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Eloping 101: Pulling Off a Fabulous Secret Wedding

Updated on June 29, 2012
Not us, but very cute!  (My personal photos wouldn't load!)
Not us, but very cute! (My personal photos wouldn't load!) | Source

I Do on a Friday Afternoon

A few years ago, the most wonderful man I know went with me into a courthouse in Nashville Tennessee on a Friday afternoon. Hand in hand we walked to the end of the hallway to a small chapel, said our vows, and came out as man and wife. Then we left to go backpack in India for 2 months. We live a rather spontaneous life.

I have had a lot of people ask me why we didn't have a wedding. For me, the answer was simple. It just wasn't a good fit for us. Some people said we were crazy, others were skeptical until a good 9 months had passed and I had proven that I was NOT pregnant. But for us, we didn't want anything huge. We keep our life and our relationship simple. And a simple ceremony was all we wanted. I hold no regrets, and have equally fond memories of that special day.

So How Do You Plan For It?

Eloping can be just as special as a real wedding. You can have wonderful traditions, and even cake! (My husband and I opted to go out for some yummy ice cream instead, and that turned into our favorite anniversary tradition!)

You can go by yourselves like we did (our families live on the opposite side of the country), or you can invite a small group of close friends and family!

To Tell or Not to Tell...

We just did it. We didn't tell a soul. It was really romantic, having a secret ceremony, and our families were very supportive!

If you have doubts that your families will be understanding, it might be a good idea to tell them beforehand, or find ways to include them, like having a reception later.

What to Do

We kept it casual. I don't like dressing up and neither does my husband, so we just wore jeans.

But I know people who wear some of the most gorgeous dresses. Some are knee length and some are full out wedding gowns! Don't get me wrong - I LOVE weddings! I just love other peoples' weddings! When it came for me to decide what to do for my own, I just didn't want to deal with the stress and drama that would ensue, and I didn't want to be in a crowd of obligated invites, in a dress I couldn't breathe in, spending time getting fussed over...it just isn't me. I know. I'm rare. But I never planned my wedding from the time I was 5, so I would have a LOT to do! Gasp!

We called the courthouse ahead of time and scheduled our appointment.

And then on that day, we filled out some paperwork, and said I do!


Is it Right for Me?

The moment that I looked into his eyes while he pledged his love and devotion to me, I knew it was the best day of my entire life. The butterflies in my stomach, the tears in both of our eyes, and the raw words of love spoken to each other formed the best memories of my life.

Every moment was beautiful, simple, and real.

Did I miss out? I don't think so, because I married a man who treats me like a bride every single day. My special day turned into a lifetime. If you are with the right man, it doesn't matter how you are married. Just being together is what makes it worth it.

Wedding vs. Elope? The choice is up to you and how you want your day to be. It may not be right for everyone, but it was perfect for us!

Things to Know

Eloping saved us about 20k, which is the average price of a wedding nowadays.

The whole ceremony took about 10 minutes.

We paid $200 for the license. (It's expensive in Tennessee!)

And about $10 for ice cream.

Our backpacking trip cost us about $3500, the majority being airfare. (And it was for 2 months!)

And our photographer was a friend, so that was free!


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    • summerstuff profile image
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      summerstuff 4 years ago

      We told everyone right after. We sent out a really fabulous picture of us in front of the courthouse as the wedding announcement! Both of our families knew we probably would elope, but they didn't know when. We both have families that are pretty open to surprises like that though. If your family isn't I would definitely think of some creative ways to include at least close family (brothers/sisters/parents)

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      Tiffany 4 years ago

      I plan on getting eloped....love the idea and saving money! I want to get eloped then off to France for a month for our honeymoon.

      Since you kept it a secret, when and how did you tell your family and friends? Especially since you left right after the ceremony for 2 months.

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      Jade0215 5 years ago

      I think eloping is a better idea, mostly because of the cost for the wedding, you can buy a new car for that price. I love what you guys did! Backpacking in India sounds like it would be a fun "honeymoon" especially for 2 months. Congrats to both of you!