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Eloping? Here’s How to Talk to Your Family About It

January 5, 2023

I’m so stoked you’ve made the brave decision to elope! If you’re eloping, then chances are you’re dreading the conversation where you have to talk to your family about eloping. Telling them that you don’t want a big wedding and instead want to run off and get married can be difficult.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Telling your family about your plans to elope can be a hard conversation so it’s important to do it in a way that is respectful and considerate. In this blog post, I will provide tips for talking to your family about your decision to elope. So read on to learn how to break the news to your loved ones!

Start With a Conversation

Take some time to talk with your family members one-on-one in a casual setting about your decision to elope. This will help create an open and non-confrontational environment for the conversation.

having a conversation over coffee | Brit Rader Photography

One way to approach this conversation with your family is to explain the reasons why eloping appeals to you and your partner. Perhaps you want a more intimate and unique experience, or you want to avoid the stress and financial burden of a traditional wedding. Maybe you and your partner value simplicity and intimacy in your wedding, or perhaps you want to prioritize spending your money on traveling or starting a family. You could also emphasize that your love and commitment to each other is what truly matters, and a formal wedding ceremony is not necessary for that. 

It’s important to communicate that ultimately you are doing what is best for your relationship and for your own happiness. Remind them that this decision isn’t about breaking tradition or going against what everyone else expects – it’s simply about following your heart and doing what is right for you and your partner. Although it’s important to be understanding of any disappointment or hurt feelings your family may have, you may need to gently remind them that ultimately it is your decision as a couple, not theirs. 

Reassure them that you still value their opinions and support. While you may be eloping, this doesn’t mean that you don’t care about what your family thinks or that you aren’t open to hearing their input. Let them know that you still value their opinions and want to hear what they have to say about the big decision ahead of you both.

Listen to Your Family’s Concerns and Address Them Honestly

Before you talk to your family about eloping, it is important to listen to their concerns and address them honestly. Your family members are likely to have a lot of questions and concerns about your decision to elope, so take the time to address each one individually. It’s natural for family members to want to be involved in such a big decision, so it’s important to acknowledge and understand their feelings. 

Actively listen to their concerns and try to address them one by one. Perhaps they are worried about not being able to attend the wedding or not having a traditional ceremony. You can relieve their worries by letting them know you will still have a celebration with them after eloping, or even plan a small ceremony with just immediate family if desired. 

Let them know that you understand where they’re coming from, and reassure them that it is a decision you have thought deeply about and are confident in.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to communicate your reasons for wanting to elope – maybe it’s about prioritizing a more intimate and personal experience, saving money, or not wanting a big fuss. By expressing yourself openly and honestly, your family may better understand and accept your decision.

Involve Your Family in the Planning Process as Much as Possible

wedding planner and photographer | Brit Rader Photography

After you talk to your family about eloping, you can involve your family in the planning process by including them in the decision-making. This will help them feel included and valued. You could ask for their opinions on details such as:

  • location
  • dates
  • activities
  • traditions or rituals
  • any other details they would like incorporated into the day. 

Another option is to invite them to join you on the actual elopement day, either as witnesses or as part of a small ceremony. You could ask for their assistance in informing other loved ones of the elopement and coordinating any post-elopement celebration gatherings. I’ve also seen couples gather letters and notes from loved ones to take a moment and read during their elopement day. 

Overall, clear communication and involving your family in the planning process can help ease any initial concerns or hesitations they may have about your decision to elope.

Explain How You Plan to Celebrate With Your Family After the Elopement

It’s important to communicate to your family that while you choose to elope, you still want to make them feel involved and include them in the joy and celebration of your marriage. Remind your friends and family that a celebration with them can still be had after the elopement to share the news and celebrate together. There are so many ways to do this! Here are a few of my favorites. 

having a conversation about eloping | Brit Rader Photography
  • Have a small reception, party, dinner, or another form of family gathering once you return from your elopement trip. You can share details, photos, and stories from the ceremony in person. This can be a casual get-together or a more formal event, depending on your preferences. This allows for a more personal and intimate celebration with your closest loved ones.
  • Invite your family to join you on the trip and turn it into a mini vacation where you can all celebrate together. 
  • Have a destination wedding or vow renewal ceremony that your family can attend and celebrate with you. 

Let your family know that you understand this may not be their preferred way of celebrating a marriage, but that you hope they can understand and support your decision to elope. Let them know you also plan to invite them on future trips or outings as a married couple to continue celebrating your union with them.

No matter what form the celebration takes, you want your family to know that including them in your joy and love is important to you and that you look forward to celebrating with them.

Thank Them for Their Support and Love Throughout This Process

Make sure when you talk to your family about eloping, you thank your family for their support and love during your decision. Show your appreciation for their understanding of your decision to forgo a traditional wedding and instead focus on starting your marriage on your own terms. Tell them how much their encouragement and excitement for your future together means to you. Thank them for being there to celebrate with you and for standing by you as you embark on this new journey as husband and wife.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to remember that while eloping may not be the traditional route, it is a personal decision and should be made with your partner. However, open and honest communication with your family about your decision can help alleviate any hurt feelings or misunderstandings. 

It may be helpful to discuss your reasons for wanting to elope with your family and listen to their concerns or perspectives. Involve them in the planning process as much as you can and feel comfortable with it. It’s also important to make sure everyone feels included and respected, even if they are not physically present for the ceremony. Ultimately, clear and respectful communication is key in navigating this conversation with your family.

At the end of the day, having to talk to your family about eloping can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that your loved ones really just want what is best for you. By approaching this conversation with openness and respect, you can help ensure a positive outcome for everyone involved. Good luck!

P.S. As an elopement and adventure wedding photographer, I pride myself on not just in documenting your elopement, but also in helping you navigate all the small details — like helping you figure out how to elope without offending your family. Get in touch with me for a free elopement photography consultation. 

  1. whoiscall says:

    Thanks for sharing!

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