February 14, 2022
The way you get married is an incredibly personal decision – but a lot of the time, it seems like couples feel pressured to think about everyone but themselves! It’s totally normal to feel nervous at the thought of upsetting your family, or to be apprehensive about making the decision to elope for fear that you’ll offend, disappoint, or hurt someone’s feelings.
But, as someone who put down a deposit on a big venue before realizing that eloping felt a lot more like “us,” I want every couple to know that they have options – that they can have a wedding day that’s meaningful and true to who they are, and that they can elope! This guide is all about how to announce your elopement to your family – with tips for staying true to yourselves while respecting their feelings, and some creative ways to break the news.
Whether or not your family is invited to the elopement will make a big difference in what you say when you break the news. Before you start thinking about how to tell family you’re eloping, think about who you want to be around you on the big day.
It’s totally okay if you realize that you want your elopement day to be just the two of you – contrary to what some people believe, eloping alone isn’t about excluding anyone, it’s about making the decision that’s right for you, and about what kind of experience you want to have on your day. And if you do want to invite the family, check out this guide for ideas!
Once you’re ready for the conversation, here are some tips for telling your family you’re eloping.
It’s important to wait until you’re ready to tell people about your elopement. Most couples let their family know about their plans ahead of time, but some decide to keep things under wraps until the knot is tied! There are advantages to both, so talk with your partner and decide when the right time to tell your family you’re eloping is.
Telling them ahead of time means you can share the excitement of your elopement, and maybe get some help and advice throughout the planning process, including them in some parts of the day even if they aren’t invited. Waiting until after you’re married can help avoid backlash, so if you anticipate really negative reactions, this way might be a little less stressful – plus, sometimes it’s fun to have a secret!
You can also decide to tell some people, but wait to tell others – just make sure that the people you do tell are good at keeping secrets. If you decide to keep things under wraps, make sure to let your photographer and any other vendors know, so that they don’t unknowingly post a spoiler on social media!
You probably have at least some idea of how your family is going to react when you tell them you’re eloping – and which of your relatives might have a negative reaction.
While I definitely think you should stay firm and confident in your decision, it can help you to have an open mind and an open heart, and to see their perspective. Though it is your wedding day and your decision, if a big wedding was something they were looking forward to or something they had in mind for you, it’s natural that they feel disappointed.
Be ready to answer their questions about your decision, and to explain that this isn’t about offending them or excluding them from your day – while sticking to the plan.
When you tell family you’re eloping, it can help a lot to explain what eloping actually means. Like a lot of people, your family might still think of elopements as a rushed ceremony at the courthouse, or something that’s reserved for those who don’t want to invest time or money in their wedding day.
Explaining what eloping means for you, how the two of you came to this decision, and why it’s the right one for you can help your family see your perspective, and to better understand where you’re coming from.
If you have something in mind for your day, whether it’s a not-quite-finished dream or a solid plan, tell them about it! Talk about the adventures you want to have, the landscapes you want to see, and all the things that make your elopement so unique and magical.
Now that you’re ready to tell your family you’re eloping, here are some ways to announce the news!
When you’re sharing the news with family members who you’re close to, the best way to announce your elopement is usually to tell them in person. This is more personal than a text or a phone call, and it can give you a better opportunity to talk about your plans or explain why this is the right decision for you. If in person isn’t an option, Facetime or Zoom can be a great alternative for a face to face chat.
Even if you don’t elope with your family, there are still ways to include them in your elopement day! You can ask them to help you plan, invite them to go shopping for dresses or suits with you, ask them to write letters for you to read or record videos for you to watch on the big day, or come up with other ways to make them feel included.
A lot of couples have had to downsize their day due to the dreaded C-word, and if you’re in that boat, I want you to know that your day can still be special, even if it wasn’t exactly what you imagined! Check out this guide for some pandemic wedding inspo, virtual wedding ideas, and creative ways to celebrate with loved ones.
A fun way to announce your elopement is to mail a “we eloped!” card to your loved ones. You can do this after the big day (and use the incredible photos you got back) to let people know you’ve tied the knot.
If you want to have a small elopement ceremony, but you also want to be able to celebrate with your family, you can plan a reception party! When you announce your elopement to your family, letting them know that they’re still invited to the party can help them feel included.
When my partner and I eloped, we planned a reception a few months later. The elopement day was intimate and small, and our reception gave us an opportunity to celebrate with our loved ones after the knot was tied! We sent out save the dates that let our guests know we were having a private elopement day, but that they were invited to the party three months later. You can peep the Save the Date (we made it in Canva) we sent to family and friends below to both tell our loved ones we were eloping and to let them know we were having a reception that they were invited to!
You can announce your elopement on social media by posting some photos. Whether your family already knows or you kept things under wraps, sending them the full gallery of your elopement day is something they’ll really appreciate.
Seeing the full story of the day is the closest they can get to experiencing the day without having been there, and if they were having trouble before, being able to see the incredible day you had is bound to help them understand your decision!
Make sure that when you hire an elopement photographer, you find someone who’s experienced with elopements and who will document your story the way it unfolds – so that when you and your family look back on your memories, you’ll see the two of you, being the truest version of yourselves and having an incredible time.
Contact me, and I’ll be there every step of the way to support you, document the day, and to make sure you know you made the right decision for your wedding.