How To Adventurously Elope With Your Family
When ya think about an adventurous elopement, what do you imagine?
Climbing up a mountain? Exploring a waterfall? Hiking through a meadow? Love it. This adventure is perfect for you guys. Its the exact reflection of your relationship, and its exactly what you want to be doing on YOUR wedding day. Its basically your ideal way to step into this new season of MARRIAGE, which is probably the biggest adventure of all!
There’s just one thing wrong about this perfect plan that you keep coming back to: Your family wouldn’t be there.
Even though the idea of an adventurous elopement sounds perfect for you, you can’t imagine tying the knot without your family there by your side.
I get it. And I gotchu.
Guys, YOU CAN STILL HAVE AN ADVENTURE ELOPEMENT AND INCLUDE YOUR FAMILY.
*cue the angel singing sound effect
You guys, an elopement is exactly what you want it to be! If you want your friends and family to be there, IT IS STILL AN ELOPEMENT. In fact, MOST of the elopements that I capture include a few friends or family members. I know when you hear the term “elopement” you probably imagine two people running away to get married without anyone else there, but GUYS that’s fucking dated.
To me, an elopement is just a wedding day where the entire focus is on the couple.
Not the party favors. Not the party. Not the centerpieces. Just. You.
The only thing that matters during an elopement is that every decision is yours to make. No one else’s.
No expectations. No requirements. No opinions.
So as long as you guys are adventuring on your wedding day in a way that makes your hearts happy, you can TOTALLY bring your family with you!
Maybe you’re like “alright, love that for us, but what would that day even look like?”
That’s totally up to you, but HERE are a few ideas to help you include the special people in your life in your most special day.
(dear god, how many times can I say special?!)
ELOPING WITH FAMILY: HOW YOU CAN INCLUDE YOUR FAMILY IN YOUR PRIVATE ELOPEMENT
Eloping…..with your family.
There’s a billion ways to include your family in your elopement, whether you want them to be right there standing beside you during the ceremony or whether you want them to be supporting you from afar. There’s no “right answer” when it comes to including your family, as long as it feels right to you. Ask yourself if you and your partner feel totally comfortable including these people (“these people” lol like you don’t even know them) in your ceremony. Are you just worried that you will offend a family member if you don’t include them in everything? Don’t feel pressured by expectations! If you don’t want it, don’t do it. You don’t need to let anyone’s expectations run the day except yours.
So option 1, Have an intimate ceremony with your family
You guys and your families/close friends all together celebrating your relationship. Its always an emotional, beautiful time when a couple elopes surrounded by so much love and support. At all of the elopements that I have shot that have included family members, there is never a dry eye during the ceremony. Something about having such a small, intimate ceremony makes it so special, and everyone feels so blessed to be included.
The thing is, if you want to include your family in everything, the prep, the ceremony, the reception, is that you make have to make some compromises when it comes to timeline or location.
You always gotta consider the athletic ability of your guests. Are they up for a short hike? A long hike? A short walk to an overlook? If you REALLY want to include everyone, you may have to switch out that long mountain hike for a short walk to the ceremony site.
If mom isn’t going to be able to make that 12 mile hike to the top of the ridge, you might have to trade that plan out for a ceremony at the trailhead.
If that’s not your vision for you day, but you still want to include your family in the day, there’s still plenty of ways to do so!
AND Option 2: Section Up the Day
This is such a good way to get everything you want out of your elopement AND include yo fam!
So this can go a couple different way, and you can totally make it your own too! Freaking go nuts. I just want to make you aware of this option because some people don’t think to do this.
So one way of doing this is to have a ceremony with your family at an easily accessible location, taking family portraits, and THEN heading out for a hike, taking your dream photos, saying some personal vows to each other, catching the sunset, and then hiking back, and heading to the dinner/cabin/reception whatever it is to celebrate with your fam and some champagne!
This is a great way to do it. You could also do it in the opposite way and do a hike and private ceremony in the morning, catching sunrise, doing portraits and then hiking back and doing a ceremony with your family and heading to the “reception” (whatever your idea of a reception is).
