We are conditioned to think that the steps to finding your soulmate is first dating, then engaged, then huge traditional wedding. The world is changing and weddings are being re-thought. The absolute biggest question I get from couples is “How do other couples deal with backlash from their families?”

Now, keep in mind – you do not have to elope alone. If “I could never do this without my mom” comes to mind, invite your mom. Elopements are exactly what you want them to be and if you want mom there, so be it. That’s the beauty of eloping.

It takes courage to go against what traditional thoughts are of what your wedding should be. You will experience some judgment when announcing that you’re eloping – but 50 years down the line, those judgments will not matter. All that matters is that you and bae did what is best for you and how you wanted to celebrate your love.

Here are six steps to tell your family you’re eloping:

1. Write down the reasons you’re eloping.

This will help you to stay focused when thinking about what you want. Loved ones can sway our decisions without even trying. If we are clear with ourselves about why we are eloping, we can be clear with others as well. We can stay strong in our decision.

2. Break the news in person (or FaceTime).

Avoid texting or emailing. This can come off insensitive and this is a sensitive topic. When someone doesn’t understand the idea of eloping, it can feel like a rejection from the couple. It can feel like they weren’t important enough to be there. We both know this isn’t true. Try to FaceTime or meet up to talk it out. People respond differently when you spend time with them and the topic of eloping.

Be empathetic and understand that this can be a shock to your family. Hear them out and take time to consider their feelings.

3. Share your ‘Why’ for eloping.

Get that list out, go over the reasons and ask them not to interrupt you. Express how important this is to both you and bae. Be clear that this is not a personal attack on your loved ones.

4. Allow them to still be involved.

Keep your loved ones involved with planning, especially if you plan to do it alone. Parents might feel shut out or rejected and keeping them involved in a good way to keep them feeling a part of your plan. Allow them to throw a shower for you. Allow them to watch to throw a celebration afterwards if they want to celebrate. Remember that they have seen your love story flourish and it’s natural for them to want to celebrate too.

5. Hire a Videographer.

Photos are important – take it from me. BUT Video is so different than photo. Video can capture your vows being said, convey the feeling of the day, and help your loved ones to feel like they were there too. Videographers also offer live streams of your elopement – this is a great way to “invite” family without physically inviting them.

6. This is Your Day.

At the end of the day, this is your marriage. I know, you have heard this a lot by now but… It’s true. 50 years down the road you want to look back and think “I am so glad we did it the way we wanted to” or “Ugh I wish we wouldn’t have let people sway us.” You are brave and only you know what you truly want.

Be prepared for initial disappointments. Be prepared for people to seem cold after you tell them you won’t be throwing a huge party. Give them time and do not pressure them to be okay with your decision. Sometimes, time is needed to move forward.

As always, I’m here to be your cheerleader and support you in the hardest moments of planning your elopement. Ready to start planning?