While eloping is a pretty stress-free way to get married, telling your family that you want to elope can sometimes be tough. It’s the one issue that I hear engaged couples really struggling with. Sometimes your family will understand and be happy for you, but many times it becomes a topic that can hurt relationships and cause stress. I’ve been thinking a lot about how this issue can be remedied, and I have some great tips for you. So if you’re thinking about eloping and wondering how to break the news to your family in the best way, read on!
When should you tell family you’re eloping?
Most of the tips below can be applied whether you’re telling family about you’re elopement before or after the ceremony. But how do you decide when is the right time? If you think they’ll be excited for you and you want to include them in some of the planning, go ahead and tell your family before you elope. If you think your family will need some time to process the news and come around to accepting your decision, it could also be best to tell them ahead of time. But if you think they’ll bother you about it up until your elopement date, it may be a more peaceful decision to wait until after you’ve eloped. They may still be upset, but at least they can’t persuade you not to do it!
Understand their perspective
Everyone has different ideas on what a wedding should be. Your mom may have been dreaming for years about helping your plan a big wedding, or your grandma may have been envisioning you carrying on family wedding traditions. Know ahead of time that they may be pretty disappointed that you’re not going to fulfill what they imagined your wedding would be like. But also remember that you can’t make everyone happy, and that what you want as a couple comes first.
As you break the news that you want to elope, make sure you’re sharing from your heart the reasons you want to skip a big wedding. Tell them why a traditional wedding with lots of guests isn’t the right fit for you and explain what about eloping is. It might not make sense to your family, but if they hear how excited you are and that you’re sure it’s the right thing for you, they may accept it more easily.
Explain that it’s not about exclusion
Your reasons for eloping are likely less about excluding people, and more about just focusing on you and your partner. It’s okay to want the biggest day in your lives to be just the two of you. Remind your family that you love them, and that they are still so important to you even though they won’t be there to witness your marriage.
Offer to involve them in other ways
Your family will probably greatly appreciate any effort you make to include them in aspects of your private elopement. You can include them in a gathering after the wedding, in planning before, or even include them in your ceremony from afar through letter reading or a video call. I’ll be talking about some more specific ideas in a future blog post!
Stand your ground
Sometimes family just doesn’t understand why you would want to elope. They may beg you or try to guilt you into having a big wedding that you don’t want. But please stand your ground and do what you feel is best for you and your fiance. If you give in and go for a traditional wedding, you probably will regret it for years to come, and you’ll probably clash with family members throughout the planning process. And you certainly don’t want any resentment or disappointment towards your family or when you think back about your wedding. Remember the marriage is more important than the wedding!
Hey, friend! I’m Julie – an adventure wedding & elopement photographer who loves the outdoors and traveling! My photography is fun and heartfelt while highlighting the beauty of love and nature. I’m based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but wedding photography takes me throughout the southwest, to national parks, and all over the world! To find out more about destination wedding photography, check out my travel page. And if you want to get some great elopement planning tips, check out planning and advice section of the blog.