Tips for Eloping With Family

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Elopements aren’t always just the couple – you can also have guests or invite your loved ones! For a lot of eloping couples, the experience just wouldn’t be the same without the people they love most around! If you’re dreaming of an adventurous wedding day where you tie the knot amongst epic landscapes, and where you have the freedom to do whatever it is that would make your day truly yours, but you don’t want to leave your family out of it, this guide is for you! We’ll talk about eloping with family – tips and advice to ensure an amazing experience, how to plan your elopement, and everything you’ll need to know.

Can You Elope With Family?

You’re definitely not alone! A lot of couples wonder if an elopement is truly right for them, because they want their parents, or siblings, or other family members with them as they tie the knot. You don’t have to choose one of the other – eloping with family is entirely possible, and you can have an amazing adventure with your loved ones.

Including other people in your elopement day means thinking about some logistics and making sure that you plan a day that your family can be a part of – so when you and your partner decide to elope, make sure to talk about this early on! Have an honest conversation, and decide whether eloping with family is right for you, and who will be on the guest list.

Keep in mind that this isn’t about excluding everyone or hurting feelings – it’s about making sure that your elopement day is exactly what you want, and that you begin your marriage with a true to you experience. Once you’ve decided on a guest list, tell your family about your plans! You know them best, so if you anticipate any pushback, prepare yourself to answer questions or explain your decision – but stay firm and confident, and remember that this is your wedding day. Tell your family what you’re dreaming of for the day, how you plan to include them, and any plans that you have so far!

Tips for Eloping With Family

When you’re planning your elopement with family, here are some tips and advice to keep in mind as you plan.

 Choosing a Location When Eloping With Family

Finding the perfect place to tie the knot and marry the love of your life is one of the most exciting things about eloping! When you’re inviting your family along, you’ll need to think about them as you search for the perfect location.

First, the spot needs to be accessible to everyone – if you have older or younger family members, or anyone who has mobility or accessibility needs, there are plenty of places that don’t require hiking and are easier to get to! But if your family is up for an adventure, you can totally bring them along to a mountaintop.

Another thing to consider is that outdoor locations can have a limit on how many guests can be present at your ceremony, due to Leave No Trace principles and conservation. For example, in Banff National Park, the limit is 20. While there isn’t a strict limit to how many guests you can include in an elopement before it becomes a “small wedding,” it’s best to keep things intimate – 10-15 people is usually a good maximum, and you’ll have more options for locations if your ceremony is smaller than 10 (vendors and the two of you are included in these numbers too!) people. But, don’t stress if you want to invite a few more – what matters on your elopement day is how the day feels, and if everyone is supportive and on your side, an elopement with 20 guests is just as meaningful and personal as an elopement with 1. Many parks and outdoor elopement locations have options for bigger ceremonies too, so it’s best to decide on a guest count before you start your search!  

 Take Some Time for Yourselves

Eloping with family is amazing and gives you the opportunity to spend this incredible day with the people you love most – but it’s also important to take some time for just the two of you! After all, this day is about celebrating you two and your love story. 

A great way to do this when eloping with family is to split the day in two – spend the first half with your family, have your ceremony and take some photos and celebrate, and then take off for an adventure alone! This can also allow you to do a hike or have an elopement day adventure – you can elope in an easily accessible location with your family, then go somewhere else for photos and amazing views.

You can also do two days for your elopement, spending one day with your family and getting married, and the next day doing something with your partner! This is the best way to ensure that you have plenty of time for both parts of the elopement, without having to rush the experience. It always goes by faster than couples think it will, so for some inspiration, check out this guide to elopement timelines!

Including Your Family in Your Elopement

When you’re eloping with family, there are some fun ways to include them in your day or to give them a role during the ceremony! Of course, you can just have them join you for the elopement and be there to celebrate with you – but if you want some fun ideas for including them, here are a few suggestions.

A lot of people have a family member officiate their elopement. Here in BC, it’s much more difficult to get ordained than it is in the US, but you can have your family member symbolically perform the ceremony, and get the legal paperwork signed by a celebrant! This can add a really personal, meaningful touch to your day. You can also have family members sign as witnesses!

Another option is to just give your family members a chance to speak during the ceremony – this can be more casual than officiating, but can be a fun way to include everyone and allow them to share memories, stories, and emotions with you.

You can also keep some wedding day traditions, like having a ring bearer or flower child! If you have younger children attending your elopement, giving them a role can make it fun for them.

Many couples also plan a reception with their family – whether it’s a picnic right after the ceremony, a dinner at the end of the night, sitting around the campfire and making s’mores, cutting a cake and doing toasts, or even planning a bigger reception a few days or weeks after the elopement day, this is a really great way to include your family in your elopement!

Hiring a Photographer When Eloping With Family

My job as an elopement photographer is to make sure you have the absolute best experience, and that your wedding day is intentional, meaningful, and unique to you.

If you’re eloping with family, contact me – I’ll help you choose the perfect place to tie the knot, recommend vendors, lodging, and things to do, make a custom timeline, and everything you need for the perfect day!

More Elopement Planning Resources

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