The average length of an engagement is 13.1 months. That's over a year of fussing over flowers, deciding what color bridesmaid dress is going to look good with the groomsman's pocket square, just which selections of beef and fish should be made available, competing with other happy couples over a venue, having lots of arguments about not caring enough about table centerpieces or caring too much about the tiered cake. And it all culminates in an open bar with your closest family and friends. Someone gives a speech and reminds everyone what the Oxford English Dictionary definition of "love" is. But 13.1 months is a lot of planning for something that quickly devolves into a drunken house party soundtracked by "The Electric Slide" (and maybe even "The Chicken Dance" if the DJ you hired is a real asshole).
I love weddings. I hate planning though. I'm a big fan of winging it, which is why eloping is the best thing that could've ever happened to me. I decided to get married last month. The date is this week.
I love my fiancée. We've been talking about getting married for a while. Before we got engaged, we'd started looking into getting married, figuring it'd be a year or two down the line. We knew a lot would go into it logistically; she's from England, and I'm from the greatest country on the planet, so it'd be tough to get everyone together at once.
We were talking about what was important and where we could cut corners. Even the lowest-maintenance couple could easily spend their life savings and two credit card limits on a wedding, so we started by breaking down the things we needed to have (i.e. church wedding) and the things that we wanted to have (i.e. post-reception pizza buffet and sundae bar).
We both agreed that at the end of the day, the most important thing was that we were going to get to spend the rest of our lives together. It was meant to be a mantra of sorts, that no matter how wound up planning a wedding got us, we had to keep that in mind. But then we figured, "Screw it. Let's just do that part."
Don't get me wrong, we still wanted to have fun. We're not showing up in sweatpants with a witness we pulled off the street (although, if that's how you decide to get married, I don't blame you). We still got a suit and a dress. We invited our immediate friends and family. I proposed. We went to a courthouse and signed off on documents where our witness, my roommate, threw makeshift confetti at us. We got our wedding date: 3/11 (a date which, thanks to the band, people thought I was joking about when I broke the news). Place settings? Who cares? Cake? I think we got a cake, I don't know; I should probably check with my fiancée.
I would've shot myself in the face if I had to go over 90 chicken or fish menus. I can't imagine having to figure out which guests to invite like the saddest NFL draft ever. We're going to have the people that we love the most around us and we're going to spend the rest of our lives together. Lives that we can spend partying with our friends all the time. It doesn't need to be at our wedding. And even though not all my friends and family will be there, I still have gotten such an outpouring of love and support from them that it's unbelievable.
Not to mention the weird satisfaction that comes from telling someone, "I just got engaged and I'm getting married in a week." That's pretty great.
There hasn't been a headache or an argument yet. There have definitely been times we wished we were doing something bigger or something more formal or even just taking the time to plan a bit more. But we're just happy we found each other, and the pure minimalism of our wedding suits us just fine. We're getting married, and we feel so lucky we're even getting to do that.
But the best thing about eloping is that if you do regret it, you have an entire lifetime to throw a big-ass vow renewal party. I was already told that we should plan a ceremony over in England in the next couple of years so the rest of her friends and family can celebrate, and I can't wait to pull out my hair planning it.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.