It’s time we talk about one of the biggest stress factors of elopements. That’s right, I’m talking about what to do when the naysayers try to talk you out of a more intimate wedding experience! You already know that I’m all about doing whatever you want on your wedding day. But the pressure from the people around you to have a “traditional” celebration is no joke! It can be crushing to have your loved ones express disappointment when you tell them you’re eloping. How do you tell your family (or friends, or anyone) that you’re eloping? And, how do you manage the negative responses you might get?
The number one thing I don’t want you to do is cave to the pressures from anyone trying to dissuade you from eloping the way you want to. Who’s wedding day is this — that person trying to tell you that you have to get married “normally” (whatever that means?!) or is it yours? Trick question, obviously… 😉
No one gets to tell you what the right way to get married is, except for yourselves!
An elopement is your chance to express your love with your partner in a way that’s enjoyable, personal, and memorable. Eloping is the kind of meaningful experience that you’re going to look back on forever with a big smile on your face! So, you deserve to do things your way, and no one else’s.
Without further ado, here’s how to tell your family that you’re eloping!
I’ll hit some of the common responses people may use to try to convince you to change your mind, AND, what you can say to them to stand firm in your decision.
#1. “Eloping is Selfish!” (Or, “you are selfish for eloping.”)
Okay. Maybe, no one you love will outright call you selfish, but they might imply this through any objection related to you “leaving out” everyone you love from the celebration. This is a surprisingly common reaction to being told about elopement plans. But, what exactly about eloping is selfish? I’m just going to come right out and say it — it’s actually selfish to demand that a wedding fits the needs of anyone besides the couple getting married. BOOM. 🔥
If you Google “top wedding regrets from couples” a huge, huge percentage of the answers you’ll see are related to couples regretting not creating an authentic experience that fits them.
Whether they outright say “We regret not eloping” or say something like “We regretted catering the celebration to try and please everyone,” these are all along the same lines!! Your priority on your wedding day is you. It is not that family member who wants to make you feel guilty for choosing something unconventional!
Now, as much as I’m an advocate for doing whatever the HECK you want when you get married, I also want to encourage you to have compassion for the responses you’ll get from people, even if they are hurtful!
If anyone tells you that you/your elopement is selfish, I recommend gently reminding them that you’re eloping because that’s what will bring you and your partner the most joy on your wedding day. Assure them that this choice has nothing to do with wanting to leave anyone out, but instead is a choice to celebrate most authentically.
#2. “An elopement is less special than a wedding.”
Let’s do a little thought experiment on this one! Are you with me?
There are seven billion people on this big blue floating ball in space! Of those billions, does it feel reasonable or likely that the majority of them will resonate with the exact same wedding traditions?! NO! Of course not!! If a traditional wedding doesn’t absolutely light you up, then there’s no way it will feel like a special experience you can cherish.
I’d even go so far as to say that an elopement strips away the things that are easy for a couple to hide behind. Without the DJ, the fancy floral and lighting setups at the dream venue, the elegant dinner plates for every guest, what’s left? Your experience celebrating your joy, your connection to your partner, and your promise to one another, is THE focus. And it should be that way! This is your day, baby!
When you’re thinking about how to tell family (and the rest of the crew) that you’re eloping, be prepared for this objection!
Stand firm in your choice — be ready to walk through why you want to elope, and all the ways you plan to make it special.
Whether special means revisiting important places in your relationship or taking an epic trip somewhere, sometimes all it takes is a little elaboration on why you want an elopement experience to bring the objections to a halt.
#3. “But, I’m still coming, right?” (or, “I need to be there!”)
Any iteration of a loved one trying to insert themselves into your celebration, even if they aren’t aware that they’re doing it, falls under this one! This is another reaction that’s fairly common when you tell family and friends that you’re eloping. The response is…”Do you, though?” 😬
See objection number 1! Remind the people who insist that their presence is required that your elopement is for you. It’s completely natural for the people that love you to want to celebrate with you. But there is a fine line between the celebration being for you, and being there just for other people to just feel like part of it. Always, always center the day on the experience you and your partner will have!
