While eloping has taken off in recent years as a perfectly viable alternative to traditional weddings, there’s still a bit of confusion and even concern over how to announce one.
After all, you don’t want to upset your relatives and friends that may have been expecting you to tie the knot in a more traditional way. Some family members in particular can be really uptight about not being invited or involved in your marriage.
Elopements buck the trend of weddings being these big, family-orientated affairs, and focus instead on the couple. This usually results in friends and family simply not being involved in the planning or even being invited at all.
There are ways to go about announcing that you’re getting eloped without incurring the wrath of your loved ones however.
Here’s some tips on how to plan your elopement announcement.
Give Close Relatives Insider Knowledge
If you’re planning on an intimate elopement where not very many people, if any, will be invited, you’re going to want to tell your parents and other close relatives as soon as possible.
You don’t want them to find out through someone else or worse yet, through social media.
Despite elopements being relatively simple to plan compared to weddings, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the insight of close relatives, not to mention, there is a good chance they will simply want to know.
If you fear what the reaction will be, it probably means they shouldn’t be privy to the information anyway. A marriage, regardless of the circumstances, should be a joyous event. If anyone else tries to make it about them, you know their heart isn’t in the right place. So don’t lose sleep over it!
For ordinary circumstances, a little announcement card in the mail can go a long way. You might also want to give personal calls to certain relatives or show up and discuss the decision in person, but don’t let them find out from someone else. They may have really been expecting to attend your wedding and would be upset to know you didn’t even have the heart to tell them they weren’t invited or that they weren’t included.
Besides, they may have already been planning to get you a gift!
Don’t Rely Solely on Social Media
Yes, we’re living in the age of social media, but that doesn’t mean big decisions like this should always hinge on whether or not your closest friends and relatives have Facebook.
If you truly want to announce your elopement plans on social media, inform the right people in person or over the phone beforehand so there is no confusion or hurt feelings. The last thing you want to do is announce your elopement and have a dozen relatives calling you up asking why they didn’t get invited or if they will get invited.
It’s a good rule of thumb to only announce something like this on social media once it’s already kind of common knowledge, so the “announcement” only acts as a kind of official confirmation on what people already know rather than brand new news. This way, no one gets the wrong idea and you don’t have to deal with a PR crisis.
This should go without saying, but don’t announce your elopement on social media when you’re already on your physical elopement. If most of your friends and family had no prior knowledge of your elopement and suddenly see pics of you on a beach in wedding attire tying the knot, there may be some hurt feelings.
Avoid tasteless social media stunts like this at all costs. They almost always backfire.
Give Yourself Plenty of Planning Room
Don’t wait for the zero hour to make the announcement.
You may have planned only for certain people to accompany you, but after announcing your plans to a specific family member, they may make a good case for why they should come too, and if you agree, trying to work them into the plans at the last minute might be a hassle.
You also want to give yourself plenty of room in case someone does, despite your efforts, react poorly to your decision. This will give you time to talk to them and help them understand why you chose to get eloped. This way you don’t leave on the wrong foot with anyone.
Also, there’s something about formally announcing plans that helps our brains to see scheduling conflicts where we previously thought there were none. You may have planned for your elopement on a certain week but by announcing the actual date, your mom informs you that something big is planned for that week or that the destination you chose is having a holiday or something else going on at that time, etc. Getting a different perspective and bringing your plans to light can often provide second opinions and help you with your blind spots.
Don’t Feel Obligated to Tell Everyone You Know
While you want to inform the right people, your elopement isn’t everyone’s business. You don’t have to send out a ton of announcements or take out a page in your local paper.
The general rule of thumb is, if you were having a small traditional wedding, who would you invite? Tell those people you’re getting eloped, but don’t stress yourself out about telling many people beyond that.
Elopements are about eliminating stressors and having a fun, exciting marriage ceremony. Don’t get too caught up in making sure your elopement is known to everyone you ever met.
Provide Helpful Information
If you do send out announcement cards of any kind, include general information about the ceremony or anything else you want your family and friends to know, to let them feel like they are a part of the loop.
You can provide the web address of your registry or elopement page if you have one, and a heartfelt thanks for them being a part of your life and that you want a happy send off on the day of.
Make Sure You Photograph Every Moment
Everyone who doesn’t get invited is going to want all the juicy details of the elopement, and what better way to do the talking than with great photography?
A professional elopement photographer should be a staple of any elopement ceremony anyway, because capturing the right moments and preserving them for generations to come is one of the best parts of any elopement.
Your friends and family are going to want to feel connected to the event and see what went on, especially since you likely held your elopement in an exotic location. Let photo albums do the talking so you don’t have to have an hour long phone call with everyone you know.
This is when you can feel free to go crazy on social media. Once you know all the right people know, and you’re officially eloped, it’s time to break out the photos and go all out on Facebook and Instagram. This is what everyone wants to see, and it’s your moment, so play it up!
The benefit of having a great elopement photographer is that they are going to grab those gasp-worthy tear-jerker shots that everyone will love and feel connected to. This is the perfect way to include friends and family in on the elopement that you weren’t able to invite.
Just remember, keep it casual and classy. Your elopement announcements should reflect the essence of your elopement!
Click HERE to learn the 5 secrets to a successful (and stress-free) elopement and BONUS checklist!