So You've Decided to Elope? Here's How to Break the News

If you've decided on an elopement, whether that means you're doing it completely alone or inviting a few immediate family members and friends, here's our expert-approved guide to breaking the news.

bride and groom eloped
Photo: Rebecca Carpenter Photography via The Stars Inside

Tell your nearest and dearest first. "Although an elopement is an incredibly intimate experience for the couple, it may feel like a slap in the face to family and friends who hoped to be included. While you can't avoid hurt feelings entirely, there are some ways to soften the blow. Tell your closest family and friends about your elopement promptly after the ceremony, if possible (Or if you feel comfortable telling them beforehand, go ahead and do it!). If you can't tell them in person, give them a phone call (texting just isn't personal enough for such big news). Be open and honest about the reasons why you and your partner chose to elope, and perhaps consider celebrating with them shortly afterwards with a celebratory cocktail hour or backyard BBQ reception." —Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide

Then make the announcement. "Send out 'We did it!' photo cards to anyone else you would have normally invited to a 'traditional' wedding. If you do decide to host a post-elopement celebration, you can include the details in your marriage announcement. And if you're into social media, now's the time to make it 'official' by posting a photo or video announcement, or updating your status to 'Married'" —Miller

Stay true to your values. "If you've made the wonderful decision of eloping and are now ready to break the news, my advice would be to be open with friends and family from the start, so that expectations are managed and there is no pressure on you. Share the news with family and friends in a positive, thoughtful, and honest way. It may be that some family members will express disappointment or surprise when you tell them, but stay strong and true to your values — the older generations wouldn’t really have had this option available to them, and may not understand what it really means to have an elopement these days." —Valentina Ring, Owner + Lead Planner, The Stars Inside

Consider an elopement celebration party! "Once you've had a chance to let your friends and family know, and if it feels right for you, you could even host an intimate elopement celebration party! You could print your favorite photos from the trip into a little album, or play the film of the day if you had a videographer join you." —Ring

Most importantly: never feel guilty for choosing to elope. "The most important of all is: don’t ever feel guilty. It's understandable if you're feeling worried that your choice may be seen as 'selfish' — but it absolutely isn’t. There is nothing selfish about wanting to spend the day you get married with the person you are marrying, and there isn't a rule that says that anybody has the right to be at your wedding. If you think about it, there are ways in which a larger wedding could even be seen as selfish — asking people to take time off work, to travel, to purchase new clothes maybe, to buy gifts, book accommodation, and give up weekend time to be where you want them to be. The same way guests will do all of the above gladly for the people they love, so can all your family and friends rejoice in accepting your elopement decision. So let go of this burden, and enjoy every moment of having done what’s right for you, for all the right reasons." —Ring