Wednesday, September 29, 2010

how pissed off will my family be if I elope?

what seems to be the temperature of your reading audience regarding straight out go to city hall, no fam, no letting the cat out of the bag elopement?
see, we come up with these wacky ideas like let's do the rest of our lives together (and then earthquake happened) and now this at our favorite little greek bar.

there's a couple of main things prompting this:
he has no family that he is involved has always felt like it will be weird for him
i have a particularly high maintenance sister in law who's extra special talent is to make sure EVERYTHING is about her

i mean there WILL be a party later after announcements are sent out. we're just about doing this for us because we're not marrying everyone else or in it for the presents.

are you hearing lots of pissed off families, flinging themselves off the vincent thomas bridge...never speaking to the bride and groom again?
or is it one of the best things folks have ever done?

just curious.


Elopers (or family members of elopers), please weigh in! 

Image via Life in Lomo


  1. i think you gotta be able to guage your own family a little? cause you are going to get people on here that say "oh it'll be fiiiiiine! dooo it, our family was sooo happy for us" and then you will get the opposite "my sister didn't talk to me for two years". how drama is YOUR family?

    personally, i know that *my* family isn't super sentimental. holidays are less important than general quality time, and if we had chosen to run off and get married they would have been fine with it. my husbands mom is *much* more sentimental and would have been pretty sad, but loves her son so much she would have forgiven. and her joy in us having wed would probably have negated some of the sad of having missed it. i really think you ought to turn *in* on this one....

  2. My sister eloped, and while I was sad I didn't get invited to Hawaii to be a witness, (let's face it, I just wanted a reason to go to Hawaii), I understood that this was how she wanted to get hitched.

    Getting married is a big deal when it comes to families, but if you are up front with your wishes, the people who love you will understand... even if it takes some getting used to.

    Go with your gut. Your family will be fine.

  3. My parents did it. Mostly because the families did not like each other, I think? No hooha, just did it.

    Hasn't stopped them being together for 30 years and still have family over for Christmas? But we are quite a Victorian don't talk about it family.

    I think it really just depends if you think your mother will hate the idea or not, or hate it but get used to it?

    A wedding isn't everything? (Or is a wedding blogger not meant to say that?)

  4. My parents did it, and then ran away to Australia for three years. Barring the lack of wedding photos (the only one widely circulated was taken in a bar shortly afterwards, and it always funny to see with the hugely-catholic wedding photos at my grandparent's house), and my mum's youngest sister's (joking) comments about wanting to be a flowergirl (she would have been about 12) everything is fine with our family.
    Granted, we're a tight-knit group who's had a fair share of family drama. The elopement kinda pales next to a lot of it.

    In the end, it's about people coming together. And even if your family is a bit miffed that they didn't get to be there for that moment, they usually warm up to it once thye realise that they get to be part of the rest of the journey.

  5. All's I'm sayin' is to edit your annoying sister-in-law out of the equation when you're making your decision. We can figure out how to mace her into submission if you decide to go ahead with a wedding.

    Is there a compromise here, like going to City Hall with two people on each side who are really central to your lives?

  6. I think its more about people being disappointed. People love you, and want to be a part of your wedding. They wont hate you for eloping, but they will be disappointed that they weren't able to be a part of it...

  7. My mother is like her father. When her sister eloped, my grandfather didn't speak to my aunt for 4 years. If I eloped, I am positive my mother would follow in the footsteps of her father. My family's drama and grudge-o-meter is sky high.

    Jamie is right, this isn't a question that's going to be solved by what worked/didn't work for other people. This is a question you have to contemplate yourself. Do your families hold grudges? Do they forgive other infractions easily? Also, is there any history of eloping in your families and what was their reaction to those elopements?

  8. i'm with jamie on this one. i think this is something deeply personal and only you guys know whether or not you want your family there. it seems from your email that you'd rather go off by yourselves and if that's the case, do it! i think that's beautiful and romantic. my family, of course would kill me - literally, there would be a hit out on me or something - and i'd never ever ever hear the end of it. but as much as they're insane, i love them and wanted them there, so it was fine. you should do what your gut is telling you.

