This blog post is for the adventurous couple who wants to elope but needs some support and direction on how to tell your family you’re eloping. Because you still want them to feel seen and included in celebrating your marriage, but also want them to understand that you don’t want a traditional wedding. Sound like you? As an elopement photographer, I know it can be overwhelming to figure out the best way to communicate with your family. To gain confidence with techniques on how to approach the topic of your elopement with your family, continue reading!
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Why Couples Choose to Elope
More couples are ditching the traditional wedding and choosing to elope instead, but why?
Some of the reasons why couples choose to elope includes to have a “just us” experience, to do something different, to save money, or to avoid family drama and the stress of entertaining 150 guests. Why do you want to elope? Contact me and tell me what you’re envisioning for your elopement, so I can celebrate with you!
The truth is, a big, traditional wedding is not right for everyone.
The reasons why couples want to elope are valid, and the hard truth is that no one “deserves” to be at your wedding. Weddings have become this huge, expensive show couples “HAVE” to put on according to “tradition,” but the reality is, traditional weddings aren’t always the best fit for every couple. An elopement is simply a different kind of wedding – one that captures who you are as a couple and starts your marriage off in the most authentic way possible.
If you’re feeling nervous about how to tell your family you are eloping, let me remind you of these things:
Elopements are not selfish or shameful.
An elopement is an intentionally-crafted experience curated just for you. It’s about celebrating your deep love and connection with each other and spending your wedding day in a meaningful way that truly FEELS like you.
Elopements are not the cheaper, lesser than option for a wedding.
They aren’t about running away in secret or spending just 1 hour at the courthouse and calling it a day. Modern elopements are a blend of luxury and adventure as you intentionally design a wedding day centered around you, as a couple, and how you want to get married, whatever that looks like. The options are endless! Not everyone is as brave as you to consider eloping, and I cannot be more thrilled. This is seriously one of the BEST decisions you’ll ever make!
6 Tips on How to Tell Your Family You Are Eloping
How to Tell Your Family You’re Eloping Tip #1:
Drop hints early on & then be obvious, so people not expecting a 200+ person wedding.
Giving people hints even before you’re engaged is a great way to ease people into the idea of your elopement. You can talk about objections and questions before you actually start planning!
How to Tell Your Family You’re Eloping Tip #2:
Tell your family face to face or on a video call, so they can see your excitement.
This makes it easier to explain why you’re doing an elopement! By seeing the joy that you have and being able to hear about it with you in person, they are more likely to be more receptive than if they had found out over a text.
How to Tell Your Family You’re Eloping Tip #3:
Share your reasons why.
There are so many misconceptions when it comes to elopements. Reassure them that this isn’t a last-minute decision to run away in secret. You’re putting a lot of thought & money into creating a unique wedding day for you that will be small, intimate & special. You simply want a different kind of wedding.
Here are few common reasons you could tell your family why you’re eloping:
- We wanted to do something meaningful, intimate, and not performative
- We wanted to spend quality time together on our wedding instead of entertaining guests
- We wanted to say our vows in a beautiful location that won’t be able to fit a big group
- We didn’t want to wait to plan and pay for a big, expensive wedding when we’re ready to celebrate our love sooner
- We want to save for a house, travel, etc. instead of putting all of our funds towards a big wedding
How to Tell Your Family You’re Eloping Tip #4:
You actually CAN still invite a small group of guests to your elopement (if you want to)
When you’re telling your family that you want to elope, you can let them know that you still want to include them! Even if you aren’t sure how exactly yet, there are endless ways to include your family if you’re wanting to. For example, you can always do a private adventure with your photographer or a private vow reading/ceremony, and then meet up with your guests at a microwedding venue or Airbnb rental. For National and State parks, I usually recommend capping it at 25 or less due to park restrictions. You can even make it into a whole weekend where one day you have a private elopement one day, and the next day, you celebrate with guests!
If you don’t want guests at your elopement, you can include people in the planning process. Some ideas could be dress shopping, location research, throwing you an engagement party beforehand OR a family reunion-style celebration afterwards. Other ideas could people writing you letters or recording video messages that you can enjoy on your elopement day.
How to Tell Your Family You’re Eloping Tip #5:
Share your photos with them!
Whether it’s a surprise or they know you’re eloping, they can experience your photos together and see how happy you were. It can help them understand your reasons you chose to elope and see your overall planned-out experience.
How to Tell Your Family You’re Eloping Tip #6:
Remember the day is for you
It’s great to empathize with people, but ultimately, your wedding day is about you. It’s a celebration of your love with your partner and doesn’t actually involve anyone else. Do what’s right for you. You can’t please everyone, and those people probably would have had something to say about your traditional wedding anyway. So, why not just do what will make YOU happy?
6 Ways to Include Those Who Won’t Be Present
Whether you choose to have an elopement with just the two of you, or you have a microwedding, here are some ways you can include the people who won’t be present on your wedding day.
- Throw an engagement party or host a reception party after your elopement (you can then show off your photos!)
- Ask them to help choose wedding attire
- Include family heirlooms as details
- FaceTime them during the day or read letters from them
- Send them photos & videos during the day with updates
- Share your gallery or even gift them prints and albums
Are you ready to start planning your elopement now that you know how to tell your family you are eloping?
Fill out my contact form, and let’s get started! This is supposed to be the best day of your entire lives, why not spend it doing what you want while I document it so you can remember every second? Let’s write the most epic story you’ll still be raving about 50 years from now.
Juliana Wall Photography | Virginia & Washington DC Elopement and Small Wedding Photography
Check out what your elopement could look like below! Where do you imagine your elopement will be?
Do you see yourself getting married in the mountains after an incredible hike, enjoying a luxury picnic at your camper, or strolling through an art museum as a newly married couple? Check out these other blog posts depending on where you’re imagining your elopement will be! To book with me to capture your elopement, fill out my contact form here.