We are conditioned to think that the steps to finding your soulmate is first dating, then engaged, then traditional wedding. You know, the weddings where you have 8 people standing up beside you, there’s an aisle, & a whole lot of moving parts to pay attention to. The world is changing and weddings are being re-thought. Now, to tell your family you’re eloping and going against the expected is nerve wracking.

The absolute biggest question I get from couples is “How do I tell my family I’m Eloping?”

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, no rules or expectations!

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. So, How do you tell your family you’ve decided to elope?

Before telling your family that you are eloping, there is some pre-work for you & bae to do. Make sure to make a date night out of this to prepare for the moment when you do tell your family.

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, therefore, being confident and strong in your decision can help us resist being swayed. 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 and create boundaries with our loved ones.

After you have a discussion with bae to get on the same page before talking with your loved ones, here are steps to make sure you stay sensitive to their feelings while also being strong in your decision:

2. Tell your family you’re eloping in person (or FaceTime).

Avoid texting or emailing to tell your family you’re eloping. This can come off insensitive and rude because this action can be seen as disrespectful to your relationship with that person. In turn, when someone doesn’t understand the idea of eloping, it can feel like a rejection as well. It can feel like they weren’t important enough to be there or be told in a respectful way. We both know this isn’t true but your family could take it that way. Try to FaceTime or meet up to talk it out. People respond differently when you spend time with them and educating them about 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 your family 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 but a personal choice so that you and bae can look back 50 years from now and love your wedding day.

4. Allow your family to still be involved.

Keep your loved ones involved with planning, especially if you plan to do it alone. Maybe offer to incorporate them symbolically through letters you two can read together from them on your elopement day. 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.

Find more Ideas on how to make your elopement special here.

5. Hire a Videographer.

Photos are important 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. Some videographers also offer live streams of your elopement. This is a great way to “invite” family without physically inviting them.

Here are some Videographers I highly recommend:

6. Tell your family you’re eloping & elope.

At the end of the day, this is your wedding day. 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.

After you tell your family you’re eloping, 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.

I’m here to be your cheerleader and support you in the hardest moments of planning your elopement.

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