  9. My husband and I eloped 6 years ago, and we would not change anything. It was just us, low maintenance, cheap, and fun. One family knew about it and was cool with it. The other family didn't and was mad at first, but got over it pretty quick. I would just say go with what makes you feel excited when you think about it, and don't worry too much about what others think. Good luck!

  10. We invited our immediate families to a super intimate civil ceremony and dinner. It was perfect! However, I have a huge family and a few of my aunts were upset about not being included. Anger faded quickly and people were happy for us. so i say go for it. you will be so happy you did :)

  11. Haven't eloped. Do, however read lots of elopement mail. Here are my thoughts:

    If you're going to do it, do it the way you're talking about. Fast, clean, no warning, no overthinking it. Come back, tell people, say "Hey we should throw a party to celebrate! How about a BBQ!" Done. If people ask why say, "It just seemed right for us." Period, nothing else.

    DO NOT: Tell your mom, "Hey, I'm getting married in Vegas next weekend, but I'm eloping and I don't want you there." Cue: DRAMA! And, honestly, pretty fair drama. Finding out your kid just eloped is totally different than your kid telling you that you are not coming to their wedding.

    In sum: Apologizing is always easier than asking permission.

  12. It's about YOU not them! Do what you want! If it helps have a celebration when you get back and include everyone.

  13. I've done the whole elopement - went to a JP and didn't tell a single soul, no family, no friends just two witnesses and the fallout was the worst thing ever. It was more horrible then I have ever imagined. I can't go back and change the past but I wish I could. My Mother was SOOOOOO hurt. I guess it depends on how your parents are. My ex husbands family didn't really care, they weren't hurt, but my family was. Even my brother, I was surprised on how hurt he was and the things he said. But yeah, think about it, but I'd say no, from personal experience.

  14. jamie is right... it truly depends on your family.
    i can't tell you how many times i wanted to elope, but both of our families would have been CRUSHED. it wasn't worth it to me.

  15. i have a surprising amount of friends and family who've eloped, including a pair last week (!), all of whom i'm growing more jealous of as i progress in my wedding planning.

    we're having a giant backyard rager because we want to party with our family. they're nuts. otherwise we would have stood on a cliff above the ocean on my parents property in the bahamas, just us. we DID run elopement by everyone pre-planning just in case we go nuts.. and everyone said "if it makes you happy... etc". don't surprise them. let them know the morning of, or RIGHT after. no hiding it.

  16. see? some peoples family: bummer. some people families: no problem.

    i guess the next question would be; if your families reactions are, like for Lor, the worst thing ever, how much would that affect you?

    would you be able to brush it off and say, i'm sorry you are hurt, let me know when you are ready to move on. or, would it make you wish you had done things differently?

  17. Pleas don't jump off the VT. I hate that bridge as it is and would never be able to drive over it again if I knew a bride had jumped.

    Just elope. This day is about you both and no one else.

    I hope that you have a fantastic marriage.

  18. DO IT! Weddings are hard on everyone...even the people who think they're great and really, really want one. And they can be especially ugly with dysfunctional families (i.e. your fiance's). You're doing everyone a huge favor and adding years back onto your life from the stress and worry you're saving.
    Which reminds me...since you're saving SO much money, treat yourselves to something you never thought you could do. Buy yourselves a big Oprah Life Moment...something to tell the grandkids.

  19. My husband and I did both. We got married at City Hall, which was extremely meaningful for the two of us, and next year, on the same date, we are having a "wedding" that people are invited to. This is taking a LOT of pressure off of me, because we already had one perfect day for just the two of us, and nobody feels left out.

  20. We're getting legally married next week. Just him and I, on the top of a mountain at sunset. (and our dogs). But we're also having the 'real' wedding next summer. My parents would be very upset if we didn't have a 'real' wedding, and we wanted the best of both worlds, but didn't want our wedding day to be about dealing with pain in the ass family members or cake or anything like that.

    Instead, we will have a totally intimate and romantic day just for us, and then pretend like the whole thing is new and real (all the while snickering at our little secret) which will hopefully alleviate some stress for us on our big family wedding next summer.

    do what is right for you, and what is right for your family. Marriage is about family, isn't it?

  21. If you do it, do it quick, spontaneously, no overthinking and non professional photogs. Make it a real elopement, not a mini-wedding from which some people were excluded (especially if those peeps live in the same town as you. Much easier to get away with if people would have to fly in).

