If we’re being completely honest, deciding to elope is usually the easy part. The challenge we see most couples facing when planning their adventure elopements is how they’re going to announce their elopement plans to their friends and family. You know you want to have an elopement, but you’re not sure how your loved ones will take the news.
Will your friends and family be insulted? Will you be burning any bridges? It can be difficult to figure out how to tell your family and friends that you’re planning to have an adventure elopement, and that can be a major hurdle for many couples who know in their hearts that they really don’t want to have a large, traditional wedding. As adventure elopement photographers who also made the leap to elope and had to go through these conversations ourselves, we hope to be able to help you through announcing and discussing your adventure elopement plans with your loved ones.
Elopements come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. As adventure elopement photographers, we consider any wedding with less than 15 guests to be an elopement. If you’re having an adventure elopement with a small group of family and friends, the decision is pretty simple and straightforward. If you want any guests at your elopement, you have to let at least that select group of people know.
If you’re having any guests at your elopement, we strongly recommend announcing your plans more broadly in advance. Otherwise, there’s a high risk of hurting the feelings of loved ones who weren’t invited — more so because it can look like an attempt to cover the wedding up and keep the adventure elopement a secret than because of disappointment over the lack of an invite itself.
If you are having an intimate elopement with only you and your boo, the decision can either be easier or tougher, depending on your relationship with your loved ones. It can be easier because you don’t have to explain to different parties why you decided to draw the line where you did — the matter of “why parents but no grandparents?”, or “why grandparents but no aunts/uncles?” becomes a moot point.
That being said, it can also be tougher, as you’re also saying no to those friends or family who are the closest to you. We recommend transparency up front in most cases, and we’ve seen that if you let your loved ones see how unabashedly excited you are to elope, they’ll usually get on board. It’s really all about explaining the “why” behind your elopement decision. Most people will hopefully come to realize that, at the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your relationship; not the standards of the wedding industry or the expectations of everyone you know.
While your loved ones may be a little bummed to not be a part of your adventure elopement ceremony, one tip we recommend is to get them involved in your elopement planning process. Ask your family and friends if they have any recommendations on places in national parks they have visited and really enjoyed. Ask for help scouting a location for you when they’re out and about on their own adventures.
For some friends and family, their objection to your adventure elopement is mostly coming from a place of sadness from missing out on the planning process. Asking for help can make them feel included and reinforce the idea that you aren’t trying to leave anyone out.
And here’s the thing: when they’re helping with the adventure elopement planning, they’ll get to see firsthand the excitement and joy you have when talking about your elopement day and any feelings of disappointment will be swept to the wayside. We can tell you from personal experience, it’ll likely click at some point for them. Sometimes it just takes a little time.
This is crucial if your elopement is just going to be the two of you. While your friends and family might not be there to see your adventure elopement ceremony, they’ll feel so much better knowing that they can at least see the documentation of your elopement day through images. For many eloping couples, their photos are the only way they can really relive their elopement experience after the day is done. Not only will it be a nice thing to share the images with friends and family, but you’ll also get to experience the adventure and thrills of the day again and again through your adventure elopement photos.
We eloped relatively recently, and I can tell you from personal experience that we spend so much time looking back on the photos and prints from our national park elopement. We’ll just go back and slideshow the whole gallery on quiet evenings when we want to experience those feelings again. And unlike the dress, the tux, the bouquet, the shoes, and all the other elopement day details, the adventure elopement photos never really lose any of their magic.
While we typically recommend sharing your elopement plans with your loved ones, let’s face it, some couples just may not want to announce their elopement intentions until after it’s happened. Whether you like the thrill of keeping their elopement a secret, are dealing with expectations of family and friends who just wouldn’t understand or let you hear the end of it, or you want to wait before announcing your elopement for some other reason (like family concerns or bad relationships), it’s OK to let your loved ones know about your adventure elopement after the fact. Before you do this, though, consider the pros and cons behind keeping your adventure elopement a secret.
Sometimes — especially if you’re dealing with overwhelming expectations from loved ones — waiting to announce your elopement is the best way to go. Some couples find that once they spill the beans, the disappointment from loved ones can be less severe, as they’re preoccupied with congratulatory excitement. While we don’t necessarily want to perpetuate the adage of asking for forgiveness rather than permission, this can sometimes be the best way to break the news, given the dynamics of some family relationships.
By the way, as adventure elopement photographers who specialize in adventure weddings, one of our favorite parts of the job is helping our couples through the elopement planning process. We’re there for our couples every step of the way, from helping you pick your adventure elopement location through being a resource when you’re trying to figure out how to talk to your family about your plans to elope. So if that sounds like something that would make your adventure elopement planning process easier, we’d love to chat with you about how we can help plan and document your dream adventure elopement.
Check out some of our favorite elopement and adventure wedding planning resources:
Not everyone loves tradition, but that doesn’t make your adventure wedding or elopement any less important.
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