While the word “elopement” might bring up images of couples running off to get married in secret, in recent years the term has expanded to include all sorts of intimate and adventurous wedding ceremonies. Many elopement couples still choose to wed in private, but for some, including family in one way or another is incredibly important. If you’re considering including your family and friends in some aspect of your elopement day, read on for tips to help make sure your day goes off without a hitch.
Deciding who to invite to your elopement is not only a huge emotional decision but also a logistical one. However, the most important question I ask my couple to help them decide on who to invite to their wedding is this: Who is 100% on board with your elopement?
If you’re inviting someone to your elopement it is SO crucial that they support your decision to elope. This means they won’t try to guilt you into making the event any bigger, they won’t try to control planning, and most importantly – they really love you and your partner no matter what. Your elopement is about you and your spouse, and it’s important to make sure that every single person present respects that.
For adventure elopements, it’s also super important to consider the logistics of your elopement day in terms of who you are inviting. Many popular elopement spots have a limit on how many people can be present, including vendors, so be sure to check that out before inviting anyone. Make sure you consider everyone’s physical abilities if you’re planning on eloping somewhere that isn’t easily accessible, especially older relatives. And for my couples who love to elope in the middle of nowhere – will there be somewhere for your guests to stay? While many of us love camping and roughing it out in the woods, that might not be the case for friends and family.
If you and your partner are choosing to elope, but don’t want to miss out on certain traditions like your father walking you down the “aisle”, an intimate wedding-style elopement might be a perfect option. These types of elopements generally include a more traditional-style ceremony and can include a few guests such as parents and siblings. With a small group of fewer than 10 guests, you can still elope at some popular spots, but it’s definitely important to check for guest limits before committing to a location.
Having two marriage ceremonies is a great option for couples who are struggling to choose between privacy and sharing the special moment with others. By having two separate marriage ceremonies, whether on the same day or two separate days, you can have an intimate vow exchange with your partner in private at the spot of your choice, and then share a more traditional wedding ceremony with your family or friends.
While traditionally, elopements didn’t include any sort of reception, hosting a small gathering with food and drinks after your elopement ceremony is becoming more common these days. Whether your dream location is inaccessible for family members, or you simply want to exchange your vows in private, this is a great option to include your family and friends on your elopement day without having them present at the ceremony.
For couples who choose to elope alone, there are tons of digital options for including your friends and family in your day. You can even live-stream your entire ceremony if you want! Or if you’re having a private ceremony, you can video chat with your family while getting ready or after the ceremony to tell them all about it.
If you want to unplug from the outside world during your elopement, including friends and family in pre-elopement activities is a great way to make sure they feel like part of the day. Whether that includes more traditional events like an engagement party or wedding shower or bringing them with you to try on your wedding outfit, there are so many ways you can include friends and family leading up to your big day. If there is someone extra special to you that can’t be present for your elopement, I highly recommend asking them to be a witness as you sign your marriage license at your local courthouse.
Although it’s becoming less common, there are still some couples out there who love a good surprise elopement. If you plan on keeping your elopement secret until after it happens — don’t worry! There are still ways to include your friends and family after the fact. If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional, you can host a small reception at your favorite restaurant. You can even include some wedding traditions like cake cutting or toasts! My personal favorite? A photo reveal party! Invite your family and friends over when you receive your elopement gallery so they can relive those incredible moments with you.
My couples elope for a variety of reasons and under a variety of circumstances. That’s the wonderful thing about an elopement — it can be completely unique and whatever you need it to be! If you’re choosing to include friends and family in person or from afar, there are so many ways to make sure that your loved ones are a part of your special day in whatever way feels right for you.