    My brother eloped with our other brother and his wife's brother as witnesses. No other family lived near by (well, other than my SIL's estranged mother), so they had their low-fuss wedding w/o hordes of people flying in from all over. I was sad to miss my little brother getting married (and, anyway, I was living overseas at the time), but the elopement suited these two low-fuss people perfectly, so no one could complain.

  22. We are eloping next month, and decided to tell our parents. We've been engaged for several years and our lives have been a little too complicated to plan a wedding so finally we decided (for practical reasons, partly) to JUST DO IT ALREADY! We called our parents about a "hypothetical" elopement. My parents wanted to be there, his parents can't come because of logistics, so we made sure his parents would be okay with that. Their answer was as long as we have SOME kind of special event with them, they will be okay with it. So we decided on a ring ceremony/blessing with both sets of parents and grandparents at a later date. My parents don't care if we have a party, they just wanted to be with us. So, we're telling my extended family right away and we're waiting to tell his extended family until we have a BBQ planned. The main reason we're not telling his extended family? My fiance says they will assume that I'm knocked up, and he doesn't want to deal with that. (HA!) Anyway, I'm not anticipating any drama, but who knows!

  23. Sounds like you know exactly what you want.
    Do it!
    (Take photos) and make it about the two of YOU.
    The party afterward is generous enough to take the feelings of friends and family into account but still -- who's getting married? Righto.

  24. We eloped. We planned it but didn't tell a soul, even our friend who told us " I know one day you will elope but please call me and I will be there as fast as I can, wherever you are!" We just knew to keep it fair we had to keep it a secret from EVERYONE! We did arrange for a celebration reception over Thanksgiving weekend a month after our elopement. We thought we were saving everyone trouble and time. We knew we were saving our parents and ourselves money At the time it felt like the right thing for US. I was very surprised that certain people were a little upset about missing out on our wedding. Five years later and certain people are still suggesting that we have a proper wedding ceremony. After seeing some beautiful and amazing ceremonies over the past five years I do sometimes regret not having a more thoughtful ceremony which would have included our loved ones. But on the other hand I love that Jon and I have this very special and private memory of our wedding day. I think if you are going to do it, you should really think about how your parents will respond. We experienced tears of joy but also some unexpected tears of disappointment and I wasn't expecting that at all! But for the most part everyone was super happy, just a little bummed that they weren't there with us.

    My mom always thinks we are up to something now. She was convinced I was expecting twins last week and was keeping it secret. So, you may not ever be trusted again. Although I like the idea of keeping people on their toes.

  25. We recently discussed the option of skipping the wedding and doing something quick and local right away. I emailed my mom to let her know and get her thoughts (she's a very good gauge of the rest of the family and not known for drama). Her response: Let me know because I'll want to be there.

    End of inquiry for us.

  26. because I'm a huge nerd, I just looked up the definition of ELOPE: to run off secretly to be married, usually without the consent or knowledge of one's parents.

    With that said, I agree with Meg. Go get married already, but do not tell a soul until the deed is done. Then you can have a party (or deal with repercussions). Even if everybody is pissed at you, at least this way you have a husband to make you feel better about it (instead of a wedding to begrudgingly plan)

  27. hi there, I've looked at your blog from time to time, but only now feel compelled to comment. hope you don't mind...

    I had the whole wedding with fam, flowers, ceremony, cake, reception, etc. It was nice (looking back.) but if I could do it all over again, I would most def elope. the stress was a bit much and although my family was so happy about the wedding day festivities, I realized that I did it for them. Should have thought about us more. We are more the private type, and could have had a party afterwards that would have been more intimate and RELAXED. So do what you two think fits YOU best. good luck!

    I could go on and on about this, but in hopes of not sounding like a crazy, I'll stop. oh, and think of the $ you'll save!

  28. I think it totally depends on the families. My mom, for example, would have had no problem with city hall, so long as she was *invited* to witness it (she would have been upset if we did it without telling her, though). Hubs mom, on the other hand, loves weddings and all the trappings that go with them, so she would have been devastated by an elopement (and told us so).

    Hubs good friends from grad school, woke up one morning and decided to go to city hall. They called their friends and had all of their local friends (a small cohort, them all being English PhDs) over for drinks later that evening. This is before I knew him, so I don't know what - if any - ramifications there were.

