Eloping with family at Smith Rock

Does an adventure elopement sound perfect for you & your partner? The thought of having an intimate, adventurous, & meaningful experience is the best way to spend your wedding day. This post is here to help you understand how easy Eloping with Family & friends & all the different ways you can include them on your big day. There are so many benefits to eloping. But there’s only one dilemma you have. You want your family or friends to be present. Well, you’re not alone. This is an all-too-common catch-22 that eloping couples face.

To clarify, just because your eloping that doesn’t mean you can’t have anyone involved or guests present on your wedding day. Your elopement can be as intimate or inclusive of your loved ones as you want. You can have the best of both worlds & I will break down the ways that you can include loved ones. So you & your partner can share the moments you’ll cherish for a lifetime with the ones you love.

Eloping with Family

Elopements have evolved since the days of couples running off to the courthouse for a quick & low-key ceremony. Although one simple fact about elopements still rings true, they are entirely about eloping couple’s happiness & desires. Nowadays couples are becoming more creative than a drive to the local courthouse. This includes how couples are Eloping with Family & friends. Elopements typically have no more than 20 guests as a maximum. Therefore, you really want to think of those who are your chosen family. The people who will feel honored to be there & facilitate you having the absolute best day possible. Never forget that choosing to elope is you throwing social pressures & expectations out the window. So be sure that those who you decide to invite want exactly what’s best for you. You’re choosing to take the step to involve other people even though the day is purely about you & your partner.

Bride and her father, 9 ways to elope with family

9 ways to include loved ones

When it comes to your elopement there are 9 ways to Elope with Family & friends. Eloping with family can be an easy & enjoyable experience. But always remember that you & your partner’s happiness always comes first. These are things that I’ve found the couples I’ve worked with did to include their loved ones. So let’s break down Eloping with Family. Your chosen family.

The Day of.

1. Have them be your officiant or witness – One of the best ways I’ve discovered when Eloping with Family or friends is to have them officiate your wedding. The process to get ordained is super easy online through the Universal Life Church. The requirements for signing a license can vary between states, but you’ll still need someone to officiate the ceremony & a few John Hancocks to complete your big day. These are a great way to include a friend or family member & can save you some money so you don’t have to hire an officiant.

2. Split up the day/Have a 2-day experience – When having an adventure elopement you might be hiking up a mountain & someone might not be able to make the trek. Or maybe you just want to be able to have some alone time. Either way, you can split up the day of your elopement or make it a 2-day event so you can still have the intimacy of enjoying each moment with your person & spend time with family & friends. This is a great way when Eloping with Family & friends to have your wedding cake & eat it too.

3. Get ready with them – When Eloping with Family if you want to include your friends or family on your elopement day, but to you, your vows are very personal & you want to keep that between the two of you & you don’t want to have two types of ceremonies, then include them in the other parts of your elopement experience. You could spend the first part of your day getting ready with your family at your Airbnb. After going off for your first look, ceremony, & sunset adventure with just the two of you. Then go back to your Airbnb to celebrate with your family by having dinner together.

Before & After.

4. Take them shopping for wedding attire – Take your mom, dad, brothers, sisters, or best friends to help you pick out your wedding attire. This is an emotional part of your elopement process. Including loved ones can make it a more memorable & special experience. You can also turn it into more of an experience by planning a weekend getaway when you choose & purchasing your wedding attire.

5. Have an engagement party or send-off dinner – Even though you’re not having a traditional wedding. That doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate with those people who you love the most. An engagement party or send-off dinner can let you & your partner spend time with those who can’t be there. But they can still party on behalf of your love.

