Me and my fiance are simply not telling anybody. Well, some of his family and friends know and they're all totally ok with it, they understand our reasons. My family can't make it, so it wouldn't be fair for his to come. I'm not telling my family as I feel it'd upset them that they really can't possibly make it. I'm going for the whole "It's better to ask forgiveness than permission" thing!! We're telling them as soon as we're married, and in a couple of years we're hoping to have a reception or a renewal of vows, that kind of thing, where we can invite everyone. We just can't afford to do that right now.
I'm sure they will support any decision you make, it's your choice Just make sure you have lots of photos and maybe a video to show them! (I'm thinking one witness taking photos, another taking a video!). Bring them a souvenier, or plan on a relatively low-key at home reception. Some feelings will be hurt, but..that would be the case no matter what. Even if you had the whole thing in your home town, SOMEONE would be bound to miss out!
I know I haven't really answered your questions, but I hope I was some help even if just in letting you know that you're not the only one thinking of such a plan Honestly, not telling people feels kind of underhanded and sneaky, so I don't fully recommend that route, I just know my family and I think it's for the best.
I'm wracking my brain right now trying to think HOW you'd announce that kind of thing...Invitations wouldn't work as they're not invited!! Maybe just tell people "Hey, we're eloping, how cool is that! See you when we return!".
What I'm considering doing is sending out to all the people I WOULD have invited, a nice note telling them about it (invitation style), with a couple of photos included. If I had the option, it would include an invitation to an at home reception. I'll be emailing the important people (like close family and friends) from my hotel that day, but I think it'd be nice to do that too
Anyway, sorry for the rambly post! Good luck figuring it all out And congratulations