Post # 1
I know I’ve kind of posted about this before, but now that I’m actually engaged, it is more of an immediate concern!
My fiance and I have looked at the options for small weddings, and have decided that we will probably have a private ceremony with just the two of us instead of inviting family/friends and having the whole big reception. This is something we have always been interested in, but it is especially appealing now as my family dynamic has been tumultuous over the last couple of years (including an unhappy divorce and power struggles between my siblings and mother). We know that our families will not be happy if we have an “elopement,” but we are trying to keep in mind that the ceremony is about us and our relationship. We want that day to be pleasant and happy, not awkward and tense.
No matter what, I’m sure my mother will assume I’m eloping because of the awkwardness my parents’ divorce has caused, and I know this will hurt her feelings. And while this is one factor, I have also loved the idea of an elopement since I was young and have been telling her this my whole life to get her used to the idea. I recently found out that she thought this was just a phase.
For those who eloped, how did you tell your families about your plans? Did you do so before or after? Did any of you try to mitigate hurt feelings with a letter, or even taking them out? If you had a post-wedding celebration (BBQ or similar), did this help people to feel like they were still loved, or was it just seen like a consolation prize?
Post # 2
If you tell people beforehand, it’s not an elopement. If anyone has to know, they’re to keep it a secret. Keep that in mind.
So many couples ruin their plans by telling people first, and it’s usually exactly the people who will have a problem with it. It’s ridiculous and unfortunate.
If you’re going to elope, elope. Don’t tell anyone. Telling them won’t soften the blow. It’ll upset them, put a damper on your plans, and give them time to convince and guilt you into doing something more traditional for their sake.
If eloping is what you really want to do, then really do it.
Post # 3
I think there is something to be said for Rhopalocera : ‘s point – sometimes it’s better to ask for forgivness than for permission, you know? If you’re sure that you want to get married just the two of you, then I think it’s a valid idea to just do it and announce it to family after. Given that they cannot change it at that point, they may be more likely to get over it and not stew.
I did not elope (sorry, i know you were asking for advice from someone who did!) but I got to attend the “almost elopment” of a dear friend. She got married on 3 weeks notice and only invited 5 friends and no family. Both her and her DH’s families were upset, but after a few months they got over it. They had valid reasons for doing it this way (visa issues, money issues, and no one lived close by) but of course parents and siblings are going to be disapointed when they don’t get to participate in this milestone. You just have to let them feel their feelings but also stand strong for what makes sense for you. It’s not about changing their minds but instead about giving them a little time to process and get over it.
A traditional wedding doesn’t make sense for every couple and sometimes you have to make a practical choice. There is nothing wrong with that.
Post # 4
I havent, but we are thinking about it! I come from a large close knit family, several of my cousins were more like brother and sister growing up because we spent so much time together. My younger cousin J met C and he was in the army. He and C eloped after a year of dating and didn’t tell anyone until after. He is in the army and later said that he wanted C to be able to go with him, married soldiers got a larger stipend and were able to live off base in a house. Everyone was upset at first, but didn’t openly express that as it’s not our decision and we didnt want to make them feel badly. He was the first cousin to get married so we were bummed. They never had a party/reception after. Everyone got over it eventually and it didn’t cause any long term rifts o anything . I agree with pp that if you want to do it just do it and apologize later. Once it’s done most individuals won’t give you a lot of flack besides saying congrats and wish we had been there!
Post # 5
I am eloping in the spring (although both families know we have plans to wed on a particular day), we just decided to not invite anybody. I understand your struggle with this. Wondering if I should give them advance notice, or explain, et cet.
But a lot of people pointed out that if you tell them in advance, that gives them more time to lay down guilt trips and stomp boundaries and ruin your plans.
I remind myself that I am not responsible for anybody elses feelings except my own.
I’m sure some of my relatives will express their hurt and disappointment, instead of getting over themselves and congratulating us on getting married.
I also remind myself, Mom had her weddings her way, Dad had his wedding his way, all my siblings did what they wanted. So why should their wants and expectations about MY wedding outweigh what my fiance and myself want? No pay, no say!
(I know it doesn’t feel that easy to dismiss their feelings though. I think a lot of us are trained from birth to manage other peoples feelings.)
Post # 6
dont worry about no ones feelings. from now on its your husband and you. u can have a reception later on in life where u can plan awkardly and accordingly
Post # 7
KDoodle : IF they’re going to have hurt feelings, that will be true whether you tell them before or after. The only difference is, if you tell them before, you have to listen to it for days, weeks, or months longer than if you tell them after, plus you’ll have their disapproving words ringing in your ears on your special day. Save yourself the trouble — just tell them afterwards. “We just decided it was time to do it, so we did.” My husband and I eloped and told everyone afterwards. In our case, it wasn’t that big a deal.
Post # 8
- Wedding: March 2017 - Nepal
KDoodle : What worked for us is that we made our plans before telling anyone. We didn’t want to blindside anyone by telling them after the fact but also didn’t want anyone to try and change our minds. We were excited and confident once we shared the news, making it a bit more difficult to make it about their own feelings.
Post # 9
We told our family over the phone. My great uncle swatted me with a broom on behalf of the family when he saw us. We were all G after that.
It wont be as bad as you think!
Post # 10
We eloped in secret. We FaceTimed our parents from our hotel room in Amsterdam the following evening. If they were upset then I don’t know but by the time we were home they were over it.
Post # 11
I mentioned that we were thinking of eloping to my parents. My father demanded that we have a small wedding. My Mother-In-Law hung up on me when I told her. We eloped and my husband called my mother the after. We also sent out wedding announcements.
My Brother-In-Law and his wife were upset that we eloped. He said that his brother was selfish and his wife pointedly asked me why we eloped. My parents didn’t speak to us for months.
I suppose I can understand the pain of not being invited to a family members wedding. However, it’s ridiculous to expect a couple to have a wedding to suit everyone else’s wishes. That’s why we eloped-everyone was trying to force their wedding ideas on us. What we wanted didn’t matter. It was too much to deal with. My husband and I eventually got sick of arguing and defending our wedding plans to our family members.
Post # 12
Thank you, everyone! Lots of good advice and reassurances in this thread. 🙂
I think my only concern now is that we are wanting to have our private ceremony/”elopement” in mid-spring, and I’m not sure how we are going to keep that under wraps. Of course we don’t have to answer questions even if people pester us, but I know I’ll feel like a bit of a jerk if people ask if we’ve decided on a date, etc. and we sidestep it every time.