One has to seriously think twice before considering eloping. For us it was a last minute thing as we were both completely fed up with our families’ opinions on what our wedding was to be like, who was to be invited, what to wear and what was to be on the menu. Everything turned pear shaped and on a whim we decided to elope and spend the wedding money on our honeymoon in Thailand.
We went to a registry office early in the morning and I was wearing a simple white dress, my soon to be husband was wearing a borrowed suit from his brother. We both had witnesses, my best friend and his brother, attend the ceremony. I remember I was so nervous and worried about my family’s opinion but I knew he was the man I wanted to marry. We were called up into a separate office, nothing special, no decorations, no flower arrangements, nothing flash, just a good old plain office. The ceremony took less than 10 mins and were married. I had never been more certain about anything else ever before in my entire life, we were both so happy.
What we both did not anticipate fully was the major fallout with my parents (to say my parents were livid is a huge understatement). His parents were alright, they were a little upset that we had not invited them but fully accepted that we were adults and we were making our own decisions. For my family, the fallout has never healed. Being African, eloping is completely unheard of, it’s considered a huge embarrassment. One is supposed to have a church wedding followed by several traditional practices of having one’s aunt accompany the bride to the husband’s family home etc. I remember my mother’s bitter disappointment in our decision and her saying, ‘you have shamed us’. Up until then I had always done the right thing as per my culture. I was not living for me but living for others. Weddings bring out the worst in people – which is odd because a wedding is supposed to be a joyous occasion. Before we decided to elope we were planning our wedding, but every decision we made was met with opposition. We wanted a winter wedding, everyone was against this, we wanted a small wedding, complaints rained from Africa. In the end I was trying to please others instead of myself. My elopement was the first time I felt free to make a decision that I approved of and I have never looked back since.
Both my husband and I were on the same page with the decision to elope, which made it easier to face my family’s disapproval. If I was to go back in time, I would not change a thing… maybe just the choice of shoes to wear as I was dying in them :-). Eloping took the pressure off having a big wedding, which neither of us wanted as we don’t like to be the centre of attention.
All in all, personally I would advise anyone who is thinking of eloping to be certain that this is what they want to do. I am to this day still dealing with consequences of my decision to elope and I do not regret it. There is also nothing wrong with having a big wedding with all the trimmings, it’s about doing what feels right not only for you but also for your other half.
So the day after we got married we took off to Phuket, Thailand.
While there, I got admitted into hospital, but that’s a story for another time…
All in all for us it was about starting our lives together, just the two of us, the way WE wanted, and there was nothing to distract us from the purpose of joining our lives together. And even though we may have loved to celebrate our day with our family and friends, it made the start of our marriage about one another. A wedding is just for a day, a marriage is for a lifetime.