The holiday season is here, and as always, many enjoy this time to re-connect with family and friends. This year, my wife and I had the opportunity go back home to Racine, Wisconsin for Thanksgiving. We enjoyed family, food and fellowship, however; this was the first time we have been home since our elopement in July. Naturally, everyone asked, “how was your trip?” and WHY we decided to skip out on a “traditional” wedding to elope. Of course, we did have some relatives who were a little upset about our decision, but in all honesty… we didn’t care. Elopements and destination weddings are becoming more and more popular, especially amongst millennials for various reasons. Here are the 4 key factors that led us to elope and why we encourage others to do the same!
1. NO Stress
Listen. Believe it or not, we actually started to plan a pretty big wedding! We reached out to some venues in our hometown, created a massive guest list and even contacted some caterers. Maybe a month or two in, we both realized this was the most stressful thing on the planet. Between costs (I will get to this later) and trying not to hurt people’s feelings, we were not happy at all. We didn’t realize how much detail went into a wedding. Choosing colors, center pieces, decorations, who can sit next to who, and who we will have to monitor at the bar the night of the wedding. For us, this wasn’t worth the headache! When we made the decision to elope, that stress was immediately gone. Initially, we started to research destinations on our own, using the timeframe we wanted, the budget we had and adventures that excited us. Then, my wife decided to reach out to The Zuki Experience, a travel agent whom we’ve followed for a long time on Instagram, and the rest was HISTORY. We gave her our budget, our ideas, and our vision; and she literally gave it life. Once we decided on Costa Rica, and she began to work her magic negotiating pricing, ensuring we had a rain plan and working out every detail, down to transportation. It was seamless and STRESS FREE. Once the package was created, we made our payments and we were off. On our wedding day, everything was perfectly in order and we had the wedding of our DREAMS. There was no bridesmaid/groomsman drama, no last-minute adjustments or scrambling; just my wife and I on a beautiful beach, enjoying our special day!
2. It was all about US
If anyone has been a part of a wedding planning process, you know that the wedding has nothing to do with you. When making the guest list you need to ensure you’re inviting your parents’ friends, co-workers and other random people who were around when you were a child, but you haven’t seen in over 15 years. You have an obligation to put a friend or relative in your wedding, even though you’ve noticeably grown apart, but you don’t want the drama if you leave them out. You’re forced to listen to “Well, we did it this way” stories, even though you don’t have an ounce of care about this “amazing” wedding from the 80’s. The biggest reason we decided to elope was simple: It’s OUR day, and it should be all about US. We should be able to do things how we want to do them, without judgement.
There was no need to pick a dinner everyone would enjoy or have an open bar so people could drink freely on our tab. Many people label elopements as ‘selfish’ and I’m here to tell you… it is. And when planning the biggest day of your life, you should be selfish! We didn’t want people to be in our space gossiping about who wore what, why we chose this venue or those colors. We wanted our wedding to be as pure as possible and having an elopement was the best way to make it happen. I was able to assist my wife throughout the entire process, without the pressure of outside voices or opinions. On the day of our wedding, it was ALL ABOUT US. We had a team of people catering to our needs, ensuring the day went smoothly. We had an exclusive private dinner on the beach, where we enjoyed the silence and the beauty of each other’s company. When it was time to have fun, party and explore the beautiful Costa Rican scenery, we only had ourselves to worry about and we could move at our own pace. It was a perfect time to soak it all in and live in the moment. This special time was our way of making our wedding and our marriage about US. We knew by having an intimate wedding, we would be starting a new life together – Just the two of us.
3. It Fit Our Personalities
My wife and I are extremely spontaneous, and it doesn’t take us long to decide on something. In fact, a couple of weeks ago we were so bored at home, we took a two-hour drive to Philadelphia, just to get an authentic cheesesteak! We both have separate, personal reputations amongst our families of doing things our way and not caring whose feelings are hurt throughout the process. Knowing that, eloping fit both of our personalities. We both place an extreme amount of value on our privacy and intimacy. There are times that we will fall off the face of the earth from our closest friends and family; not because we want to, but it is how we both ‘recharge our batteries’. We aren’t that couple that needs to be seen or has to be included with everything. We prefer to stay as lowkey as possible, so when we made the decision to elope, it didn’t come to a surprise to many. Also, my wife and I cannot stand-still (hence the #NoStandSTILLS branding). When we first started dating, my wife made it very clear that she was a natural explorer. She loves to be on the move, trying new things and so do I. After calling around to the different vendors and getting different price quotes, we knew that we could spend less money AND explore a new country, so that is exactly what we did.
4. We Paid for the Time of Our Lives!
Speaking of money, this was a HUGE factor in our decision to elope. According to theknot.com, the national average cost of a wedding is over $35,000! Let that sink in for a minute… For us, that was extremely hard to process and was an unbelievable amount to spend on ONE day. With this information, we didn’t want to place value on material things. We wanted to put our money towards an unmatchable experience that we would never forget. So, let me break this down: We stayed at two different locations in Costa Rica (Dreams Las Mareas & Cala Luna), my wife chose to get a 100% customized wedding dress from a fantastic dress maker in Washington, D.C. (Dahnistry Couture), private dinner on the beach following the wedding, all transportation, a great photographer and videographer, wife’s hair/makeup, food and drinks for the entire week, all under $8,500 (flights included)!
Oh, I forgot to mention we got a couple’s massage, went zip-lining, drove ATV’s, and went horseback riding at the owner of Cala Luna’s gorgeous home. It was simply amazing and we enjoyed every second. With my wife in graduate school and living in one of the most expensive cities in America; we didn’t want to break the bank. Instead, we wanted to have an experience we would never forget and prepare for our future (buying a home, more vacations, etc.).
We get it, eloping or having a destination wedding isn’t for everyone. Even now, there are times where we think about how much fun we would have had around our family and friends, however; if we had to do it all over again, we wouldn’t change a thing. When planning a wedding, do what is best FOR YOU. Don’t worry about outside opinions or hurt feelings. Your wedding day is a special time for you and your spouse and it should be tailored to your needs and interests. Be selfish on your special day, you deserve to have it exactly the way you want it!