It’s all fun and games to decide to elope…but now you have to tell everyone. Oof. It won’t be the easiest thing but it will be worth it once you get to get married how you actually want to. We’re going to dive into all sorts of advice for this including a template and example script to help you out.
First, let’s get you pumped up.
You deserve to have the wedding (or elopement) of your dreams.
You get ONE wedding day. There’s nothing selfish about planning it around the only two people it’s about. You don’t think it’s weird that someone picked a birthday theme/location you don’t like because it’s their party, not yours. Same goes for your wedding.
If your family/friends don’t respect your decision, that’s not your problem. Do your part to communicate and how they handle it is up to them.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. As long as you’re respectful and gentle, no one can fault you for standing your ground.
Start preparing them early. If you aren’t even engaged yet but you know a traditional wedding isn’t for you, drop the hints now. Honestly, start this before you’re even dating someone if you’re here early enough. Take the appropriate opportunities to drop hints like, “When I get married, I’m just going to run off and get married in nature.” Plant the seed now even if it’s in a joking tone.
If you’re already engaged and getting ready to start breaking the news, really chat with your partner about why you want to elope. This discussion will help you prep your script for telling family and give you some answers for potential follow-up questions.
Sit them down (or call them) and have a real conversation with them. It’s not the easy route but it’s the best in the long run. It may be easier to shoot a quick text but hearing your full explanation will help them a lot. You can even write your speech down if that makes you feel better. In your speech, make sure to include…
If this conversation goes poorly, it’s important to remember that it isn’t your fault how they handle this information. If they truly love and care for you, they will respect your decision even if they feel hurt by it.
Here’s an example of what you can say if you want more of a template:
“I just wanted to talk to you about my partner and I’s wedding plans. We’ve thought a lot about the experience we want to celebrate our wedding and it’s not a traditional wedding. We are going to elope on the Oregon Coast. We feel like this is going to give use the best experience and best represent our love. We’re more private people and we really want to focus on each other and our commitment over trying to throw a large party. It doesn’t feel true to us.
“Eloping has changed a lot in recent years. It’s more than running off for a courthouse wedding. We’re working on planning an intentional day filled with things we enjoy doing. We’re planning on hiking in the Redwoods, having a picnic on the beach, and exchanging vows next to the waves so no one can hear our vows but us. [Show photos of elopements where you want to elope.] We’re so excited about these plans and it took so much stress off our shoulders to change our plans to something that’s a better fit.
“We hope you know we still love you and cherish our relationship so much. We aren’t making this decision to exclude anyone. I understand if this is a surprise to you and if you feel hurt. We’d love to celebrate with you [dinner at later date, write letter, etc.]. We appreciate you understanding our decision. We wouldn’t go this route if we didn’t truly believe this was going to make us happiest.”
With some people you chat with, comments and questions after are inevitable. Here’s some common ones I’ve heard so you can also prepare these responses.
“Elopements aren’t real weddings” or “you’ll regret eloping” or any other issues with the history of what eloping has meant:
Eloping isn’t a “lesser” wedding option. It’s just a different way to get married and if you’re here, it’s a better fit for you. You’re using it as a more intentional way to get married rather than following the same template as everyone else.
“What about [insert anyone’s name who won’t be invited]?”
Take a similar route to the conversation with the current individual. You value your relationship with them and a wedding invitation isn’t an indication of how much you care for them. It’s less about the person and more about having privacy.
“We don’t get to watch you get married” or other variations of feeling like they’re missing out.
You usually hardly see each guest during a traditional wedding anyways. You weren’t likely to get much quality time with close friends/family regardless. You will likely get more quality time celebrating and sharing your wedding experience by meeting up with them privately at another time.
“Eloping/this decision is selfish.”
It really isn’t. You have one day to celebrate you two and you’re not obligated to plan around everyone else. Gently remind them that it’s YOUR day.
Thankfully telling everyone else is a bit easier. You have two main options. First, you can just not tell anyone and announce it on Instagram/Facebook. Then you don’t have to worry about people trying to invite themselves or awkwardly explaining there’s no invite for that one person you were lab partners with that one time. Second, anytime people ask your wedding plans you can just say that you’re eloping with just the two of you. That random coworker will probably have an unwanted opinion but just shrug it off. You don’t have to explain yourself if you don’t want to.
Even though I just gave you all this advice on how to “uninvite” people, I want to remind you that you CAN have guests at your elopement. Even for my own elopement, I wanted my immediate family and best friends there. Check out this blog for an entire post on how to include your family (both in person and virtually).
The most important thing is to ONLY invite people you want there. Toss out the obligatory invites.