How to Tell Your Family You’re Eloping

Couple stands next to each other and look at one another on a bridge in Chicago with the city in the background

More than ever, couples are more often choosing to elope and celebrate their marriage in their own way. Whether it be for financial reasons, your craving for adventure, or you really just might not like a ton of attention on you, I am all for eloping! One of the biggest challenges many of my couples struggle with when eloping though is deciding how to tell your family that that’s what you plan to do. It’s normal to stress about this and to worry about people feeling left out which is why I wanted to break down exactly how to tell your family you’re eloping. There are plenty of ways to include them and celebrate your marriage without them being there.

Couple embrace and kiss while their family stand next to them and cheer outside a restaurant

Go Into it With a Game Plan

The first and most important thing to do is to make sure that you and your partner are both on the same page and go into this with a plan. Sit down with your partner and daydream about your elopement! Start by making a rough plan, decide where you think you might go, what you want to do, and who is going to be involved (if you want anyone present). From there, decide the order in which you want to tell your family, and if your family member isn’t included in the day of festivities, think about how you might want them to participate in your wedding day. Read on for some examples on how to include your family!

Start Hinting at the Idea Early

Depending on your family and how openly you discuss your plans for marriage you can start dropping hints on your plans very early. Dropping hints while you and your parents are out at dinner, or when you get coffee with your cousins are great ways to get the ball rolling. Start getting the idea in their heads early on so that when you actually tell your family that you’re eloping it comes as less of a shock.  Openly dream about your day, talk about how excited you are to get married on a mountain or at city hall, and make sure to always reiterate how much you love them after!

Couple dancing together with plants behind them outside a restaurant

Couple dancing together with plants behind them outside a restaurant

Questions to be Prepared For

When you do tell your family that you plan on eloping there understandably may be a few questions that come up. The most common ones are why are you eloping? Where do you plan to elope? And how do you plan to elope? The where and how are the easier ones as you get to talk about your vision and what excites you about making your wedding day your own.

The question of why is a little tougher as some people may feel excluded from your wedding day. Talk about what you both want for your wedding day, the experience you want to have, the memories you want to create, and how you want this moment to be special to the two of you. If you’re open and honest with your family and paint them a picture of your dream for your wedding they will support your decision. One last question that may come up is how they can help with the wedding which we’ll get into next!

Family celebrates a couples engagement with a toast of wine in a restaurant

Other Ways to Include Your Family

There’s a lot that goes into a wedding, even when it’s smaller scale like an elopement. Thus, there are so many unique ways for you to include family members in your elopement, even if they won’t physically be there. When you tell your family you’re eloping, have some of these options ready so that you can invite them to be a part of the festivities off the bat.

Some of these include asking them to tag along when you’re picking out your dress, having a little get-together while you’re packing if you’re going far, or planning other aspects of your elopement day. If you want them to be a part of your actual day, but you don’t want them physically there, record a video for you to watch on the day of your elopement, or ask your loved ones to write letters for you to read the morning of. 

Celebrate in Other Ways with Your Family

Who says your wedding day celebrations have to just be on your wedding day? After you elope, schedule a time to get together with your family to celebrate at a later date. Whether it’s a backyard barbecue, a weekend together at an Airbnb, or even just dinner with a couple of friends and family members, extend your wedding day to as many different more low-key events as you want! This is a great way to make sure everyone gets the chance to celebrate your marriage while still having the elopement that you both envision.

Man lifts and kisses his fiancée in the street in downtown Chicago

Couple embrace and look at the camera underneath the Chicago theatre's lights

Eloping is such an amazing and intimate way to celebrate the love you have for one another, but I know having this conversation with your loved ones can be extremely challenging. If you’re looking for other ways to include your family in your elopement, head to one of my recent blogs ALL about including your family here!

May 12, 2022

Sreeja Ankam

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