We are a husband & wife team. Based in the mountains of Montana & Washington State, we’ve been photographing and filming couples since the start of 2021.
Welcome to our blog where you’ll discover elopement planning resources, as well as beautiful galleries from real weddings!
Elopements are so unique and it’s never a “one size fits all” kind of deal. Whether you’re eloping just the two of you or you’re considering inviting people, here are some ways to include family and friends in your elopement experience. We have a ton of ideas to physically include them (either before, during, or after your elopement), and a ton of ideas to actually have them present during your day! Hopefully you find these tips useful when planning your elopement adventure!
One of the easiest ways to include your family at your elopement is to invite them to witness your ceremony, like this couple did on the Oregon Coast. Have them come celebrate and watch you start your greatest adventure yet! This is awesome because your elopement is still intimate, but then you also have all of the people that are meaningful to you there witnessing you say “I do.” This is what Adam and I did for our elopement day! We invited our parents and siblings as witnesses.
The next step would be to invite your closest family and friends to come adventure with you! This is always a bit trickier depending on the location for your elopement. For example, some National Parks, like Mount Rainier National Park, have limits on the number of people in your group. They also have restrictions on what parts of the park you can access with that group size.
But if you want to invite your friends or family to adventure with you, it would definitely be a really unique experience for everyone. A few of our couples have done that, like Paige + Devon for their sunrise fire lookout elopement. They invited their closest friends to stay with them at an Airbnb, wake up before dawn, hike to an incredible view, and witness their ceremony as the sun rose above the cascade mountains. It was truly an epic experience for them and their friends!
Another awesome option is to have a dinner party with your family and friends. So, if you want to privately say “I do,” you can have that intimate moment to yourselves, and still celebrate with family! This is a great opportunity to have good food, drink, eat delicious cake, and party with your closest people either before your elopement or after. In our opinion, it sounds like a really fun way to end the night if you want to include your family and friends.
A lot of couples have opted for this option! Some couples have chosen to have a dinner the day before their elopement, while others have chosen to have a dinner party the night of their special day.
Check out Brenna + Nick’s Mount Baker Elopement to see an example of a private sunrise ceremony and a dinner party later in the day.
If you want to book an Airbnb or VRBO, you can always do that, too! This means that you can either elope at the rental itself, get ready there, or just hang out with your people. They can celebrate with you during any part of the day that you want! Airbnbs are also nice because it gives you an opportunity to stay at your elopement location longer. You can celebrate for a few days or a week with your closest family and friends nearby. Either book one big vacation rental, or book some that are close to each other in a cool location. We usually help all of our couples navigate booking rentals, too!
If you want to include someone who is really meaningful to you, and knows who you are, a cool way to do this is to have them officiate your elopement. Then, you’re including them in a really important part of your day. They’re actually helping you make your union official, which is pretty awesome!
Another way to celebrate with family and friends, but not actually have them present on your elopement day is to plan a fun party for later on! Maybe you elope in the winter and want to do a 6 month anniversary party in the summer with everyone you love. Or maybe your partner is in the military and so you have to wait in order to plan a celebration. You can plan this for the day after your wedding, weeks/months later, or even a year later. It’s totally up to you! But this basically acts like a reception where you celebrate your marriage with everyone. It’s just more flexible because you’re already married!
Speaking of parties, you could also plan a fun engagement party before your elopement! This could be anything from a casual backyard BBQ to a cocktail party celebrating the fact that you two are getting married. A lot of the time, your parents and/or friends would be more than happy to plan this for you two.
Well, here’s an obvious one. If you want to celebrate your elopement privately, DO IT. Some of the most intimate elopements have been epic because the couple was able to solely focus on each other the entire day. But, if you’re worried about not capturing this, hire us to document your day! That way, you can have a fully private day, but you can choose to share moments from your experience with family and friends if you want to. Contact us here!
Going off of the previous idea, you can use the photos from your elopement day to send cards to your family and friends, letting them know about the happy news! This is another way to have a day that is all about you, but also share some of those special moments with others.
If you just want to have an elopement experience that is only the two of you, go for it! You don’t need to include family and friends if you don’t want to. There’s nothing and no one telling you that you have to. It’s YOUR day! You could still have a close circle of family and friends, but want a private elopement, and that’s totally fine. Do what makes you happy. We know this is easier said than done, but it’s really important to not have any regrets for your wedding. Don’t allow outside pressure to negatively influence your decisions. We support you in whatever you choose!
Since COVID-19, something that has become increasingly popular is the use of Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime for weddings! This is an awesome way to incorporate your people on your wedding day without having them actually be there. Maybe you want to elope out of your home state and go on an epic adventure, but you think it’s best to not have family come with. That’s totally fine. See if there’s service, and give them a video call to say hi and share your day with them for a little bit.
You can live stream your ceremony or pre-record it and share with them via Facebook later on as well!
You could also get ready in the morning with your family and friends. If you want to have a private adventure, but you really want to somehow include your people, this is a great way to do that! You can have them help you get dressed, do your hair, have breakfast and coffee with them… The options are endless!
Before you even elope, you can include your family and friends in parts of your planning process. Just like a more tradition wedding, you can allocate roles to your best friend or your mom. For example, they can help you pick out your wedding attire or your accessories. They can go with you to pick out rings, help you find vendors, make DIY wedding decor, or just get a drink with you and chat about how excited you are for your day! Again, you have endless options of how you can include people before your elopement. It’s totally up to you, and you can include different people in different parts. Maybe you want your mom to help you find your wedding dress, but you’d love it if your best friend went to get her nails done with you!
Don’t feel like this needs to happen, though. And don’t feel like you need to give certain people specific roles. Change things up! Just remember that most of the time, people like being included in life-changing events like this. So, if you need help with DIY decor or finding vendors, you aren’t going to be a burden when asking your people for an extra hand!
If you don’t want family or friends physically present on your elopement day (or maybe they can’t be there… we all know that’s a possibility, especially with COVID-19), you can include family heirlooms or mementos from the people you love. Think about your dad’s cologne, mom’s earrings, grandma’s veil, or your best friend’s floral designs. If you wanted to, each detail on your elopement day could have some sort of meaning or connection to someone you love!
This is a great way to keep your loved ones on your heart during your special day. They also will get to see images and videos from your elopement with the sentimental piece used, which will certainly make them happy!
Something we really like is having family members or friends write letters, send gifts, or record videos for you to have on your elopement day! It’s a really special way to include them and their heart, yet also have a private day to yourself. You can send out a text/email/invite to everyone who you might want to participate, and then make sure you bring all of the things to open/read/watch sometime during your day.
We’ll make sure to document your reactions, so that you can share those special moments with your loved ones after your elopement!
Hannah and Adam are a Montana and PNW-based Elopement Photographer + Videographer Team traveling across the US and abroad to capture couples' special days. They firmly believe love is love, Black lives matter, and in respecting our planet.
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