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How would you feel about family members eloping?

262 replies

Elopenope · 19/03/2023 11:29

Me and DP are considering marrying quietly, just us two.

Initially when we started speaking about it, it was clear our parents thought we would invite them still (I think had just assumed it was a destination wedding?)

We are now beginning to firm up plans and it seems like our gently introducing the idea isn't going well.

On top of that a minor celeb (ish) eloped recently and I saw a lot of comments about how people would be devastated if their sister etc did that, how they clearly aren't close with the families and how hurtful it is.

In all honesty would you be hurt if your ds, dd etc did this? If your dc didn't get to be bridesmaids etc.

We get on well with our families, I'm just by nature an introverted person with not much interest in a party. I'd hate for them to think it was anything to do with them

Im also neurodiverse so can struggle with this stuff. In my head it's quite clearly a thing between a couple, but realise that's not how it works.

I've got no idea if I should then invite them to dress fittings etc or just do the whole thing alone. Which is worse? Is it better to be really clear that on September 12th we will be marrying (and leave them feeling odd that day) or just say after

I'm mostly interested in families points of views. Lots of friends that have eloped have told us it was fine, but when speaking to others they've been hurt

Yabu- I would be hurt if my family did this

Yanbu- I wouldn't mind if my sister eloped

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Fairyliz · 19/03/2023 17:17

I have two adult DD’s and would be really upset if they didn’t want me at their wedding, I would feel like I had failed them in some way and been a bad mother.

As other posters have said you don’t have to have a huge wedding, you can have a small ceremony with just a few guests followed by a meal in a pub if you want something low key.

RedToothBrush · 19/03/2023 17:19

Raineth · 19/03/2023 15:55

I would be hurt.

If someone wants a quiet wedding and no party that’s up to them, but legally there have to be witnesses to the marriage, so why can’t those witnesses be family? Isn’t that better than strangers/friends ? And if some family are witnesses, it’s just good manners to invite the rest of close family.

A wedding isn’t actually just about you, it’s about the joining together of two different family trees. Refusing to invite family to a family occasion is rude, hurtful and selfish. You are of course free to live your life in a rude selfish way, but you must be prepared to deal with family reactions to that if you do.

But, you can keep people happy without anything formal or a huge party. You can just eg go stay at a hotel with a wedding license and ask around to see which family members would like to watch the ceremony and join you for dinner afterwards.

If you invite X, then you have to invite Y though. If you invite Y you have to invite Z.

When we looked at this as an option, we thought it would cause far more upset than just drawing a line and just saying the two of us.

It wouldn't have just being witnesses if we'd done that either - there'd be the whole thing of X wanting to get involved in this or that (eg dress or 'I'll just do this for you). And that missed the point of why we wanted to just do it by ourselves in the first place.

Or I'd be constantly worried and on edge about whether others were happy/ fed / room was good enough/ they'd slept well etc etc. And that's where the stress comes in because organising something for even six to eight people sends me easily into meltdown because I feel so responsible for everyones enjoyment. And that's before considering the money aspect.

Looking at the alternatives it quickly became either messy, stressful or otherwise unmanageable and spiralled very quickly from being small with 'just a couple of witnesses' to something I really didn't want nor felt I could cope with.

It wasn't about 'excluding' anyone. Nor not loving your family. It was about managing a situation that the very thought of was making me ill - anxiety being a health issue.

If others are saying that you should please everyone else around you and make yourself sick in the process of getting married, they really need a word with themselves. Cos that's ultimately where it was for us. It was not selfish. It was making a legal and loving commitment to my husband. That's no one else bloody business ultimately. It isn't something you HAVE to perform in front of society. You have witnesses to make it binding legally.

I find it so narrow minded and ignorant for people to not get why some might find the whole prospect just so utterly overwhelming. Especially for someone like the OP who is autistic.

If you were close to someone who did this, surely you'd have some idea about their personality and why doing it on their own might be their way of dealing with all that, rather than seeing it as some great personal insult or slight? Clearly from some of the responses on this thread there are people who see the ritual of a wedding as something everyone must endure regardless of their own mental and financial well being just to please others.

Just how fucked up is that?

LookingOldTheseDays · 19/03/2023 17:24

If you invite X, then you have to invite Y though. If you invite Y you have to invite Z.

So true. We had a small wedding and ended up keeping it even smaller than we might have chosen, just because the minute you invite one cousin, or one brother-in-law, you have to invite them all etc.

donttellmehesalive · 19/03/2023 17:24

I think it's nice to have an opportunity to celebrate with you, so maybe a party or something when you get back, but wouldn't mind the elopement at all.

RedToothBrush · 19/03/2023 17:30

Fairyliz · 19/03/2023 17:17

I have two adult DD’s and would be really upset if they didn’t want me at their wedding, I would feel like I had failed them in some way and been a bad mother.

As other posters have said you don’t have to have a huge wedding, you can have a small ceremony with just a few guests followed by a meal in a pub if you want something low key.

We once took my parents and DHs parents out for a meal. It's the only time they've ever met.

It was excruciatingly awful and not something either myself or DH wanted to repeat.

His mother is clearly massively insecure and spent the entire time trying to point score against my parents and my parents were utterly bemused and felt really awkward about how they were competitive.

His mum is very firmly the problem. His dad is great when he's not enabling his mother or being her doormat.

My mum fusses and fusses to an inch of my life. She'd have driven me insane on my wedding day.

In the end we had a package where we didn't have a clue what the plans were for the actual day. We just got told to meet a taxi at a certain time and then everything else was organised. It's unlike me to do something without knowing all the details but actually in this case in took all the stress out of it. Having anyone else there would have made it a bloody nightmare with endless fussing and others asking questions.

I can just about cope with my parents or his parents in small doses. A whole bloody weekend with the four of them? Together. I'd have a breakdown and probably wouldn't have made it to my vows tbh. Even the idea of a meal fills me with horror.

takeawayandwine · 19/03/2023 17:37

I personally think it's good to introduce the idea of eloping beforehand so that family know it might happen. Sounds like you've done that? Do they fully understand this is a possibility?

A relative in my family (who I'm very close to) went to Gretna. The hard part for me was seeing all the photos later and the elaborately designed dress, knowing that while she and I were talking about their relationship, she was also secretly getting her dress designed. That felt like a betrayal. I think you can have whatever wedding you want...just avoid telling lies in order to do it.

For what it's worth, the reason my family member did it secretly is because her side of the family didn't like her DP and thought it was too soon (6 months). They were right and they're now divorced.

My open and tell the truth. And then have the wedding that you want!

BadlydoneHelen · 19/03/2023 17:39

I would be incredibly upset if my children did this but would try not to show it. I think for me it would be the idea that they didn't want me to be involved and that they didn't particularly feel the need to have me there.
Would you expect them to invite you to the signing of their wills or getting mortgage approval?

Yes I want to invade every aspect of their lives and control them until I die Hmm

BadlydoneHelen · 19/03/2023 17:39

I clearly can't do quotes properly but you get my drift!

Tribblesarelovely · 19/03/2023 17:41

My DD got married in Vegas, no family invited. It wasn’t an elopement as we all knew it was happening, I suppose I would have liked to have been there for the dress shopping etc. but ultimately, we were just thrilled she was marrying the man of her dreams. 15 yrs later they’re still very happy and that’s all that matters.

Floralnomad · 19/03/2023 17:44

It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest

gannett · 19/03/2023 17:47

I'd feel really happy for them.

If I knew they had family members who'd be as dramatic as some of the posters in this thread (the "it's hurtful and selfish and I'd be devastated" crowd) I would also feel sorry for them in having to deal with that, while also understanding their decision even more.

MagpieCastle · 19/03/2023 17:51

I’m genuinely hoping all my dc do this. Not only for selfish reasons (though those too) but mainly because by eloping they’d avoid all the potential stress and ridiculous financial considerations. I’d love to think they have their special moment and could spend the rest of the £ on wonderful travels or a house deposit rather than all the weird pressure that seems to go with a wedding day.

If they did it just with themselves and a couple of mates even better - instant witnesses. But no, as a family we would not be sad at not being there as long as the event reflected their own wishes - it’s their special day and essentially a commitment between two individuals.

Instant · 19/03/2023 17:51

We were married in the presence of two witnesses and two of our children. It was simple and cost less than 200 pounds. Everyone got told after. No problems. Tbh no one expected us to get married so am guessing it was an unlooked for bonus for the more traditional members of the family. Win win for all concerned.

