I moved to Virginia from New York years ago, and finding someone to spend the rest of my life with was the last thing on my mind. Living in places like Europe and the Caribbean, I was young, single, and filled with wanderlust. I loved traveling and settling down sounded like hot coals for me. It just wasn't happening at that point.
Meeting the person you'll eventually marry on one fateful Saturday in the parking lot of a supermarket isn't in your quintessential romance story. They say love shows up when you least expect it. We fell in love and decided to get married several months later. He proposed one night while we were eating dinner. He just stared at me and said he had something for me. He went out to the car and produced a simple, beautiful solitaire ring and asked. I said yes!
He made me want to hang my wings up and stay landlocked. By then, I was already deciding to become a wedding planner. At first, I was thinking of inviting family, friends, out-of-town relatives — you know, the typical thoughts that run through some people's head after a proposal. Then, I had a totally unexpected idea. Why don't we elope? I was at the time of my life where I didn't care to spend a ton of money on a wedding and I had no desire to. My mom was thousands of miles away. I knew she would be upset, but this was what I wanted. I spoke to my fiance and he agreed. Why all the fuss and stress and not just do it? We can always have a party afterward for family and friends if we wanted to.
I did my research and stuck to my guns, knowing that I may disappoint a lot of people. I was even second guessing myself. As I picked up my $50 tea length black and white dress from Macy's, I thought… what would potential clients think knowing that their wedding planner eloped? Would they still want me as their planner? I had so many questions in my head. I called my mom and told her what I was going to do and when. She cried and expressed her ultimate disappointment and wouldn't speak to me for days. He told his mom, too. She was more surprised than upset. We knew this was right for us. I decided to put my apprehensions aside and just focus on my happiness.
I married Steve in a lawyer's office on a Wednesday in July with a self-made bouquet of lilies bought from Kroger. Steve had a plain tungsten band and I had a white and yellow gold diamond cut ring. We went to The Boathouse at Sunday Park and took pictures. The restaurant was closed unfortunately (it was 3pm in the afternoon) so we ended up going to our local Fridays and promised we would dine there later.
We sat there and the waiter could sense the love in the air. He asked if it was a special occasion. We looked at each other and said, “something like that.” It was pretty perfect in my eyes. I just married the love of my life. No fuss. No frills. Nine years and two kids later I look back and think about how happy that day was for us. I still smile to this day. It wasn't storybook or conventional, which suited us perfectly.
When my clients/couples ask me about my wedding, I have no qualms letting them know I eloped. Do I have regrets? None. My mom got over it and we still have a good relationship (my sister got married two years ago and she was there every step of the way). I always tell them the main focus is you and your partner's happiness. If having a wedding to celebrate your union is what you desire, then I would be there every step of the way to make sure it goes well. I don't feel like my elopement hindered my business or my life. I can truly say it was one of the first decisions as an adult I made and was absolutely happy with it.