How to Tell Your Family You’re Eloping

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!

Couple with arms around each other looking out into the snowy desert

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.

LGBTQ couple walks through desert scrub in golden light at their elopement

Communicate well

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.

A closeup of a couple embracing after their elopement ceremony

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.

Bride and groom stand on a log in a fern forest as the sun peeks through the trees

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!

Groom hugs bride from behind and kisses her on the cheek while they laugh

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!

Bride and groom walk on foggy beach


  1. Sam says:

    Okay, I’m TOTALLY going to share this on my photography group. This is perfect for those curious about eloping or wanting to elope. Great elopement tips!

  2. Autumn says:

    Genius post!!! Love it!!

  3. Magdalena says:

    You had such a brilliant idea to create this article about elopement planning with all these useful tips about navigating family. I think every couple will appreciate your information guide.

  4. Kristi says:

    Okay, this is great advice for elopements!

  5. Jenae says:

    what a great post! Never thought about this! Wedding Elopement is so intimate and beautiful- but there are other aspects to think about too! Beautiful crisp and colorful Wedding photos!

  6. What a great resource for those navigating family when trying to elope! Great tips!

  7. Sarah says:

    What great tips for someone considering an elopement. They should also totally hire you as their photographer!

  8. There are some really great tips in here! I think reading this before my wedding would have been really helpful in wanting to push for an elopement.

  9. Katy Weaver says:

    This is such a helpful elopement article for brides and grooms! If I end up deciding to elope someday I will definitely refer back to this for helpful elopement information, tips and advice! Gorgeous photos too!

  10. What a great resource for couples talking to family and gently letting know about their decision!

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Julie Haider is an adventure elopement photographer + planner based in New Mexico and photographing destination elopements worldwide.


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