You’ve decided to avoid the stress of a traditional wedding and you’re eloping – congratulations! I truly believe an elopement is the most authentic and intentional form of wedding celebration. There are many reasons to choose to elope instead of planning a larger wedding with hundreds of guests.
However, I know it can also be stressful to explain to family and friends why they won’t be present as you share your nuptials. To help, I’ve outlined some of the best practices for telling your friends and family you’re eloping. Check out the end of the blog for specific examples to use.
How To Share The News – You’ve Decided to Elope
The first thing to know about telling family and friends that you’re eloping is to do it on your terms. So above anything, wait to tell others until you are ready. For some, that’s right away and for others, that might not be until after you’ve eloped. Depending on the friend or family member – you might have to start by explaining your reasons for eloping. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- There is still a generational difference in understanding the term “elopement.”
- It might take a few scrolls through #adventureelopement on Instagram to get grandma on board.
- Here are the 3 steps to telling others you’re eloping
- First, start by explaining WHY you want to elope
- Then follow with WHEN they can get involved in the process
- End with HOW you’ll be celebrating.
1. WHY You Want to Elope
When you’re telling family and friends that you’re eloping start with the why. Call up distant family and friends or share the news in person over a coffee. Or, like some couples I’ve worked with, send a “Save the Date” for a post-elopement celebration (if you’re going to have a reception).
- Explain that a traditional wedding doesn’t feel like your kind of celebration – those who know you well should respect your decision.
- Maybe you want your wedding day to reflect your love and that means being by yourselves.
- For others, it’s wanting to spend the day doing what you love.
- For those who request further explanation – tell them the facts.
- A traditional wedding often costs as much as the down payment on a home and produces an average of 400 pounds of waste in one day, or that you simply don’t want to share your vows in front of anyone except your partner.
I can’t reiterate this enough, and it’s totally not my place to make an assessment about the people in your life – but in my opinion, those who love you will respect your decision to elope. It’s that simple. If an elopement-style wedding celebration is what will bring YOU the most joy, my deepest desire is that your decision will be respected by your friends and family.
2. WHEN They Can Get Involved in the Process
The next thing you should focus on when telling family and friends that you’re eloping is when they can get involved, if at all. To lessen the blow that friends and family won’t be part of your marriage at a traditional wedding, you might want to find another creative way to include them.
- If you plan on telling your family and friends about eloping beforehand, they can get involved in the planning process.
- You can invite family and friends to go shopping with you when picking out your suit or dress.
- You can also celebrate with others by throwing an engagement party or even a wedding shower!
- On the day of your elopement, you can invite a group of loved ones to witness your union.
- If you choose to elope alone, you can still have your loved ones there in spirit.
- You can video chat with them as you’re getting ready or read letters they’ve written to you during the ceremony.
- You can also watch video toasts when you’re celebrating your love.
3. HOW You’ll Be Celebrating
Lastly, make sure to let them know how you plan on celebrating. If you don’t want to include others in your planning process or if you want to wait to share the happy news until after you’ve eloped, you can still celebrate with others! It doesn’t have to be that weekend either – a reception to celebrate your elopement can happen a year after your marriage (to keep the same anniversary date), or it can happen any time (weeks, or months) after your elopement. The important thing is that you explain to those who love you how they can show their support and excitement and celebrate alongside you.
Basically, Throw a Party.
Everyone loves a party! Aside from the whole getting married thing, a wedding is an opportunity to see people you often don’t get to see. Personally, I’ve witnessed SO MANY weddings where doing both (the marriage & the get together) was just too stressful to accomplish at the same time.
- You get split between wanting to hang with your newly legalized life partner and your guests. To give 100% to both goals, I highly recommend a separate reception celebration.
- You’re able to spend time with guests without the pressure of missing out on sweet moments with your partner.
- Instead, you can sit with everyone and tell stories of your epic elopement while video and photos play for all to see and witness.
- And once your friends & family see the images from your epic elopement, they will understand why you chose to elope.
- Heck, many might come up and tell you afterward how much they wish they had eloped too!
What If We Elope Secretly, and Don’t Tell Anyone until After?
That’s something only you can decide. There are pros and cons to telling friends and family that you’ve eloped or will elope. Only you know your friends and family well enough to know if before or after is the right time to tell them that your marriage begins with an elopement. Remember, your wedding day is YOUR day – do what feels right for you and your partner.
Telling People Before:
- They can get involved during the planning process (if you want them to).
- They can share their love and support with you.
- They might try to change your mind.
- Their opinions may possibly influence your decisions.
Telling People After:
- You don’t need to worry about anyone’s opinion while planning.
- You can plan a big surprise to share the amazing news.
- You risk offending people who would have wanted to support your decision.
- You can’t share the planning process with people close to you.
An Example Of What To Say To Your Family Once You’ve Decided to Elope:
“So, I have something important to tell you, and I wanted to tell you personally because you matter to me and [insert partner’s name]. We’ve decided to elope instead of having a traditional wedding. Basically, this means we’re going to have a very small number of people at our marriage ceremony because we want to get married in a place that is special to us. We still want to include you in our celebration, and we’re going to be hosting a reception a few months after our elopement to get together with friends and family. I hope you’ll join us then!”
“I wanted to tell you this personally because you’re important to me and [insert partner’s name]. We’ve decided to elope instead of planning a wedding because the big traditional party didn’t feel like US. We’ve never liked being the center of attention and honestly. Getting up in front of a crowd to share personal vows sounds like something that would normally make me faint from anxiety! I just don’t want to feel stressed and anxious on my wedding day. I hope you can understand why this means we aren’t going to be inviting everyone to a wedding. We still want to celebrate with you though, so we’re planning a post-elopement party on [insert reception date] and we’d love it if you would join us then!”
Finally, Remember Eloping Isn’t Selfish
Say it again for the people in the back! I’ve heard more times than I can count that couples worry their friends and family will view their choice to elope as “selfish.” Honestly, the pervasiveness of this sentiment really makes me sad! Since when did we owe other people a party to celebrate OUR relationships?! Your marriage will be between you and your partner, period.
- Your wedding day deserves to be a moment of calm.
- You deserve to plan a celebration that aligns with your desires.
- Your elopement should create a lasting memory to bond you two when the days are rough.
I want you to wake up with a stomach full of butterflies on the morning of your elopement knowing that you’re about to share an incredible day with the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. There’s nothing selfish about that.