(Our Actual Cake)
Note: As I don’t know how thrilled my loved ones would be if I named names, I am going to be vague this time around and instead of using names I am going to call people by their title such as Husband/hubby and Maid of Honor (MoH) for anonymity.
Talking about how my husband and I wound up eloping seems a little like starting the fairytale in the middle. Not that I would call two geeky people in love with anxieties and tight finances a fairy tale but I think you catch my meaning… how we met and then our first date was quite the story and how he proposed was a good tale too! (One day I may put those particular events on here). So with what felt like cinematic beginning stories, how could we ever top that with our wedding anyway?
So the fall of last year, 2018, my partner and I decided to elope! We had been engaged since the summer of 2017 and together since the fall of 2013. With both of us are in our early thirties, and having been together and living together a handful of years, we had had many long discussions about the goals/desires of our lives and already built a steady foundation of mutual support and love. We really had already made the commitment to one another hundreds of times over and long before our wedding date, it just wasn’t official with the government. Ha!
(So already being committed and living together and everything was definitely one reason and the first reason that eloping felt like a solid option. )
However, we had originally planned on having a large wedding.
First our ceremony had its own set of flourishes and grandiose expectations… See even though we are both people with anxiety and stresses, we go out of our way to make people smile and laugh. So our original ceremony idea was to have a fake priest say a jumbled mash of quotes from a scene from our favorite TV show Leverage and the “Love is like a circle” scene from the movie, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. We were also going to then have the real officiant then take over and then begin with the “real” ceremony. Also there were discussions of people in costumes and all sorts of theme music… all in effort to amuse and perhaps confuse our guests.
Beyond the ceremony, we wanted a big fun party for a reception. We were going to personalize post cards instead of regular invites and use our creative abilities to DIY as much as possible so that we could make it personal and save money. A dance area, a board game area, lots of fun things to do! And the place we had settled on (because we knew so many other places were way out of our budget range and this truly would have fit our needs) was a place that half the year was a children’s camp and the other half hosted events such as weddings. When I called and inquired, I found out that the cost of our (reception) would cost $5,000 just to be held there (this is before any other costs such as table linens, decorations, catering, DJs, clothing, favors, photographer, etc.) I was crushed. We even crunched numbers to see if we could make that happen. We had had so many ideas and kept having to scrap so many things, then we had to severely chop our guest list, and still we had a hard time making a wedding happen within our means, unless we wanted to put our life on hold to save up for years and still have a wedding that looked nothing like what we had qwanted.
We then started to try to figure out ways just to make some kind of semblance of a wedding happen. We even priced out having our reception at Dave and Busters in one of their rooms that they hold birthday parties and office meetings… and with a 2 hour reception with only appetizers and well liquor, with a severely shortened guest list, we were still looking at an $8,000 price tag. (Which didn’t include things such as Photographer, outfits, and even a place for a ceremony) Perhaps the most unbelievable option was a farm with livestock that a friend had suggested, which again charged $5,000 accept this time you had animals to work around and not even bathrooms were included. That’s right so it was just as much as the other place but now we had to rent porta-potties!
Finally, we admitted to one another that through all this we weren’t even being true to ourselves and what we were trying so desperately to make happen wasn’t what we envisioned for such an important commitment.
Then right when we were expressing our exhaustion with this whole fiasco and started half-jokingly saying “why can’t we just elope?” to one another and began discussing waiting another two years to get married… my future husband happened to have an unexpected work trip to Orlando, Florida which afforded us just one day in Disney World at the Magic Kingdom and one day in Universal (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter). Such a short trip opened our eyes… this is what we wanted, not one perfect wedding day, but a fun life together, a future filled with fantastic trips, and silly fun. We were sick of being stressed out and thinking about what would amuse everyone or what other people’s expectations might be.
So even as we half-jokingly said “let’s elope” we had been reluctant to admit to ourselves and to one another that what we ultimately wanted was the quiet intimacy of an elopement. It was time to put aside the worry of expectations and potential hurt feelings because we needed to do what was truly right for us. (And deep down we knew that those who loved us would ultimately understand; which for the most part they did! Some grumpy people, but the most important people – even the ones that didn’t completely understand- supported us and have celebrated with us in other ways since.)
So how could we possibly make such a thing happen?
That’s when I recalled that my Maid of Honor (MoH), was family friend’s with the mayor of her town and she had a lovely pre-civil war era home. I approached her and asked her if she would help me, which is ultimately a lot to ask your maid of honor, but thankfully we had been friends for over ten years at this point and I was very lucky to have her in my life in general. So she and her parents generously agreed to have the wedding at their house and would get in touch with the mayor.
With only little over a month to plan and make the wedding happen (we wanted a very specific date… which we were thinking would be that date year 2020 but instead turned to be that date year 2018! We knew if we waited until the next year people would really be asking for the wedding date, and we wanted to surprise everyone, so we had very little turn around time.) …MoH, also had a trusted florist who we approached to make two simple bouquets, and boutonnieres and even found me a makeup and hair stylist.
(These are approximate… even though this happened less than a year ago, I am already forgetting the exact numbers, I know all of these are close to what we actually paid but some may even be less!) :
My Outfit : $50 Dress (on sale!), $70 appliqué sash, $60 Hair piece, $20 shoes, $40 new strapless bra, $30 bling (shiny but ultimately costume fake earrings, necklace), $40 shawl/cover-up (which I didn’t even use)
Hubby’s Outfit: Vest, Shirt, Pants, shoes $150
Our Rings: $350 – 400
Flowers: $250 – $275
Makeup/Hair Professional: $150-$200
Processing Filing Paperwork Fees (to make our marriage legit): $40
Porch decorations: $200-300 (a mix of fake autumn flowers, real pumpkins, some fake cute little critters, bows, and string lights)
Photographer: Technically Free! (it was a gift from MoH’s parents) because MOH’s parents did all the photography!! (they happen to be photographers… I know I am a lucky girl!! And owe MoH a lot!)
Cake Ingredients: $30 MoH and I made the cake. It was delicious. (pictured above)
Cake topper: $5 on sale at the Lego Store bought shortly after we got engaged (I had to paint the hair red though but I had the paint)
Dinner after: $300 -$450
So including everything above and some other things here or there:
We spent a little over $2,000
So on the porch of my MoH. It was just the mayor, the couple (us), and our attendants (one maid of honor, one best man) and MoH’s parents did the photography. That was our entire wedding.
The mayor said a simple ceremony and my hubby and I had written our own vows.
After we said our vows and exchanged rings, we danced to our song off of a blue tooth speaker connected to one of our phones. Then took lots of pictures, signed the official documents, and then we had a slice of our homemade cake. (Pictured above it was delicious, Vanilla Buttercream with blueberry and lemon curd.) Then we went out to eat dinner and took a few more photos. Then just the four of us hung out on MoH’s porch for a little bit and my husband and I drove home. We were exhausted!!
And it was exactly what we should have done because without the eyes of all our friends and family and the pressures we put on ourselves for these people in our lives we were able to bare our souls through our words and cry our eyes out.
By the time we got home we were so emotionally overwhelmed by the whole thing that we were exhausted from even that simple affair… I am so thankful we didn’t have a big wedding!!
Now if you want advice on how to make a simple elopement happen for you and your partner, see my previous post: “It’s okay to elope!”
Thanks for reading about my special day and remember You GOT This!