Congratulations! You’ve got a gorgeous new ring on your finger and a plan for the elopement of your dreams with the love of your life… so what do you do with everyone else? Will you include some loved ones on the big day? Or tell them beforehand? Afterward? How do you spring the news of an intimate or completely private wedding on those who wish they could be there with you? Read on for my best tips on how to announce your elopement to the loved ones who may or may not be there on the big day.
Before I get into the specifics of how to announce your elopement, remember that an elopement doesn’t have to be just two people. You can definitely still have an intimate elopement experience with your closest friends or family involved. However, if you do include loved ones on your special day, make sure they’re fully on board with your vision. Invite those who will enhance your experience, rather than those who you fear might make you feel guilty for not including them.
With that in mind, your elopement options can vary from a traditional elopement with just the two of you to an intimate wedding with a couple dozen guests along for the ride. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to elope with or without family and friends, check out the stories from these real-life couples who each chose the option that was right for them:
Talk with your partner about the people you hope to include on that day, and choose the elopement option that fits your style and needs best. If you’re still having trouble deciding whether or not to invite people along at all, check out my blog on how to include family and friends in your elopement. There are lots of ways to get people involved, whether that means having them along for the whole day, throwing a celebration afterwards, or sending them the gallery of gorgeous photos we took to commemorate the day!
Whether you’re eloping just the two of you or inviting a few others to join, it’s important to think through how you want to communicate your decision. You can tell everyone in advance, tell just a select few, or keep your plans entirely secret until after you’ve tied the knot! Your decision should hinge on what feels the least stressful and most liberating for you. Think about what will enable you to relax and fully enjoy your day, without being hindered by anyone else’s opinions or expectations.
You can also choose to tell people in different ways, based on your relationship. I would recommend that you not tell anyone beforehand who may give you grief about your decision, so that any guilt or obligation they could put on you doesn’t have the chance to overshadow your perfect day. Of course, there are pros and cons for both options. If you wait until after you get married to tell people, no negative opinions can impact your special day, but some people may have an added feeling of disappointment, not only in being kept from the elopement, but also in not being trusted with the secret of it beforehand. At the end of the day, you are likely going to be faced with differing opinions, but remember that this time is about what you and your partner want, not anyone else.
Regardless of if you choose to tell people before or after your elopement, and regardless of if you choose to include them in any sort of capacity, below are my best tips on how to make the news go over as smoothly as possible.
Dropping hints before getting engaged or announcing your elopement can ease friends and family into the idea of you eloping, without you formally telling them yet. This can reduce both objections and any surprises. If there are certain people you expect to be more skeptical of the idea of an elopement, you can also ask other friends and family members to help you drop hints, too.
This works for both a before or after announcement. If your loved ones already know you find elopements to be less stressful, more personal, or more adventurous than traditional weddings, they’re less likely to be thrown off when they find out that eloping is what you’re planning to do (or what you’ve already done!).
Many couples opt for telling their friends and family that they are eloping in person, because it makes it easier to both explain your reasons and share your genuine excitement through your expression and voice. If they don’t live close by, a call or video chat is the closest replacement to telling them face-to-face.
Unless you have a strained or otherwise not very tight relationship, I would recommend not letting your closer family and friends find out via social media or another broad announcement. This can make the news seem jarring or alarming, rather than exciting. Having that personal touch lets your loved ones celebrate the idea with you, and it also can make them feel more considered and valued, being let in on the news in a personal way.
Some friends and family members might react to your plans based upon the misconception that your elopement means you want to exclude them from this big moment in your life. Opening up and explaining your reasoning behind why you decided to elope can help relieve those negative feelings. A few common reasons you can share are:
Asking your friends and family to participate in your planning process can help them feel like they are still involved in your big day. Telling your friends and family about all the details of your elopement day can help them understand the time, energy, effort, and thought that you’ve put into creating your elopement ceremony—and why it’s perfect for you and your relationship. Keeping them informed allows them to feel involved and excited, since they know what you are planning to do.
Tell them you still want them to be involved in your day. Whether this is through inviting them along for a part of your elopement day, asking them to help with the planning, or having a celebration with them afterwards — there are so many ways you can involve those you love in your elopement day!
Tell your friends and family that you’ve hired an amazing photographer (oh hi there!) and will share all your images with them so they can relive your day with you. You can even have a photo reveal party later on, or show the photos and videos on a big screen if you’re planning to have a wedding celebration later in the year. Some couples reveal their elopement to their friends and family by surprising them with the elopement pictures, which are the best and most tangible way to show how much fun you had on your actual elopement day.
Sharing your photos can help those who weren’t present understand what your elopement was all about, because they can see your joy and happiness in the images, and can feel how incredible the day was for you and your partner.
At the end of the day, it’s good to empathize with friends and family who may be initially disappointed in your plans, but don’t forget that your wedding day is a celebration of your love with your partner (not anybody else), and that you deserve to have the day of your dreams. If crowds aren’t your thing, why involve them on the most important day of your life? If you want to get married on a mountain peak, why compromise on that in order to satisfy others? If you have always dreamed of an elopement, why not make that dream come true with the love of your life? Your wedding day should be a reflection of who you are as a couple. This day is only for the two of you. So even if it takes some people extra time to come around, those who love you will be happy that you had the wedding of your dreams, even if that meant not including them in it.
Chances are, if you’ve decided to elope, you might be having a hard time knowing how to tell your family. I hope these tips have helped put your mind at ease a bit. If you need more encouragement or advice, I’m always here to help brainstorm or give you inspiration from the experiences of the other amazing couples I’ve worked with. Elopements are my favourite events to shoot, because you truly shine as a couple in the environment where you feel most comfortable and empowered. So are you ready to start planning your elopement? Click here to contact me, and we’ll make sure to get the most amazing photos to share with all your friends and family for years to come.
I’m your elopement hype girl and a photographer for the goofball lovers + those who want to make their wedding day an adventure. I’m also the owner of a converted camper van and love exploring the outdoors. You’ll find my heart on this blog. Whether it’s documenting my real life couples or giving my brides + grooms the tips + tricks they need to plan their best elopement, I’ve poured my heart out for you here.
"Liv is extremely talented and great to work with! She gave us enough direction in our shoots to know what to do but still left tons of room for candid, genuine moments. Nothing beats seeing real smiles and laughter in your photos! She was more than willing to collaborate and go for some sillier ideas, and was always super encouraging. She's an incredibly sweet person and we felt very comfortable to be ourselves around her. Liv's talent is beyond just the technical knowledge, she really has an artist eye for beautiful photos. Her editing style is perfect, not too dark or light but still brings personality with the warm tones she adds. I HIGHLY recommend working with Liv!!"