So, you want to elope, but don’t know how your family will react? Here’s a little advice from someone who has seen a LOT of weddings. As a Los Angeles wedding photographer, I get involved very early on in the process. And I totally understand the thought of “I want to elope.” I’ve seen the planning process and the stress of traditional, big weddings. I have had my own relatively simple traditional wedding. And I’ve photographed quite a few elopements. If you want to elope, go for it! Here are some tips for breaking it to family/friends. The photos scattered throughout this post link to real elopements I’ve photographed recently. Hopefully this article comforts your soul and helps in your journey.
Explain your reasons
Obviously, if your reasons are that you hate your extended family or a lot of people, don’t tell them all that, haha. But a few good reasons/excuses are:
Eloping is significantly cheaper, even if you splurge
If you’ve gotten half-way into wedding planning, you’ve realized that costs and people add up. The average cost of a wedding in Los Angeles is $33,000, according to TheKnot.com. Depending on your priorities, it might just not be something you want to spend money on at this moment.
- “We love each other so much and are getting married! Even though we’d love to get together with you and see everyone, we’ve decided to keep it simple and elope next month. This was a hard decision to make, but together we decided it was better for our future to save the money and put it towards a house/travel/student loans. We really hope you understand.”
Eloping reduces stress
Weddings are a LOT of stress and organization. Although hiring a wedding planner is a good idea, sometimes it’s not enough. And sometimes it’s just not worth it. Especially if your life is already crazy busy and you don’t see a break in the near future.
- “Hey mom/dad/family! So, after much thought and conversation, *fiance* and I decided to elope this Saturday. We started looking into the wedding planning thing and it was all so overwhelming. You know we both already have crazy schedules and it just wasn’t something we wanted to take on. But we really want to be married and start our lives together. So we’re doing it the old-fashioned way and keeping it simple.”
Weddings and events contribute a LOT of debris to landfills. While there are things you can do to reduce waste, it’s a good reason to just ditch the wedding and elope together.
- “We want to be married and seal our love forever! We’ve been learning a lot about the environmental impact that big events can have, however, so we’ve decided to skip the traditional wedding and elope.”
Ways to Elope
If you’re eloping, you’re already bending social rules. So there’s not a wrong way to elope. A few things to consider:
- You could invite parents/siblings and close friends to the ceremony to help them feel involved.
- Have a private ceremony with just a witness, and invite a few friends or family to a restaurant for a reception afterwards.
- You can elope in a national park or pick a beautiful spot. It’s totally the way I would get married if I was going to do it again. Invest in a good photographer, splurge on some nice clothes, and let those photos be your announcement to the world.
- Find the most beautiful courthouse in your area and elope there. I just photographed an elopement at the Beverly Hills Courthouse, and the architecture was absolutely stunning.
How to make it special, but simple
Some of my favorite couples have made their day very special by doing the following things:
Invite your favorite friends/family
Because you’re eloping, you have full rights not to invite anyone. But people around you who really love you can contribute to the excitement and love of the day. Don’t invite anyone you don’t want there! Keep it to 12 people at the most. Think about people you would have invited to be a part of your bridal party if you actually had a big wedding.
Buy or rent nice clothes you might not splurge on in real life
In the old days, weddings were an occasion to buy or make clothes that were extra special. So find some clothes that make you feel amazing, even if they cost a little bit more than you’d normally spend. Or, if you find a wedding dress you love at a thrift store, go for that! One of my couples only wore black in real life, so they stayed with that color palette and it turned out gorgeous. One of my recent brides got her dress from Brides for a Cause, they accept donated wedding dresses, sell them, and all the profits go to charities focused on women.
Find a good elopement photographer
Photos are proof, a statement to the rest of the world, that you did get married. Plus, this is a very special day, years later you may want to remember it. I personally LOVE photographing simple weddings and elopements. I’ll give you a good deal, especially if you do the national park route. I have a list of places I’d photograph for free if you just pay for my travel expenses.
I hope this helps! Getting married to the right person is an AMAZING thing. I married my high-school love over six years ago and we’ve done so much together. Every day he encourages me, helps me reach higher, and reminds me that I’m valuable and amazing. Marriage is awesome.