How to Include Family in Your Elopement


So you’re eloping, congratulations! But now comes the daunting task– who do I invite? For some it’s an easy decision to just elope with their partner, for others the decision is much more difficult. Whether you decide to include people or not is totally up to you and totally valid whatever your choice is. Here are my top tips for how to include your family in your elopement.

If you have a good relationship with your family or have some incredibly impactful, special friends that you want to include in your elopement day, here’s some tips on how to do just that!

Things to Consider When Choosing to Invite Guests

For some people, their wedding simply wouldn’t be complete without their closest family and friends. And that is totally fine! Just because you are eloping doesn’t mean it has to just be you and your partner. Before I kick off with some ideas on how to include your family, here are a few things to consider when choosing to include guests.

Check for maximum occupancies at ceremony sites

Lots of ceremony sites will have caps on the number of guests you can have. For example, the Sapphire Point Overlook can only accommodate 35 people. (And honestly, 35 people is a little bit of a stretch for the space.) If you have your heart set on a certain location, make sure you double check how many people you can invite before thinking about your guest count. The nature of a larger guest list, does pose a few more challenges for location hunting. But don’t worry, there are still tons of spots across Colorado that accommodates 10-20 people!

Is everyone on board with your elopement vision?

This one is huge! Every couple has their unique reasons for wanting to elope– breaking free of traditions, doing something more intimate, making the day about soley them and their partner, exploring in nature, having a carefree and stress free day. Make sure that all of your guests are onboard with your vision. If doing a difficult hike to a mountain summit is a big priority, make sure all of your guests are physically able. If you’re wanting a stress free day, ask yourself if any of your guests will give you any unwanted anxiety. If you’re wanting a day without conventional wedding traditions, are your family members okay with not doing certain typical wedding events? If you think your guests will have any issues with the way you’ve chosen to celebrate your marriage, you might want to have a heart to heart conversation or consider removing them from the guest list. It might sound harsh, but remember, this is you and your partner’s day, don’t let it be hijacked.

Will you still get quality time alone?

One of the biggest reasons couples elope is because they actually want to enjoy the day with their partner. I recommend if you choose to invite guests to your elopement, to still have a portion of the day with just the two of you. This can be a first look in the morning, private vows, or special dinner. Whatever you do, make sure to set aside some time as a couple.

how to include family in elopement, do I invite my family to my elopement, eloping with guests, colorado elopement, colorado elopement photographer

How to Physically Include Your Family in Your Elopement

If you’ve decided that you want your family to be physically present at your elopement, here are some awesome ways to that!

Have a private vow exchange and then a ceremony with guests

This is one of the most popular choices with my eloping couples. Usually the day begins with a first look in the morning and then we move to a location for a vow exchange. A lot of couples like being able to express their deeply private and special vows in a more intimate setting. After the vow exchange we’ll head to a ceremony site or your guests will join us on location for your ceremony and ring exchange. If you want your ceremony to be completely private, sometimes couples instead will meet up with their family for a gathering or reception.

Enjoy your day with the family and evening as a couple

Another option is including your family and guests in your ceremony and then transitioning to a private evening together. This is a great option if you have special guests that you would like to witness and hear your vows and commitment to marriage. After the ceremony you can venture off as a couple to partake in an activity together (dinner, spa day, hiking, skiing, etc.)

Make it a two day event

If you’re the type of couple that wants it all, make it a two day affair! One day more private and intimate, the other a full celebration with your friends and family.

Ways to Include Guests Without Being Physically Present

If you’ve decided that you want your elopement to just be with you and your partner, here are some ideas for how to include your family and friends without them being physically present. The key here is educating your loved ones that it’s not a knock on them for choosing to elope privately and making them feel special with the ways you do include them.

Video call or stream your ceremony

Depending on your level of privacy, you can stream your entire ceremony so people at home can watch. If they sounds horrible to you, consider a personal celebratory video call to your loved ones after your elopement.

Read notes written by your family and friends

Before leaving for your elopement, ask your family and friends to write you notes of encouragement or wisdom. Read them at some point during your day to feel connected to those most special to you.

Have a reception at a later date

After the buzz of marriage has subdued, consider having a reception of some kind. This can just be a celebratory dinner or a full on party reception.

how to include family in elopement, do I invite my family to my elopement, eloping with guests, colorado elopement, colorado elopement photographer

Meet Your Elopement Photographer

Hey! My name’s Leah, lead photographer here at Leah Goetzel Photography. I hope this blog post has been helpful for you! If you have any questions or would like to book me for your upcoming elopement, send me a message.

And while you’re here, why don’t you check out some other posts and resources I think you might like:

How to have a Leave No Trace Elopement

Questions to ask your wedding photographer before booking them

Why you should elope in Colorado

My favorite Colorado elopement locations

let's work together!

Contact Us!

I'm so excited to hear more about your vision! Send me a message and I'll get back to you within 24-48 hours! 

follow along on the 'gram!