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I'm based in Grand Junction, CO and capture the story & scenery of your favorite day. Serving Crested Butte, Ouray, Moab, Aspen and beyond!

When you begin planning your elopement (or maybe even before you’re engaged!) you’ll probably begin to worry about how to tell loved ones you are eloping. I get it: it’s an uncomfortable conversation to have sometimes! As someone who held a micro wedding in a non-traditional way WAY before anyone knew what a micro wedding was, I know how hard it is hearing people complain about your plans or try to make you feel guilty. But your wedding day is YOUR day, not theirs.

Having documented both traditional weddings and elopements for years now, I can assure you: no matter what size or kind of wedding you’re having, people will always have opinions and hurt feelings about something. Setting boundaries is important! But how do you tell your loved ones about your plans? Do you even have to tell anyone? Let’s get into all the details:

Should you tell people you’re eloping?

That’s up to you! When you’re planning an elopement there really are no rules. Reasons you might decide to tell loved ones include:

  • If you want to include loved ones in some way
  • If you were planning a wedding but your plans changed
  • If you want to get their blessing or have them understand
  • Someone else is paying for your wedding
  • You don’t feel right hiding your plans

Who to Tell About Your Elopement Plans

So you’ve decided to share the news: but who should you tell? Some folks will choose to start with their parents and close friends – people who they are the closest to and care most about respecting in their announcement. Other folks would rather tell only people who they know will support them right away. It can be easier to get the hang of announcing your elopement by telling people you trust to “get it” first. If you’re waiting to tell anyone until after eloping, be sure to tell your close loved ones before sharing anywhere else. You don’t want your mom or sister to find out as they’re scrolling Instagram stories and feel left out.

When Should You Tell Loved Ones About Eloping

One of the easiest ways to tell loved ones you’re eloping is to drop hints. If you know before you’re engaged or you decided along the way that you wanted to elope, be honest about those desires when people teasingly ask when the wedding is. Setting up the expectation makes the conversation super easy later on. If you didn’t know beforehand, and this is a brand new idea for your friends and family, you have two choices for telling them about your elopement plans. You can tell them before you elope or afterward.

Reasons to Tell Loved Ones Before Eloping

One of the biggest all-encompassing reasons you would tell friends and family about your plans before you elope is that you want them involved in some way. Maybe you plan to have a pre-ceremony party, you just want to be open and honest with them, or you’re worried they’d find out from someone else.

Reasons to Tell Loved Ones After Eloping

You may choose not to tell anyone you plan to elope until afterward. You might want it to be your little secret, or you just want to elope without anyone’s opinions weighing on you for the day. Maybe you know if your loved ones know about the plans they would be texting and calling you the whole time you’re eloping.

One nice middle ground between the two is to tell your loved ones that you’re eloping but not when, so you can spend the day in your own little world and surprise everyone later on!

How to Tell Loved Ones You’re Eloping

I know it sounds intimidating to tell your friends and family you’re eloping, but rest assured it’s becoming more common these days and less of a scary confession! Just start by sharing your plans with them so they can understand what you mean when you say you’re eloping. Give them facts about your plans, without the emotions getting in there. That’s when people tend to use those emotions to manipulate your plans. Share your reasons for your plans with a clear head and logical list.

Some reasons couples I’ve worked with eloped:

  • For privacy, they hate being the center of attention
  • They wanted a unique wedding day
  • Saving money
  • Traveling somewhere new for their big day
  • It’s easier to leave everyone out than hurt some feelings
  • It was way less stressful and time consuming
  • They wanted to spend a day doing things they love

Explain what eloping is so that your loved ones are on the same page. Eloping used to come with so much stigma, but that’s not really true these days. Showing them examples of ideas you have for your day can help them understand and feel included in your planning process. And if you plan to have a few guests along, you can always refer to it as a small wedding or micro wedding, which could help them be more familiar with what you’re planning.

Examples of How to Tell Your Loved Ones You’re Eloping

Probably the most common way to tell your friends and family your plans is to sit down to dinner together. You might live farther away from your friends and family, in which case a lot of folks opt to call them or video chat online.

The Announcement: “Mom and Dad, we’re so excited to let you know we’ve decided to elope at XYZ. While we aren’t having any guests, we would love if you want to be part of the process by (wearing your veil, writing letters to us, coming attire shopping, etc).”

Behind the Announcement: Be clear that you’re excited about your plans and the decision is final. Try to avoid phrases like “we’re thinking about” or “we’ve been considering” — those sound like your family or friends have a say in those plans. Set the boundaries up front about having guests or not, and reassure them that you want them to be part of the process in whatever way you want them to.

