How to Elope Without Offending Family – Announcing Your Elopement


December 3, 2021

So many couples go through the planning process feeling frazzled, pressured, stressed, dreading the huge party that’s coming up. But, because there are all these expectations around weddings and the way they “should be,” a lot of couples don’t even consider that this may not be right for them! And a lot of couples who do consider it, push that thought away for fear of upsetting the people around them. And I think that’s terrible! When did celebrating your unique love story become about everybody else? This guide will explain how to elope without offending any family members.

I believe in being intentional – not rushing through experiences, not doing things just because it’s the norm, not changing who you are to please anyone else. Elopements are all about putting yourselves first, prioritizing your experience over throwing a big party, and embracing who the two of you are. 

Whether it’s a nagging thought in the back of your mind or you’ve already decided to elope, it’s normal to be a little hesitant or to be nervous about backlash. This guide will give you some tips on telling your loved ones and announcing your elopement!

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Tips for Announcing Your Elopement Without Offending Family

There are two questions you should answer before you start thinking about ways to announce your elopement. 

First – are you inviting your family or your friends? Of course, your announcement will be way different depending on the answer! There’s a myth that couples who elope aren’t close with them. While avoiding family drama or choosing not to invite people who haven’t been supportive of you is a totally valid reason to elope with no guests, some couples just feel more comfortable with a private, intimate elopement experience that’s reserved just for the two of them. Decide if you’ll be inviting any guests to your elopement, and decide who you want around you on the big day!

The second question is whether you want to announce your elopement before or after you tie the knot. Most couples let the people in their lives know ahead of time, but others feel that keeping this experience completely private (whether it’s to prevent backlash or just to keep things low-key) is better for them.

Once you’ve made those decisions, here are some tips for telling your family and friends!

Tell Them in Person

If you’re telling your loved ones that you’re eloping before the knot is tied, I recommend telling them in person. If that’s not an option, videochat them so they can see your face! This will make it feel more intentional and personal – they’ll know you thought this through and that you care about their feelings.

Explain What Eloping Means to You

A lot of people still think of elopements as rushed, scandalous Vegas ceremonies, so they might have a hard time understanding your decision! It can help a lot to explain what elopements are today, and to tell them why this decision is the right one for you. Telling them about your plans, even if you don’t have anything set in stone yet, for the adventures you’ll have and the things you want to experience on your day can be helpful too!

Help them see it from your perspective, and help them understand that it’s not about excluding anyone – it’s about getting married and beginning your marriage in a way that actually reflects the two of you. If you need help busting some old myths about elopements, check out this guide!

Be Sympathetic – But Stand Your Ground

When you approach the conversation of announcing your elopement, it’s important to be sympathetic to your loved one’s feelings. It’s understandable that if your family member is the type to dream about your wedding day, or if they had a preconceived idea of their role in the day or how it would go, they might be disappointed.

You likely know your loved ones enough to predict how they’ll feel and how they’ll react, so prepare yourself for this! While understanding and empathy are huge, because this isn’t about excluding anyone or hurting feelings, it’s also incredibly important to stand your ground and be firm about your decision. Go into this conversation knowing what you want – and remember that this is your wedding day, and the decisions are entirely yours and your partner’s!

How to Include Your Family in Your Elopement

One of the best ways to elope without offending family is to include them in the day – if that feels right to you. This can mean inviting them to your elopement, or it could mean including them in other ways.

Invite Your Family

If you can’t imagine your wedding day without your family, you can definitely invite them to celebrate with you! If you want your loved ones with you for the ceremony, but you still want some time to yourselves, I recommend a two day elopement. You can spend one day with the family, and one day adventuring by yourselves. It’s the best of both worlds, and gives you the freedom to explore and space to spend time together, while including your family in your elopement.

Have Your Family and Friends Write Letters

If you want to elope just the two of you, there are still ways to include your family and friends on the day! The first way is to have them write letters for you to read. This is always super emotional, and it lets your loved ones “speak” to you on your wedding day, even if they aren’t there in person.

Have a Reception After

Another way to elope without offending family is to plan a reception after your elopement day. This could be right after, a few days, or even a few months later! This gives you the opportunity to celebrate with your loved ones after the knot is tied. 

Include Your Family in Elopement Planning

When it comes to how to elope without offending family, making them feel included can help a ton, even if they aren’t there on the day of. Asking for advice with planning, bringing them along for elopement shopping, and including them throughout the process can make them feel valued – and it can be helpful for you too!

Share Your Elopement Photos

One of the best ways to share the news of your elopement with people who weren’t there is to send them your elopement photos! You’ll likely have some highlights for social media, but sharing the entire gallery will tell the story of your day, and it’s the closest thing to being there in person. Once they see the photos, the adventures you had, and how happy eloping made the two of you, they’ll have a much better understanding of your decision! 

Let’s be honest – you’ll have the most epic wedding photos ever! But eloping isn’t about the photography, it’s about the experience. It’s about slowing down, connecting with each other, doing something you truly love, and enjoying every minute! That joy is reflected in your photos, because the best pictures are the ones that capture real, genuine emotion.

As an elopement photographer, I’m ready to document all those little moments (and big ones too), and to be your personal hype woman as you navigate the brave decision to put yourselves first and do your wedding your way! Contact me to start planning your one of a kind adventure.

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Mary Andrikus is a Kentucky & destination wedding, elopement & family photographer. Mary strives to create photography experience that you can relax into.

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