Should You Think About Eloping?

Should You Think About Eloping?

Wedding season is upon us, and while some have always dreamed of planning epic big days, it’s enough to fill others with a sense of dread. With news that the average UK wedding now costs over £27,000 – and a new Airbnb package allowing couples to run away to Napa to tie the knot for just £735 each – is it time we braced the elopement package? Team SL debates…

YES, I Want To Do It My Own Way

Pascale Day, Features Writer

Your wedding is supposed to be the best day of your life. It’s supposed to be the most relaxing, love-filled day you will ever experience. But what happens when your parents can’t stand the sight of each other, the groom’s sister gets fall-down drunk because she drank too much prosecco, and the best man makes a speech so inappropriate you want the ground to swallow you whole? All part of the fun, maybe. But stress-free? Hell no.

Every single part of that day, every single minute is soaked with pure stress. And it’s expensive, too – a friend recently told me the flowers for her wedding cost over £2,000. Flowers! You can’t even eat flowers. Plus, they’re all going to be dead by the next morning. And if they’re not, what are you doing to do with two hundred white roses? Pack them into every inch of your home and come back the honeymoon to some Miss Havisham nightmare?

Call me unromantic, but I find the whole concept of a wedding unromantic. It’s cost on top of cost, until you’re crying about the price of table favours and have completely lost sight of what the whole thing’s out. When you elope it’s just you and your partner, doing what you want, spending money on things that only you are going to use. There’s no, “You have to have chicken because your nan can’t digest beef,” or, “Can you do the photos at midday because my baby needs to have his nap at 12:30”.

And – this is just personal – but I am lazy. I’m currently in the middle of arranging a hen party for eight people and every time I think of it I want to curl up in a ball and comfort-eat cheese. I am lazy to my very core, so I don’t want to start a project like a wedding, because I’ll either never get it off the ground or give up halfway through – you love these exquisitely arranged hanging flowers? Cool, but there’s no food. There’s a badass photographer, but no DJ coming, sorry.

Of course, I love my family and my friends, but I want to celebrate with them at a time that doesn’t feel so pressurised. Plus, when you elope, the wedding is 100% on your terms. It’s where you want it to be, you can wear what you want, and you don’t have a strict itinerary to stick to. You could whack on a bib and have a pre-nuptial burger at 11am if you feel like it.

Essentially, I want to do it all my own way. I just want to book one nice holiday that’s the best holiday I’ve ever been on and that also happens to be my wedding. I don’t want to be asked if I’ve thought about this or that or this again. I don’t want to have to think at all, really. I want nice weather, I want to wear a gold dress and get married by a singing Elvis. Then, I want to drink and party with my new husband before he feeds me McDonald’s chips as I lie sozzled on the bathroom floor of my fabulous wedding suite. I’ll celebrate with everyone else when I get back, but that moment is just for the two of us.

NO, It’s Not Fair On Friends & Family

Charlotte Collins, Fashion Editor

A brief caveat: I’m not a wedding traditionalist. I don’t dream of big meringue dresses, fair-tale carriage rides and four-course dinners. I’m not to make a case for the traditional big day. Because, actually, I’m really quite anti that whole circus – weddings have gotten totally out of control. From mother of the bride parties to tens of thousands spent on dresses, I genuinely believe the great British public has lost all sense of perspective when it comes to planning their nuptials.

Are you eloping because you don’t want an OTT, white-canopied routine? Or can’t afford it? I don’t blame you. People have become so bogged down in the formulaic, cookie-cutter wedding that it’s near impossible to envision a big event without those aspects, let alone plan one on a budget. But there are so many viable alternatives to a hotel function space or sprawling country home. Why not celebrate with a family-style brunch? Pitch up in a field and have a BBQ? Eloping isn’t the only alternative – there are endless ways to celebrate with family and friends.

And really think about your loved ones. Picture telling your mum you’ve eloped. Seriously, imagine it. Shut your eyes and picture her face when you let her know that you’re already married, and guess what mum, you didn’t make the cut. Or your best friend – the one who helped you cry into bottles over breakups. Picture letting her know you buggered off and got hitched without her.

Getting married shouldn’t be a guilt trip – ultimately, you’re doing it for you and your partner – but weddings are rites of passages for families too. Dads dream of walking their daughter down the aisle, best friends imagine Instagramming the matching dressing gowns that morning. Like it or not, people want to celebrate with a betrothed couple, and you have an obligation to involve them in your big day. Don’t like it? Don’t get married. Pop down to a registry and sign your names if being married means that much to you, but eloping essentially means planning a wedding that none of your nearest and dearest are invited to. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just cruel.

Remember Miranda’s wedding in Sex and the City? Ten people went and stood in an inner-city garden and then they all went out for lunch. No big fanfare, no white princess dress, no catering, no drama. If that’ll keep the people you value most happy, surely, it’s worth it.

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