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Eloping prior to wedding?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I wasn't sure if this belongs in IMO or not. I figured it probably isn't controversial. This gets long, so there is a nice short version first!

Short version:

Should Nate and I elope before getting married in December, but still have a wedding so that we can afford to send him to paramedic school and give our families the celebration they deserve? His family is opposed to elopment, mine doesn't care.

Long version:

Nate and I are getting married December 10th of this year. However, he was accepted into a paramedic program, offered at a local college and we can't really afford tuition. His parents techically make too much for him to get any financial aid (he found this out by spending two years in college) and since he will only be 23 next month he cannot claim himself as an independant. His parents refuse to emancipate him. So- two years ago we had planned on being married by May- but pushed it back so that his sister could be at the wedding (she's stationed overseas). If we eloped next month he would have access to much needed financial aid. His parents have never supported him financially and he's never used any education grants, of which there are two in this state that are quite substantial. Since I filled out my FAFSA already and counted the amount I am eligable for when we are married we realized just how necessary this aid would be for him to complete school and do what he loves the most. He would have access to grants and subsidized loans. It may not seem like a big deal to postpone starting paramedic school until we are married- but it really is important.

We thought about eloping next month and keeping it hush hush, except for my mom, brother, and stepdad. My family does not care if I elope, his family is pretty opposed to the idea. I read an article in Brides or Modern Brides about how getting eloped before the wedding to cut down on stress, etc. is becoming more and more popular.

My question is, what do you all think? I know that there is one person on here who eloped (KatBoy?) and it went well for him. Has anyone else ever eloped or known someone who has? Do you all know of anyone who eloped, kept it hidden, and later had a "normal" wedding with all the family? It feels dishonest to me, but at the same time more than justified and necessary. Does anyone have any advice for how go into this situation, or whether we should let everyone know?
post #2 of 15
I'm planning on eloping, but both our families already know.
It boils down to your lives, not theirs, and while you obviously don't want to upset anyone, you really need to do what is best for you two.
post #3 of 15
it sounds like you guys have put a lot of thought into this and have some pretty solid reasoning for wanting to elope before your wedding. eloping was something that my husband and i very briefly considered to speed up the paperwork process required(he's military) but we ultimately decided that it wasn't the right thing for us. we only had about 2 months to wait for the real wedding anyway. while not having his family's support makes the decision harder, you guys need to do what works for you. if you do decide to elope, i'm sure his parents will eventually come around and understand the decision. there is nothing wrong with having a "normal" wedding later to celebrate with both of your families. whatever you decide, i wish you both the best of luck.
post #4 of 15
Originally Posted by Arlyn
I'm planning on eloping, but both our families already know.
It boils down to your lives, not theirs, and while you obviously don't want to upset anyone, you really need to do what is best for you two.
Couldn't have said it better.
post #5 of 15
I always thought 'eloping' meant running away to get married without anyone knowing. You can't 'elope' if the families know, and even agree! But I think getting married in advance makes sense for you, after all you have thought it out carefully. But why not do what some friends of mine did for similar (in their case tax and residency) reasons - tell your families you are going to get married very quietly with minimum fuss - only the necessary witnesses or whatever, and that your December 'wedding' will be the real celebration for family and friends and make it a blessing service if you want a religious wedding, or a wonderful opportunity to write your own service and vows if you want to keep it non-religious. My friends wrote a really moving 'service of dedication' to each other which was tailored to their own personalities, and a lay preacher friend officiated as master of ceremonies and made a speech/sermon. It was one of the loveliest weddings I have ever been to.
post #6 of 15
I also think you should do what is best for you. I am not sure I would even go to the trouble and expense of a "real wedding" just so people can watch. Personally, I would just have a celebration of some kind, and not bother with the wedding if you are already married.
post #7 of 15
My hubby and I eloped one month after meeting. Of course, once the family found out, they thought it was because I was pregnant. The baby came 2 1/2 years later, so obviously we had felt a true connection. We've been married 11 years now, and plan on many, many years to come!
Part of the reason we eloped is because both of our parents had had the "big wedding" and both ended in divorce. Plus, we have been to so many of our friends "big weddings" and people get so caught up in the actual wedding, that they forget what and why they are supposed to be there for.
(For me, weddings are great if you are the one getting married. Everyone else is there for the free food!)---just my opinion.
post #8 of 15
Originally Posted by Arlyn
It boils down to your lives, not theirs, and while you obviously don't want to upset anyone, you really need to do what is best for you two.
I agree 100%. Besides, it does not sound like Nate's family has been very supportive of him in the first place , so who cares what they have to say anyway?
post #9 of 15
It sounds like you two have really thought this out and if you think its for the best then I'd say "Go For It"!
post #10 of 15
My cousin planned a big wedding, then eloped, and now two years later is planning a big wedding so everyone can celebrate. The family wasn't upset. Well except for me because I spent $200 on a bridesmaid dress that I've never worn and now with the new wedding she's picking out a different dress. Just do whatever feels right for you guys. I think my BF and I are just going to get married by our local Justice of the Peace with some family there. I've never been into big weddings anyway.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by krazy kat2
I also think you should do what is best for you. I am not sure I would even go to the trouble and expense of a "real wedding" just so people can watch. Personally, I would just have a celebration of some kind, and not bother with the wedding if you are already married.
I already have the $800 dress though! My mom, stepdad, and grandpa paid for the dress, but my mom did joke that I could just wear it around the house when I wanted to! I think we should have a big celebration, but since Nate's kinda grandpa is going to marry us and we're having my work (Olive Garden) cater, it will be pretty cheap. Mainly though, it's the dress and everyone else's. That's an expensive dress to not wear. My bridesmaids have their dresses already and Nate has his suit. My mom has her mother of the bride dress as well.
post #12 of 15
You can still wear all your fine clothes even if it is a blessing or dedication - my friends did for their dedication, and so did my sister for a blessing service at her second-time-around.
post #13 of 15
I too think you should do what's best for your new family (i.e., you and your husband-to-be), HOWEVER, I would be very careful and think hard about the idea of keeping this info from his family but sharing it with yours. The chances are pretty high that sometime down the line they (soon-to-be in-laws) will find out what happened. You need to decide how you will deal with the fallout because it sounds like they could become very upset about it. Especially if they find out that your parents/family were in attendance and they were not.

