AOW A-Z of Getting married – Q is for on the QT (…or Eloping)


The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

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Q is for on the QT (or Eloping) by Sange

I’ll concede it’s not for everyone, our choice of wedding. Quite literally, it’s not for anyone. Essential personnel only, need to know basis. Welcome to the surreptitious world of the elopement; cloak and dagger worthy of Mr. Bond himself. *no-one lost their life in the marriage of these people-though I believe the world did briefly stop turning for some…..*

Now I’m not a shy retiring girl. When faced with a challenge, it’s me throwing caution to the wind with a ‘come on, what’s the worst that can happen?’ I’m also very private in my thoughts and about my life. I don’t do gossip, just let everyone else just do their thing.

So for the girl who loves a challenge, the idea of getting married in the South where we both live (me for 20 years, H all of his life) at times seemed insurmountable. My parents medically couldn’t travel down here; we couldn’t reasonably expect all of H’s family and lifetime of friends to trek 350 miles to Newcastle. It wasn’t fair. Indeed it wasn’t, many a tear was shed during the attempt at planning. This was supposed to be great, wasn’t it? Planning the best day of your life? Liars, the lot of them. Glossy mags, chichi blogs. All in it together. The great wedding sham.

It just wasn’t possible for us to wed like this, the way everyone else did. But that was all that was presented to us, no options. Already we had failed.

So back to the planning. Again. H, in one of the most eloquent missives of our relationship (?) proclaimed “What about us? If we had to consider no-one else, how would our marriage best reflect us? Bollocks to everyone else.” Well, ladies and gents, that was a showstopper. We’d forgotten about us. The only two people who were in the ‘essential’ category. Well, it was like an Epiphany; the very weight lifted from my shoulders. We’d cracked it!! Don’t tell anyone!! For 30 seconds, I was really happy, then thought ‘hang on, it’s not this easy, it’s not supposed to be this easy’ and asked if he meant eloping or just having something small-scale. I didn’t want any crossed wires at this stage. He confirmed he meant eloping. My heart sang-this was what I secretly wanted and HE AGREED!!!!

Beautiful photography by Paul Mortimer photography

Well, bugger me; it was a breeze, the planning. After all of the heartache. Don’t misunderstand me; there were times when I was unsure of the repercussions from his family. I knew mine would be happy for us to do what we liked, my parents know me well enough to know that I’ll make my own mind up, thanks. That’s how they raised me after all. And for one of the most important days of our lives, we pleased ourselves. And it was a bloody blast.

Engagement to wedding was 4 months. We wanted a ‘neutral territory’ in terms of venue, so decided on the spiritual home of elopement, Gretna Green. I mean, where else? We even managed a cheeky day trip there to check out venues whilst on an Easter visit to my parents. There was an absolute ‘need to know’ policy; my flowers were done as a present by an amazing friend, another trusted friend came dress shopping with me. Beauty appointments made, suit hired, flights, venue and honeymoon weekend hotel in Newcastle booked. Job done. We also sorted out a ‘reception’ a month after the wedding, a marquee near where we live for family and friends to join us (having spent our honeymoon weekend with my family up North.

And we married on 26th August, 2010 at Mill Forge, Kirkpatrick Fleming, Gretna Green. Without a doubt in my mind, the happiest day of my life.

We called our families after the ceremony; mine were great, H’s less so. I choose not to remember what I was called or their opinion of what we did. That doesn’t matter. In my head I was saying ‘We’re 400 miles away-WTF are you going to do about it?’ As H predicted, it blew over and we’re all great now.

So ladies, my message is, do it. Don’t waste time people-pleasing, the majority wouldn’t bother to please you in return. If they truly love you, they’ll understand.

P.S.  In an emotional moment from my Mother (I was in shock, let me tell you) she told me that when I’d played ‘weddings’ as a little girl, I always said I’d run away and get married. I always was a sensible child!

