• Fri, Feb 14 - 12:00 pm ET

Deciding To Elope Was The Best Premarital Decision I Ever Made

weddingI always assumed I would have a big wedding because that is the cliché that every little girl dreams of. But for a wide variety of reasons, I decided that “eloping” in a destination style wedding was much better for my mental health and my wallet. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I guess my destination wedding wasn’t technically eloping because it wasn’t a secret. My husband proposed when we were both 26 after we’d been dating for two years. We were also best friends in high school that reconnected, so we had a lot of good history behind us.

When we got engaged, I automatically assumed that we would follow the unspoken rule of getting married one year later. Nope, my husband said to me, “Why would we wait? Why don’t we plan the wedding in a few months?”

I’d already toyed with the idea of having a smaller destination wedding. Part of my reasoning was because I have “positive” social anxiety, as I like to call it. I get along really well with people and am very extroverted, but I always get crazy anxious before a big event, running all of these different scenarios in my head of what will happen and who will be there and will they be having a good time and what will I wear and on and on and on and on.

I didn’t want my endless obsessions to spoil my wedding day. Also, my husband and I weren’t receiving any parental funding for the wedding, so paying for it was 100% on our shoulders. We decided that our money would be best spent on a destination wedding/honeymoon where we could enjoy every penny of it. (As a note, my in-laws gave us a generous check to put toward the wedding after we booked in Antigua.)

Once I cut away the social aspect of the wedding, it was an absolutely amazing experience. My husband and I both have a hard time remembering the exact date of our anniversary because the wedding planner at Sandals resort said to us, “How about Wednesday?”


We got married in a little gazebo overlooking the beach. This was technically our backup choice because we wanted to be totally cheesy and get married on the beach, but there was a drug dealer with a large goiter that was known to pester the resort guests, so that pretty much made the decision for us.

Our wedding day was full of happy memories and absolutely zero stress. After we got married, we changed into swimsuits and hit the swim-up bar at the resort pool to celebrate. We also made friends at the resort during that week that witnessed our wedding, along with a few locals. If I could get married one hundred times like this—to the same person—I would.

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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  • Guest

    This is exactly what we did too! I wanted to get married in Hawaii (not a church person and didn’t want to do the whole ceremony) but I knew not everyone could come and I also didn’t want everyone there on our honeymoon. So I told them we’d go get married and have our honeymoon in one “Weddingmoon” as my husband dubbed it and then have a reception back home. My mom was a little sad about not being present which I was actually surprised about. We got a rental car that day and the flower shop lady at the hotel made my bouquet.We got married with just the photographer and ceremony-guy present. Took under 10min and was mostly just photos- then more photos for the 1 1/2 hrs after. It would have been such a letdown if people had actually come. We ran through the Mcds drive thru after for dinner and went back to the hotel. It was perfectly perfect. The only thing I would have changed- as much as I loved my reception was that my costs for that turned out to be ridiculous and I would have done a BBQ or something.

    • Guest

      We also picked our wedding day on that Thursday (I figured the 1st of December was easy to remember) and because our photographer had Bible study on Wednesday. :)

    • Bethany Ramos

      Awwww! The wedding planning was so easy, I agree with you there. We picked a few love songs off of a list and were all irritated because it took an hour out of our time of heavy vacation drinking ha ha. ;)

  • Crusty Socks

    Good, you saved yourselves $30,000

  • Jessica

    I did a justice of the peace ceremony in a gazebo with a few witnesses and a jogger. I think you beat me location wise, but I am with you on letting go of the social stress!

    • Bethany Ramos

      I hope the jogger made the photo ops!! :)

    • Jessica

      Of course!

    • Crusty Socks

      Damn wedding crasher

  • Mystik Spiral

    You two are absolutely adorable! <3

    • Bethany Ramos

      Awww thanks!

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    Beautiful picture :D My cousin did a destination wedding on the beach. It was a lovely time!
    I have a weird wedding story, kind of the opposite of yours… I got married on a Canadian TV show.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thank you! AND WHAT IS YOUR STORY?? Why have you not written about this?

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Well, I had to sign some stuff that means I can’t talk about it in depth without permission. But I can tell you it was one hell of a way to get hitched.

    • Ddaisy

      Are you at least allowed to say what show it was? I’m curious :)

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Four Weddings Canada ;)

    • Ddaisy

      Haha my mom watches that all the time! I salute you for going through all of that; there’s no way I could do it.

