Gone are the days when eloping meant running off into the night and getting married in a last minute courthouse wedding. While the exact definition of eloping is still up for debate, it’s clear that it no longer means what it used to. Eloping today simply means creating a personalized and intimate wedding that is more aligned with the couples personalities.

Learn more about the definition of “elope”

While many couples still choose to elope just the two of them, eloping doesn’t mean you have to get married alone.

For many couples, having their family or friends by their side is still a big priority for their day, even though they would rather break free from the tradition of a big celebration.

Just because you want to elope doesn’t mean you have to leave your loved ones out of your wedding experience! There are so many different ways you can include your family throughout your elopement journey. No matter what your family dynamics are, you can find something that will work for you.

Here are 17 ways you can include family in your elopement.

Ways to Include Family Before Your Elopement Celebration:

Throw an Engagement Party

Celebrate with your family and friends by throwing an engagement party! This is a great opportunity to share with your loved one’s your elopement plans and allow them a way to celebrate with you.

Have a Send-Off Party

Similar to an engagement party, but held closer to your elopement day. This can be as big or intimate as you want and gives your family and friends a chance to celebrate with you.

Have Dinner Together to Announce You’re Eloping

You can host a casual dinner party with your family to announce your elopement. This is a great opportunity to explain to them in person your reasons for eloping, help them understand why you’ve decided to elope instead of a big wedding, and to show them that you still care. This is a great time to share your plans! Share photos of the location you’ve picked out to help them get excited for you!

Allow Them to Help in the Planning

As much as you want and they are able, you can allow your family to come alongside you during the planning process. This is a sweet way for them to still be involved in your elopement.

Bring Your Family to Shop for Your Wedding Outfits

There’s something so special about finding the perfect dress, and it’s a great opportunity for brides to bring their family into the planning. It’s not just for the women, you can bring your whole family with you dress shopping, and the same for finding the perfect suit. Find a bridal boutique that hosts fitting parties with drinks and specialty snacks to make it extra special!

Ways to Include Family in Your Elopement Day:

Have a Family Member Officiate

It’s easy and free to get ordained in most states, which means you can ask a family member to officiate your wedding ceremony for you!

Have your Family Members be Your Witnesses

Some states, such as Alaska and Oregon, require 1 or more witnesses to get married. You can ask your family members or friends to come along to be your witnesses.

Get Ready with Your Family

Get ready alongside your family and do a first look together before heading off to your elopement ceremony. This is especially great if you have an Airbnb and can spend the morning having breakfast and getting dressed together.

Live Stream Your Ceremony or Have Video Call with Them on your Elopement Day

If you have family that can’t travel or you just want them for a small portion of the day, a great option is to do either a live stream of your ceremony or video call them at some point in your day.

Ask Your Family to Write You Letters

A sweet and sentimental way to include family is to ask them to write you letters to read on the day of your elopement. The letters can look like a simple note congratulating you, advice for your marriage, fun stories of you, or anything else they want to write. You can read them at any point in your day, whether that be in the morning before your ceremony or a dedicated portion of your afternoon.

Incorporate Meaningful Details

Whether it’s wearing your mothers wedding dress or cufflinks that have been passed down for generations, there are so many personal details you can choose to include in your day! Make sure to tell your photographer about these details so they can photograph them and you can show them to your family later.

Share the Whole Day with Your Family

You can bring your family along for the whole day if you’d like! Spend the day getting ready together, have them by your side as you share your vows, and have a cozy dinner together at the end of the day.

Share Part of the Day with Your Family

Another option is to include your family in the parts of your day that are most important to have them by your side, like during the ceremony or having dinner together. That way they can be there for the main events while still giving you and your partner space to celebrate on your own.

Have a 2 Day Elopement to Share One Day with Family and Dedicate One Day to Just You andYour Partner

If you’re torn on having a day with family or a day just the two of you, why not have both? You can have a two day elopement and spend one day with family and the next on your own adventure! That way you can be fully present with both your family and your partner.

I offer a special 2 day elopement package, which is perfect for this exact scenario. Contact me if you want to learn more!

Ways to Celebrate with Family After You’ve Eloped:

Have a Post-Elopement Reception or Celebration

After you’ve eloped, you can celebrate with family or friends by hosting a reception or a post-elopement celebration party! You can make it as big with sharing your vows again in a church with a dinner afterwards or host a casual celebration in your own backyard. It’s all up to you!

Check out the full guide to planning a post-elopement reception!

Share Your Elopement Photos and/or Video

Whether it’s online, in person, or a combination, sharing photos and video from your elopement is a great way to share your elopement experience with loved ones. Ooo and ahhh over all the pretty photos and share your favorite stories from the day.

Send Out Elopement Cards

This one only applies if you kept your elopement a secret, but a fun way to announce that you’ve eloped is by sending out cards. Include details like when, where, and with who and include an invitation to your post-elopement reception if you decide to have one.

There you have it! 17 unique ways to include your family or friends in your elopement day. In the end, it’s really all up to you and what works best for you and your relationships.

Happy Eloping!

17 Ways to Include Family in your Elopement

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