ANNOUNCING YOUR ELOPEMENT
Notifying loved ones that you've eloped can be done correctly in a range of ways, but there is elopement etiquette involved. The main rule of thumb is that the closer they are, the sooner they should be given the news (and yes, order counts). The below are the most appropriate methods of breaking the news to family and friends and the correct order in which to do so, so you can be sure you're following proper elopement etiquette and making your announcement as joyful as possible.
Parents should be the first to hear the news (assuming, of course, that you prepared your children in advance of the elopement or are childless). Traditionally, the parents of the bride are informed followed by those of the groom, and the news is relayed either in person or via telephone depending on the circumstances.
A phone call is acceptable if your elopement took place out of town, is likely to be met with joy, and you feel that your parents would want to receive the news as soon as possible. Offer them the opportunity to speak to you both, and if you don’t want the news to go beyond them for the moment, make your wish for discretion clear before you disconnect or risk having the news spread like wildfire.
An in-person announcement is most appropriate if you're fairly certain that your folks would better appreciate hearing the happy news from you directly – even if it will take longer for them to receive it – and you are physically able to do so very soon after you've returned from your elopement experience. (Don't wait two months because you can't visit until then – call them.)
It's especially important to share the news in person if it's likely to be met with shock, serious concern(s), and/or parental disapproval. There are legitimate reasons why a parent may react unenthusiastically to an elopement, so being prepared to address questions and apprehensions in a non-defensive way may help make the conversation go more smoothly. But even if their issues are unreasonable, breaking the news to them in person will be perceived as more respectful than informing them over the telephone.
Brothers + Sisters
Siblings may be initially informed by your parents if that is your wish and/or you are far from home. You may also share the news yourself over the telephone or in person following the guidelines above.
Many people have friendships that are as close as family ties and they may be informed of your elopement based on the same guidelines as non-immediate relatives (below).
Aunts, uncles, and cousins may be informed of your new marital status by your parents, or contacted by phone when you return from your elopement. Of course, any relative you're particularly close to may be informed personally by phone from your elopement destination after your parents and siblings have received the news. You may also wait to inform non-immediate relatives to whom you're not particularly close by wedding announcement (see below).
For more info on elopement announcements, read our interview with Laura Hooper Calligraphy.