  • K.

    In my super-scientific poll of my personal acquaintances, while most of my friends loved their big white weddings, pretty much all of them have some sort of caveat, like not spending so much on whatever or hating the stress, and some even outright say they wished they’d have done it smaller and more low-key.

    EVERYONE who has had a small (less than 15 people) wedding or eloped has zero regrets and would do it again in a heartbeat and makes no bones about telling everyone else how wonderful it is. I totally thought I would miss the fanfare, but I did not. I loved my wedding in a public park with just our immediate families.

    Most of the frills are better on Pinterest than in reality anyway.

    PS–you looked beautiful!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thank you!! And I agree with your science. I only like big weddings because OPEN BAR on another person’s dime. :)

  • Tea

    Eloping was so nice we did it twice. We had a commitment ceremony with two friends and a UCC chaplain overseeing it, and it otherwise mostly stayed a secret/thing only friends knew about. Then, we moved, and did an ” I Do, I Do, Sign here.” in a JP’s sun room, paid our fifty dollars, and got starbucks and cake pops after, then mass-texted family and got everything from Congrats, to silence, to hilarious over-arching rage.

    We want to finally get proper rings for our anniversary.

    • Bethany Ramos

      So cute!! You should make this a slogan: “Eloping was so nice we did it twice.”

  • emilyg25

    I’m not-so-secretly jealous that an elopement wasn’t right for us. It would have been sooo much easier. But in the end, having our families and friends there was the best part of the day.

  • AP

    I think we need more details about the “drug dealer with a large goiter.” Too funny!

    • Bethany Ramos

      OMG so…. There was a legitimate drug dealer with a very large goiter that hung out around the fence of the resort on the public beach property. We were in Antigua, and supposedly, this was kind of normal, which was why they discouraged beach weddings. Anyway, he was a really nice guy, but the entire time we were there he kept pushing weed and cocaine and water sports at a discounted cost. LOL.

    • Kay_Sue

      Water sports–exactly what you need to go with your weed and cocaine, yo!

    • Bethany Ramos

      I was sooo tempted. ;)

    • Kay_Sue

      I don’t blame you in the slightest.

  • SmrtGrl86

    We eloped in Vegas and had a BBQ when we got back. The ceremony was at a cute old chapel at the end of the strip, then we splurged on a dinner that cost more than my clearance rack dress. Best decision ever.

  • Kay_Sue

    My dad planned our wedding.

    We planned to get married on a Monday, at the courthouse, because the entire planning a wedding thing was pretty overwhelming to me. We found out on that Thursday that our county (maybe state? I don’t know) doesn’t do courthouse weddings. So there was that.

    That started the mad scramble to find a notary to marry us. My dad came through, with a very nice officiant who made it happen for us in her very pretty home, actually. We did a reception on the weekend.

    I don’t regret it. I do think we will do a vow renewal in a few years, because most of our family wasn’t able to join us. They planned to, but were in the epicenter of a serious storm system that left most of them without water or power, and knocked down trees and washed out roads. It was crazy timing, lol. Hopefully if we get a “do-over” we can celebrate in the same laidback fashion…but this time with the folks that we care about able to be there too. ;)

    • Crusty Socks

      I’m gonna Kickstart an online wedding service for people in your shoes.


      I’m also gonna Kickstart a side business:


      ask about our package deals!

    • Bethany Ramos

      See, I’d be down for a vow renewal too – hold the drug dealer.

    • Crusty Socks

      Beth, someone flagged my previous post as spam… can you unspam it on your dashboard?

    • Bethany Ramos

      Weird, I’ll tell Eve!

    • Kay_Sue

      It wouldn’t let me reply to it, but I did see it! It would have saved our bacon, because we were like, “Court clerk say court doesn’t do what? Say that again? Hollywood lied to us!” and had no idea how to continue…

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      UGh I cannot find it, I will dig in the backend, sometimes spam is so odd, I have been flagged for spam before :(

    • Kay_Sue

      The drug dealer was one of the most awesome parts of that story though!

      The best part about the vow renewal is we could do it anywhere. I had always wanted to get married on our family farm, but we are residents of a different state and it wasn’t allowed. So I think that would be the part I’d be most happy about being able to change for a renewal.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Haha! Yes – so true. I think we’d probably go to Sandals again for our 10 year anniversary. :)

  • Ddaisy

    Your wedding seems like it was the cutest thing ever! <3

    • Bethany Ramos


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