You know what a lot of people think is fun? A wedding. The pinteresting, planning, mood boards, flowers, colors, fancy gowns, hairstyles, photography…it’s the one day in everyone’s life where they get to be the star of the show, look picture perfect, dance while everyone is watching, celebrate love and family, take advantage of the 24 hour social acceptance of an endless camera crew…
If you love all of those things, and you’ve been dreaming about those magical moments for years, I believe you should do what makes you happy. But do you know what option always seems to be swept under the rug?
Not having a wedding.
Hear me out. You’ve worked hard for months to put this event together, and you’ve encountered several bumps in the road. The venue was overbooked. Your mother wants to wear a different color dress than the one you picked out. You have to add a bridesmaid or two so you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Your best man/woman doesn’t have time to help. Your aunt keeps calling you asking if her ex husband will be on the guest list. Your friends from high school are all married and by inviting 10 of them, you essentially invite 20. You’ve taken out another loan on top of your student debt just to pay for the venue. You want a traditional cake, but your partner wants cupcakes. The flowers you want are unavailable that season. You heard your sister complain about the price of the bridesmaid dress when your bachelorette party is also in Vegas and she can’t afford both, so she applies for a credit card and takes the only 3 days vacation she’s saved up for the year to go on your trip.
I could go on and on.
Why isn’t it socially acceptable to say no to all of this? Sure, some people don’t have this much anxiety during their big day. Some people’s parents pay for their wedding. Some people have wedding planners. Some people are closer to the industry and have more available resources. But what about the rest of us? The introverts, the wallflowers, the financial freedom fighters.
Let me tell you a story. A couple realizes they’ve been together for three years. They’ve lived together for most of it. They share finances. They decide it’s time to make a commitment. They make an appointment at the courthouse. They order refurbished estate rings from Etsy for less than $400. Three weeks later, they get married on their lunch break and go back to work. The next day, they have a pool party with 50 close friends and family members and drink lots of beer. They paid off some debt and booked their honeymoon two years later. The end.
That was me. When you put it on paper, it probably sounds boring. We aren’t the romantic types. I’ll tell you what is romantic - being able to come home to him every day. We make each other laugh and enjoy each other’s company, and we don’t post about it on Facebook or expect grand gestures. My idea of romance is being happy enough to not need anything besides the other person.
Yeah, we’re not perfect, we have our own issues just like any other couple. I don’t have all of the answers. But I am a little defensive about our decision to not get married in a conventional way. Whenever I told people about our silent staycation elopement, they always asked me the same question: Are you pregnant?
I don’t think everyone should give up weddings. In fact, I am very much looking forward to planning my sister’s some day. I think I would be able to help make it a perfect day for her! I just don’t think we should put so much pressure on how much money we spend on one day of our lives. The entire experience of a wedding can put a lot of strain on many relationships with those involved, and even cause temporary anxiety and depression. Why make it harder than it needs to be? Because everyone you know is going to see it on social media? So what if they do? You do whatever makes you happy. And don’t be friends with people who judge those decisions you make.