My decision to elope shouldn’t have been a huge surprise to those around me. I like to approach life with my own set of rules.
So when the conversation of marriage came up for my partner and I, I approached it the same way like I do for many things by asking: What works for us?
After we got engaged and started to plan a wedding very soon after, it wasn’t feeling fun. I felt stressed by all of the options, we fought about how much it should cost and it made me anxious to think about combining the vows ceremony with a big boozy party. I was worried about pleasing everybody and relying on people that hadn’t always proved to be reliable. I didn’t like the idea of being watched as I promised my life to Ben. It all felt too much. So once we made the decision to elope, as nervous as I was, I also felt excited and… free.
We eloped in New York City and it was a magical feeling once the news was finally out amongst loved ones, Instagram followers and my favourite local barista. After most people squealed with a shocked ‘Congratulations!’, the same question kept coming up. This question was asked with a unique, nervous tension. It was as if the person asking had to act with such care, as if they asked too quickly or too abruptly, a potential bomb could explode right there between us.
The question was, “…did your parents know?”
To begin with I laughed it off and answered with a polite “no”. I got married to Ben. Not my mum or dad? But it continued and I started to get annoyed.
I couldn’t understand why this was such a focus? I was single for five freaking years and had just married the love of my life?!
“It felt like an eternity to find him and start a family” I complained to my friend. “People don’t even bother to consider that my parents and I could be estranged or worse, dead?!”. (Neither of these are the case for me but that’s not the point.)
He put the question into perspective with his quick response, “I dunno Stace. Parents love weddings and it often becomes about them. And even more so people froth tradition!”