How to Elope with Family

joshua tree elopement

The question that I get asked a lot as an elopement photographer is “can you elope with family?” The answer is yes. There’s no box definitions for elopements. If you want to elope with family you can! Oftentimes, most people assume when they hear the word “elopement” that it’s just with the two people getting married. However, this isn’t always the case! An elopement is all about having an intimate and meaningful wedding experience focused on you. It’s not about what everyone else wants for your wedding day.  

So whether or not you want your family to be present on your elopement day is up to you! Typically, couples will invite around 10-15 guests on average for their elopement day. But ultimately, when deciding who you want to include on your elopement day do whatever feels right to you not based on others opinions. If you’re wondering how to elope with family I have some tips to share with you! 

Here are some ways on how to elope but include family:

Invite Them!

This one is a given to include your family in your elopement. Even though a lot of couples choose to have a completely “just us” experience for their elopement you can still make it meaningful with family there. If having your family and close friends there is something really important to you then do it! Typically, elopements have around 10-15 guests before it’s considered a small wedding. Keep in mind when you have your family you’ll have to think about certain decisions around your day things like location accessibility, travel, activities, lodging, etc.

Turn Your Elopement Into A Weekend

You can have a full weekend for your elopement! One day you can celebrate with your family and friends and the next you can have an all day elopement experience and do a private ceremony together. This idea also works really well if you’re in a location with a lot of fun activities around. You can have dinner with your family, do a fun activity like hiking, spend the day at the beach, kayaking, or whatever you like doing together! 

Latourell Falls elopement

Have a Family Member Be an Officiant

Some couples choose to have their best friend or family member be the officiant for their elopement depending on where you are doing yours! Not only do they get to be a part of your elopement day, but also included in the ceremony. This will make your ceremony a lot more meaningful to have a loved one officiate. An easy way to get officiated online in minutes is Universal Life Church. Also, if you need witnesses for your elopement this can be another way your family can be included! Be sure to check the specific laws for witnesses for your state. 

Get Ready With Them

When it comes to how to elope with immediate family, getting ready with them can be a great idea! If you’re eloping somewhere near to your family you can include them in this. They can help you put on your wedding dress or suit and be a part of any pre-wedding ceremony you may have. You can also do a first look with your siblings or parents to include them! 

california elopement photographer

Have a Celebration Dinner 

The day before (or whenever you want) your elopement you can have a celebration dinner with your family and friends! You can host it at a cabin, Airbnb, or even at someone’s house and have a nice meal catered. This is a great way to spend time with all your loved ones and include them in your elopement. 

How to Elope with Family When They’re Not Physically Present

If you’re wondering how to elope with family while still having a “just us” experience, here are some ways you can do that:

Video Chat/Live Stream

The day of your elopement you can video chat with your family! I’m sure it’ll be one of the most exciting video chats they’ve ever done. If your family is not going to be physically present on your wedding day and you want to include them you can live stream it! This also will work if a few guests couldn’t make it maybe due the location not being easily accessible. 

Have Your Family Write Letters & Record Videos 

Including family in elopement without them physically being present is easy with modern technology. You can have them record videos of themselves to play on your elopement day! Having them write letters to you to read on your elopement day is also a good way to feel like they’re included. 

yosemite elopement

Have a Reception

If you want your elopement experience to be with just the two of you, have a reception a couple months later! You can show all of your elopement photos that your photographer took at your reception too. This can be a fun way to celebrate with friends and family while making them feel included by showing your elopement photos! 

Take Your Family Shopping for Wedding Attire 

Shopping for wedding attire can be a huge emotional process! This is such an exciting and memorable experience. So you can bring your mom, dad, siblings, and close friends to be a part of this process. You can even turn it into a whole weekend trip! This can be a great way to include your family while still having a “just us” elopement experience. 

Things to Consider When Eloping With Family

  • If your family will be physically present on your elopement day keep in mind the accessibility of the location you choose. Especially keep this in mind if you have older family members coming. If you’re hiking, be realistic with what guests’ physical capabilities are. 
  • Keep seasons in mind when eloping with family. Is it going to be snowy and cold or really hot? Make sure your guests have proper attire for your elopement.
  • Adventurous elopements are super fun, but make sure your guests are prepared on what to expect! You want to make sure that they have a good experience as well. 
  • When it comes to eloping with family there’s no right or wrong way to do it! This is all about what you want as a couple. Do whatever feels right to you!

Meet Your Elopement Photographer

Hi, I’m Tiffany and I’m a California elopement photographer who travels worldwide!

Not only do I help document your elopement, but I also help to craft it. I’m here to help make sure that you have the best experience ever. I help assist in finding the best location for you, handcraft your timeline, give you vendor recommendations/an elopement guide and so much more! 

I’m a huge outdoors lover and adventure seeker which is where my passion for documenting adventurous elopements comes in. I firmly believe that your wedding day deserves to be intentional and focused on you. Elopements absolutely have my heart!

If you’re looking for an elopement photographer contact me so we can start planning your dream elopement! 

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