May 10, 2020

How To Plan An Elopement That Makes Your Loved Ones Feel Included

WASHINGTON, OREGON AND DESTINATION ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER

blog created by Katie Berg Photo on how to plan an elopement with their friends and family

How To Plan An Elopement That Makes Your Loved Ones Feel Included

Post Summary: This blog is all about how to plan an elopement that makes your loved ones feel included! For my own elopement, having my family there was extremely important to me. Here are 7 ways you can include yours too!


Picture your wedding day and all the once-in-a-lifetime moments just waiting for you two. If you could elope anywhere with your partner and there were no limits on the possibilities of your adventurous day, what would you do? Do you see yourself among the PNW pines soaking in the crisp air and watery sunlight? Are you looking out majestically from a gorgeous cliff in a national park?

It’s your day. You can do anything. You could even elope and honeymoon in the same location. Literally, the world is yours, whether you’re feeling up for the hot springs in Iceland or a beach wedding just outside Seattle.

But does this picture feel WAY too good to be true because of the mixed emotions of your families? I get it. Not everyone agrees that eloping is a good idea. I mean, sure, there’s eloping etiquette to make sure you let everyone know in a kind, considerate way. Unfortunately, you may not get the support you’re looking for from friends & family even when you do everything “right.”

But sometimes, families disagree with eloping because they’re disappointed they don’t get to be a part of it. And you know what happens? We let our families get into our heads waaayyy too much when it comes to planning an elopement. The reality is while everyone may not be on board right away it’s usually because elopements are often misunderstood. Luckily, it’s still totally possible to not only show your friends & family why you’re making a difference about your wedding day but also make the experience a positive one for everyone involved.

So how do you plan an elopement that makes your family feel included?

Get past all the shoulds of your wedding day. This is YOUR moment & you’re allowed to dream up the day you want. (Don’t believe me? Check out these ten reasons to elope.) There’s a way to involve friends & family who won’t be at your elopement. Here’s how!

couple including friends and family in their elopement

Tip 1. Plan an elopement event that everyone can attend before or after your adventure.

Even if you’re not hosting friends & family at your ceremony, there’s still plenty of opportunities to celebrate this super important moment in your life and feel their love & support. Whether you go with a couple’s shower, engagement party, rehearsal dinner, or even bachelor & bachelorette parties, you’ve got TONS of options when it comes to planning a great event that makes your fam feel like they’re part of your day. 

During the celebration, make a point to explain in person why you’re choosing to elope just the two of you. Not only will your loved ones feel more included in the decision (without actually making that choice for you), but you’ll also feel confident sharing this choice with your loved ones. Whether you host this celebration before or after your elopement, make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for guests to hear your stories, see photos, and congratulate you.

But ultimately? It’s your celebration. Do what makes you happy and what is uniquely you.

Tip 2. Create a wedding website that tells your story.

Before the big day, make a point to create a gorg wedding website that shows off the exciting adventure you two are beginning together. Share why you’re choosing to elope, show your gallery, include details, and make it personal. Write about your love of adventure and how this special moment is a reflection of you & your boo. Here’s a list of must-have details for your wedding website to get you started & make the process super easy!

I also highly recommend sending an elopement announcement to celebrate your love in a personal, fun, connected way. Minted, Zola, and The Knot have some great options for matching invitations and wedding websites that are easy to customize! This is a great way to share your wedding day with the people who would have been at your wedding ceremony. 

couple learning how to plan an elopement with their friends and family

Tip 3. Shop for wedding attire with your close friends & family.

Even if your friends & fam won’t be at your ceremony, there’s no reason to shop for your day all by yourself! It’s a HUGE rite of passage to shop for your wedding dress or suit with parents, close family, and friends. So why not include them when seeking out one of the most important outfits you’ll ever wear? Including your family makes it feel real. It’s a great way to say you’re proud of your choice but still eager to include them in one of the most important aspects of your day.

