How to Have The “Elopement Conversation” With Friends and Family

Aug 1

Dana Shular

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Dana shular


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The Elopement Conversation

If you and your partner are planning on or considering eloping, it’s likely that those two words may give you a case of the heebie-jeebies for one reason or another. We get it. Announcing and discussing your decision to elope with or without friends and family can be stressful. And if you’re experiencing some elopement-related guilt or anxiety, please know you’re not alone in this.

This is a stressor for nearly every eloping couple. Letting your friends and family know that you’re doing this whole wedding thing the non-traditional way can be spooky. And not fun spooky like The Goonies or Casper the Friendly Ghost. There may be hurt feelings and there may be some confusion. But, for all of the negative “maybes,” there are just as many positive ones. If you and your partner take the time to properly prepare yourselves and initiate your “Elopement Conversations” with the right tools and mindsets, it will make a huge difference for both you and your loved ones.

Every couple is different, and so are their loved ones. You and your partner know your people best. So, here’s the greatest advice we can give you: lead your conversations with compassion, and consider how your loved ones may be feeling about your decision. When you meet them with patience and love, you’re doing your best for yourselves and for them.

This blog is your reminder that you’re not alone in any of this. If you need support, advice, or guidance, we’ve gotchu covered. If you’re looking for more resources or want the ultimate hype group to help you build the dreamiest, easiest elopement ever, start your journey with one click right here.

Surround yourself with friends and family on your wedding day

Preparing for the announcement

If you don’t prepare yourselves for the big conversations, you open yourselves up to more possibilities for things to go wrong. We highly recommend prioritizing thorough preparation with your partner. That way, you can support one another in your journey and prioritize your personal well-being. Here are some of our top pieces of advice for how you and your partner can prepare yourselves to announce your elopement to loved ones …

Bring up the idea early

For your own sake and for that of your loved ones, don’t drop the news on them without preparing them for it first. If you and your partner can find ways to prepare your friends and family for the idea of you eloping, do it. It’ll make the conversation so much easier. Plus, they may even be expecting the news by the time you make an announcement. This is a great way to show your loved ones that this isn’t something you’re just doing on a whim. You and your partner want this!

The way in which you bring up the subject early is completely up to you. But if you need it, here are some additional pieces of advice:

  • Whenever the subject comes up, talk about eloping with EXCITEMENT! This isn’t something you should feel bad about. Show your loved ones how energized the idea of eloping makes you. They’ll see it.
  • If you want input, ask for it! Don’t be afraid to open yourselves up to the input of your loved ones if it’s something you value. This is a great way to let them know you’re seriously considering eloping, but value their thoughts as well. Extra points if you use jazz hands.
  • Don’t apologize. You have nothing to feel guilty about. Celebrate that love of yours!

Resist indulging the negative comments and suggestions

Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. Your loved ones are loved ones for a reason. They love you, and you love then. But even then, the people we love can occasionally say things that hurt us. Your friends and family may have negative comments about your decision. And they may feel the need to chime in with opinions about what you should do.

Our advice: don’t indulge them. Why? When you indulge negativity regarding your elopement, you open yourself up to negative thoughts about your decision. This may confuse your loved ones as to where your mind is at with eloping. A simple “I really appreciate your suggestion, NAME, but my partner and I have decided we want to take care of the planning ourselves” will show your loved one that you appreciate their input, but you’re wearing the wedding pants here. Not them.

Remind yourselves of why you want this

If you’re experiencing some resistance from friends and family about your decision, it’s normal to feel the weight of their opinions affecting you. We hear time and time again how stressful it is to plan a wedding. But honestly, your engagement should be the exact opposite of stressful. It should be a time to grow closer to your partner. To connect, and to feel confident in and at peace with your wedding plans. That’s why we do what we do, and that’s why we’re always, always helping our couples to find ways to strengthen their relationships and connect to one another throughout their engagement.

Beautiful imagery is a great way to make your friends and family feel like they were there with you

Before you announce your elopement to loved ones, we recommend using some of the following techniques with your partner …

Discuss your intentions

With your partner, take some time to create a romantic space for yourselves, sit down together, and discuss your intentions for eloping. Why do you want to elope? What are the most important things for you in your elopement experience? What do you want and what don’t you want from this experience? This is a great way to ensure you’re on the same page and understand what your partner is feeling, so you can best support one another and hold yourselves accountable on your priorities!

Write down your WHY

What’s your reasoning for all of this? Writing down your “why” for eloping is a surprisingly powerful tool for building confidence, accountability, and excitement. Whenever you’re feeling doubtful or guilty about your decision, return to your “why” and remind yourselves of what’s in your hearts. #Deep, we know, but it’s true.

Meditate when/if you need to

Meditation can be a great tool for creating clarity and clearing your mind when the negative thoughts start to creep in. If you and your partner like to practice meditation, we recommend taking some time to find stillness together, clear the negative thoughts, and refocus yourselves on your romance and the experience you want to have while celebrating it.

Announcing your elopement

The way we see it, there are two categories your elopement announcement can fit under: before, or after. Some couples choose to announce their decision to elope before they get married, while others prefer to elope, then share the news afterward. There are pros and cons to both options, and only you and your partner can know which one is best for you!

If you want to make your announcement beforehand, we recommend doing so early. This helps your loved ones to process the news, then, if you want, it gives them time to get involved with the planning process! If you expect a strong negative response from your loved ones, announcing beforehand does open yourself up to negativity and potential stress leading up to your wedding day.

