How to elope and manage family expectations of a big wedding? This is one of the most common struggles we hear from couples!
While the intentions are genuine, we believe that the decision is entirely up to you and no one else (yes – even if they are helping to pay for your wedding!).
Why would we say this? The first book of the Bible – Genesis – clearly describes how a man and woman leave their parents in order to join together as a new creation. We believe that the first step of that new creation is deciding how, where, when and under what circumstances you commit yourselves to each other as you exchange vows. We believe that decision is yours alone.
However, we also balance that fact with how the next book of the Bible – Exodus – gives us this instruction:
“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
There is nothing like family. The people who have always been there for you – always will. They have the best in mind for you, and we believe once you open their eyes to why you want to elope – they will be your strongest supporters.
Ways to Elope and Honor your Family
Address the myths of eloping
Eloping is no longer what it used to be – when a couple would “run away” from a family situation. Getting married despite the wishes of one (or both) families, this created conflict from the start and holds a stigma with many from that era.
Explain to your family that this is very, very different. Instead of running away from something, you are running towards an experience that you both know is the best fit for you.
Communicate Shared Interests over Expectations
Theodore Roosevelt is well known in history as a great negotiator, due in large part to his philosophy to negotiate interests over positions. (Incidentally, without his vision we may not even have our National Park system).
Talk about what you truly share for a vision of your wedding day. You may find that many are attached to the tradition of a big wedding day symbolizing the start of your new lives together. Communicate how you see that symbolism in your elopement day.
Whether over symbols or traditions, find that common ground beyond the fixed positions. That’s where you can make progress to show that you share more that you realize.
Include, don’t Exclude
A common fear of family members (related to the old stigma of the word “elope”) is that they would be completely excluded from your celebration. Make it clear that you want them included!
While elopements can take the form of a couple sharing their vows in solitude, they most certainly can include the guests you hold closest to your heart. Whether you call it an intimate wedding or elopement, the purpose is the same – to be intentional about what you do and who you invite on your day.
Describe how you want them involved and show them how. Place their hearts at ease, knowing that you deeply care for them and have no intention to leave them out.
Share your Heart – and your Situation
Above all, share your feelings about why eloping is so important to you. Why you are drawn to a small, intimate setting vs. the typical wedding that society expects of you. Being honest about your motives – and what you know will make you happy – is a surefire way to help your family understand.
At the end of the day this decision is up to you and no one else. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave your family out of the process. If you find yourself “stuck” – we’re here to help. We want you to have the best, most epic & personal day ever!
Looking for ideas on how to plan your elopement and include your family? Check out our blog post Eloping with Family – How to Include your Loved Ones in your Intimate Wedding