  29. I have friends who eloped, and she loved having her own personal day with her husband. It was exactly what they wanted together, and I know they both enjoyed having the day really truly just be *theirs*

    To make family members feel more included, they held a reception after their honeymoon, where by the guest book they shared photo books from the elopement ceremony and the honeymoon for guests to peruse. Before the dinner toast, they did a sweet sharing of vows again, and instead of people toasting them, they toasted members of their family & some close friends that had known both of them for a long time. Originally, his family was really against the idea of eloping, but I think these small touches to the reception party appeased his family without taking away from what my friends really wanted out of their day.

    Maybe something like that would work for you too?

  30. I really disagree with one thing you said. It's the "because we're not marrying everyone else " bit. True, sort of, but in reality you're marrying him *into* your family, and you're marrying *into" his. You are making him your family, so family is/should be important.

  31. my boyfriends parents made some big fucking threats if we decided to elope. it really put a bad taste in my mouth.

    good thing we don't want to get married !

  32. dannng you voice of reason! How I wish it was as easy as having the choice to elope! Eloping seems like the best idea ever, especially after working in the wedding industry so long, I've become somewhat jaded...the ONLY thing that keeps me holding on to the "IDEA" of a wedding (b/c I'm not engaged) is what Brigitta Ryan {duo} said above, "You are making him your family, so family is/should be important."

  33. i'm all for elopement. Weddings are fun, but all the stress and money and family being annoying is, to me, exactly why I will elope. I have told my family that when we do get married, we will elope and have a party afterward, and they seem to understand. BUT I also have a lot of family drama so I think for them it would be a relief to not have to deal with eachother. Besides, this is all about the two of you - NOT them. Do it your way.

  34. ESB et al, I appreciated this very much b/c my fiance and I are eloping soon. We haven't told anyone we're engaged, and we are asking both of our parents to come to a courthouse with us to get hitched. My mom lives in another state, so we'll all meet up for a few days, do the deed, and then we'll take a few days to ourselves.

    Our parents are the only opinions we care about re: families and they're great with this! We'll call everyone else right after and be excited! And in about a year we'll have a big party where we make sure that our communities are there and know how important they are to our lives and hearts.

  35. Whatever you decide - bring a photographer! I know it won't be as intimate, but your family will want pictures. Your children will (one day) want pictures. And it'll be a great way to capture the whole romantic experience.

  36. @ Anonymous number 2:

    Exactly, and WE the crazy wedding blog readers want photos!

    All the best for your wedding, whatever you will decide.

  37. Family member of an eloper.

    We were like thrown for a loop when my really close (like sister close) cousin up and got married out of the blue. No one was mad that I could see, we were just shocked that we didn't get a heads up.

    It was interesting, but they did tell their parents who were with them. Everyone was like, "we'll if their parents are cool with it then...okay."

  38. dear ESBrs

    thank you all for your comments and experiences. my taller half and i really appreciate all your thoughts. he read everything and got a kick out of it.

    we're relatively low drama as far as family goes. but i do have an ueber-critical mom and you know about the SIL. i tend to be a bit type A-ish, so pretty much the first "i don't like this, you can't have that because it was at OUR wedding" and i'd be outta there. ; )

    i've been part of, coordinator of, MOH (too many times!) and officiant of many many weddings, so i've seen it all. from budget to "why would you ever spend that much on a 4 hour party?" we just want the day to be drama free and "us". slightly vintage, slightly up-themed.

    just met with an amazing costumer/tailor friend who is more than honored to make my dress. one 1955 special, please. hmmm...and now what color?

    pics to follow.

    love, health & happiness to you all.

  39. congrats! i am all about getting married without all the fuss... but i do agree with the photographer bit. have a wonderful wedding!

  40. My uncle eloped and my grandmother never forgave him or his wife until the day she died. They didn't let anyone know before and I think that hurt a lot of feelings... So maybe consider letting those especially close to you before the fact. That being said, I have elopement fantasies all the time... I too have a complicated family and the idea of them all gathered together in one place makes me nauseous. But my fiance wants a wedding so there will be a wedding. So... What ever you do, enjoy it!!!!