Hi all, My boyfriend and I are considering eloping for immigration reasons. The gist of the story is that we have two choices: get married ASAP and start a life together or spend an indefinite amount of time (years) separated by a very expensive, 13-hour flight. Our relationship is really strong, but I think the latter situation is enough to break many relationships. We've already started on all the paperwork. The idea is to elope once the visa goes through so he can live with me in the U.S. permanently. We haven't told our friends and family about the decision yet, mainly because we know this is super fast (we've been dating less than a year) and we want to announce our decision to spend the rest of our lives together (whether that comes in the form of an engagement or a "look, we eloped!" announcement) when we've been together a bit longer. Although I've gotten to know his family pretty well, he hasn't even had a chance to meet mine yet. His family knows how in love we are, but I want him to get to know mine before even thinking about breaking the news. Maybe it's not true, but it feels like the choice right now is get married or lose each other forever. I know that I want to be with this man but 1) feel pressured into speeding up our timeline for legal reasons 2) feel sad and extremely ambivalent about keeping this a secret from my family (we'd obviously tell them eventually, but I've never hidden something this big from anyone before and it feels wrong) 3) but am reluctant to say, "hey guys, we're getting married even though we're not 100% sure that this is the right time, because I have to get my man a visa"--I imagine all the skepticism we'd have to overcome, not to mention the fact that it's completely unromantic 4) don't want to have to abandon my dream of a big, beautiful wedding with loved ones (which, according to everything I've read, is what happens when you elope, else you risk appearing like a gift-grubbing, selfish little princess). I know this man is the love of my life and I do want to marry him. I just feel trapped and like this isn't happening how or when I wanted it to. I feel like this is out of my control. The big hope was that we could get married in secret, minimize the act (telling ourselves, oh, this is just for legal reasons) and then get married "for real" at a later date in the not so distant future. I'm starting to think that's a really stupid idea, but can't see any alternative. P.S. I recently posted on the P&E board because I was distraught about this whole idea that if one elopes, reception out the window! I've had so much fun over the years helping my sister and some of my best friends get married, that the thought of not being able to share that moment with them and with all the traditions a "normal" wedding entails made me really sad. So did the thought of not involving my family. So did realizing that wanting those things after an elopement was so generally perceived as selfish, even if that elopement didn't feel like a real choice. To those of you who read my P&E post, inspired by tears and that weird place your brain goes at 4am, no sleep and lots of jet lag, I am sorry. I was very rude and so I suppose merited all the rude responses I received in turn. However, thanks to everyone who made an honest attempt to offer advice; it was much appreciated.