The Announcement: “We have some big news and wanted to share it with you first: we’re eloping! (or we eloped!) We always wanted to explore XYZ and there felt like no better way to get married than on our trip.”

Behind the Announcement: Explain your reasoning for your decision. Make them feel respected by mentioning you wanted to tell them first. This method can also be used to call from your elopement trip if you’re announcing afterward! Let them know that you couldn’t wait to tell them the big news and share how the elopement day went. Send a couple phone photos (or your sneak peeks if it’s been a day or two!)

How to Celebrate your Elopement Plans with Loved Ones

Assuming you intend to tell your friends and family about your elopement plans, there are a plethora of ways to include them in the celebrations. You could send out elopement announcements with your sneak peek photos to share the big news. Some people choose to plan a pre-elopement celebration so everyone has the chance to wish them well before the big day. I’ve seen cool celebrations that include a ring warming ceremony to bless the couple beforehand, or parties as chill as brunch or a reception.

Another common way to include loved ones in your plans is with a post-elopement celebration. Put up a slideshow of the day and celebrate with your loved ones in a wedding reception style celebration after you eloped. This is a great middle ground for folks who want the best of both worlds between a micro wedding and an elopement.

One big way to include your loved ones in your elopement plans is to include them in the process, whatever that looks like to you. Some ideas I’ve seen before include:

  • Going shopping for attire together
  • Showing them your album or video afterward so they can relive it with you
  • Having them write letters or record videos to you to read on the big day
  • Wearing heirlooms from loved ones with your attire
  • Facetiming them the day-of

You can also elope with a few guests! Can’t imagine getting married without Nana there? Bring along a handful of guests for your day. You can include them in as much or as little of your plans for the day — for instance you can have the adventure on your own, and then all gather for a more formal ceremony for them to witness. You could also hire a Jeep tour and bring them along on the adventure! However much you want to include them is up to you.

One important note about sharing your plans with loved ones, is to be clear to those you tell, exactly when they are welcome to share about it. You wouldn’t believe how many times couples get “congrats!” on their social media during their elopement adventures, only to stress about family or friends they haven’t told yet seeing and finding out that way. Repeat those boundaries as you near the day, too so they are fresh in their minds. No one means to spill the beans, so just be clear with them and remind them!

How to Tell Loved Ones You are Eloping

What about Family that Don’t Understand?

It’s not always as easy as it sounds to tell your loved ones you are eloping. There will commonly be push back, even from those who mean well. It’s important to stand your ground and set boundaries with the naysayers. The best way to approach the subject is to keep emotion out of the conversation. Don’t be defensive, just offer the facts and state your plans. Be sure you are firm in your statements — try to avoid phrases like “we’re thinking about” or “we have an idea to elope” or anything that sounds like opinions are welcome.

I know it can be hard, but sometimes it is best not to tell toxic family members. You don’t owe anyone an explanation or participation in your wedding day, as tough as that can be to grapple with.

Overcoming Common Objections to Eloping:

When they say: “Eloping is just selfish!”

You could say: “We are planning a wedding day that feels right to us.”

Your wedding day is for the two of you. It’s more selfish of guests to expect you to pay tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding day you don’t want, just so they can go to a party!

When they say: “I can’t believe you don’t want me at your wedding!”

You could say: “It’s not that we don’t want you at the wedding, we just want an intimate day that is all our own.”

Celebrate with loved ones and include them in other ways than being present on the day of. No one has the right to be part of your wedding day, period.

When they say: “You’ll regret not having a real wedding!”

You could say: “Most people we know who had a big wedding regret not eloping, actually.” or “We are confident in our decision.”

I hear couples who had traditional weddings say ALL THE TIME how much they wish they eloped! I’ve never heard a couple say they regretted eloping. Also an elopement is also a “real wedding.”

When they say: “But what will your grandmother think?”

You could say: “We aren’t dwelling on what others’ opinions are of our plans. We are excited and know this is the best plan for us.”

Don’t get drawn into guilt trips or pulls at emotions. Hold strong in your plans, and leave feelings out of it.

Remember, objections to eloping are a reflection of their own feelings, and not a reflection of you or your actions. You are not required to control how others react to your wedding day plans. You deserve to plan a day that is true to you! People will get over hurt feelings with time, but you will regret giving into peer pressure for a lot longer.

Ultimately, the best way to tell your loved ones you’re eloping is totally unique to you. Keep these ideas and advice in mind, but in the end no one can prepare you for the exact scenarios you may be in. Go into the announcement together, lean on each other through this, and hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised at their openness to the idea! Good luck – you got this!

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