If you’re considering eloping but need some ideas on how to include your family, this blog is for you! Whether you choose to have them there with you in person or you include them in another way, just remember that as long as what you decide feels right to YOU those who love you will support you!
This is the no brainer solution to including your family in your elopement! Although a lot of couples who elope have a day that’s just the two of them, you can totally still have an intimate and meaningful experience that’s centered around you AND have your favorite people in attendance. Your wedding day is about you and if you want to have an elopement but couldn’t imagine getting married without your parents, siblings, or best friends there, then invite them! Elopements typically have 10 guests or less before they’re considered more of an intimate wedding. Keep in mind that inviting others may influence certain decisions that you make for your day (location, accessibility, what you do, what you eat, etc.), so just make sure that whatever you decide to do, you’re still getting the day that YOU want.
Take Your Family Shopping for Wedding Attire
Taking your mom, sisters, best friends, etc. with you while dress or suit shopping is a great way to include them in your elopement experience even if they won’t be attending on the day of! This is such an exciting (and sometimes emotional) part of the wedding planning process so including your loved ones will make it even more memorable and special. If you want to take things even further and make your shopping trip more of a special occasion, consider turning it into a full weekend getaway!
Have an Engagement Party
Just because you’re not having a traditional wedding day, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate your engagement with friends and family! An engagement party is a fun way to have a casual gathering with friends and family members before your elopement and you can even use it as an opportunity to announce your elopement in a special way.
Have a Send Off Dinner
This is similar to having an engagement party but would just be closer to your actual elopement day. It’s a really nice option if you’re having a destination elopement that you’ll be traveling for. Have a send off dinner the day (or week) before you leave so that your loved ones can give you their well wishes and spend time with you before you’re officially married!
Have Your Family Write You Letters to Read on Your Elopement Day
One way to feel like your family is with you on your elopement day is to have them write you letters! You can set aside a special time to read them either before or after your ceremony. These letters can include anything your loved ones want to share with you on your wedding day - whether that’s simply a note of congratulations, fun stories about their time knowing you, or tips or advice for marriage. Not only with these be a meaningful addition to your day, but they’ll be a sentimental keepsake that you can look back on for years.
Get Ready With Them
If you’re having your elopement somewhere close to your family, consider having them be a part of your getting ready time. They can spend the morning with you, help you into your dress or suit, and take part in any pre-ceremony activities you are planning. This allows you to still have an intimate ceremony with just your partner, while also including your loved ones in the day! You could also get ready separately and do some kind of first look with your parents or siblings before heading off to your ceremony.
Incorporate Meaningful Details
There are a lot of ways to include your family when it comes to planning the little details of your elopement day. For example, I’ve seen brides wear veils passed down for generations, grooms wearing cuff links from their grandfather, bouquet pins with a photo of a special loved one, and even articles of clothing completely designed and made by a family member or friend! Whether it’s your jewelry, attire, signs, or a special tradition to honor your culture or heritage, the possibilities here are endless. Just make sure you let your photographer know about your special details so they can capture photos of them for you to share later!
Have a Family Member be Your Officiant or Witness
Depending on where you get married and what you’re planning your elopement day to look like, you can actually have a family member be your officiant! This not only allows them to be a part of your day, but your ceremony will be even more personal and meaningful when it’s officiated by someone who knows and loves you. The process to get ordained is super easy online through the Universal Life Church. If you need witnesses for your elopement those can be family members as well! Make sure you check with your specific location in regards to officiant and witness requirements as they may vary by county, state, or country.
Make Your Elopement into a Weekend Experience
A super fun way to have a “just us” elopement day and still include family in the experience is to make your elopement into a full weekend! This is a perfect idea if you’re eloping in an adventurous location with lots to do nearby. You can spend Friday and Saturday hanging out with your loved ones doing any number of activities from camping, hiking, hanging out at the beach, having a bbq, having board game nights, doing a boat or helicopter tour, literally anything you want! Then on Sunday, you can go off on your own to have a private ceremony and day to yourselves.
Video Chat / Live Stream
This option should be no surprise! A super simple way to include your family in your elopement is to have a video call with them either before or after you say “I do”. It will probably be the most exciting FaceTime they’ll ever get! You could also do a live stream of your ceremony for your family members if you want them to be able to watch and feel even more like they’re actually there. This option also works if you’re having a few guests but some couldn’t attend because the location you chose required traveling or isn’t very accessible.
Include Your Family in Last Minute Preparations
As you’re coming up on the day of your elopement, consider making all of your last minute preparations into a fun day with your friends or parents. Go out for a spa day, get your nails or hair done, grab some drinks, let them share their excitement with you as your wedding day gets closer!
Have a Post-Elopement Reception or Celebration
Just because you’re having an intimate day for your wedding, doesn’t mean you can’t still have a bigger celebration later! Whether you want it to look more like a traditional reception or you’d rather have a casual dinner party or a backyard bbq, find a way to celebrate with your loved ones that feels authentic to you.
Hire a Photographer and Videographer
Documenting your day should be a priority no matter what kind of wedding you have, but it’s especially important when there will be a lot of loved ones who won’t be there in person. Sharing your photos and videos with your family when you return will allow them to “experience” the day and feel more like they were actually there. You can take this a step further and even make your parents or VIP family members a special album of your photos so that they have a forever keepsake from the day.
If you’ve been struggling with the desire to have an elopement while still including your family, I hope this post was helpful! Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that it feels right to you as a couple. If this means not having anyone physically attend your day, that’s okay! Those who love you will support you no matter what and will appreciate being included in any way!