Categories: A-Z of Getting Married
11 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted December 12, 2012 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    That first photo is just wow there’s no other way to describe it.
    I don’t think I could hack planning a big wedding or even planning a small intimate wedding so would love to just nip off, come back wed then have a picnic with family and friends to celebrate some point after the occasion. But then there’s another part of me that thinks how disappointed my Dad would be to not make the speech which he likes to tease me about saying he’s got so much embarrassing fodder for, which is probably reason in itself to elope. Even if they felt disappointed my family would have the same attitude as Sange’s family, they’re pretty damn good like that and I love the “‘We’re 400 miles away-WTF are you going to do about it?’ retort. True, what are they going to do about it? You aren’t naughty teenagers running away like Nick and Leanne did in Corrie all those years ago. (Love a Corrie reference, sorry) Top piece Sange, I’m not even in a relationship and you’ve got me having a little debate with myself now.

  2. Kandra (Kate)
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Good on you. D wanted us to elope, and I would have done so, but I didnt think I could live with the dissapointment from my mother or his (my dad would have been over the moon!) I am a hopeless people pleaser and felt very torn between what everyone wanted. There is a part of me that although we had a smashing day, wishes we had just pleased ourselves, but then if we had done I would probably have a part of me that would have missed ‘sharing’ our day…. yes it is infact very hard for me to please myself!

  3. Posted December 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Love the photos from your elopement- so glamorous!
    We almost eloped in Vegas while we were on a roadtrip of the USA. We got engaged in New York (at the top of the Empire State Building!) and flew to Vegas 3 days later. It was so tempting to just pop into the hotel’s chapel and get it all over and done with but in the end we decided to savour being engaged a little bit longer.
    Looking back I absolutely loved our wedding day but part of me still thinks about how cool it would have been to get married in Vegas, just the two of us!

  4. Posted December 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Stunning pictures! It’s so clear that you made the right decision for you. I considered the idea of eloping sometimes (perhaps we all do?) but I don’t regret having the wedding that we had in the end :)

  5. Posted December 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully written Sange! Well done you for doing exactly as you wanted and getting the day of your dreams in return. It is far too easy to forget about the two most important people in the wedding sometimes!

  6. Jo
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I really admire you for doing what you both wanted with no guilt afterwards. That 1st photo is amazing, with all of those empty seats is so telling and emcompasses what you bith wanted your day to be, I love it.
    I’ll never forget your anniversary as its my birthday :-)

  7. Posted December 12, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    I love this. So much of what you say is spot on correct and gets across how your wedding was perfect for you and how you were able to make it so, without taking anything away from any different wedding – as long as the couple gets properly down to what they want, then that’s the right thing to do. It’s all about keeping your focus.

    I really applaud your approach towards the planning process and when realising you weren’t enjoying it, stepping back and making the changes needed to have things as you want them – your change in attitude about your plans shines in your writing. Too often, particularly on the wedding forums, you read of brides who are appear to not be enjoying the planning or looking forward to the product of their plans. To me, your story is a great example of what you can achieve if you do what you truly want, instead of what you think is expected.

  8. Posted December 13, 2012 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    I’m so very glad you eloped, it really does look like the perfect wedding for you and your husband. And I’m really glad everyone came round in the end. Weddings are a great chance to share your “big day” with all the people that matter most to you, but in the end, those vows are between two people, and two people only – elopements sometimes seem to me like the truest, rawest incarnation of a wedding!

  9. Posted December 13, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I don’t doubt that this was the right thing for you to do.

    Personally eloping isn’t something I’ve considered and “Don’t waste time people-pleasing, the majority wouldn’t bother to please you in return” isn’t what I’ve found. I suppose for me the focus has really been on my close family and best friends. For many in my family this has been a really tough year and my wedding is the only thing coming up that they can all look forward to. Yes they have opinions, and I want them to enjoy it, but they’re not doing it selfishly.

    Congratulations on your beautiful wedding :)

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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