Q: My husband I have been together since we were nineteen years old. There was some off-again, on-again stuff in the middle, but we finally got engaged in February, at twenty-four years old. Our wedding was (and still is) planned for June. Being followers of Jesus, we were abstinent. We couldn’t wait any longer, we said “screw it” let’s go ELOPE! We eloped one month early with all the plans still in motion for our wedding.
This is not what I always “dreamed” of, eloping. But it was so beautiful and sweet and lovely. I wish we just knew to do it that way sooner. We didn’t have time to write our own vows and we wanted to. So we have planned to write our own personal vows for June and exchange those at the ceremony with the dress, the cake, the food, the party, etc.
After all of that explanation, my question: IS THIS WEIRD?! I’m so worried this might be weird… weird to others. I don’t want others to think it’s weird. Help please. Maybe I need to get over what others think, right?
A: Dear Jessica,
In that way you readers sometimes do, you just did my job for me and answered your own question. Yep, you need to get over what others think. But before you do that, maybe we can consider why you’re so worried that people will think this is weird. Because, frankly? When I’m worried, “People will think it’s weird!” it’s usually because a teeny part of me thinks it might be weird.
So, what is it? Your age? The speed? The two weddings? The impatience for sexytime?
Having waited for marriage myself, I’m going to take a leap and guess it maybe, possibly has something to do with that last one. And here’s why. Running off to real quick get married so you can have sex can make “marriage” into some little formality that you have to check off before you can have sex. Which can sort of make sex the important thing and marriage just the means to the end, rather than a happy, healthy sex life being just one component of a marriage. Wrestle with that a bit, you know? Sex! Marriage! You did the deed (um, both of them…), and now maybe it’s time to pause and figure out your perspective on how they fit together.
Maybe in the same way, you need to sort out what these two weddings mean to you. If the Ask Team Practical inbox is any sort of gauge, tons of folks do the two weddings thing. It’s not weird. But if you’re feeling iffy about it, you may need to sort out what place each “wedding” has in your relationship. Some folks consider the sum and substance of their wedding to be the religious ceremony, others the legal signing of paperwork, and some folks find that the different ceremonies each mean different things to them (or heck, nothing at all).
If you’re already officially married in the eyes of the government, and it sounds like you’re married with respect to your spiritual perspective of yourselves, what is this second wedding for? To celebrate what’s already occurred? To involve and make promises to your community regarding your marriage? To wear a fancy dress and eat cake? Each of those is completely fair, but you might need to figure out which fits for you guys.
Depending on how you answer that, you might not even need to (or want to) tell your guests that this elopement already happened. Is it something just for the two of you? Then go ahead and keep that happy secret (until someday you charm and delight future generations with the long hidden story). Then, ta-da, no one even has the opportunity to hint at it all being weird.
Of course, you nailed it. Who cares if people think it’s weird? Getting married is an important, grown-up decision and important, grown-up decisions involve not caring (too much) what other people think of them. But that confidence might be easier to muster when you, yourself sort out exactly how not-weird it is.
Team practical, do you ever worry that loved ones will think your decisions are weird?
If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted.