Last Updated on July 3, 2021 by vowsandpeaks
ELOPING WITH FAMILY
Is an adventure elopement almost perfect for you and your partner? Does the idea of exchanging vows surrounded by nature make your heart beat faster? It’d be intimate, stress-free, and beautifully secluded. It’d all be perfect … except, there’s just that one big issue. You want your family to be there, and can’t imagine getting married without including the most important people in your life.
You’re not alone. It’s an all-too-common dilemma for a lot of couples starting to plan their wedding. But it doesn’t have to be an issue: Family can totally be part of your adventure elopement! Yeah, you read that right.
Elopements have evolved since the days of a courthouse quickie ceremony. Your elopement can be as intimate or as inclusive to family as you want! What makes an elopement special is that you get to consciously choose how and when to include your family members in a way that makes sense to you. You don’t have to bow to social pressure to do anything “traditionally.”
1) DO A PROCESSIONAL
The bride’s father traditionally escorts his daughter down the aisle, but there’s nothing stopping you from giving tradition a twist. I’ve seen brides escorted by both parents, a brother, or even their son or daughter. Eloping is about celebrating your wedding exactly how you want, so give yourself permission to create the day that best represents you!
2) INVITE FAMILY TO JOIN YOU AND MAKE YOUR ELOPEMENT A FAMILY ADVENTURE
Just because the old image of elopement brings to mind drive-thru wedding chapels in Vegas, doesn’t mean that’s how you have to do it. You can still achieve the intimate, natural elopement you want while still surrounded by your closest family and friends. Your day will be unique, emotional, and totally unforgettable.
Just keep in mind that you may have to adapt your location depending on the physical abilities and ages of your guests. Another option I offer couples is an adventure session before or after their ceremony—exchange vows surrounded by family, then we’ll head out on a hike for a secluded photoshoot! This gives couples the best of both worlds. They can still share their day, while also creating a private adventure to look back on with no regrets!
3) GIVE THEM AN EPIC TOAST
Look, champagne showers aren’t just for Super Bowl-winning teams. They’ve become the norm for newlyweds, too, and I’m here for it! At elopements, I want couples to have authentic and timeless images of their day, and celebrating with an epic toast is a great way to remember an amazing day. So let’s toast to those family and friends so they can relive your joyous moments through your photos!
4) HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND OFFICIATE YOUR ELOPEMENT
You could ask a parent or sibling to be your officiant, including them in an integral way while still keeping the number of witnesses small. You may want a sibling or best friend to take on the role of Maid of Honor or Best Man and stand beside you. An added benefit: they’re a witness to your adventure, a storyteller of your love, and someone to hold your tissues, fix your hair, and offer lots of love and support!
5) GO SHOPPING FOR WEDDING ATTIRE TOGETHER
Do you have some special guests who won’t be joining you on your elopement? They can still be involved! Take special care of these guys by bringing them on your hunt for wedding clothes! Both of my wife’s parents were with her when she made her final dress decision, and I went shopping for my suit with my mom. Feel free to invite your favorite people to join you in these big moments that go into creating your wedding.
6) HAVE YOUR FAMILY SIGN YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE AS WITNESS
Your epic adventure elopement is going to be the most memorable part of your wedding day, but there’s another chance to involve family when it comes to the legal documents. The requirements for signing a license can vary between states, but you’ll still need some John Hancocks to complete your big day.
You could ask your parents, your best friends, or one of your siblings to do the honor. This is a great way for your family to participate in your elopement without actually bringing them along on the trail.
7) HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER AND VIDEOGRAPHER
Let’s face it. You’re going to be so stoked to share some elopement photos with your family right away! Hire a bad ass photography and video team to join you on your adventure. This is a great way to include your family by sharing your epic photos with them.
8) PLAN A FIRST LOOK WITH FAMILY
If your family is going to be at your elopement, invite them to be part of your first look! For some couples, this is their first intimate, emotional experience as a couple on their wedding day, and it makes for some amazing reactions! Just imagine how great it could be you’re your mom or dad there too! Check out this blog for why you should do a first look.
9) PLAN A RECEPTION WITH ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY AFTER YOU ELOPE
This really is the “best of both worlds” option. Keep your outdoor adventure elopement private and intimate, and then throw either a second ceremony or just a party for family and friends later! (This is the most common option couples choose.)
Remember, you can do this however you want. Maybe you want to say your private vows alone in nature with your partner, and then say some more traditional vows in your second family ceremony. Maybe you only want to have one intimate ceremony, but then have your family there to witness your cake cutting and first dance. Give yourself permission to do exactly what speaks to you as a couple!
10) OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
- When selecting an elopement destination for your family, you also need to consider the location’s accessibility. This requires prior preparation in order to avoid arriving at your desired location only to find it unavailable or inaccessible to those who have special needs or are elderly.
- The same goes for seasons. Make sure to check out seasonal weather where you’re considering and prepare your family members with suggestions for the proper attire and footwear. No one wants to make Grandma totter over rocks in her heels.
- Although elopements are meant to be fun and adventurous, your family might not be as outdoorsy as you. You can definitely still include family in a more secluded location, but you’ll need to consider their abilities. You want to ensure each guest is well prepared for being involved in your elopement. That’ll make the day an unforgettable adventure for everyone!
- Remember, when it comes to including family in your elopement, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. You can be as creative as you want and blaze your own trail—that sense of adventure is what makes you such a rad couple! Just remember to honor your true desires and keep you and your partner’s love at the center.
My name is Sean, and I can’t wait to help create your adventure elopement! I’m a free spirit who has dedicated my life to exploring this wild world and connecting to the people in it.
I know firsthand what an important and personal decision this is—my wife and I eloped to Northern Ireland. You’re trusting me to capture this amazing day, and I make it my responsibility to make sure you have an incredible experience from start to finish.
My passion has led me here, where I can follow my heart and share my love for the outdoors with others on their wedding day. It’s truly an awesome experience, and I’m stoked every time I get to document your day.
When I’m not photographing couples, I love to go exploring with my wife and our corgi. Our dream is to own an Airstream and take Vows and Peaks on the road!
Sound like the perfect match? Reach out so we can get started on your epic elopement!