The Next Best Thing To Eloping

Guest Post from one of our favorite travelers and unique brides, Meg Rulli with Landing Standing.

Miami Wedding with photographer

Many girls dream of their big lavish wedding from the tender age of six. By the time they are ready to walk down the aisle decades later, they have had their perfect wedding dress, cake, and floral arrangements picked out way in advance.

I was not one of these girls.

Sure, I had visions of how I wanted my dream wedding to play out. But none of these visions involved a wedding dress, a cake, or floral arrangements. Okay, well maybe the dress was factored in there a little bit… After all, I was not a nudist bride in my childhood fantasies.

But even when I was a little girl, I envisioned getting married on a white sand beach somewhere exotic (like stereotypical Bora Bora) with my mythical fiancé by my side… And only my fiancé.

Yes, I always wanted to elope.

My parents knew this about me and probably saw it as a huge godsend for their future checkbooks. But shortly after Tony and I got engaged, I mentioned the word “elope” to my mom and I saw her eyes glaze over with those classic mom guilt tears.

“You mean I won’t get to see my own daughter in her wedding dress?”

Okay mom, you win.

After that discovery, Tony and I went back to the drawing board.

We started brainstorming a wedding on the complete opposite spectrum of an eloped marriage:

One blowout bash with all of our friends and family.

Which is what, probably like 50-100 people tops?


Once we started adding up all our friends that we wanted to invite along with their significant others (and some not-so-significant “friends with benefits”) and our long lost aunts and 3 rd cousins, our proposed guest list began spiraling out of control.

50-100 guests?  Try more like 250.

The thought of this scared the crap out of me.

Despite my burning desire for a two-person wedding, I also am a huge mess when I am in the spotlight. Put me in front of a group of people where all eyes are on me, and my clumsiness, claustrophobia, and ability to talk like the Rainman increase exponentially.

It’s not a pretty sight.

Long story short, the blowout wedding was out of the question.

So then Tony and I tried scaling the guest list down to 50 people. In order to do this, we had to make some SERIOUS and harsh cuts to the guest list. Tony and I felt like catty teenage girls when trying to figure out whom of our friends and family was truly important enough to make the elite cut. The whole
process was unsettling.

My sister pulled off a beautiful 50 person intimate wedding (which was probably the most fun wedding I have ever attended), and I applaud her for going through with the ruthless wedding list cuts. But what can I say… I just wasn’t that ballsy of a bride.

Catamaran in Miami

After weeks of debate over the costs and stress of a traditional wedding, we decided to stick with the original elopement dream, while appeasing to our immediate family (i.e. our moms).

With our new plan in place, we cut the list all together and just had our own blowout wedding of just 7 guests: Both sets of parents, our two siblings, and my brother-in-law.

Now you might be rolling your eyes in boredom just thinking of how lame this wedding was, but if you know anything about the Rulli and Batley clans, you know that we like to party… And we don’t need a big group of people to get into the festive spirit.

At the time, Tony and I were living in beautiful Miami, and while it wasn’t dreamy Bora Bora, it was still considered a lovely destination for a small, intimate destination wedding. So we gathered the families down in South Beach for the weekend, rented a private catamaran to sail us around Biscayne Bay for a sunset ceremony, and rented out a private wine attic in downtown Miami for a scrumptious five-course wine pairing reception dinner.

With the captain of the boat, the officiant, and photographer added to the mix, there were only 12 of us on board the boat for our wedding. It was a small enough gathering, that I felt the intimacy of a private elopement, while still having my closest loved ones there to witness our big day.

It was the perfect compromise to my childhood dreams.

Apart from our wedding being incredibly personal, we were also able to get really creative with how we wanted our big day to play out. Between the private wine tasting dinner, the wedding playlist we created on our iPod to play on the catamaran’s sound system, and the homemade flower bouquets & cheese plates for snacking on-board, we were able to have complete control over our ideal wedding scenario.

As an even bigger bonus, by having a small and intimate wedding, we were able to save TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars that we instead put towards our dream of travelling the world for an entire year (in addition to our baller honeymoon).

As I am writing this post, I am all smiles just thinking about how wonderful our wedding day was… And as I write this, I am also relishing in the fact that I am now in Thailand travelling the world with my husband off of our wedding fund.

Your turn: Did you ever dream about your perfect wedding as a kid? What is your idea of the perfect day?


Author, Meg Rulli and her husband Tony left their jobs in January 2012 to go RTW and try out this whole location independent thing. They are aspiring entrepreneurs & digital nomads that blog about travel, food, and anything ridiculous at Landing Standing.

3 Responses

  1. catherine rulli

    This was a most magical day. Meg I never knew some of these things and the reasons for the most perfect day. I am so glad you and Tony were able to execute the wedding you dreamed of and include parents and siblings. Really, BEST WEDDING EVER!

  2. Meg

    Thanks Cath – It really was such a dream scenario and we had such a blast celebrating with the family… What more could a girl ask for?!