Just remember. If you’re having an adventure elopement out in the beauty of nature (‘cause you’re totally okay with wearing hiking boots with your dress!) don’t let family pressure you into buying a more traditional outfit that won’t be suited to your day. Remember, it’s alllll about you & your boo. Don’t lose focus on that and shopping should be (hopefully) stress-free.

Tip 4. Incorporate family traditions into your elopement.

No matter where you choose to elope, plan on incorporating family traditions into your special day! Even if you’re not wearing your mother’s wedding dress, why not her veil? Or your grandfather’s pocket watch? Or grandma’s pearls? These items will keep them close but also make them feel like they are a valued part of your moment. 

The details don’t stop at the family heirlooms. Incorporate cultural & religious traditions, too. If you want to include your family in this aspect of the day, ask them about their traditions. Find out what they did on their wedding day and brainstorm some ways to honor them. 

If your family doesn’t have traditions around wedding days, ask them to write letters to you. Read them on your wedding day. It’s a beautiful way to have them present even if they can’t physically be there. These living, breathing moments will make great photos and even better memories.

newlyweds look at each other and clink glasses of champagne while standing in front of their pink monochrome table

Tip 5. Hire an elopement photographer.

This brings me to my next point! If your family and friends won’t be at your ceremony, you’ll definitely want to hire an elopement photographer to capture the intimate, adventurous, beautiful moments. From the tears to the laughs, you’ll want a photographer there to depict your legacy. These photos will become the printed memories that fill your wedding album through the decades. Make the incredible setting and your love front & center with photos that will endure long after the day goes by. 

When your time behind the camera is over, create a wedding album that you can gift to your parents, grandparents, and other loved ones along with a handwritten note. It’s a sweet keepsake that ensures your family feels included in this significant occasion.

Tip 6. Bring back something special for your friends & family after your elopement.

You’re totally not interested in the performance of a large wedding, and you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure to celebrate your amazing love. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your loved ones some souvenirs from your time away! Whether it’s wine or coffee, local foods, art, seashells, or just a sweet postcard, these relics can really go a long way towards making your family feel like they were part of your moment. It can be your way of saying thank you to friends & family for supporting your decision.

dad walking the bride down the aisle in Canyonlands National Park

Tip 7. Make your friends & fam part of the adventure!

If you just can’t bear the thought of celebrating your wedding day without your family, why not make them part of the adventure? Elopements don’t have to be just the two of you if you don’t want to. My husband & I included our closest family during our elopement. Even though they weren’t present when we said our vows, they were a HUGE part of our day and we’re so grateful they could be part of it! 

You may have to keep the guest list small but you’ll have an amazing time! If you’re really feeling outdoorsy, do some activities like hiking, off-roading, and kayaking leading up to your day. You don’t have to do a traditional rehearsal dinner if you’d rather spend time with family doing other activities! At our elopement, we went horseback riding and swimming, and we wouldn’t change a thing!

At the end of it all, make sure your wedding day is uniquely yours! Whether that means eloping just the two of you or getting out in nature with your closest family, go for it!

You only get one wedding day. Ready to make it the best adventure yet? Get in touch to start the conversation. Let’s chat about your elopement!

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Love this!! SO many couples want to elope but also want their families to be a part of it. This is the perfect guide!!

This information is pure gold! making your family feel included in no matter what you choose is so great if you are close to them. there are so many ways to be involved other than just being at the wedding

this is such a beautiful post!!! i love all your tips and recommendations! and that desert location is un-freaking-real. like jaw dropped.

Yes yes yes! I mean the elopement photographer part is a given 😉 But definitely having a celebration with everyone after is a great way to have the best of both worlds.

Love this! These are such great tips for any couple that wants to include their family in their elopement. Also, I just love your work girl! Your use of color and tones is so gorgeous.

Love that you are reinforcing that elopements don’t necessarily mean you have to do it without your family!

Thank you for all the great tips and advices how to include family on the wedding day! I love your Ideas! this is such an important topic and there are so many ways to include family and friends even if someone decides to elope alone.

Yes to all of the above! COuldn’t agree more. There are a ton of ways to include loved ones.

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