You may have had the chance to read our story yesterday, here. However, like every story, there’s so much more to it than words in a blog post could possibly say. In a society where we’re trained to broadcast our lives on social media, you may be surprised. While there may be friends and family members who are unpleasantly surprised reading this, I hope you understand. I hope you understand that every story is magically different, and different isn’t always a bad thing.
Technically, we eloped.
“A wedding planner who eloped?”
Yes. Technically, we eloped. While that may have been unplanned, I did still plan my dream wedding.
When I was growing up on the beach, I actually dreamt of having a beach wedding. I wanted to get married in a flowing a-line lace gown, a flower crown, and crochet barefoot sandals. Needless to say, things change when you grow up. I mean, if you would have asked me how I envisioned my engagement, elopement would have never come to mind. To be honest, it still doesn’t feel real. So why did I do it?
We spent half our engagement apart.
A huge part of our story that I don’t often include is that we spent about half of our engagement apart. Rob studied abroad one of his last semesters in Spain. Then, upon graduation, he moved out to Atlanta to jumpstart his career working crazy hours before being promoted to an executive role. At the time, most people outside of our inner friend circle actually didn’t know that Rob was living halfway across the country all that time.
Whoever has done the long distance relationship thing can vouch for me when I say it’s hard. It’s actually one of the hardest things ever. My mom once told me that the three highest stressors you’ll face in a relationship are wedding planning, moving, and being long distance. In a short amount of time, Rob and I were doing all three of those at once. Coming from a woman who survived being a military spouse for all those years, I knew I could be strong enough.
I knew it was worth it.
As inseparable as Rob and I was, looking back, I’m thankful that I had parents who had been there. I knew that if they were strong enough to survive months at a time without any communication, I could survive off text messages and facetime dates. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard and just plain sucked. In hindsight, I don’t doubt how it made me a stronger person. It made our relationship so much stronger.
To make the distance easier, my parents actually gave me the opportunity to fly to Atlanta at least once a month to visit Rob. With all these trips jokes became to surface among our families that we were bound to run away and elope. They’d be genuinely surprised when I came home each month without a marriage certificate.
Like I said, we didn’t plan to elope. It kind of just happened.
I’ll be transparent with you – and not just for the sake of this blog post. Halfway through our time a part we hit a slump. With every flight there it became harder and harder to come home. Rob was working long hours and communication became harder around both of our schedules. Wedding planning became emotional because I was making all the decisions alone. All-in-all, we had so many emotions and a tough time communicating them.
We felt that we spent so much of our engagement in an upset state missing one another. We wanted to bring the excitement back to our relationship, engagement, and wedding planning. The both of us desperately wanted something to make it all easier.
So, we got married!
I don’t think we had actually planned to get married that weekend until I arrived. I flew into Atlanta late on a Thursday night to spend a long weekend with Rob. On Friday morning when Rob was leaving to go to work, I just looked at him and said,
“Hey, do you want to get married today?”
Needless to say, that’s what we did. It’s actually kind of funny because we joke around and tell people we got married on Rob’s lunch break. But in reality, we really did go to the courthouse on his lunch break to get a marriage license. When the clerk asked us when the wedding was, she chuckled when we asked if we could do it that day. Apparently in Georgia you can get married the same day you apply for a license, so we came back after Rob got off work and met the judge who married us.
Afterwards, we called my parents in Vegas, who were extremely excited to celebrate, and tricked them into thinking we were on our way to Burger King for our ‘reception’. (It’s only funny because my parents actually met at Burger King, y’all.) While we didn’t celebrate with Whoppers and chicken fries, we did go out to a nice dinner and continued the celebration at the Atlanta Braves baseball game the next day.
So, why did I still plan my dream wedding?
To me, a wedding is so much more than just any ol’ day. (and I don’t just say that because I plan them for a living!) It’s the day I had been dreaming about practically my whole life. A bride walking down the aisle during her wedding ceremony literally symbolizes walking towards the rest of her life. Not only was our wedding a celebration for our family and friends, but it was about the promise Rob and I made to spend our lives together in front of God with these people as our witnesses. While we made the promise to each other in a courtroom in front of a judge, we knew that we still wanted the religious ceremony with our family and friends who were there with us on our journey till that point in time.
It also took a lot of the stress off.
Being technically married on our wedding day actually took a lot of the stress off of the day. I found myself with a calm and collected attitude despite the ever-changing plan of the day because of the off-and-on rain. While my family and bridal party were convinced I had gone off the deep-end with my weirdly calm demeanor, I was faithful in the fact that, whatever happened, it was going to all be okay. It was going to be perfect, because I was going to bed that night married and not worried about the distance anymore.
It also faded away a lot of the anxiety that comes with walking down the aisle. I was no longer terrified of tripping over my dress, and I was no longer scared to say my vows and risk stumbling over my words or ugly crying like Kim K. It’s safe to say that I was as confident about my wedding as Beyonce performing halftime at the Superbowl.
Looking back, our mini elopement brought the excitement back to our engagement, and our upcoming wedding gave us something even more exciting to look forward to. One way I know to put it is this: It was like a ‘reunion’ of your favorite TV show – a celebration of our time apart being over and the start of our long lives together.