A couple’s reasons for eloping vary widely. Perhaps it’s a case of forbidden love, a tight budget, or wanting to avoid wedding drama. So now that you have eloped, the time has come to tell your family – after all it’s always easier to apologize than it is to get permission, right? That’s not always the case with elopements. With a little TLC, you can break the news and minimize the potential hurt that goes along with announcing the fact that you said ‘I do’ in secret.
Even if you do not want to let everyone know that you are going to get married, there are generally a few people that you can tell in advance. Try to tell close family members beforehand if at all possible, and explain to them your reasons for eloping. Most people can understand that you may want to avoid drama, and/or save money. Telling a few of your closest friends and family members beforehand may lighten the burden of having to come back from your elopement to a potentially angry mob of people with dropped jaws. They may even be up to throwing you a reception and celebrating your union when you get back.
If your elopement is due to a case of forbidden love, or of people simply judging that you are not ready for marriage yet, then you understandably may not be up for a pre-elopement discussion. If this is the case, we suggest taking lots of pictures on your wedding day, perhaps even a video so that those who missed out can have a small piece of what went on, once the shock wears off. Try to explain your elopement to people face to face if possible. Making a social media announcement that you are now married may seem like an easy way to break the ice since there is a virtual barrier between you and those whom you are announcing to, but it is not recommended. If you are nervous about seeing people face to face, keep in mind, what is the worst thing that can happen? They can’t force you to divorce – you are married now and if you handle the matter with sensitivity rather than a ‘yeah I did it and who cares what you think’ mentality, people will generally handle it much better than you may have built up in your mind. Try to explain the reason why, and tell them that they do matter to you, but that you really had to do what was best for you and your spouse in this situation. If they offer to throw you a reception, then let them. Realize that it may take some people longer to come around than others, and that is ok. Just remain sensitive and avoid arguing your side too much. It is up to you to share your marriage with people in a kind way, it is up to them how they handle it.
Encourage relationships between your new spouse and your family if they have heard little of each other before, but don’t expect too much too fast. Let everyone adjust slowly to the idea of your marriage, and understand that their feelings are just as valid as yours are. With a little sensitivity, before you know it you will all be getting a lot great at family gatherings and the shock of the elopement will be a thing of the past.
Did you or someone you know elope? How was it dealt with? We want to know!