Knowing How to Elope with Family, or How to Include Family in Your Elopement can be tough, but I’m here to make it a little easier with this guide to Eloping with Family.
Perhaps you never pictured yourself having a big wedding. Maybe, you started looking into what it takes to plan a wedding and thought, why not plan the elopement adventure of your life with an epic vacation afterward instead! Or you just want something small and intimate, unique, and special to the two of you. One thing’s for sure though – you are so darn excited to be planning your elopement! The only problem? You’d like to share at least part of your day with your family, you’re just not sure how.
HOW TO ELOPE WITH FAMILY
Can You Elope with Family?
First thing first – does it still count as an elopement if you elope with family by your side? The answer – of course it does! An elopement is really just a small and intimate wedding, usually with less than 10 guests (but that number could easily stretch to 20). In my mind, the most important thing about eloping is that you plan a day tailored to the two of you. Ask yourself:
- What do you both love to do in your spare time?
- If you were picturing the best day ever, what would that look like?
- Who would you spend time with and how?
Elope with Immediate Family
If your family is included in that, you should definitely invite them to join for the day! There is no right or wrong way to do this. It could be as simple as asking them to attend just your ceremony, or you could ask them to share a meal with you afterward. Or hey, why not both? Whatever sounds best to you!
Suggested Timelines for Eloping with Family
The most important thing for your elopement is that the two of you plan a day centered around, well, the two of you! You shouldn’t be worried or stressed about pleasing others or living up to ideas of what a wedding ‘should’ look like. You’re choosing to elope, after all!
A good way to ensure this from the beginning is to make sure you’re upfront with invited guests about what you want and your plans for the day.
I know it can be hard to picture what the day might look like though without the usual ideas of a ‘traditional’ wedding to guide you. To help, I’ve put together a few sample timelines of what a wedding with family might look like.
Suggested Timeline including a Family Dinner
A great way to include family while keeping your elopement intimate and true to your wishes is to organize a family dinner on the day. This way, you can share your vows privately, explore and enjoy time together. Then, at the end of the day, you can come together with your family to tell them all about it and celebrate your wedding!
A nice way to do this is to break up the day into two parts.
6.00: Preparations & getting ready
7.00: Meet at the first location for sunrise portraits and to share your vows
8.30: Explore your next location. You could bring a picnic breakfast or include a stop for coffee somewhere along the way!
11.30: Break for lunch and a rest
5.00: Meet your family and start with some time for them to admire you in your wedding clothes, congratulations & family portraits
5.30: Informal cocktail hour
6.30: Share dinner at a private location. You could even consider having a chef cater a dinner at an Airbnb or something similar.
Optional inclusions: speeches, cake cutting, first dance, any other traditions you’d like (or not)
A Two-Day Elopement
You still want to have that elopement experience of celebrating your love without worrying about needing to be somewhere at a certain time or organizing your day around other people. But you want your family to be present, as well! A two-day elopement could be for you.
Day 1: Private Vows and Exploring
2.00: Get ready separately
3.00: Drive separately to the first location (one of you can come with me!), where you share your first look. It could be at an easy-to-reach mountain lookout, the start of a trailhead, by a lake, or on the coast. Whatever you like!
3.15: Share your private vows with each other
3.30: Explore the location, go on a hike, drive to alternative locations. Just take in the view and enjoy celebrating your wedding!
5.00: Have a private picnic or meal set up somewhere, share a toast, or pop a bottle of bubbles
6.00: Sunset portraits
Day 2: Family Ceremony, Photos, and Meal
9:00: Get ready separately with your families
11.00: Family portraits
11.30: Short wedding portrait session for the two of you
12.30: Shared lunch with you and your loved ones, including whichever elements you’d like to include – speeches, cake cutting, first dance, any other traditions you’d like (or not)
If you’d like some help planning your own elopement timeline that includes family, I’d love to assist you as part of my elopement photography packages. Get in touch to find out more!
Including Friends & Extended Family in your Intimate Wedding
Just because you won’t be inviting everyone and anyone to your elopement doesn’t mean they can’t be involved. It also doesn’t mean you don’t value and appreciate their love and support! Here are a few ideas for how to include family & friends in your elopement day, without inviting them:
- Ask someone who is invited to your elopement to livestream the ceremony
- Ask friends & family to record short videos with well-wishes for the two of you to watch on the day
- Ask loved ones to write a letter or a note for you to read on the day
Did you find this blog post on How to Elope with Family helpful? I’d love to help you make your elopement memorable and unique to the two of you, and to document it for you to look back on for life. Just get in touch to find out more!
Do you have a question about Eloping with Family or do you just love the photos I’ve shared? Let me know in the comments below! Your comments always make my day.