(Closed) Private Wedding- How to tell family

posted 5 years ago in Elopement
Post # 2
3056 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

So you can have a reception but not a wedding?

That’s the part that confuses me & I’m a fan of elopements but I think you are stretching here.

If you choose to have people at your intimate wedding of course the people you don’t invite will feel hurt. 

Post # 3
3045 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course

I don’t see how having an intimate wedding and a reception solves any of the issues you listed. With the reception you’ll still have to deal with family coming. Maybe I’m missing something.

Post # 4
506 posts
Busy bee

It sounds like a lot of drama going on there, and I don’t mean to be entirely unhelpful, but there is no way you’re getting out of this without someone getting their feelings hurt if there is this much drama over someone not coming to the wedding. 

Good luck OP

Post # 5
3748 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

You could have your mother help you pick out the dress, or something. If you I vote others to your enlopement but not her, I’m sure she’ll feel excluded. I had pictures made to send my mom of my enlopement. I wouldn’t explain too much to anybody. Just tell them that you choose to get married this way, but leave out long explanations. Some people will have drama over it just because that’s how some people are–they’ll create drama out of anything. The key is to not let their drama affect you. You might as well do what you want because there is no way you’ll make everybody happy. I know some people who have had parties after enloping. I don’t think they called it a “reception.” I think it was an after-enlopement party. 

Post # 6
2130 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

View original reply
allymb1994 :  I think you may be overestimating the degree to which this plan solves the problems you describe.

You are perfectly entitled to elope. Lots of people do. It’s less costly and far less complicated, as a rule. 

It’s possible that some people will express disappointment, but ultimately, you should do what feels right and best for the pair of you with no apologies. 

Trying to spilt the difference is where you tend to get in trouble. 

You don’t tell people you want to elope and ask for their blessing. You make a decision and execute. If you care to explain after the fact, you can, but you needn’t apologize. You don’t owe anyone a wedding. Trying to explain to people that they’ve spoiled the idea of a wedding for you just stokes the fires, and would likely only result in more pointless drama.

If you decide to have a party to celebrate, keep it as low key and non-weddingy as possible, or you run right back into the arms of the beast you were trying to dodge. Have a back yard bbq, or a potluck open house. Don’t ask for gifts and keep things causal. By downplaying the celebration, you can help people feel included without stirring up the stress that can accompany wedding events. 

It’s possible your mom might feel a little let down, but ultimately making the right decision for you and Fiance is more important. Include her in other important moments, or plan something special for the two of you and your parents to celebrate. 

Whatever you decide, don’t feel guilty. Your wedding should be whatever feels best to you, no explanation required. 

Post # 8
7264 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

I think having a private wedding with just the people you really want to include is a great idea. And having a reception (after the wedding) can work really well. A few things I would suggest:

1- if you are adult enough to get married then you are adult enough to make choices in your life without soliciting the opinions of others.

2- if you are adult enough to get married, you are adult enough to make significant choices about how you move forward without getting the agreement or go ahead from others. Your parents don’t need to approve of your decision, merely respect it.

I would invite your mother to maybe do something special in advance, just the two of you, to prepare you for becoming a wife. Have a special meal where she can share funny stories or things she’s learned or she can offer her blessings directly to you. Maybe she’d be interested/willing in helping you plan your reception (within reason and only if that’s something that would feel like a good idea for you.).

Regarding the difficult, mouthy people- just say “We decided that it suited us much better to have a wedding that was tiny and intimate. It made everything easier and much more peaceful which was a priority for us.” And then leave it alone.

People’s feelings are going to be hurt if they don’t get invited -yes- but are you willing to spend the next several months being pulled back and forth and planning a wedding you don’t sound like you really want? For people who are being drags about all of this anyway?

Post # 10
3748 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

FYI, you don’t have to bring friends as witnesses. My photographer and his assistant were also my witnesses. 

I am very glad that we had an elopement wedding. We did what we wanted and it was intimate and personal. We had a photographer so that we would be able to have memories of the special day and so that we could share it with friends/family. That was the best idea we had!! We didn’t have a videographer. 

