Let’s run away and get married
Eloping on the Gold Coast
My elder sister Alyson eloped and I felt cheated because I didn’t see her get married. When I asked her why, some 30 years later, she told me: “I didn’t want the fuss and bother of being centre of attention at a big wedding. She just wanted to marry Tom.”
Over the last 10 years in my role as a marriage celebrant, I’ve solemnised over 150 weddings and they have all been different. Love comes in all shapes and sizes. The trend to elope is rising and couples do so for many reasons.
One of my brides, Annika, recently chose to elope as she experiences panic attacks and just couldn’t face having a full-blown wedding. Annika said “We started planning a conventional wedding and within a few weeks the stress was overwhelming. The decisions were building up and the anxiety was overshadowing the reasons why we wanted to have the ceremony in the first place. To us, weddings are about two people, in love making a lifelong commitment to each other. We contacted Fiona and started to plan our beach elopement and we are very happy with our decision. Our families supported our choice and celebrated with us when we returned from our honeymoon.”
On Annika’s wedding day, my husband Rick (who acted as a witness and photographer), and I met Annika and Tony on a beautiful stretch of coastline and strolled together chatting until we reached the sand. The ceremony was both heartfelt and romantic, and she made it through the ceremony without the anxiety and panic that the full wedding regalia would have caused.
Annika remarked later: “You made our day so stress free and wonderful. We couldn’t be happier.”
I honour and respect my sister and Annika’s decision to elope – every couple have their reasons. I have come to know that the wedding isn’t about the ‘feeling-cheated little sister’ or the family and friends who wanted to be part of “it”. It is absolutely and totally about a couple in love doing what they want to do. The driving force behind couples choosing to run away and get married are varied, but typically fall into the 6 categories below:
- Stress reduction and escaping family drama. A full-blown wedding is a stress magnet. There are so many choices to make including styling the bridal party, picking the menu and seating plans (which could compete with a royal gala affair), and trying to please your family’s respective values, beliefs and preferences.
- Financial savings. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) found the average cost of a wedding in Australia was $36,200.(1). Some couples prefer to spend that on their home or even on a destination wedding, where you can marry someplace exotic and build it into your honeymoon with the money you saved.
- Privacy, nerves and romance. 71% of brides-to-be suffered from some type of nerves during the build-up to their wedding and 92% of brides experienced nerves on the day of the wedding. (2) It’s hard to say “I love you” with 200 people listening. The privacy of an elopement gives the couple the intimacy of true romance where they can openly share their feelings without thinking they are on the‘Bachelorette’ with the whole of Australia watching.
- Saves time. In a world of time-poor people the option to elope is attractive as it takes far less time to arrange than a wedding with heaps of guests. The average engagement lasts 14 months (3) and during that time it is a constant stream of decisions, planning and appointments – it all takes time.
- You are pregnant (hooray!) and don’t want to cram your baby bump into the stereotypical wedding dress or look like a “toilet doll” in your maternal state. Choose your style Mumma and rock it!
- It’s your second marriage and you want it low key. In the biz we call it an ‘Encore Wedding’. The second or third time around couples just don’t see the need for all the fuss and expense.
Remember you can still get great photos, wear your dream dress or stylish suit of your choice and have the ceremony crafted exactly as you want it to be. An elopement embodies the phrase “define your love, your way” perfectly. You can do what you want. The focus is just on the two of you and isn’t that what it’s all about?
Do you feel any of the above applies to you and you are thinking about eloping? Please contact me: Fiona Woodward, Civil Marriage Celebrant, at www.languageofLOVE.com.au or call for a chat on 0417 229 654.
(1) ASIC 2015 report.
(2) Survey by fearcourse.com
(3) The Knot