6. Have a post-elopement reception/celebration – There are many ways to celebrate afterward with those who matter to you, & it doesn’t need to be a traditional reception. Just because you’re having an intimate day for your wedding, doesn’t mean you can’t still have a bigger celebration later. Having a post-elopement party or reception afterward lets you commemorate your marriage to your partner with the ones you love.

eloping with family at skyliner lodge

Little Ways to Include Loved Ones

7. Integrate meaningful details – There are many ways to integrate small yet incredibly meaningful details into your elopement. This can be a veil, rings, or bouquet pins that have been passed down for the bride. For the groom is can mean wearing the cuff links that were worn by his father & grandfather on the days they got married. Whether it’s jewelry, traditions, or attire there are a lot of possibilities when it comes to incorporating family.

8. Have your loved ones write you letters for you to read on your elopement day – This is a very heartfelt way to be able to share your experience with loved ones. You can set aside a special time to read them either before or after your ceremony. Whether you’re planning on having a destination elopement or just want something intimate. This is a great way to include those you’re close to. They also become keepsakes that you can look back on for years to come. You can also choose to film your reaction to reading these to share with them later.

9. Video Chat before or after the ceremony – This is a perfect way to elope with friends & family without them actually being there. You can call them before for love & support or after so they can congratulate you. There’s also the option of streaming your ceremony so that you can still have an intimate time with your partner but include people who couldn’t make the journey. Honestly, the options are endless & you can make the best decision on when or how you want to include family & friends.

Things to consider when including family

If you do plan on eloping with family there are a few additional logistics you’ll need to plan for. First of all, be very clear on exactly who you want at your elopement. Whether the reasons are the location in which you’re eloping or maintaining your vision of your elopement. Make sure when chatting with whoever you invite that you are clear on exactly what you are doing, what you may need help with, & how you’re going about it. Eloping is about you & your partner getting married how you want to. Don’t forget that this is your day. Make sure to communicate that & that everyone is in agreeance about it.

Firstly, when eloping with family you’re going to want to consider the location of your elopement & the accessibility of your ceremony location. Can everyone make it to the ceremony location? Is that important to you? If so you may want to consider a trailhead or a viewpoint for easy accessibility. On top of that, you’re going to want to consider the terrain of the location. You don’t want someone wearing heels on rocky or slippery terrain. Then you can go off to where you & your elopement photographer have chosen as a location for your photo session.

Second, If you’re going with a group make sure that everyone’s basic needs are covered. Whether that’s bringing some granola for a snack and packing water. It goes a long way to keeping morale up and keeping everyone safe. Thirdly, think about transportation. Try & figure out how everyone is getting to & from the elopement location.

Happy Eloping!

All in all, when eloping with family & friends, it changes the nature of your elopement. You may need to make some small compromises. Recognizing this is important to coming up with creative solutions so you don’t feel like you’re compromising what you & your partner truly want. Be sure that you don’t let including other people in your elopement snowball out of control. Always be upfront. If you feel like your elopement is becoming more about pleasing your guests over doing what you & your partner want to do that’s when it stops being an intimate event this is all about you and more about a party for everyone else.

Ask yourself, is the focus of this actually on us as a couple, or is the focus on the guests we’re including and their needs? Can they keep the focus on you and your relationship? Can they get on board with the clear-cut decisions you’ve made and the boundaries you’ve set? Understandably when it comes to people who you love it may be hard to set boundaries. But, if you & your partner have a specific vision for your elopement you need to firmly communicate that. Don’t be afraid to be direct. Things can easily get out of control & by no fault of the eloping couple.

Eloping with Family & friends can be beautiful. There are endless ways to include those you love in your elopement. Creating a memorable day where you can spend intentional time with each other. Don’t let your elopement get bogged down in expectations, obligations, or opinions. Have a wildly different wedding experience that’s entirely unique and meaningful to you! Remember this is your day, your adventure. Feel free to contact me for more information on how you can begin to plan your adventure elopement.

Don't forget your free elopement planning checklist


You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

I'm Emilee

I'm an elopement photographer who specializes in planning, crafting, and documenting untraditional weddings. I believe a wedding day should be filled with traditions that resonate with you. I'm here from start to finish to make that happen. Want to chat about your plans? Click below to set up a free consultation! 

You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

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