If you’d prefer to make your announcement afterward, it can be a great way to have a completely stress-free elopement! No desire to deal with awkward conversations or negative responses? Sharing the happy news after the fact may be best for you. With that being said, however, announcing your elopement afterward can also lead to some serious hurt feelings. Be sure to be thoughtful of your loved ones’ emotions and share your announcement with empathy and excitement! Let them know it had nothing to do with them (even if it did …) and everything to do with you and your partner celebrating your love in a way that felt most like you.

A couple elopes in Yosemite Valley alongside their loved ones

Some other tidbits of advice for announcing your elopement …

Do it in person

This is big news, and it should be given in person. If your loved ones care about you and your marriage, they’ll want to receive this news face-to-face. Plus, it’s so much easier to communicate with one another honestly and effectively this way. If you can’t be with your loved ones in person to deliver the news, try to have the conversation with them over video chat!

Have a mantra for yourself in case things get emotional or stressful

You never know when things can get emotional, which is why it’s helpful for many couples to have a positive mantra to keep them grounded in those moments. A mantra is a great way to remind yourselves of that “why” we discussed earlier, and reassure yourself that you’re doing the thing that is best and right for you!

Some mantras we’ve made that may be helpful to use:

  • Everyone has a different perspective, but I know what’s best for me.
  • My love for my partner provides me clarity. No one knows how to celebrate our love better than us.
  • My loved ones care about me, and I care about them. Their opinions show me that they care.
  • I want to elope with my partner. I love my friends and family. Both things are true, and one does not discredit the other.
  • My elopement is a reflection of my love for my partner, not a reflection of my feelings toward others.
  • No one knows my love for my partner better than me. Know one knows how to best celebrate our love better than us.

Don’t apologize!

You are getting married to the love of your life. You’re in a season of your life that is temporary, romantic, and full of excitement. You are preparing for marriage, and your wedding day will be a glorious, magical celebration of your love. You’re embarking on a beautiful and emotional journey. What is there to be sorry about?

Your friends and family may be hurt by your decision to elope. They may feel left out, or perhaps they’ll feel like your decision is a reflection of your feelings for them. Even if it isn’t your intention to do so, their feelings are valid. It may be right to apologize for hurting them.

Your decision to elope is personal. You’re choosing to enter your marriage to your partner in a way that feels right for both of you. That should be celebrated! There’s a big difference between apologizing for eloping, and apologizing for the feelings your decision causes. It may sound silly, but it’s true. Apologizing for your decisions shows your loved ones that celebrating your love in a way that feels right is something to feel sorry about, and it’s not!

Lead with excitement

Show your loved ones how much this means to you by leading your conversations with enthusiasm about your decision. When you love someone, seeing them happy is a beautiful thing — communicating your happiness with your decision can be contagious!

You can include friends and family in your elopement without them being physically present.

Telling people they’re not invited

First and foremost, let us say that you can have guests at your elopement. It doesn’t just have to be you and your partner on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere (although we’re always big fans of that option too). As a rule of thumb, we like to say that an elopement is a wedding with 25 or less guests in attendance.

With that being said, however, it’s not unlikely that you’ll have to tell some friends and family that they didn’t make the cut. We won’t lie to you. There isn’t anything fun about telling someone they’re not invited to your wedding (although, maybe if you hire a barbershop quartet to sing the news to them …). That’s why we’re here to give you the advice you’ll wish you’d gotten earlier. As well as some prompts to make the conversation a bit more comfortable!

The most important thing to note when letting someone know they’re not invited to your wedding is this: make it clear to them that it isn’t personal. Lead the conversation with your excitement about your decision to elope. Make it clear to them that you love them, would love to have them there, but simply can’t given the nature of an elopement.

Some helpful prompts for telling someone they’re not invited

  • “ [PARTNER NAME] and I have thought a lot about how to most meaningfully celebrate our marriage, and we’ve realized that eloping is what would make us happiest and feel the most like us. [NAME], you mean so much to [PARTNER NAME] and I, but we’re very limited to how many guests we can have in attendance. We’re keeping our guest list to an absolute minimum, but we’d love to celebrate with you after the wedding.
  • [PARTNER NAME] and I are paying for the wedding on our own, so unfortunately we just don’t have the ability to invite everyone. We appreciate your understanding.
  • Because [PARTNER NAME] and I are eloping, we’ve decided to wait to celebrate with our loved ones until after the wedding. We can’t wait to party with you afterward!
  • Hello friends and family! As many of you know, [PARTNER NAME] and I recently got engaged. The more we’ve thought about our wedding, the more we’ve realized that a big day just doesn’t feel like us — that’s why we’ve decided to elope! We’re so excited about our decision. It feels like the perfect way to celebrate our love, and we hope you all can share in our excitement with us. We can’t wait to celebrate with our friends and family afterward! We love you all.

Whether in-person or otherwise, there's always a creative way to include your loved ones in your elopement.

Including loved ones in creative ways

Just because you’re choosing to do things the non-traditional way, it doesn’t mean you have to leave your loved ones out of your day entirely. In fact, there are so many ways you involve your friends and family in your elopement so that they feel included and valued.

Check out this blog for all the thoughtful and creative ways you can include your loved ones in your elopement! If you want a day that’s intimate and private, but still want to ensure your friends and family are involved in some way, you’ll want to give this a read.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or if you and your partner are ready to start planning the elopement of your dreams, drop us a line, and let’s get started on making it happen!

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