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SEPT 15, 2020



  • Angela Walsh

Eloping With Family - Tips for Including Your Loved Ones

If you’ve decided that a big, traditional wedding isn’t right for the two of you, but you also can’t imagine tying the knot without your parents, or your siblings, or your kids, or other family members around, the good news is you can have the best of both worlds! An elopement doesn’t have to be just the two of you - and if eloping with family and including your loved ones in your wedding day feels right to you, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.

With tips and advice for eloping with family, ideas for including them in your elopement day, and more, we’ll talk about how to keep your elopement intimate and focused on the two of you, while including your loved ones!

Intimate Yosemite Wedding with Family

Tips for Eloping With Family

Before we get into planning your elopement and figuring out the logistics of eloping with family, here’s some advice and tips to keep in mind.

Keep Your Day About You

A big reason that a lot of couples choose to elope in the first place is that big weddings often feel super limiting - there’s a ton of pressure to please everybody, invite every person you know (and even the plus ones that you don’t know), and make your wedding day about everyone but the couple.

Eloping with family can make your experience so much more meaningful and personal, if your loved ones support you and your decision. Make sure that you’re intentional about your elopement, and that you stick to your plans and what’s right for you - it can be easy to feel like you need to compromise and change things about your elopement to please others, so prepare yourself and your family by setting expectations, talking with your partner to decide what the two of you truly want, and remember - this is your wedding day!

A eloping couple on a hike in Yosemite with their friends and family on their elopement day

Split Up Your Elopement Day

If you want to elope with family, but you also feel like you want some time to yourselves on your day, you can have both! Many couples have their ceremony with their family, and then after taking some time to celebrate and hang out with their loved ones, they take off for a hike or an adventure, and some photos, on their own.

This is an amazing way to include your loved ones in your elopement, while still getting some time to just relax and soak in the moment with your new spouse!

Plan a Two Day Elopement

You can even take it a step further - instead of splitting up one day, celebrate your elopement over two days! You can have your ceremony with your family one day, and be able to spend time with everyone and celebrate with a reception or an adventure with everybody. Then, the next day, the two of you can have the entire day to yourselves, and can do a long hike, an epic adventure, or a day where you just take it slow and enjoy the beginning of your marriage.

A eloped couple sitting on a rock in Emerald Bay in Tahoe enjoying the sunset

Choosing a Location When Eloping With Family

One of the first things you’ll do as you dive into planning your one of a kind elopement day is find the perfect spot to exchange vows and tie the knot! But when you’re eloping with family, there are some extra logistics to consider - so here are some tips for choosing an elopement location.

Think About Distance From Home

First, you’ll need to come up with a general idea of where you want to elope - in the country or abroad, a state or park, and how far you want to travel to your location. Think about your family members - are there any limitations on how far they’re able to travel, if they can hop on a plane, or if they might have trouble getting more than a few days off from work? This might affect your options, as you may decide to elope closer to where your family members live to make sure they’re able to attend!


When it comes to your specific elopement location, think about accessibility for your family - are they up for a long hike, or do they require something that’s easier to get to? This is another reason that splitting up your elopement day can be great! If you choose an easily accessible spot for your ceremony, but still want to hike or adventure, you and your partner can take off afterward.

A winter elopement ceremony in Emerald Bay with friends and family

Ideas for Eloping With Family

If you want to include your family and have them play a role in the elopement, here are some ideas!

Have a Family Member Officiate

A fun way to include your family in your elopement is to ask someone to officiate and perform your ceremony. They can create a personalized, meaningful script, and if there’s someone you trust to do this, getting ordained is super easy! It’s free and only takes a few minutes through the Universal Life Church.

Another option is to have your family member officiate symbolically - as your elopement photo and video team, we can double as an elopement officiant for the paperwork! This is great if you want someone under 18 to officiate (since they can’t get ordained), or just want to have a meaningful ceremony without worrying about the government logistics.

Have a Reception

Another idea for eloping with family is to have a reception. This can be as simple as sitting around a campfire, or you can have dinner and cake at your Airbnb, go out to eat, or rent a small reception venue for a private celebration! This gives your loved ones an opportunity to give toasts and celebrate with you.

An elopement reception dinner with friends and family

Include Kids in Your Elopement Day

If you have kids attending your elopement, you can include them in the festivities too! You can have a ring bearer or flower child and give them a role in the ceremony, let them symbolically officiate your ceremony, or for your children or stepchildren, include them by reading vows to them too or giving them a gift.

A wedding couple with their daughter on their wedding day during their hiking elopement with family

Get Ready Together

Getting ready with your family members is often a really meaningful part of traditional weddings, and you can incorporate it into your elopement too! Have your parents, siblings, or other family members help you get ready, as this gives you some time with them and can be super meaningful.

You can also do first looks with family members - parents or grandparents love seeing their kids all dressed up!

Eloping With Family?

If you’re eloping with family, we’ve got everything you need to plan the perfect day! Our elopement packages include photography and videography, location scouting, a custom timeline, and more. We’ll help you find the perfect spot for the whole family, and plan a day that’s unique and personalized for the two of you!

Contact us, and let’s start planning.

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