To elope or not to elope?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-13-2004
To elope or not to elope?
Fri, 02-13-2004 - 4:57pm
I recently posted the following message on the message board for "20-somethings," but since I'm about closer to the "30+" category, I thought I'd check with others closer to my age:

My fiance and I were planning a "destination wedding" in Europe this summer and had invited our closest family and a few friends to join us. However, we recently began adding up the costs, and we discovered that our small, simple ceremony and reception would end up carrying a much heftier pricetag than we'd hoped. While we are both successful financially, we're just starting out and have many other expenses to consider: We'll need a new car soon, have graduate school loans to pay, and want to begin saving for a house. We've talked about calling of the wedding and eloping, but, aside from the embarrassment factor, I'm afraid that I'll look back 20 years from now and regret not having my family and friends with me at my wedding. Plus, I don't want our families to feel they've missed out on something important to them. Any advice? I've looked at ways to cut costs, by the way, and even the most spartan wedding would cost us more than we'd like to spend...and I don't want to invite my loved once across the Atlantic only to treat them to a skimpy reception! And if we were to be married in the U.S., we'd just have more people we'd have to invite! Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated! Has anyone else eloped?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2003
Sat, 02-14-2004 - 9:41am
Does it have to be in Europe? I would say that your best bet is to do some research and find a less expensive location. Also, there's absolutely no reason why you would HAVE to invite certain people if you had it here in the states. It's your wedding, there's nothing wrong with making it an intimate ceremony, and that's what wedding announcements are for. If people ask why they weren't invited, you can tell them unapologetically that you wanted to keep it as small as possible. End of story. They'd be the ones out of line for asking, not you for choosing not to invite them.

Personally, I think you're smart for wanting to take this approach. It sounds like you have a good handle on where your finances should go, and frankly, big weddings are way more stress and headache than they are fun. I wish I had done it this way the first time around, but I've learned my lesson, and will definitely keep it small and intimate if there's another wedding in my future.

Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 02-15-2004 - 4:03pm

Let me tell you what we did:

We planned our wedding in Las Vegas WITH our friends and family at first. Little did we know that there was a HUGE NASCAR race in Vegas that same weekend. We then understood why the costs of hotels and everything were so high. SO...we UNinvited our family and friends gracefully and told them that while we were going to be married officially in Las Vegas, we would come back to our hometown and have a reception for everyone there.

It worked out quite well and our costs were kept at a minimum.

Some friends of ours actually did the same thing, but then held an "unofficial" ceremony at home, too. They "hired" my brother to officiate (he's not a minister...he just said some nice words) and then had a reception with friends and family that included just cake and champagne (or soda for those who didn't drink).

So there are two ideas for you!

Congrats on getting married!


Loving wife to David (3-2

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2004
Tue, 02-17-2004 - 8:33am
I wished I had eloped!! We also talked about doing that but had the same fears as well, regretting not having family and friends who shared our day. Well now I wished we had eloped, we got so much grief from certain people that our whole wedding is anything but a fond memory!!!

Well not exactly. We had made a consious decision not to let anyone or anything ruin the day itself, so the day itself was good.

You just have to remind yourself and everyone else that this is your day. You have one shot at it and you're the one who is going to remember it for the rest of your life! So if you want to keep it small that is your decision and everyone should just be happy for you and be glad that you want them to share in your day.

I hope it all works out well for you.