How to Tell Your Friends and Family You’ve Eloped

Beach elopement

Some couples relish in planning their wedding. They love figuring out who to invite, going on wedding cake taste tests, and finding a band to play at the reception. But other couples may find the whole idea of a large wedding (with all the logistics, hundreds of people, and big budgets) a little cumbersome and overwhelming. If you fall into the second camp and would much prefer a low-key elopement with you, your future spouse, a witness, and an officiant, then there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

However, choosing to go the elopement route can be tricky. Families and friends who were expecting a wedding invitation may get a little upset that they weren’t invited to see the two of you say your vows and become legal spouses. Whatever the reason for your elopement, you shouldn’t have to apologize for how you chose to tie the knot. However you choose to marry—whether it’s a big ceremony with a big white dress or a city hall wedding in a pantsuit—is between you and your spouse.

But just because you chose to get married in a private fashion doesn’t mean you can’t share your joy, excitement, and plenty of pictures or videos with those you love. When you are preparing to tell your friends and family your very big and exciting news, here are a few tips for letting them in on the secret.

Be Prepared with Plenty of Pictures

Wedding print

When you have to tell your mom that you got married without her present, you can never really predict what her reaction is going to be—but you can be prepared with an avalanche of photographs. Be sure to hire a professional photographer (or a very trusted friend who knows his or her way around a camera) to capture every moment of the day from getting ready to the ceremony. Make sure they get all the little looks you gave each other, your faces during the ceremony, and maybe even a video of you exchanging your vows.

Whatever you can do to make your friends and family feel like they were a part of your special day, don’t hesitate. Go old school and print out pictures for your friends and family so they feel connected to you on your special day.

Don’t Wait Too Long

This is especially good advice for those couples who eloped due to family constraints (whether financial, emotional, or that they might not have agreed with the marriage). If you have eloped, you should let your family and friends know as soon as possible. Of course, it’s okay to have the day for just the two of you, but the longer you wait to tell them, the more difficult it will be. As long as you stand firm on the fact that you’ve made the right decision, your family and friends will come around. They might even surprise you and be over the moon.

Consider Throwing a Surprise Party

Group toast

Just because you weren’t interested in a big wedding doesn’t mean that you don’t like to party. In fact, throwing a party to tell a small group of family and friends that you’ve gotten married would be a fun and memorable surprise. After you make it official, invite your family and friends over for something innocuous like a dinner party or an upcoming sports game that everyone will want to watch.

Keep it simple: ask everyone to bring a potluck dish or order some pizza. Have plenty of celebratory champagne at the ready, and give your surprise announcement once everyone has arrived. Ask a friend or family member who is already in the know to film or photograph the reactions around the room.

Family and friends tend to get upset about elopements because they feel as if they can’t properly celebrate this big step in your life. But if you give them the opportunity to celebrate and do some proper champagne toasts, it’ll definitely soften the blow.

Understand They Might be Upset

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with eloping. It’s cheaper, it’s easier, and it focuses on what really matters most: the two of you dedicating your life to each other. But you can’t discount the fact that weddings are a big deal to a lot of people. They are occasions for family to get together who haven’t seen each other in years. They are a lot of fun—dancing, singing, and eating the night away.

So when you tell your family and friends that there will be no such occasion (or at least not in the way they thought), you might expect a little bit of kerfuffle. Be patient and try to be understanding. Stand up for your choices and let them know that it was just what felt right to you. With a little bit of time, their hearts will heal and they’ll be able to be excited for you.

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