Should we elope?

Chat at 1.

Hi Meredith,

I am a 24-year-old woman and have been with my boyfriend for over a year and a half. We've been living together for one year. My boyfriend is going to be 30, has a steady career, a nice family, and is a very loving. We have a great relationship. The communication is awesome, we recently opened a savings account together, and we're looking to move into a larger apartment to spend the next five to seven years in. We have had some rough times like everyone, but we have been able to get through it.
We're going on vacation in November to a tropical and romantic place. A few weeks back, the topic of marriage came up. I’ve never been too keen on the idea of marriage, but after thinking it over, I think it's the wedding stuff that makes me uncomfortable. To me, if we get married, I truly want it to be about us and not our 300 "closest" friends and family (his family is huge, so there would be a lot of people). Because of this, we agreed to elope. My boyfriend was a little sad because he likes the idea of weddings (I call him my bride), so I asked him if he would feel like he missed out on not having a wedding. His response literally almost made me burst into tears. He said, "I would never hold anything against you like that. But if you left me tomorrow I'd feel like I missed out on something. And in 10 years time I'd still know that I'd missed out on something."

I spoke to several of our friends to get their opinion. Their reactions have been positive. A few of my friends told me to wait a year. I totally get the concept of waiting, but I feel like this trip is kind of the time and place I would want to do something like this. We've decided it's a better idea to wait until after we get married to tell the families because I'm sure my mother would never stand for an elopement. And we're both OK with the consequences. I've looked over LOTS of premarital counseling guides, and I feel like every time I read one I know all the answers. I know what I want, and I'm pretty confident I know what my partner's answers would be.

So what kind of advice would you give to a friend in my situation?

Thanks a bunch!

– How To Tell When You're Ready, Boston

Are you asking me whether you should elope or whether you should wait a year before you get married? I'm going to answer both questions by saying this: plan a wedding -- and schedule it for next fall.

Your boyfriend wants a wedding, HTTWYR. His family wants a wedding. Your mom wants a wedding. I don't care if you're shy or if you look terrible in white. You're the only one who doesn't want the wedding. Be kind to your "bride" and to everyone who loves you. Plan the party.

If you want to do something special in November, just get engaged. That's a pretty awesome thing to do on a romantic trip.

A wedding kills all birds with one mighty stone (sorry, birds). You'll be able to spend the next year gaining more confidence about what the marriage will mean, and you'll be satisfying the relatives.
I know you think weddings are silly, but I think getting married just because you're somewhere tropical is sillier. When in doubt, give yourself more time. And when in doubt about the need for a wedding that everyone wants but you, have one.

Readers? Should she have a wedding? Is there anything she needs to know that premarital counseling guides haven’t told her? Why have some of her friends told her to wait a year? Am I right about the fact that she should do the party for her husband and the family?

– Meredith