So you and your partner have decided you want to elope. You’ve made the awesome decision to get married in a way that feels true to you and forget about stuffy, outdated traditions that might not mean anything to you both. There’s a chance at this point that there’s a part of you that’s concerned about offending loved ones with your decision to elope. The good news? As elopement photographers, we know a thing or two about helping you avoid those hurt feelings, and we’re excited to tell you all about how to elope without offending family.
Believe it or not, you can have the elopement of your dreams and still not make anyone mad. While elopement etiquette can be a touchy subject, we’re here to help. So without further ado, our tips on elopement etiquette and how to get the people in your life to understand why you’re eloping in the first place:
If you and your partner have a good relationship with your family, at first glance you may be wondering if an elopement is even for you. Maybe you thought that elopements were secretive weddings for couples who have a rough relationship with their loved ones. But as elopement photographers who have great relationships with our families and who also eloped ourselves, we can personally tell you that this is a complete and total misconception.
So this begs the question, “how can you elope without offending your family?” Well for starters, it’s helpful to explain your reason behind eloping. For a lot of couples, a large wedding just doesn’t feel like “them.” They don’t like the idea of sharing their vows with an audience or following a super strict, stuffy timeline. And that’s totally okay!
Sometimes, families quickly jump to the conclusion that a decision to elope is your way of saying you don’t care enough to have them there on your wedding day. But the majority of the time, for couples who are close to their families, this isn’t the case. So sit down with your family and explain to them why you want to elope. Chances are, once you explain your reasoning, they’ll be much more open to it. The key to how to elope without offending family lies in your intention behind eloping in the first place. The best elopement etiquette guidance we could give you is to be open and honest about the heart behind your choice to elope.
One of the best ways to elope without offending family is to get them involved in planning your elopement. Families are typically super excited to be a part of the wedding planning process. They are invested in your day. So getting them involved in helping you plan everything is a great way to let them know they are still a part of things, even if you choose not to invite them.
Have them help you find the perfect elopement location. Or bring them along for dress or suit fittings. Allowing your family to be a part of the elopement planning process lets them know that you have no intention of leaving them out. You simply want your day to be super private and as intimate as possible. This is honestly one of our favorite tips on how to elope without offending family.
A lot of couples choose to elope privately and then follow up their elopement adventures with a reception with the people they love. And we think this is an awesome way to have the best of both worlds. You can have your dream elopement day and still avoid offending family and friends.
A lot of the time, this form of eloping is a great way for your loved ones to still feel like they are a part of your wedding while still allowing you to have an elopement that really feels like it’s exclusively yours.
One of the best ways to elope without offending your family is to make sure your elopement day is fully documented. That way, you’ll have something to share with them after the day is done. They can relive the day with you two and see your private moment without you having them there on the day-of.
Proper documentation of your elopement day is a great way to share your private elopement with the people who matter most to you and it’s one of our favorite pieces of advice on how to elope without offending family and friends.
Guess what? Elopements are not exclusively for couples who want to get married with no one around. If you want to have your family with you when you elope, go for it! As elopement photographers, we define an elopement as a wedding with 10 or less people present, and you’ll find that many other elopement professionals have a similar definition.
So if having your mom, dad, or siblings is super important to you both on your elopement day, know that you can do that! Just remember that no one has the right to guilt you into inviting them to your elopement ceremony. This is your day, and should look however you want it to. If you don’t want family present on your elopement day, you don’t need to have them there. That is a personal choice, and it’s yours to make.
There are many reasons why couples choose to elope, but if there’s something we can tell you about this process, it’s that it comes from the heart. Eloping is super personal. It involves saying no to traditions that the wedding industry expects you to follow and choosing to pave your own path instead. And it takes SO MUCH bravery. We commend you for that. And we know what you’re going through because we made the decision to elope as well. We know how tough it can be, but we equally know how fulfilling it is as well.
And that’s why we’re here to let you know that no one is entitled to be there on your elopement day. You get to choose that guest list, if any. You get to make every dang rule. This is your book, your story, your elopement. I can almost guarantee that you’ll run into people pressuring you to have a large, traditional wedding. It’s the story the wedding industry has brainwashed people to believe: that a big wedding is the only type of wedding that is acceptable. Well, that is complete and total crap.
If you’re reading this article, we can already tell you’re a caring person…simply by the fact that your focus is on figuring out how to elope without offending family. You care about your loved ones and don’t want them to be hurt by this choice. But also remember that no person has the right to be offended by the way you choose to get married. Marriage is an extremely personal and intimate commitment. Nobody gets to tell you how you lived your married life, and so it goes without saying that no one should get to tell you how you get married, either.
There might be people who get offended by your decision to elope, but that’s on them. And while it’s totally awesome to consider how to elope without offending family, just know that if you spend your entire wedding planning process trying to figure out how to make everyone else happy and solely focusing on elopement etiquette, there’s a chance you’ll end up with a day that doesn’t feel right to you. I know it’s scary to make this jump, but just remember that this is your day, and it can look however you want it to. We’re here cheering you on while you make this big step. Just know you’re not alone, and that you can do this.
P.S. As an elopement and adventure wedding photographer, I pride myself on not just documenting your elopement or small mountain wedding, but helping you navigate the little details as well — like helping you sort out how to elope without offending family. I’ve been in your shoes with my own elopement, and I don’t believe you have to go through this process alone.
Check out some of our favorite elopement and adventure wedding planning resources:
Empowering You To Have Your Adventure Elopement, Your Way
Colorado Elopement Photographers + Adventure Wedding Photographers