I’ve been unsure about writing this post for quite some time. Every month since we started this blog, I’ve sat Stag down and ask him, “How do you feel about a blog post about our wedding?” He’s always been quite supportive of the idea — as a way to explain to many of our friends and family who don’t know the full story, as a way to talk about how happy we are that we’re married — but I never quite felt comfortable about it. It’s too personal; it’s too “look at us! look at us!” for our readers. Is this something people would even want to read? But then I realised: I want to talk about it, and I want people to understand how a marriage (and not a ‘wedding’) may be exactly what you want, but you don’t even know it. So here it is, on our 1st wedding anniversary: the Wolf & Stag wedding story.
What began as a simple, just-signing-of-papers kind of affair quickly morphed into something else entirely.
Our “proposal” was exactly as it should have been: the two of us, sitting on on the sofa on a sunny October day, discussing our future and realising that getting married was the best thing we could do for us. Questions over my ability — and my want, being sponsored through work that made me grossly unhappy — to stay in the UK were looming. Stag (Nick, for the story) pondered quietly for a while, as we both sat there thinking. He then he turns to me and says quite frankly, “Well, us not being together isn’t an option. I know I want to marry you one day, so why don’t we just do it sooner than planned?” And that was that.
By November, we had done all the paperwork for our eventual elopement. Wednesday, December 23rd 2015, the cheapest date we could book in the quickest amount of time. We had decided early on to only tell those necessary to tell — our immediate family and closest of friends, that was it — and wait until we had our ‘real’ proposal and ‘real’ wedding one day to announce it to the world. We wouldn’t even invite our families — partially because of the short notice (and being trans-atlantic), but mostly because, again, we wanted to save the excitement for our ‘proper wedding.’ Two friends as witnesses. That’s it. “We can wait,” we would tell ourselves, “we just need to do this now, for us. Our ‘big day’ will be there, one day.”
Gradually, person-by-person, I started telling others about our ‘secret elopement,’ as my excitement grew. Eventually, it could no longer be described as secret, and I realised I didn’t want it to be. Yet again, Nick and I found ourselves on the sofa, coming clean to each other about what we wanted from this. We realised quickly we wanted the same thing: to be married and have a marriage, no secrecy involved.
My ‘no special dress, ‘no flowers,’ ‘no big deal’ attitude quickly snowballed, and next thing I knew I was tugging along my friend (who was also my witness) to go dress shopping. “There is a severe lack of elopement dresses in stores!” I kept wailing to her. “What does one wear to their previously-secret wedding that’s not dark, but not white, dressy but not too dressy?” I hadn’t planned on flowers, but on the day she brought me a bouquet, and it was perfect. We chose untraditional bronze rings from our favourite Shoreditch jeweller.
December 23rd was the only sunny day the entire month. Glorious, bright morning sunshine greeted us as we made our way to Islington Town Hall. Our two friends met us there, all of us a bit anxious yet excited, and we handed one of them our camera to take photos of the day. Cracking jokes and laughing the whole way, we wound our way up the staircase and to the room at our time. I was incredibly nervous — I think Nick was, too — but that quickly dissipated by how intimate the ceremony felt. Like no one else had ever been married before in the world, and nothing existed outside the room.
We posed on the town hall steps as our two friends took photos, us grinning like idiots. The four of us strolled through the quiet back streets of Islington to The Smokehouse for lunch. Luckily for us, the restaurant was empty — a perk of getting married on a Wednesday morning — except for a cosy fire and a bottle of champagne waiting on our table. We took even more photos around the restaurant, and we ordered nearly everything on the menu.
Hours of drinking and feasting came and went. We hugged our two friends and said goodbye. Dressed in our full wedding gear, Nick and I hopped on a bus and headed to the Queen of Hoxton’s winter wigwam, where we sipped hot buttered rum and snuggled in the warm tipi. I barely remember it, but I took a million selfies of us on my phone. We then made our way to the Columbia Road Christmas market, drinking mulled wine and listening to Christmas music. Dinner was a hot bowl of ramen at Tonkotsu (our favourite ramen in the city), and the evening ended with us at home, on that same sofa.
Don’t get me wrong; I love weddings. I always have, and I still do. I always thought I wanted — needed — one to feel fulfilled. To feel ‘married.’ Eloping, above all else, helped me prioritise what truly matters: Nick and I coming together, in the circumstances that work for us, not what’s expected of us. It really was one of the best days of my life, of both of our lives.
Are we still planning the ‘big day,’ one day? Yes — actually, Nick is still going to ‘propose’ to me, in the traditional sense, and we will probably have a big wedding with all of our friends and family there. I see it as a win-win: I get a proposal, he knows I’ll say yes, and we have two celebrations in the end.
Marriage-proposal-wedding. It was exactly what we wanted, but we didn’t even know it.
Have any of you eloped? I would love to hear your stories!