If you want to have a private civil ceremony before having a public one, I think that's totally understandable given your situation. I actually have a friend that had a civil ceremony almost a year before her "real" wedding because her husband was in the military. By getting married they were able to get more money for living allowances, she could get health coverage, and she would have access to the base without him being there. It seemed understandable to me. She decided not to tell guests invited to the "real" wedding that they were technically already married. Unfortunately word got out and apparently quite a few people felt they had been duped and she got an earful.

Another friend of mine had a small wedding with only a dozen guests and then had a large affair for everyone else to attend a few months later. I've heard of several others doing this - and many wore their wedding dress! I think that's totally up to you.

I'm not telling you this to discourage you, but you might want to think about the effect your decision might have on you and your new in-laws. Good luck.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
I just got off the phone with my mom and she basically said what Joanne said. She actually said that she thought it would be stupid not to get married now. As a former EMT who wanted to be a paramedic herself, it's very important to her that that Nate go to school as soon as possible. She said that we should tell his parents and explain exactly why we did it and leave it to their discretion as to whether they want to tell everyone else. We talked about the pros and cons of having the county clerk marry us, then having a renewel of vows/wedding ceremony in December, or just having a reception. We both figured that we could have both and that basically the "wedding" would be a blessing of our marriage by a pastor (Nate's grandpa) in the company of our family and friends. We will tell the pastor of course and also go through his marital counseling.

I feel better now, although I'm still wary of his parent's reaction. I feel much better knowing for sure that my mom and stepdad are behind us 100%. Nate and I talked about honeymooning old school style and visiting Indiana Beach (a very fun amusement park in Indiana) for a day after we visit the clerks office. Now all I need is proof that I have a rubella vaccination and the $18 for the marriage license. I think we're going to do this on or around July 20th with my parents as witnesses.

As a seminary student I also have a lot of friends who happen to be pastors, so I could always ask one of the several who offered to officiate our wedding earlier to do this tiny wedding at the park or chapel or something. We thought about doing what I had wanted to do in the first place, which is have a traditional Quaker wedding under the care of my Meeting with no bells and whistles. I suppose this could be an option as well. We were already approved for that, but decided against it after my pastor left.
post #15 of 15
Well You have to consider how much you've already spent on the wedding. If you elope, would you cancel it? I would advise against doing it without his parents knowing. My aunt get married to her new jusband and told everyone, including her 3 daughters (who were not too fond of this guy in the first place.. long story) about the marriage after it was all said and done in an e-mail. You could do both, to satisfy both families.
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