MadMadMadamMim · 19/03/2023 17:51

I genuinely wouldn't mind. I've got four 20 something children and if they want to elope that's fine. I find weddings fairly boring, and I'm not desperate to watch them tie the knot - if they want to get married and do so privately I'd be ok with it. I've two daughters and feel no particular desire to traipse round shops with them watching them try on dresses, picking out bridesmaids outfits, flowers, etc. It's just not my thing.

I wouldn't be gutted that I hadn't been there. I might be unusual, though.

Bree82 · 19/03/2023 17:53

One of my siblings did this and it did not upset me in the slightest! That’s what made them happy so I was happy. It’s another level surprise when we didn’t even know they were engaged lol. They sent a photo in a group chat and DH saw it first and was like hey their engaged and I was like “what woohoo” and he then immediately said , “wait no, their married “ and I jumped threw the roof haha so exciting. Then they sent a scan photo of a baby and a picture of a set of keys to a new house haha it was honestly so many shocks but I was just so happy for them.
thats how they wanted to do it and I respect that.

Bree82 · 19/03/2023 17:55

oh but I should as my parents knew about it and helped them get ready & took some pictures. they had had their 2 best friends as witness.

neilyoungismyhero · 19/03/2023 17:58

One of my children got married in the Registry Office. Did everything themselves and the siblings and partners and us went for a meal at a local Harvester. They then spent the night at a local rural hotel. Less than a dozen of us was lovely..and suited them no fuss but all their family with them.
Maybe that would be an option OP?

Tamuchly · 19/03/2023 18:05

About 6 weeks after my simple, small wedding to my second husband, my sister rang to say that her and her long term partner had got married with their adult children as witnesses. They loved my ceremony (registry office) and so booked in themselves. I was thrilled for them, it suited them perfectly as neither like a fuss. We did our wedding our way, they did theirs their way - no issues!

Lesvacances · 19/03/2023 18:06

Those of you saying family got over it - no they didn't.
They accepted it because they had no choice and wanted a good relationship with you.

My db eloped and my dm was really hurt.

My dd had a 15 person wedding because of covid, it was the second date after the first got cancelled and she understandably wanted to go ahead.
We couldn't eat or drink and had to wear masks.
It wasn't what I imagined for my only dd.
My original outfit hangs in the wardrobe unworn because it was bought for a different season.
I still feel incredibly cheated but obviously I don't voice this.
However if dd had chosen to exclude us and eloped I would have struggled to understand the selfishness of it all.
As someone said earlier just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

Unless you dislike your parents why would you do this?

YetMoreNewBeginnings · 19/03/2023 18:10

I also think a lot would depend on why they did it.

My best friend eloped because her DH’s divorced parents despise each other and they couldn’t be in the same room as each other.

Her parents were absolutely devastated to miss out and more so because they knew she wanted them there. It was compounded my knowing their DD wasn’t getting the wedding she wanted.

neverendinglauaundry · 19/03/2023 18:10

I wouldn't mind if my sibling eloped, but I think I'd be a bit sad if I wasn't at my kids weddings. It's a huge milestone and I'd just want to share in their happiness. It's also about the joining of families so I'd be hoping to get on with the in-laws see what they were like etc. Kind of unreasonable, but that's how I'd feel.

HAF1119 · 19/03/2023 18:14

I would feel fine and happy for you and whatever makes you comfortable

It's your day :)

Changingplace · 19/03/2023 18:18

I’d just be happy for them and not upset in the slightest.

I think weddings are for the couple getting married and I don’t think anyone else should think they have any say in how the couple choose to get married.

My parents eloped, told nobody until it was done because apparently after they got engaged my grans were both driving them insane and they simply wanted to be married without all the fuss.

They were together for 40 years until my mum died, it worked for them.

If you tell people you’re eloping are you actually eloping? Surely you’re then having a small wedding they’re not invited to?

If you want to elope just up and do it and tell people afterwards.

Bearpawk · 19/03/2023 18:20

My mum would be secretly very disappointed and hurt, that's why I'm not married. I don't want a 'wedding'.
We'll probably tie the knot informally abroad just the two of us when she's gone.

Angelofthenortheast · 19/03/2023 18:21

Would be happy for them

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