17 May 2019

Wedding Diaries - Elopement


By now, it's apparent that my husband and I did things our own way when it came to our wedding. We actually eloped seven and a half months before our wedding day! We kept it all a big secret from everyone and surprised our guests by announcing it during our ceremony. On this last post of the series, I take you behind the scenes of the how and why we decided to do things this way.

Although we had known each other for a few years prior, we can't pinpoint the exact moment me met. We've discussed it ad nauseam over the years and it is still a mystery to this day. However, we do remember the day of our first date and it was June 1, 2008. We had gotten in touch over MSN messenger (old school) and he had invited me to go for a Booster Juice. Being a fan of the smoothie chain, I agreed. After all, it was just meeting up with a friend. Long story short, we have been a couple since that day and have celebrated our anniversary on June 1 for the past decade. That's right, it's been a whole 10 years already!

When you are together for so long, the topic of marriage inevitably comes up. In our case, we'd talked about it often and in depth. Marriage was always in the cards, but we were not in a rush. We decided to buy a house in 2011, so we poured our savings into that purchase and thought it was a better investment than a wedding. We had been saving up for a few years in order to pay for a wedding one day. We were adamant that we'd pay for it ourselves and would not go into debt to have a party. Also, we have been living together for so long that, at this point, signing legal paperwork (to bring it down to the very basics) would not change anything in our day to day lives.


Long ago, we had decided we'd have a winter wedding. My husband does not do well in the heat and I've always been a huge fan of the season. My parents and brother also got married in the winter, so it seems it's becoming a bit of a family tradition. When planning the wedding, it dawned on us that we wouldn't be able to keep our anniversary date. We thought it would be odd to change it and start counting back at zero. We always joked that we should just elope, but I always wanted to share the momentous occasion with family and friends. That's when we had a light-bulb moment! We figured, why can't we do both?

That is how we decided to elope at City Hall on the day of our 10th anniversary. That way, we could keep our date and keep the counter going. Also, from a math perspective (which is not my forte) there will always be a 10-year difference between the years we've been a couple and the years we've been married. Not only did the date make sense, but it also worked from a logistical standpoint for many reasons. Since we wanted my brother to officiate, we avoided him having to take a course and invest a lot of time and energy in getting licensed. He's living in a different province at the moment, so that would have been really complicated. The other option would have been to actually hire an officiant for the day. They would have signed the paperwork and my brother could have handled the performance. That option presented its own issues in the sense that we would have had to hire someone from the area in which we were getting married. We don't exactly live nearby, so coordinating meetings and such was getting to be a bit much. So there you have it, that's why eloping was the way to go! In hindsight, it was really great having one less thing to stress about on our wedding day, you know, with the storm literally brewing.

I had actually gone to work the day of (it was a Friday) and only left thirty minutes or so before the ceremony. I walked to City Hall (which is a hop, skip and a jump from work) where I met up with my groom. I admit, I had butterflies all day, but the good kind, the excited kind. Even though I had butterflies, my mind was as calm as can be and deep down it felt so right. I knew this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and there was never any doubt in my mind. The ceremony was short and sweet. We had it in French, because the language is a huge part of who we are. We also exchanged rings. We only wore them for a few hours before tucking them away until the un-official wedding day. Besides, if my husband had worn his ring, it would have been the biggest give-away!

I simply wore a little white dress I had hanging in my closet and a pair of shoes I've had for years. The only thing I got for the elopement was a fascinator (didn't think I'd skip my favourite wedding accessory, did you?) I wore simple pearl earrings and my Pandora bracelets. The charms were all graduation gifts from my family, so this was my small way of including them in my big day. I ended up doing my own hair and make-up because this whole thing was top secret! The final detail of my look was a bouquet of 10 red roses, one for each year we've been together. I knew I wouldn't have flowers for the winter wedding, so I wanted to carry a bouquet for the intimate ceremony. I mean the combination of white dress and bouquet is all you really need to drive the point home! Here comes the bride!

