I haven’t talked much about The Big Guy on this blog. I try to keep him out of it for the most part, except for the occasional complaint or compliment. Plus, the blog is my thing, not his, and while he’s really supportive, I don’t want to force it on him.
Today, however, I’m going to talk about him, because I want to talk about something near, and dear to my heart. It’s frugal, it’s trendy, and I believe that it makes for a happier marriage.
What is it?
I haven’t made a secret of the fact that he and I eloped when we were 19, but maybe I should, because I get many, many negative comments about it. But, I don’t regret it one bit! In fact, I think elopement should become the norm!
A LIttle Background, Maybe?
The Big Guy and I were 14 when we met at church camp. His sister and I were on camp staff together, and she introduced us. He was tall, tan, and adorable, and I was smitten. But, he had a girlfriend. He was 14, but still. He asked for my number, and for 2 years, we “talked” (whatever that means).
It may sound romantic, or maybe even immature, but even at 14 I wasn’t looking for a casual relationship. I was looking for a husband. And while I wasn’t sure that The Big Guy was “the one,” as I got to know him for 2 years, I started to realize that I wasn’t just waiting for some cute guy, I was waiting for my husband.
When I was 16, and he was 17, the man FINALLY asked me out. But, he lived 2 ½ hours away. It was tough, having a long distance relationship while we were so young, and since I’m the eldest child in my family as well as the only girl, you can only imagine how protective my parents were. But The Big Guy did it right, asking my father if he could date me, and always coming to see me, rather than me to see him. Perfect gentleman, isn’t he?
We dated long distance for 2 years, through his enlistment, basic training and Advanced Individual Training, seeing each other one weekend a month, writing letters, and talking on the phone whenever we could. And we didn’t just talk about fluffy stuff. We talked about our goals and dreams, whether we wanted kids, what our financial priorities were, where we wanted our career paths to go, and where we wanted to live. We were truly preparing for marriage.
When we were 19, The Big Guy proposed. Of course, he did the right way, asking my Dad’s permission first.
My dad told him no.
Actually what he said is “You’re too good for my daughter.”
Yeah. You read that right.
Growing up with a woman-hating sociopath for a father is a story for another time that I myself haven’t quite dealt in my own mind with but suffice to say the Big Guy and I said F*** you to him, and never looked back. Those of you that have kids, can you imagine saying that your daughter wasn’t good enough for her intended spouse? …yeah, me neither.
At any rate, when we decided to get engaged and start planning a marriage despite my father’s lack of permission, he disowned me, and by extension would not let my mother see me. But I knew that I needed to leave a bad situation, and that my mother had made her choice by staying with him, so The Big Guy and I made the difficult decision to move and plan our life together.
All of this is to say that for us, a big church wedding wasn’t an option. I hadn’t really wanted one, and was only planning on doing it for my family’s sake, but after everything with my father unfolded, elopement became a very real option.
And you know what, even though our elopement story wasn’t born out the best circumstances in my situation, it is one of the best things we have ever done.
The Big Guy and I were married at a courthouse on February 11, 2010. It was low-key, stress-free, and very inexpensive. I believe that everyone should elope. Why?
Why Should Everyone Elope?
It saves money:
Our wedding cost us exactly $35. Of course, we did not take pictures or wear any special clothes, but even if you choose to take some photos or wear more traditional bride and groom clothing, eloping can save you bundles of money! A family member with a good eye for photography and a nice camera would many times be happy to take some photos for you the day of your elopement. Even if no family is in attendance, some photos by a professional would only run you a few hundred dollars. The same goes for simple wedding clothes – a couple hundred dollars, tops. Of course, we bought our rings, and in total they cost us a bit less than $600.
It keeps the day stress-free
With a traditional wedding, so much stress goes into the day. It all starts with the pressure on the guy to propose in a creative and memorable way. He even has to have a surprise photographer. Then starts the wedding planning. There are thousands of little details the bridge and her team and expected to not only make ready, but make perfect for all of the guests. When did we take the emphasis off the what the bride and groom want, and put it on what others think?
It makes your marriage better.
Why are we, as a culture, so focused on social media standing? Why are we obsessed with secret proposal photographers? So we can post the awesome pictures on our facebook and instagram accounts and watch the “likes” and comments add up? Are we truly wanting others to share our joy with others, or are we just trying to impress people we don’t actually know?
Studies have shown that 80% of facebook friends aren’t actually people we are friends with in real life. They’re people we knew in high school, once worked with, or long-lost relatives. So why do we go to all of the expense and stress of elaborate proposals, and extravagant weddings?
Are we concentrating so hard on the big wedding dress reveal so that we can preserve the memories in photos years later, or do we actually want something to make our friends think “man, I want to be like them” or “she looks so beautiful?” When did it become like this?
What would happen if we took the emphasis off the proposal, the dress, and the cake, and instead put it on supporting the couple, and ensuring that they have prepared for every mundane and difficult aspect of married life.
We need to stop the madness, and focus on us.
Let’s focus on whether we are in tune with our intended spouses, how our goals and dreams line up, and where our financial priorities lie. Let’s focus on preparing our hearts and minds for marriage, so that when we are married, we can work as a team.
Let’s stop spending thousands on a wedding dress, and instead put it towards our forever home. Instead of having a plated filet mignon dinner at the rehearsal, let’s focus on helping those less fortunate – as a couple.
Let’s step away from the madness of coordinating bridesmaids dresses, and let’s think about how we’ll handle chores with our kids. Let’s stop complaining about how stressful wedding planning is, and be thankful for the simple things in life.
My friends, let’s get away from what other people think, and let’s focus on us.
…..just elope :-)
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