Eloping with Family: How to Include Friends and Family in your Elopement

Planning Resources

Eloping in 2022 can mean a lot of different things. The stereotype of running away from home to get married in secret isn’t what an elopement means any more. Brides and grooms alike want a small loving celebration where the focus is all on them and their love. If that sounds like something you’re interested in then an elopement might be for you. But, maybe you still want that just you and your partner feel and also your family means the absolute world to you. Eloping with your family is possible, feasible, and people do it all the time.

Eloping with family and friends can be such a unique and beautiful experience for everyone included. However, I know that no matter how much you love your family it’s definitely not for everyone. So, continue reading to learn about some ways to include your family while eloping whether they are physically there or not.

Eloping with Family

Maybe your family is your ride or dies and you can’t imagine committing your life to your partner without your immediate family there. Amazing!! Then this section for you! Keep reading to hear how to include your family in your elopement day while still keep the celebration special, intimate, and memorable.

Have one ceremony and another just with vows

The ceremony is like the big kahuna of the day. For all intensive proposes this is the wedding as in this what a wedding really is – the ceremony. One great way to still include your family but keep it private is to have two ceremonies. Typically, this means you could have a more traditional ceremony with the repeat after me’s and at a different time during the day or maybe a different day entirely you can privately read your vows to each other. This is an amazing way to have that special moment with your partner but also include your families.

eloping with family in lake tahoe

Split Up the Day

This really goes hand in hand with the ceremony idea. You can have half of one amazing adventurous day alone and the other half with your family. Or however you want to split it. This means you can wake up early and enjoy a beautiful hike or beach stroll with your partner and do all the adventurous elopement activities. And then later that evening you and your new wife or hubby can enjoy a nice dinner or another ceremony with your family present. Of course the day can be split up anyway you want. But, this is a great way to get the best of both worlds; including your family and getting some alone time during your elopement.

Spread it Over More than one Day

This takes the idea above to a whole new level. A multi-day elopement is always fun regardless if you’re splitting one day between just you two and one day with family. Spreading your elopement celebration over two days guarantees you won’t feel rushed or pressured into include your family in something that maybe you originally didn’t intend to.

By spreading your elopement over more than one day you can dedicate one day to really go through a more typical wedding day with getting ready and traveling to a location for your ceremony followed by drinks, dinner, and dancing with your family. And on the other day you can really get the full elopement experience with a helicopter tour, ballon ride, or backpacking adventure whatever you’ve dreamt up.

Eloping with Family Not Present

Who doesn’t love their family or people that they consider family. And of course they make us a little crazy and test our patience but we’re still thankful for them! However, including your family in your elopement celebration is not for everyone and that’s ok too! So, here are some ways to still include your family in your elopement with them not being physically present.

Include them in the Planning Process

Whether it’s them helping you pick out what you’re going to wear or letting them throw you an engagement party. If you’re choosing to have an elopement that’s just you and your partner and still want to include your family in the planning process just let them be there for you. Invite them to watch you sign your marriage license before you lead for you trip. Or to your final fitting of your dress. Ask them for their opinion on flowers or something else.

wedding bouquet with family heirloom

Include Family Heirlooms in your Day

Maybe it’s your grandmother pendant or your grandpa’s lucky coin. Little momentos like those only add to your details. And when they come from a place or person that you value it makes them even more special. I often see brides include special gifts or tokens that have been pasted down through generations. Incorporating them in their bouquets or somewhere else on their outfits.

Open and Read Letters from Them

I am absolutely in love with this idea of reading letters in general. A lot of people grow up always imagining the day they’d get married and I’m sure you have some loved ones in your life that have thought about that day for you as well. Having them write letters to you for you to open on your day can be so special. Queue the water works.

Couple facetiming family after getting married in San Francisco City Hall.

Facetime, Skype, or Zoom them

If you’re choosing to spend your elopement day by yourselves but still want to actively share it with your family with a Facetime call. Assuming you have reception this can be a great way to still involve your family on your wonderful and adventurous day. Or maybe you decide to elope at San Francisco City Hall call them from the courthouse and share the amazing news!

Having a Viewing Party After for your photos

This is a big winner for me! I’ve even heard of some couples having a “secret” wedding and then telling their families by inviting them to a party where everyone will get to watch all the photos and possibility the wedding video if they hired a videographer for the first time together. It’s such a great way to still have the celebration and party that everyone loves but still keep the day focused on you two.

eloping with family in California

Things to Consider when Eloping with Family

If you’re starting to plan your elopement there are still lots of decisions to be made. And deciding whether to include your family could be one of them. And one that should be talked about between you and your partner. So, here are some questions to help guide you to the best decision for you!

How have you imagined your wedding or elopement day?

If you knew everyone would still support, accept, and be thrilled for you would you prefer your family not be there?

Do you think in a few years you would regret not having them there?

These are the big three questions that can help you come to a decision. It won’t be an easy one but at the end of the day this elopement is about you. And what you want matters the most.

Elopement Experience

I love photographing elopements and intimate wedding and would absolutely honored to be a part of your day. If you’re starting to look at photographers and all the other details with your elopement I’d love to lend a helping hand and be your cheerleader.

Elopements are a beautiful way to keep the focus on what truly matters. Your love. So much care, thought, and time are put into elopements. 

My service is designed so that you have the knowledge to book some of the best vendors, have hands on help location scouting, timeline planning, and can take a step back with peace of mind. 

Your experience is always put first. So, whether you’re eloping in San Francisco, Big Sur, or Joshua Tree; I help make sure you have a day that you’re sure to remember as one of the best adventures of your life. Click the button below to inquire and let’s get the party started!

Hi I'm Torez, a die-hard romantic and San Francisco-based wedding photographer with years of experience capturing love stories against the backdrop of our charming city. From intimate City Hall ceremonies to epic coastal elopements, I've seen and photographed it all. I know the ins and outs of navigating wedding planning in San Francisco like the back of my hand - from selecting the perfect location that aligns with your love story, to creating the dreamiest wedding timeline that lets you enjoy your day to the fullest. And guess what? I'm sharing all of that expertise right here with you.

Leave a Reply