough, but I really did enjoy it.
- Photos – Looking at photos of the wedding week always make me tear up. I had such a blast and am so glad that I have such great pictures of all of our loved ones together.
- Community – We had an absolute blast bringing our friends and families together to witness our ‘big event’. Seriously. Even though my parents are divorced and I was a little nervous about throwing them on an island together, it all worked out as perfectly as I could have hoped. Plus, our friends are now friends and hanging out with each other in different cities! Oh the joy I feel has no bounds when I think of all of my loved ones together.
- The dancing – Ohhhh the dancing. I had the best time dancing. I never even dance at weddings, but at my own wedding I was unstoppable. It’s like having a private dance party with all of your best friends but it’s just a LOT of best friends. It doesn’t hurt that our friends and families are excellent dancers.
- Excuses to talk to friends/family for 9 months before the event – Even though dealing with friends and family members were the very worst/most stressful moments of wedding planning, there were some joyful conversations in there! Planning a wedding can be a wonderful excuse to talk to loved ones who live far away.
- Memories – Priceless. My favorite memories include walking down the aisle, hearing ridiculous stories about the guests, dancing, the speeches, our rehearsal dinner, getting ready for the day… the Husband’s parents looking so happy…ok basically I loved everything.
- My parents – My mom was so happy the whole time I was wedding planning. Seriously. She couldn’t get enough of it. She didn’t plan anything, she just liked hearing me talk about planning… so she ended up adding additional stress to my life, but that’s ok because having a wedding to talk about made her happy and her happiness is worth it. My dad was an entirely different story… he hated the idea of a destination wedding and made it known from day one. If my mom added 2x the stress to my life, my dad added 1000x the stress to the event. But, I’ve never seen him happier than on my wedding day and he’s still talking about how it was the best wedding he’s ever been to (and he says it in disbelief, still). I know that my parents would have forgiven me if I had wanted to elope or have a super-small ceremony, but the fact that they enjoyed the day as much as we did means a lot to me. Plus, we are now all bonded over this one week in our lives.
- The Husband’s parents (and family) – His dad gave a speech that made me cry. His brother (best man) gave another excellent speech. His mom told me that she prayed for him to find a great woman and she’s so happy he has. Both of his sisters were my bridesmaids. Were these moments worth the stress that his family caused at other times? ABSOLUTELY.
Having a wedding is a big and expensive decision and I can completely understand why someone would be hesitant to dedicate so much of their life to planning a single day… But honestly I am very, very glad that we have these memories to look back on.
Ultimately, was it worth the money? Yes.
Worth the time it took to plan? Yes.
Worth the stress? As much as it pains me to say this… Yes.