5 Ways to Include Your Family on Your Elopement Day 

Hello friends! Today we are chatting all about different ways to include your family on your elopement day. One of the biggest misconceptions about eloping is that you can’t have anyone there. I’m here to tell you that if you want to have up to 20 of your closest friends and family, then you absolutely can. On the contrary, if you want to only want to have a couple, or maybe even none, then you absolutely can. Your wedding day gets to be what you want it to be. 

Your wedding day, your way.

When you see the epic shots of couples on the edge of a cliff you may think to yourself “How the heck did they include their family at a place like THAT?” This is one of the biggest questions that I get as an elopement photographer and guide. I’ll tell you my secret…

We find a ceremony location that is epic, but accessible. When choosing an elopement location I work with my couples to understand the abilities of themselves and their guests. Believe it or not, most epic elopement ceremony locations are less than a ½ mile walk, some being 100 feet! That means you can have your most special guests there at your elopement ceremony, even if they cannot hike long distances.

Other than having your family attend your elopement ceremony there are many ways that you can include them in your elopement experience. Here are 5 Ways to Include Your Family on Your Elopement Day!

1. Still have the getting ready moments with your family members

The getting ready part of your wedding day is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of your wedding. This is why I always encourage all of my couples to begin their elopement coverage during this time. It’s a period of time filled with so much anticipation, happy nerves, and all of the same butterflies that you felt before your first date. Sharing these moments with close family may be one of your favorite parts of your elopement day. Whether you’ve always dreamed of your mother zipping up your dress, or your sister helping with your jewelry, or even a first look with your dad. These are all very special and sacred moments that you may want to think about including on your elopement day. 

2. Include your family in your ceremony 

One of the most special parts of your elopement day is your ceremony- the part where you actually get married! While thinking about your ceremony, you may want to consider including your family in the ceremony beyond them just being in the audience. Whether you want to carry on traditions from previous family weddings or create your own traditions, this can be a very special moment for your family. 

Another way to include your family on your elopement day is to have one of them officiate your wedding ceremony. Becoming an officiant has never been easier. Anyone can become a legal wedding officiant through the Universal Life Church. If you have a family member that is already a pastor, someone who is eloquent, or someone who holds a special place in your heart, I’d recommend thinking about having them officiate your wedding. My husband and I’s wedding was officiated by my husband’s father and it was seriously so special!

Bride and groom with family at their elopement in the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona

3. Have a mini celebration with them- a picnic, a toast, or even a reception.

After your ceremony concludes you can still keep on celebrating! Another great way to have a family-centric elopement experience is sharing a celebration of some kind on the day of. This can be a picnic, a toast, or even a reception of some sorts. This all depends on what YOU want your elopement day to include. A picnic can be a great way to spend more time together out in nature. A toast is perfect to hear special words from your family and friends, but isn’t as time consuming as a picnic or reception may be. A reception is a great option if you want to conclude your elopement day with a nighttime experience. You can share a meal, have some dancing, or relax by the bonfire. There are so many other ways you can share a mini celebration with your family- find the perfect one for your elopement experience!

bride and groom dancing at elopement reception with family in Seattle, washington

4. Have them come along for an adventure

Perhaps you share the same adventurous spirit with your family members. If that’s the case, adding an adventure that your family can come along with would be so much fun and unforgettable! The type of adventure you choose to go on with your family greatly depends on what place you choose to elope at. Perhaps you will choose an elopement location based on the group adventures that it offers. If you aren’t sure what kind of epic experiences to add to your elopement day, check out my blog post HERE!

Some great adventures that your family may enjoy include going on a off-roading jeep tour, a gondola ride, a boat ride, a hike, and so much more!  

Other fun things you can bring your family together on your elopement day include wine tasting, horseback riding, group yoga sessions, etc!

5. Make it a weekend experience- Get a big airbnb for everyone

Your elopement experience doesn’t need to only last a few hours… it can last an entire weekend if you’d like! One of the best ways to have a family-centric elopement is to have a big airbnb that your family can stay in. This is a great way to have some sort of “home base” for all of your adventures. You can make an itinerary for the weekend so everyone is on the same page in regards to activities. This will look different for every family, but this can be such a great way to create so many memories during your elopement weekend. 

I’d recommend finding a large Airbnb or VRBO because I’ve found this to be the most cost effective way. I personally did this for my wedding and it was the BEST. I love hearing about all of the adventures my family members went on. This is one of my FAVORITE ways to include family during your elopement experience!

Bonus Tips:

COVID couples: If your family aren’t able to physically attend your wedding day I highly suggest using Skype or Zoom to include them in your special happenings. Whether that be putting a phone on a tripod, or having another guest holding the phone. This allows your family members who may be hundreds of miles away to still be able to experience your elopement.

Where to Stand: This may seem super simple but with how flexible elopement ceremonies are, your guests may be super confused as to where to stand without chairs! I like to suggest for guests to make a horseshoe shape with the couple. This allows for everyone to be able to hear and see the couple, without getting in the frame of the photographer!

Including Kids in Your Elopement: Want to include kids in your elopement? Let’s do it! I would suggest finding an elopement location that is safe for kids. That means no cliff edges, cactus, harsh weather, or anything else that can cause harm. Don’t let this scare you! Most of the the epic elopement ceremonies spot you see may have only been 100 feet of the road! Whether you have kids of your own, or younger family members, don’t let that stop you from having the elopement of your dreams!

That’s all folks!! I hope that this helped you if you’ve ever thought about including your family in your elopement experience!

Want to start planning your own elopement? Contact me HERE!

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