How to Tell Family That You’re Eloping

 How to tell your family that you want to elope. Elopement tips and planning ideas.

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 an issue 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!

I’d like to note that although I love elopements, I totally don’t believe that it’s the right kind of wedding for everyone. But if you’ve decided it’s 100% for you, I hope this helps!

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.

 Desert boho elopement in the San Tan mountains near Phoenix, Arizona.

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. 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.

 Adventurous elopement and intimate wedding at Shark Fin Cove in Northern California. Beautiful beach wedding ceremony on the rocky coast near Big Sur.

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 fiance. Remind your family that you love them, and that they are still so important to you.

 Colorado adventure wedding in the San Juan Mountains. The adventurous couple took a jeep up to Clear Lake, a beautiful green lake near Silverton and Ouray CO.

Offer to involve them in other ways

Your family will probably greatly appreciate any effort you make to include them in aspects of your intimate wedding. You can include them in a gathering after the wedding, in planning before, or even include them in your ceremony from afar. I’ll be talking about some more specific ideas in a future blog post!

 Elopement in the New Mexico with sage, lava rock, and desert landscape. The perfect location in Albuquerque near the volcanos to elope.

Stand your ground

Sometimes family just doesn’t understand why you would want to elope. They may beg you to or try to guilt you into having a big wedding. But please stand your ground and do what’s 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 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.

 Adventurous elopement on the canyon edge of the Rio Grande Gorge in Taos, New Mexico. The couple said their hand written vows and poetry as the sun set in the southwest desert.

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.


  1. Sam

    February 12th, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    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. Julie Haider

    February 12th, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks so much, Sam! I’m all about helping couples out with figuring out how to elope!

  3. Autumn

    February 12th, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Genius post!!! Love it!!

  4. Magdalena

    February 12th, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    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.

  5. Julie Haider

    February 12th, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks Magdalena! I try to be as helpful as I can. 🙂

  6. Kristi

    February 12th, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Okay, this is great advice for elopements!

  7. Jenae

    February 12th, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    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!

  8. Brenda Bergreen

    February 12th, 2018 at 9:12 pm

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

  9. Sarah

    February 12th, 2018 at 9:17 pm

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

  10. lindsey paradiso

    February 12th, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    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.

  11. Julie Haider

    February 12th, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    Thanks Linsey! It’s a tough topic to navigate sometimes, but I’m hopeful that this will help couples!

  12. Katy Weaver

    February 13th, 2018 at 1:58 am

    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!

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