I 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)