I Wish I Had Eloped

On January 4th, 2014, my husband shocked me with a proposal in front of all of our friends and my immediate family. It was such a special day, and I will always have a video, pictures, and a ring to remember it. 

On January 5th, the texts flooded in. I posted it on Facebook and Instagram like every millennial does, but didn't realize that I opened up the floodgates of the opinion world. 

"That was fast." 

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" 

"You're really young."

"Make sure you get a prenup."

"I'm so sorry. My marriage was horrible." 

The list goes on. I was crying from pure exhaustion just a day into my engagement. 

In November and December of 2013, I lost my two best friends because of complete misunderstandings mixed in with my stubborn, defensive behavior. I realized that I was going to plan a wedding without my favorite people, and my heart hurt. I quickly pushed away my feelings, and immediately asked 8 beautiful women(some of which, I barely knew) to be in my bridal party. I definitely don't regret asking any of them(please know that, if you're reading this). I just know I should've taken a breath before diving into the motions of wedding planning.

Making the guest list...what the HELL...
We wrote down over 500 names. Nobody needs 500+ people at their wedding, unless this is an all day event where you can talk to every single one of them. 
We eliminated quite a few by using the idea of, "If I haven't had a 1-hour conversation with this person in the last year, they don't need to be at my wedding". Obviously, there were family and close family friends that you lose touch with, but you invite anyways. 
I also started eliminating people that asked for invitations. The best request was "Hey, so since I knew you when you and Corey started dating, I should definitely be invited to your wedding". No joke. That happened. 
We started pissing people off at the get-go, because we said no to a lot...a LOT of people. We still ended up with a guest list of 250(92 of which, are family members). 

Because of this high number, we needed a venue that could accommodate everyone. My mom and I had pages on pages of venues, and I called every single one in Colorado. EVERY SINGLE ONE. None of them were within reach of our small budget, until I found a tiny venue in the middle of nowhere in Centennial, CO. They were right within our budget, and we wanted to book. We booked for September 5th and started planning.  

I found the dress after trying on 36. I picked my colors after stalking Pinterest for days. Sent out all of the invitations only with the help of incredible ladies who were willing to suffer arthritis with me. Picked out flowers. Picked out bridal party outfits. Attempted to plan decor(center pieces are so ridiculously expensive guys). Coordinated with 100's of out-of-town guests. Booked our Alaskan honeymoon. Booked our hotel. Found our apartment. I think that's it? 

September 5th came. I was stress-free, and excited. The ceremony happened, and we were married. We walked into our reception, had our first dance, and then got separated. That was the last time I saw my husband until we left. I talked to as many people as I possibly could, while trying to dance because my DJ was a stud(if you need a recommendation..hollah atcha gurl), drank half a glass of lukewarm beer, ate some cheesecake(I guess I saw Corey during that part), and then it was over. 

I blinked, and the event that I had spent months planning, had finished. Instead of feeling full, I felt that I had wasted so much time, so much energy, and so much money on one day. For who? 

Why did we get married? What did we want to accomplish? Who did I plan the event for? 

I didn't need ceremony decorations. I didn't need coordinated outfits. I didn't need 2 kegs of beer and a dessert buffet. I didn't need tables and chairs and a dance floor. I didn't need to be entertained. 

I needed Corey. I wanted to marry Corey. I wanted to tell him the promises that I had written out, and vow to him my body, my soul, and my life till death parted us. I wanted to hear his promises and for him to vow the same to me. I wanted Corey to see me at my best. I wanted Corey to see the confidence that exploded from my heart because I was wearing the prettiest dress. I wanted to see Corey at his best, feeling pride in how handsome he looked in his favorite outfit. 

{Elope-to run off secretly to be married, usually without the consent
or knowledge of one's parents}

I cannot tell you the history of marriage, but only what it has become. After photographing and attending 20+ weddings last year, my eyes have been genuinely opened to the overall exhaustion a couple feels from planning these costly events. I have been to some INCREDIBLE weddings that I will always remember...but why? 

It's because they planned an extraordinary, extravagant event for their guests! 

If you are feeling offended, please understand, I am not saying that everyone's wedding is about everyone else and that you didn't have a beautiful day! I am wanting to steer away from the pressure that I know couple's feel, or that you have to stay inside the lines of your to-do list that you downloaded from theknot.com. 

YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED TO ONE PERSON

If planning a wedding is detracting you from genuinely enjoying each other during your engagement, stop. Take a breath, and realize that you get to do whatever the hell you want! Secretly run off to a mountain side or another country, and spend the entire day exploring with the one you love. Reserve the coffee shop that you met at, and have them kick everyone out for an hour. 

Marriage is about two people who are choosing to commit their entire being's to one another forever. We are not boxed to this idea of extravagance that has been placed on us from generations past. Make the beginning of your marriage journey exactly what the two of you want it to be! 

-Also, DEFINITELY going to throw in there that I photograph elopements and we should work together. K THANX BYEEE