Five years ago today, on a cold, January evening, my husband and I were home in our Hyde Park apartment waiting for the go ahead to get married. Our friend was officiating our ceremony and was waiting for a wedding rehearsal group to clear out of the chapel so we could sneak in and get hitched. Wait, what? Yeah, this is for real. It’s my elopement story.
I had a gut feeling from the time we got engaged 9 months before, that I wanted a non-traditional wedding. I didn’t know exactly what so I talked the ear off of everyone I knew, telling them I wasn’t sure what kind of wedding we wanted. Unfortunately, elopement isn’t exactly on the radar of most people when thinking and talking about getting married. In fact, I didn’t even know you could do a stylish, planned destination elopement- it’s sort of like a destination wedding without the guests, which now looking back, is exactly what I needed.
Things Are Changing
Everyone told me how I’d regret not having my friends and family at the wedding, and I thought they might be right so we decided on a small (40 guest) brunch wedding in January. However, as you may know if you’ve followed my story, our planning phase was a living hell. My in-laws had never supported our relationship and once it was set to be permanent, things came to a head. This caused unbelievable stress and worry. I developed terrible anxiety and was horrified at the thought of 40 of my closest friends and family watching me walk down the aisle as a bride. I wanted to elope. I needed something else. This wedding wasn’t what I wanted.
By late November, I knew something had to give. So we made an alternative plan, but it’s not what you might be thinking. We decided to go ahead with the wedding but to elope beforehand. This simplified things legally and sort of satisfied my worries. We researched the various options for elopement in Chicago and when our first choice of eloping on a Saturday morning in the Chicago Cultural Center in a ceremony that occurs once a month, 20 couples can sign up to take turns getting married in front of a justice of the peace, wasn’t a possibility, we scrambled to find a new way that didn’t involve saying “i do” in the dingy courthouse basement.
Kevin came up with our plan. Our friend, who had access to University of Chicago buildings off hours and is a legal officiant, would unlock Bond Chapel on Friday night, one week before our wedding, and we would sneak in for a quick ceremony. And that’s exactly what we did. I don’t even have photos because we didn’t hire a photographer (which now I think is insane!) I wish we had photos. It was a beautiful, snowy night and I’m sure we would have gotten some gorgeous photos. But the most important thing is that we united in marriage. The two of us. No crowd. No fuss. Just love.