When I got married, I didn’t even know how to talk to people who weren’t invited to the wedding, and I certainly didn’t even think about how to tell friends and family we wanted to elope.
I’ll be the first to admit, wedding planning can be hell (I know, I went through it). The expectations of tons of people are weighing down on your shoulders… There’s the looming guest list, a mother-in-law who just decided she wants an off white dress and for you to invite a list of people you don’t even know… And don’t even get me started on how creating a seating chart is the single most political thing you will ever do until you decide to run for office one day. It kind of just makes you want to throw caution to the wind and say “What the heck! Let’s elope!” Now let me tell you, I’m over here waving pom moms and tossing confetti in the air because it’s hands down the best choice you’re going to make and I will be your cheerleader every single step of the way. So now you’ve got me on your side, what’s next?
The first thing you need to decide is if you’re going to tell friends and family you’re eloping AT ALL. Maybe your idea of an elopement is just the two of you exchanging vows on a mountain or a beach. Perhaps you’d just prefer a more intimate setting with your parents or a few witnesses. There’s no “right way” to elope but there are pros and cons to telling people.
PROS & CONS
PROS: People will get to feel like they’re part of an inner circle, like your own secret marriage/elopement club. They’ll feel pretty special because you decided to tell them, plus clubs are great. The people who you do choose to tell, often are people who are very close to you and do have your best interest at heart, so they also will be very supportive and encouraging!
CONS: So you just told that one person at work (or even a family member or close friend)? Well, they let it slip to another person at the office that you’re eloping. The likelihood of the word getting out obviously increases if you tell people. Loose lips sink ships. (Loose lips ruin surprise elopements…? Just doesn’t have that same ring to it.) The more people who know, the more opinionated people will get (trust me on this one). They’ll start getting pushy and ask to be invited (or have “thoughts” on why you’re “getting married wrong”). If you decide to go this route, make sure you highlight the fact that it is a small and intimate ceremony, and it’s what you and your fiancé want. (Then you can choose to tell them to shove it where the sun don’t shine, but you didn’t get that advice from me, okay?).
My personal advice? If you want to tell someone, consider telling only your parents. Even then, be very judicious about it, and emphasize until you’re blue in the face that it’s supposed to be kept on the down-low. In my experience, family has the biggest opinions on your wedding, so also consider only telling a friend or two that’s trustworthy. For me? I know right off the bat that my dad can’t keep his mouth shut (love you, daddy) so I would have a better chance of telling my mom or a close friend and keeping it quiet.
Since I’m a photographer who specializes in elopements, I’ve seen elopements announced in any way you can imagine. I’ve even seen couples surprise their parents by FaceTiming them for the ceremony. By far the most popular seems to be a mailed announcement. My personal favorite wording is something I saw on an elopement announcement sent to me by a former couple (and current friendsies!):