Elopement in the Smoky Mountains, Celebration on the Beach!

If any of you have ever looked into the details of having a legal ceremony in Mexico, you feel me. As Kalvin and I were making decisions around our Cancun destination wedding, we were asked "Do you want a legal or symbolic ceremony?"

"Uhhh.. legal?"

As it turns out, many brides who aren't a resident of Mexico but want to get married there choose this option and just don't tell everyone. These were a few of the top reasons:

  1. We would have to both have blood tests done at a clinic in Mexico within 14 days of our wedding date. All of Mexico requires this to test for HIV & syphilis. Give our blood to the Mexican government? Pass.

  2. The application for a foreign marriage permit would have to be requested from the same jurisdiction where your marriage will take place, and the process may take up to two weeks. So we would have to get to Mexico 2 weeks before our ceremony date just to apply for a marriage permit and be sure we get it in time.

  3. All foreign documents must be accompanied by a Spanish translation and notarized by the Mexican government. They must also have an Apostille stamp, which authenticates them. More confusing logistics and ridiculous costs? Ugh.

We went back and forth on eloping beforehand. Neither of us really wanted to just have a symbolic ceremony, but after extensive research on the logistics and the costs to have a legal ceremony in Mexico, we decided we would elope in advance.

We originally discussed eloping 2 weeks before the Cancun ceremony date so that we could just not change my name or wear rings yet. Just see it as "checking the box", which a lot of couples do before a destination wedding. I knew I didn't want to get legally married in a courthouse (no offense if you did/are doing that... just not for me). So we decided to elope somewhere in the mountains instead.

We called our parents to tell them our plans and get their thoughts on our idea. While we wouldn't be telling everyone, we wanted to give them the option to attend if they wanted to. While we were discussing our 2 week mountain-elopement plan with them, they asked a solid question – why wait? Kalvin and I have already been living together for over a year. We've made a cross-country move together. We're obviously doing this thing.

We obviously can't push up Mexico to be May 30 this year because 1) coronavirus 2) not enough of a heads up for guests to get passports and plan to spend the money on an international trip. However, we can go ahead and get eloped in advance, which we were going to be doing anyway, and just do that sooner so that we can begin our "legal" life together.

So through a lot of research and discussions with our family, Kalvin and I decided to elope on May 30, 2020 in the Smoky Mountains with our immediate family. This way we can celebrate the same anniversary date rather than having a "legal date" and a "symbolic date". We want to give all of our loved ones the time necessary to plan and save for an international trip, so we are holding our Cancun destination symbolic ceremony & celebration on our 1 year anniversary – May 30, 2021!

The other exciting part? This is the least-stressful wedding planning that ever existed while still providing amazing experiences and memories. We're using Effortless Elopements (which has truly made it effortless) for our Smoky Mountain elopement, and our travel agency / wedding team at our resort in Cancun is making it a breeze to plan for the celebration!

This has been a really fun journey with Kalvin to decide how we want to start our life together, and we're incredibly happy with where we landed. It's not the traditional wedding(s), but that's never been me/us in the first place. Who gets to have two weddings, and in two beautiful locations? I couldn't imagine it any other way.

We can't wait to be husband and wife in less than 2 months, and we can't wait to have a beachside celebration with all of our favorite people next year!

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