I have a friend who went to the courthouse and later had a camping weekend–family could come join them if they liked. They kept it very low key and informal. She is very glad that she did that.

We told our friends/family that we were eloping either in person or in phone calls. I got some whining about it. I just kept saying that’s what we wanted to do, and people eventually got over it. I thought of having at least a close friend there as a Maid/Matron of Honor. I think it was hard for her understand that she wasn’t invited. DH mentioned that once we started inviting one person than we’d have to invite others–it would be a domino effect. So, we kept it to just the two of us. I’m glad that we did what we wanted!!! Plus, we didn’t have to spend much money. Those who accept you will accept your choice. There are always people who will complain because that’s how they are. 

Post # 11
30 posts



We got engaged early this year and had already planned for a relatively long engagement as we have to finish renovating our house and it’s expensive to do that and have a wedding! I’ve never had any dreams about what my wedding day would be like but I did always like the idea of no fuss, something non-traditional (we’re not traditional or religious). What I do know is that I want to come back from my honeymoon completely Debt free and ready to start a family. Originally we planned to just go to the local registry office (UK Bride-to-be) with 2 of our closest friends, one of which is a great photographer, then head on a little day tour around our home city with them and our dog, enjoying beers and food together, which is what we love to do with these friends. We would then follow it up with a bigger, non formal party (drinks and food on us) at some point after the event (with no gift expectations etc). The honeymoon would be the big spend and is our priority because we work hard and don’t get to spend much quality time together.

When we ran this idea by family members, my parents were supportive, but it didn’t go down well with OH’s family. They were quick to tell me how it would be done. I asked my Mother-In-Law “whose wedding is this?” (harsh I know, but I couldn’t believe I was being shot down) and her response was “MY SONS”. They demanded that they be the witnesses if we are having anyone present at all. By inviting them we couldn’t then not invite my parents and siblings. (we have very different relationships with our families, and are from very different families, but the expectations always seem to remain the same with weddings).

I suffer with anxiety and I am not interested in an aisle walk with my dad with everyone looking at me, I just want to get married to my man and go on our honeymoon. After entertaining the idea of a ceremony with all the family present I just stopped being excited. It had turned into something I didn’t want. I stopped planning it and I completely lost interest. I think that’s quite sad really given that it’s supposed to be the happiest, most important day of our lives.

After a lazy Sunday mapping out our honeymoon roadtrip (the only thing that brings me joy in this whole wedding scenario) I came across a picture of a place we have planned to visit and there was a bride and groom, just the two of them, stood there in marital bliss. It was a picture from a photographers blog and it was of a couple who had eloped. I thought about this (not a secret elopement but a private destination wedding) and talked with my OH about how exciting it would be for it to just be the two of us, in this really spectacular place, and we suddenly realised that THAT is exactly what we want. A WEDDINGMOON!

So now we plan to fly away, just the two of us, get married (with photographer and videographer as witnesses) and spend a month travelling afterwards. It’s costing us less than a quarter of what we would have ended up spending on a wedding. We’re getting ready together, having photos around some beautiful spots near to where the ceremony is, then going for dinner at a brewery! (we love craft beer). After telling my parents they both said that we should do what ever makes us happy. My mom is even going to still help me make my dress :)… and of the friends I have told (all of my school friends who have been in my life for 20 years), not one of them has said anything to suggest they are upset, just that they still want to celebrate with us afterwards and that they totally get it. That now just leaves the in-laws and the friends we share. I genuinely think we have the greatest friends and though they might be disappointed, I think they will be happy for us and excited. I’m not sure how we are going to get it past the in-laws though, but I’m certainly not letting them stamp on this plan too.

Do what makes you happy- the genuine people in your life will either be happy for you and say it, or be disappointed but eventually get over it. Those that don’t…what can you do? It’s not worth sacrificing your happiness over theirs on the happiest day of your life. Afterall, whose wedding is this?! Good luck with breaking the news- there are some tips in this thread that I will definitely be using, so thanks Bees!

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