After the ceremony, we took a few pictures with our photographer. This session was sort of our "engagement session" with our official photographer, as we had done the engagement pics with a different photographer. Again, doing things our way! So, this was our getting-to-know our photographer session and a practice for the other big day. We made the right choice with Christine! She just gets us and we work so well together. It was very important to me to pick the right person and also to be able to trust her with our big secret! I will just take a moment here to point out that it was an unusually hot and sticky day and the sweat struggle was real! I know it's not pretty and perfect, but I just could not cool down! My hair was sticking to the back of my neck and we took a few face-dabbing breaks. But, you know what? I wouldn't change a thing. It is what it is and I will remember that as fondly as the rest of the day. It's all part of the charm! We really went from one extreme to the other; heat-wave to polar vortex!

After the pictures, we had some time to spare before our dinner reservation so we decided to go for a drink at the Lord Elgin hotel. One of the waitresses spotted us when we first entered, her face lit up and she got all excited! I guess the white dress and bouquet gave us away... Everyone we crossed paths with would ask us if he had literally just gotten married and were so thrilled when we told them we did! I guess it's not that common of an occurrence? Either way, she was the sweetest thing and brought us an appetizer on the house. I have to say, even though no family was aware we were getting married, the excitement we shared with total strangers made up for that. It was our special day, and people around us were congratulating us and seemed to share in our happiness and excitement. It was a truly special phenomenon!

We then had dinner with our good friends (who witnessed). We had made reservations at Beckta, one of the swankiest places in town and we were not disappointed! My husband and I had opted for the tasting menu with wine pairings. Everything was outstanding! I can't remember the last time I had so much wine. I'm not a big drinker and only enjoy a drink from time to time, but that night, we were celebrating! Our friends chauffeured us home at the end of the night and that was a wrap. The big secret would go back into the vault until January, when we would drop the bomb on our unsuspecting guests!

We are so happy we decided to do it our way and elope. It gave us the chance to really soak in the moment and the meaning behind getting married. We brought it down to the very basics, without pomp and circumstance. It was the most intimate moment and we are so thrilled to have gotten to relish in it, just us and our love for one another. That's what marriage is all about, the love between two people. By stripping down all the excesses of elaborate ceremonies, we focused on what was important. The best part ,in my opinion, is that we kept this whole thing under wraps. Not a single family member knew about it. It was us, our photographer and our two witnesses (very dear friends we could trust!) That's it! I have to admit it was challenging keeping it a secret because it's so exciting and such a huge moment. Then again, the secrecy also allowed us to live our first months as a married couple in complete privacy. Also, seeing as we were planning an actual wedding (minus the official bits), we didn't want to take away from the excitement of that day. Besides, announcing it during the wedding ceremony in January was so worth it! People's reactions were priceless! Like I said, we threw out the so-called wedding rule book and did things our way. I really think we got the best of both worlds and people will remember this wedding for a long time! I like to think it stood out from the pack!

While writing this final wedding post, it dawned on me that our first anniversary is coming up in two weeks! Already one year of wedded bliss in the books. For anyone counting, that's 1 year married and 11 years a couple. (See how easy that math was?) We don't have any big plans because we'll be jetting off on our official honeymoon in less than a month. What better way to celebrate? I can't wait to take you all along for the journey!

Photos by Christine Reid Photography. Used with permission. 

Bride's Look

Dress: Anarchy Gallery (similar) | Fascinator: Max and Ellie (similar) | Earrings: Splendid Pearls (similar) | Bracelets: Pandora | Shoes: Chase and Chloe (similar)

Groom's Look

Shirt: Point Zero Luxury (similar) | Jacket: House of Cavani (similar) | Pants: DKNY (similar) | Watch: Akribos XXIV (similar) | Socks: Le Château (similar) | Pocket square: Winners (similar) | Belt: Perry Ellis (similar) | Shoes: Left & Right (similar

 Photographer: Christine Reid Photography
Florist: Crown Floral Boutique
Rings: La Maison d'Or


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