You can divide it up any way that you want.
You can say your personal vows to each other at both ceremonies or you can save them for just your partner’s ears and say traditional vows at the family ceremony.
(I’ve got some serious social anxiety and no way would I be caught saying private personal things in front of my family, but lots of people feel totally comfortable being open in front of their families! Which is awesome. I’m jealous haha)
When you split up your elopement day, it gives you the option to have those personal, intimate moments with each other that you probably dream of for your adventurous elopement. Then you’re able to rejoin the people who mean so much to you and celebrate your relationship with them however you want! Best of both worlds! (Sung in my best Hannah Montana voice)
This way you get the privacy and the adventure that you want while also including your loved ones.
Option 3: Freaking include your fam in some OTHER special moments!
You don’t need to include your family in the actual ceremony to have them be a part of your day. You CAN have them there, or you can include them in just a part of it. It’s all up to you, baby!
Here’s an idea: have your family there at the airbnb when you’re getting ready. Have a cup of coffee with your mom and chat about the day. Have his mom help his tie his bowtie or get him boutonnière on correctly. Have breakfast together as a group. Have your sister help you into your dress. Maybe even let them watch the first look. THEN, you two head out. On your hike or your drive to the ceremony location and have your intimate, private ceremony all alone exactly how you imagined it. You and your partner deserve to have the ceremony that your heart’s desire, and this is a great way of INCLUDING family, but also not having anyone there for the ceremony except yourselves. Then you can even head back to your fam for a little celebration after your dream elopement ceremony! Just remember to not let things get out of control. Once an elopement stops being about the two of you and you guys getting married the way that you wanted, its not an elopement, its a wedding BISH. Is your focus on you guys as a couple? Or is it on the guests you’re including and their needs? Its not your fault, but its an easy hole to fall into. (That’s not a thing people say…) If you truly want an elopement that INCLUDES your family, do your best to set boundaries,
Never let it snowball out of your control. Once an elopement day stops being about the two of you and the way you imagined committing your lives to each other and starts becoming about pleasing everyone else, that’s when it drifts into becoming a wedding, not an elopement. 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? That’s the main difference. It’s no fault of the couple, but this can easily snowball. If you truly want an elopement but want to include your family, do your best to keep control of this.
Option Numero Quatro: Spread that ish outttttt
Maybe you liked the idea of splitting up the day, but when you were thinking about it, that seemed like a longggggg ass day. So SPLIT IT UP EVEN MORE. Add a day! Add some days in between even!
Have your dream elopement one day, and then have your family ceremony the next day. This option really give you the time to slowwww down and really take the time to make some memories on each special day.
Maybe the first day, you and your love go on your dream adventure. That 10 mile hike to the top of a ridge. That horseback ride into the forest. That mule ride to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Whatever you’re dreaming of, you can make it happen. You both say your personal vows to each other, alone and in nature, and you live out your best elopement dreams. THEN the next day, you and your family have a ceremony. Maybe you include an officient. Maybe you say your vows again or maybe you just say the traditional ones. Then you guys celebrate the amazing thing that just happened! The perfect end to your elopement weekend!
However you want to spread it out, taking more time to enjoy every part of your elopement is going to give you a chance to savor every single damn moment of your wedding!
Option 5: Include them…..but don’t have em there
Have you heard of this thing called… uhm….facetime? Sis, utilize that! Call mom and dad while you’re getting ready and let them feel included that way! Show your mom you putting on your dress! Blow them a kiss goodbye as you head off to the ceremony! Or call them right before the ceremony or right after! Or both!
They don’t have to be there physically for them to be a special part of the day!
You want to include them, but they couldn’t afford a ticket to Scotland with you? Skype em in! Live video can be such beautiful way to include family in your special day and let them feel like they were a part of it!
Having them write you letters to read on your wedding day are also a great way to include them! Letting them and their words to you be a part of the day is a great way of honoring them on your wedding day!
SO there you have it. There’s a bunch of ways to include your special people in your special day. I hope you have realized since the beginning of the article that there are a variety of ways to include your family in your elopement, and still have it be as adventurous as ever!