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  • Writer's pictureSarah Soldau

Dear COVID Brides: I eloped. Here’s why I don’t regret having a big wedding almost a year later.

Surprise! The majority of my friends and even family members don’t know that I actually got married to my husband, Christian, in November of 2018, ten months before the wedding I invited them to. In the wedding industry networking groups I belong to, I’ve seen the same question from dozens of brides, all along these same lines:

“Is anyone eloping on their original wedding date but still planning to hold a big celebration once COVID is under control? I’m worried it won’t feel as special!”

I’m here to tell you, it will be every ounce as special, regardless if you are already legally married or not. My circumstances in 2018 were obviously different than those of couples today, but my husband and I decided to get legally married (in Vegas!) almost a year before our planned wedding. We had been engaged for 8 months and already set a date, so being a military couple in a rather remote location, it just made sense to get “paper married” so I could have access to facilities on base where I was also working at the time.

It wasn’t necessarily a secret if someone were to ask, but we chose to share the news with only a select amount of family and friends. I didn’t change my name or update my relationship status on Facebook, frankly because it was just easier that way. Before meeting my husband, I had absolutely no connection to military life and neither did most of the people in my circle. I had a negative view of military members prior to being in a relationship with one, and I didn’t want to be thought of as a statistic by those who shared my former views.

Many couples may be concerned that friends and family won’t want to take time out of their lives to travel to a wedding of someone who is already married, or maybe they should use that money towards an investment such as a house. Having a big wedding has always been my dream and there was no question in my mind that we would still go through with the wedding. Take time to talk through these concerns with your soon-to-be-spouse about anything holding you back from choosing the best way forward. Set goals and deadlines to make decisions related to your wedding.

Bride and groom standing under a gazebo with a sign that says "Little White Wedding Chapel" in Las Vegas

Here are the 3 key differences:

  1. Our officiant wasn’t actually ordained. My husband’s friend and former youth pastor “officiated” our wedding, but he wasn’t an ordained minister! He had experience speaking in this capacity due to his involvement in their church, but there was no need for him to actually get ordained.

  2. We weren’t “pronounced” husband and wife. I am a very technical person. If you look carefully through my posts, I never actually refer to my “wedding day” as “the day I got married.” It was also important to me that the wording of the ceremony reflected the exchange taking place. After we said “I do,” exchanged rings, and kissed, our officiant simply said “I now present to you Mr. and Mrs. Soldau!”

  3. We didn’t sign a marriage certificate following the ceremony. When my day-of coordinator asked who we wanted present to sign our marriage certificate, I spilled the beans that we were already married! It’s one less thing you need to worry about on your day!

Although there were certainly times during the planning process where I thought, “that’s it, let’s just elope again!” I will never regret having a big wedding. It was the absolute best day of my life to date, and if that is your dream too, don’t let anyone (especially yourself) talk you into doing otherwise!

Are you thinking about eloping? Let me know in the comments or drop me a message!

Sarah Soldau is a Southern California based wedding coordinator, specializing in wedding management (also known as day-of coordination). Her goal is to educate and empower couples to be confident and in control of planning their own dream wedding day, and then actually enjoy it! As a “bridal cheerleader,” she is her couples’ biggest advocate on their wedding day and leaves no detail unnoticed. By sharing her own experiences in wedding planning, as well as her love of makeup and fashion on The Blushing Blog, she hopes to leave the world with a little more love and beauty. Head to the Contact page to learn more about services and pricing.

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