Elopement Tips: How to Include Loved Ones
There’s no right or wrong way to elope. Choosing to elope simply means that you’re making the active choice to break away from the tradition and standards of a wedding day and instead crafting an intention filled experience that aligns with your values and your desires. Some people choose to have a select number of people (typically 10 or less) in attendance while most choose to have an experience with only their partner. This post will give you some tips and tricks of how to include your loved ones in your elopement day either way!
Here are the different sections this blog post will be broken into:
Part 1: Having an intimate elopement day with only your partner
Part 2: Having an intimate elopement day with loved ones present
Part 3: How to Have a micro wedding
Not Having Loved Ones Present on Your Day
TAKE CELL PHONE PICTURES
Although I always deliver sneak peeks within 24 hours, a super-easy way to make the people most important to you feel included is to ask your photographer to take behind-the-scenes cell phone photos and videos throughout the day! That way, you can excitedly share some behind-the-scenes of your day with them while you wait for your sneak peek.
SCHEDULE A ZOOM CALL THE DAY OF AFTER YOU SAY YOUR VOWS
For example, we could take a break mid-day for a meal at your Airbnb and a scheduled zoom call so everyone can see you dressed up and celebrate with you in a bring-your-own-virtual-drink fashion!
HAVE THEM WRITE LETTERS
Similar to how couples will sometimes write letters to each other to read while getting ready on their wedding day, have people write letters for the two of you to read on your elopement day. This can be incorporated into your ceremony or something you can do together while having a picnic on the shore of your favorite alpine lake. Another added bonus of this is that you’ll always have their words and well-wishes written down to remember and read time and time again.
HOST A CASUAL GET-TOGETHER AFTERWARDS
Plan to have a super casual, stress-free get-together with your closest family and friends a month or two following your elopement day. Think backyard cookout on this one – is it too much to mention stress-free again? Just like I emphasize to couples that it’s still so important to only invite people who add to this experience and fill you with joy, even if it is something low-key. A great way to have them relive your day as if they were part of it is to dedicate time to play a slideshow of images from your day for everyone to watch together and laugh, cry, etc. You could also create a guest book with photos from your day for guests to sign and write their well-wishes! Now you have an album of photos filled with words from the people you love most – that’s a win-win if I’ve ever heard one.
Having Loved Ones Present on Your Day
HAVE A PICNIC CELEBRATION
After you say your vows and “I dos” with your guests, take some time to have a mini-celebration at your ceremony site or a nearby picnic area. Everyone can celebrate with champagne and you can have cake, cupcakes, donuts, etc. depending on what you’re feeling for your elopement day! For Amye and Tyler’s micro wedding in Glacier National Park, they had these adorable, pre-made charcuterie picnic boxes for everyone to enjoy! It was super easy to clean up and they had a great time making them together.
INCORPORATE A NICE DINNER RECEPTION
Following their vows and celebrating with family and close friends, Danielle and Brent had a nice dinner with their loved ones. They were able to reserve a semi-private area and at the restaurant and we found one close to the entrance of the park their elopement took place in. This made it super easy for the three of us to sneak away at the end of the evening and do a few more photos around that area!
You could also do a nice dinner the day before or after your actual elopement day, similar to how traditional weddings have rehearsal dinners. This would allow everyone to have a meal to celebrate without having to base your day around getting to the restaurant and getting back out for time with just the two of you.
RENT A PLACE FOR EVERYONE TO STAY TOGETHER
Find an Airbnb or a group of cabins so everyone can stay in one place and spend time with each other outside of your wedding day! This way, you’re able to plan activities together on non-elopement days such as a group hike, ziplining, a boat tour, etc. to take advantage of being in one place. It also makes it much easier to wrangle everyone.
How to Have a Micro Wedding Day
For this section, I’m going to share the experiences of two couples I work with that had a different take on incorporating more guests into their day so that you can better understand the possibilities! I typically categorize elopements as having 10 guests or less and micro weddings as days that have greater than that amount.
Tyler and Paige’s Micro wedding
We started Tyler and Paige’s day at Amen Ranch. This was a large property they rented located about an hour from the nearby national park where they held a good portion of their 30+ guests stay! Tyler got ready in one of the cabins on the property that he and Paige were staying in and Paige got ready in one of the guest houses. They had a really low-key first look and then walked together to meet their guests in an area of the property that overlooked the lake and mountain views. Following their vows, everyone gathered and had a catered barbeque dinner, cut the cake, and enjoyed themselves both inside and outside of the barn.
For sunset, the three of us went into Glacier National Park so that they could say their handwritten vows privately without the pressures of saying them around all of their guests. We did a little exploring and then when they returned to Amen Ranch, they spend the rest of the evening celebrating with their guests!
Amye and Tyler’s Micro Wedding
Amye and Tyler had a micro-wedding that had so many elopement elements to really align it with the day they had envisioned while still having the people they wanted present there. They started a morning with a sunrise hike alone and then parted ways for the rest of the day as they got ready at the places they were staying. They did a first touch and prayer before their ceremony, had a beautiful ceremony with family and friends, and then had a mini-reception with individual charcuterie boxes, champagne, and cupcakes. During the mini-reception they shared a first dance with each other and their mothers. Their family then sent them off and we spent a couple of hours exploring the rest of the national park and having fun taking photos!
I hope this post helps you feel empowered to have the elopement experience you want to have – whether that be with your loved ones physically there or supporting you from afar.
An important thing I really want to reiterate is that choosing to elope alone does not mean that you don’t care about your loved ones. It simply means that the kind of day that feels most true to the two of you and the way you want to commit your lives to one another is one where you want to spend your energy solely focusing and connecting with one another in a way that feels right for you and is stress-free.
I’m happy to provide any and all encouragement and support to you throughout your elopement planning process. Fill out my contact form on my contact page so we can connect and start to really dive into what your true-to-you elopement day can look like.