Here’s what you might say to someone who’s anxious about feeling left out:
“We’re still deciding how we’ll celebrate exactly! Our main adventure may not have guests. We would be so excited to have a [dinner, reception, barbecue, etc] with you later, where we can show you our elopement album!”
#4. “Is this really what both of you want? Is your partner really on board with this?”
This is the kind of objection where a loved one might try to get into your partner’s ear, in order to change your mind about the kind of celebration you’ll have. Again, not everyone who says this kind of thing to you when you tell them you’re eloping is doing this with insidious intentions! This can sometimes simply be an expression of doubt, especially in the face of a less conventional marriage celebration that not everyone is familiar with.
Remember, you and your partner are a united front! By the time you’re ready to announce to the crew that you plan to elope, chances are you’ll have talked through some of the bigger logistical points of what you plan to do.
When it comes to how to tell family that you’re eloping, only give as much detail as you feel comfortable with. Not everyone has to know the exact itinerary, but like I mentioned earlier, sometimes just a little bit of detail is enough to let your loved ones know that you’ve thought this through, you’ve collaborated with your partner on an experience you’ll both love, and that you’re both incredibly excited.
Your loved ones aren’t going to want to truly force you into a celebration you aren’t in love with, so be open about how happy you are to be eloping!! 🤗 Tell them a little about what you’ve been planning. Something like, “It’s been really fun for both of us to put this together! Our photography planner (oh, that’s me!) has been keeping us connected and accountable on planning out our experience, and it’s been a blast! Here’s what we’re thinking…”
As soon as your loved ones know that it is both you and your partner who really want to do this, how can they object?! At the end of the day, your crew loves you. They want to see you happy. Telling, and showing, how happy an elopement will make you both is all you need to convince this naysayer that your adventure elopement is the right choice.
#5. “Well, everyone will be so disappointed that they won’t get to celebrate with you.”
You can read between the lines a little bit on this objection — it’s a sneaky variation of number 1 at the top of this post!😉 Again, this is a reaction to the elopement news that centers your loved ones’ feelings and experiences, and not your own. This is the opposite of what you want for a marriage celebration!
And, you know what, I’m going to be honest with you. Yes, some people will be disappointed that they don’t get to witness you and your partner exchanging vows.
But here’s what will happen as soon as you share what your plans are:
Your crew is going to be so excited that you’re doing something so fun to celebrate your love! Something that feels like you, something you’ll gush and share stories about for years and years… There is no objection in the world that can stand against this kind of experience! You’ll have pictures and videos to share with them when it’s all over (or not! Privacy is totally cool, too.).
#6. “I think you’ll really regret not having a ‘regular’ wedding when all is said and done.”
Yikes… What exactly is a “regular” wedding?
Forgive me for being so blunt, but there is literally a zero percent chance that you will regret an adventurous elopement experience. Like, none. Zilch! I’m not just speaking from experience since I photograph elopements — logically, do you think you could ever regret the opportunity to exchange your vows in a way that has personal meaning to you? No? I didn’t think so!
Here’s how to deal with this objection:
Ask the person who warns you you’ll want a traditional wedding what exactly you’ll be missing out on. What pieces of a traditional wedding, specifically, are they worried about you not having? Another way to deal with this objection is…to just not! LOL. You can simply say “Nope, not a chance,” and move on! 😉
Take a BIIIIIG deep breath. Figuring out how to tell your family that you’re eloping, and dealing with any fallout, is a stressful thing.
Please know that more people will be on your side than against you, especially once you’ve talked through how you plan to elope and why it’s so special to you. The people who love you will always cheer you on, whether or not they’re present for your marriage day! ❤️
I, for one, can’t wait to see all that you have planned for an adventurous elopement! You can book a call with me here so I can get to know you and your partner, and help you start planning your perfect elopement day.