10 Ways to Include Your Family in Your Elopement

10 ways to include your family in your elopement

What if you and your partner decide that eloping is the most authentic way for you to get married, but you’re not sure you want the day to exclude your core friends and family? What if I told you that you don’t have to make any hard choices; that you can have the best of both worlds? Truth is, you can have a meaningful elopement AND include your family and close friends!

Traditional weddings seem to have an endless seeming amount of rules and expectations built into them, but the beauty of eloping is that rules simply do not exist. You can throw out convention and curate your day in a way that means the most to you.

Eloping isn’t about exclusion. The concept has evolved from people thinking you’re running away, concealed by the dark of night and getting married in some shameful way. Eloping is glorious, and it just so happens that you can plan it in any way you want! You can include family and friends in planning, celebrating, and participating in your actual elopement.

Let’s take a look at some ways to make that happen.

1. Share your vision

Involving your family in your elopement can be as simple as sharing your excitement with them. Anyone you want to tell one on one, make a point of doing so. Then invite a handful of your nearest and dearest to an intimate party, dinner, BBQ–you name it–to let them in on this beautiful decision you’ve made to elope. Share your vision with them, ask them for ideas to help make the day special, the way you want it.

2. Plan together

Include them in the planning process! Family and friends can help you research locations, permits, weather, peak season and off season, and seasonal closures. Ask them to think of local Leave No Trace friendly ‘decor’ to spruce up your already stellar location. Take them dress/suit/attire shopping with you.

3. Celebrate, pre-elopement style

Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you have to forgo pre-elopement celebrations. If anything, making the mindful choice to elope can make it that much easier to have pre-elopement celebrations with the people you share your plans with in a way you REALLY love. Maybe you want a bachelor/bachelorette bash in Nashville, or maybe spend a weekend at a cabin on a lake, go camping or backpacking (this could even be at your elopement location). Top it all off with an intimate engagement party.

4. Infuse more meaning + get creative

Wear something of theirs that holds meaning, like a family heirloom. One person brought his grandfather’s handkerchief and old knife, and wore it on his person. I wore my Mom’s pearl necklace when Brian and I eloped. This creates a space for more inclusivity; even if your family members aren’t present, they’ll be there in spirit.

Ask friends to make Just Married signs for your backpacks or embroider/stencil/paint biker jackets with ‘Just Eloped’ on the back.

5. Letters

Have your family write letters of love and support that you can read on your elopement day. You can write letters for them to read as well.

6. Bring them along!

Bring your people along for your elopement experience and have an intimate gathering in an unreal setting together. Ways this can play out:

  • If you want your elopement ceremony to be just the two of you, rent a cabin for a few days, take your leave for a few hours with your partner to exchange vows in a way and place that you want. Come back after you’ve taken some time for yourselves and celebrate.
  • You can have family and friends stay somewhere separate but in the same approximate area. Elope just the two of you, and then meet your family and friends the next day to celebrate and continue your vacation together!
  • If you’d like a few loved ones to witness you and your partner exchange vows, invite your crew to accompany you to your elopement site.

One couple had a destination elopement in Joshua Tree. They rented a rad Airbnb with a main house, a few air streams and yurts in the back and filled the weekend with celebration with their closest people. They eloped in the National Park with about a dozen people present, then just the two of them went for ‘Just Married Shots’ at a local dive bar. They came back to the Airbnb for a seven course, sit down dinner made for them by a private chef.

7. Officiate

Have a close friend or family member officiate. Most states require that an ordained person or an appointed official legally marry you. You can choose to do the legal paperwork and make your union legal before, after, or during your elopement journey.

Regardless of when you sign your paper work, your wedding day is still when you choose to exchange vows. (In a handful of states, you can do something called ‘self-solemnizing,’ which means that you can marry yourselves! But that’s for a different blog post.)

If you want to make this portion on your ceremony more meaningful, you can bring a friend or family who actually knows and loves you to take on this role. If you want to elope just the two of you, I am ordained and would love to help with the legal stuff.

8. Ask friends to sign as witnesses

Many states require that you have one or two witnesses sign your marriage license. If you’re thinking about bringing any close friends or family, ask them to sign for you. If you decide to keep it just the two of you, you can find someone hiking the same trail, which is super fun!

9. Walk down the aisle

Whether it’s dad, mom, your brother, or a close friend who has been deemed family, you can have them walk you down a moss-paved aisle. Or bring along a Bluetooth speaker and walk yourself down to a song that speaks to your and your partner’s relationship.

10. Party it up post-elopement

After you elope, have a party, dinner, or reception to celebrate with your people. It can be as formal or as casual as you want. You can go to a brewery (ask friends to scout and help you pick which one you go to), have a fancy catered dinner party, or hire a band or DJ and have a full-on bash and dance the night away!

Similar Posts