Listen friends, I am here to tell you that eloping with your family and friends IS POSSIBLE. Here are my favorite ways to include your fam in your big day.

Eloping With Family + Friends

How to Include Family and Friends in Your Elopement

Arizona Elopement Photographer

Ah, yes. Eloping with family. One of my favorite topics and one I get questions on a lot. Let’s discuss! So, when you imagine your wedding day, mountains and trees seem more the venue you want than golf courses and country clubs. You see an intentional and stress free day…but you also can’t envision a day that your family isn’t a part of. I think a lot of people feel torn between two equally important forces in their lives. “I would love to elope, but I can’t imagine getting married without my parents there.”

Friends. You can have both! If having to pick between having your family present or having the wedding day of your dreams is breaking your heart YOU DON’T HAVE TO PICK. You can have it all! There are ways so that neither of those very important things get left out. It may take some compromise and flexibility but you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Here are some of my favorite ideas that allow you to have the adventure of a lifetime and while still eloping with family and friends.

1) How to Elope with Family: Invite them!!

I know. Crazy, right? But this is a totally doable thing. Have an adventure wedding in your favorite place with a handful of those nearest and dearest to you. You are 100% allowed to do this! Thare are SO MANY epic places in this crazy world of ours that will allow for you to have your friends and family present. Picture this:

You wake up in an adorable airbnb with all your favorite people. You start the day with a hike, or a morning coffee on the deck with your besties. You get ready at your pace, following whatever traditions you want. Maybe you get ready in the same room as your partner. Maybe you save it for the first look. Your family and friends are there for all the love and laughs and hugs.

Then you pile out of the airbnb into a bus/jeep rentals and caravan to your ceremony destination. Maybe it’s on a cliff’s edge, or on a desert vista, or in an alpine meadow. You and your fam take a mini hike together to that perfect spot and there in the best wild place, with the people that made you clustered around, you say your vows and promise yourself to your person. Champagne is popped, tears are shed, and joy spills out into everywhere.

With arms slung around shoulders you head back to your transportation of choice and go to an EPIC party. A picnic, or a bbq, or a gourmet meal served family style on picnic tables with fairy lights strung overhead. You dance and drink under the stars.

See? Can totally have it all, if having it all is what you want. Eloping with your family is totally possible.

2) How to Elope with Family: Private Ceremony with Friends+Family Bash Right After

So with this options, you elope somewhere rad where you say your vows just the two of you, plan an epic party with your nearest and dearest right after. This is basically a variation of the above option, only for this one, it’s just the two of you for your vows. Maybe your vows are really personal and it’s really important that it just be the two of you.

Or perhaps there is one aboslute-no-negotiations place you want to say your vows and it is simply not very accessible. Maybe the fact you’re getting married on a group vacation is actually a surprise! Whatever the reason, this is a fun combo of having a ceremony that’s private and personal while being able to celebrate immediately with your friends and family. 

3) Hometown Reception Bash

This is another variation of the above option. (Sensing a theme here?) This is a great choice for those of you where you want your family and friends to be a part of your day, but physically eloping with family or friends isn’t possible- maybe from a logistics standpoint, a financial one, or you really want the day to be just the two of you. With this type of set up, you get to elope and celebrate in private, and afterwards go home and have a KILLER party to celebrate.

If you chose this option you can always share photos at the party, re-read your vows, or show a video of you chose to have a videographer present. This way your friends and family can feel as though they were a part of your wedding day without them actually *being there* on your elopement day.

4) Use FaceTime or Skype

Technology, it can be a glorious thing. Some couples chose to share their joy by calling or skyping their family as they are getting ready in their airbnb or maybe right after their ceremony.  Of course you need to be a place that allows for cell service to accomplish this (though calling them once you’re back in service is always an option, too.) This way you can feel close to your family and they can feel included, but you can still have all the privacy in the world.

5) Write Letters or Record Video Messages

How about you and your fam write letters or record video messages for each other! (so they give you letters, and you write them letters and/or record a message for them after your vows). This is a great option if cell service is not a thing you will have or are you are worried about potential services problems. Families will often write letters or record videos/toasts for the happy couple.

Imagine enjoying a picnic in an alpine meadow while watching a toast that your family prepared for you on your cell. You can even clink your champagne glasses to your phone. This is a very sweet option, and has the added benefit of being something you can keep after the elopement day that you get to keep and revisit forever. And as an added bonus- the content of these messages are often sweeter and more personal than what would be said in person during a quick exchange at a big wedding. Folks like elopements because they are personal and more intimate- and it’s very often that including family in this way only adds to that, rather than take it away.

And your family gets something, too! You can record a video to share with your family after your elopement or when you get home or you can write letters of your own that those nearest and dearest to you can read on your elopement day. So while you’re listing to or reading their beautiful words, they get to read something from you as well.

So there you have it! I hope if anything, this helps with the idea that you have to pick between your family and your dreams; you don’t have to. There’s more than one way to elope (and in fact, there’s no “right way” to elope) so you get to decide what your day looks like. Heck, you may think of an option that’s not even listed here!  I want to empower you to do what makes sense to you and feels right. And if that means eloping with your family and friends in tow, then that’s what I want for you, too 🙂

Have more questions on elopements? Check out my post on What Does it Mean to Elope, Anyway and How to Know if Eloping is Right for You.

view packages + pricing

— Ryan + Styhiln

Ready to have your own adventure of a lifetime?
I'm Aimée Flynn, Southwest based adventure wedding and elopement photographer, mega nerd, former therapist, and taker of the epic pics. But don't think I'm here just to take pretty photos (though there will be pretty photos a-plenty) I’m here to guide you through every step of your elope elopement experience; I’m your location scouter, gatherer of all in info, formal wear wrangler, & hype committee. 

I’m also a storyteller. Your storyteller. And while I'm here for the epic, magazine-cover-worthy, totally bananas moments, I'm also here (and to be totally honest, live for) those goofy, silly, unexpected moments that adventure always seems to bring. I'm here to tell your story in the honest and epic fashion it deserves.
Hey friend, I'm so stoked  you're here!

  1. This list is awesome. This is perfect for couples that are looking to add their family members. Love the letters idea too. Super cute!

  2. Such a great resource for couples considering eloping! That first photo is to die for!

  3. Family is important, no matter what when there is a will there is a way!

  4. Alex says:

    This is such a GREAT resource for any couple who wants to incorporate their favorite people into their elopement celebration!! Love it!

  5. Priceless tips! Give me more articles like this!!!!

  6. alycia says:

    Wow this is a great article on how to elope!

  7. This is such a great article. So many eloping couples worry about how they can incorporate their family into their elopement. This guide will be so helpful to those couples!

  8. Kate Bunny Hampson says:

    Such a great article for couples considering an elopement!

  9. So great to read the second part of this guide. I believe that all these tips are valuable for eloping couples that want to enjoy their greatest day with family and close friends

  10. Ali Horner says:

    This is the perfect article. Such good information on including your fam.

  11. […] This really was a great example of how magical blending adventure and family can be. It really was such a beautiful day and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it. Check out this blog post on eloping with friends and family. […]

  12. […] for more elopement resources? Check out these blog posts on how to elope with friends and family or how to create your dream elopement […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *