For some couples, the idea of eloping is far more appealing than planning a big ceremony and reception. If you and your significant other decided to head to the courthouse or your favorite island to tie the knot in private, but did so without telling your family first, a little damage-control may be in order. Here's exactly how to deal with family members and friends who are hurt that you chose to elope without them.
Tell the people closest to you first.
There's a good chance you probably told your closest family members and friends you eloped right after it happened—and that's good, because they should hear it first. Sure, they might be a little irritated or sad if they didn't know your plan, but they'll also be the ones who help you spread the news in the most delicate way possible. According to Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist, director of My Dating and Relationship School, and author of Dating from the Inside Out, you can ask for their help in "smoothing things over with the extended friends and family."
Send out a wedding announcement.
The best way to make sure people know something isn't personal is by making your intentions clear. Sure, eloping was special to you, but the decision to get married without your family or friends there wasn't anything against them. Make sure everyone in your life knows where your head is at by sending around the news—and an explanation—so they feel included. "Let people know the good news so that they have the option of celebrating with you," Sherman says. "If there's a context or rationale—like saving money—then offer a brief explanation so they understand it wasn't personal."
Share the memories with the people who matter most.
Even though your family and friends weren't at your wedding doesn't mean they weren't there in spirit. A great way to make them feel included, and to soften the blow, is to put together something that will make them feel like they were part of your special day. "Consider sharing a wedding video or creating a wedding website with pictures so they can see what they missed on the wedding," Sherman says.
Throw a small gathering to celebrate.
No, you don't need a giant reception if you don't want one, but having a small gathering for close friends and family will make it nearly impossible to be upset over your decision to elope. Families are mostly angry because they wanted to be there to celebrate such a monumental moment in your life, and if you throw a get-together—even if that's just a BBQ, potluck, or drinks at a bar, says Sherman—they'll feel more included.
In the end, if you did what makes sense to you, consider letting judgment roll off your backs.
Sometimes there's only so much you can do and not everyone is going to get over your decision to bypass a traditional wedding. But hey—you have to do you. "Enjoy your life and vision, and the people who really love you will understand and will get over it," Sherman says.