Eloping couples may think that choosing adventure means you're choosing to leave your nearest and dearest out of your elopement, but I pinky promise that just ain't true! If you want to, there are a lot of fantastic ways to include them. Whether you want to bring them along the day of, or it's just the two of you, here's how to include family and friends in your elopement!
BEFORE YOUR ELOPEMENT
By including your family in the planning process, you're letting them know that you still totally love 'em. Some options that I really love are listed below!
HOST AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY
There's no reason that having an elopement means you can't include whatever you'd like from the traditional wedding process! When you two get engaged, you can invite all your friends & family together to celebrate your love. This would also be a great time to explain to them how excited you are for your elopement adventure, your reasons for choosing to elope, what activities you might include in your elopement, and get them stoked on the idea too!
BRING THEM WEDDING ATTIRE SHOPPING
Let them know that their opinions do matter to you - if you choose to shop for your dress, suit, or whatever attire you want in person, bring your fam along! I'm sure they'd love to hype you up and let you know what dress is absolutely stunning on you, and what one you might want to skip!
DURING YOUR ELOPEMENT
Seriously, this is an option. There's no rule stating that you can't invite a few guests for your elopement to be a "real" elopement. Most elopement photographers (myself included) allow up to about 12-15 guests to be present! If you only invite a few people, you may even be able to book out a whole AirBnB to spend the night with. Eloping doesn't just the two of you, unless you want it to!
HAVE YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY WRITE YOU LETTERS TO READ
If you want a surefire way to cry on your elopement day, this one is for you! Just kiddin' but those heartfelt letters really get me all up in my feels, you know? Have your nearest & dearest write you letters by hand, that you'll open up right after your ceremony! If they're not a wordsmith, they could draw you something instead!
CRAFT A TRINKET TO TIE TO YOUR BOUQUET
If someone you love is great with their hands, they could potentially carve you something out of wood, sculpt something out of clay, or whatever it is they specialize in to attach to your bouquet! This one always works so well, because it means they're right there with you the whole entire day.
FACETIME OR CALL
It's your elopement, which means you can do literally whatever you want! If you want to FaceTime with your family during the day you say your vows, we can totally work in time so you can call them up, show off your bling, share the incredible views, and get really stoked together!
TAKE YOUR OWN PICTURES TO SHARE
There's nothing stopping you from taking your own pictures throughout the day to send immediately! You don't need to wait until your photographer sends you a whole gallery to show off how incredible and lovely your elopement is. I'll even take some of the two of you with your phone so you don't have to wait.
RECORD A REVERSE TOAST
At a traditional wedding, generally the couple will receive a champagne toast, but there's nothing traditional about elopements! What's stopping you from popping champagne and recording a selfie video letting a specific family member or friend know how much they mean to you?
AFTER YOUR ELOPEMENT
BRING BACK A GIFT
You might be eloping out in the wild, but there's a good chance you're staying in a super quaint adorable town nearby - consider perusing the little shops in town, support the local economy, and bring back something super special for your loved ones!
LET THEM VIEW YOUR GALLERY WITH YOU THE FIRST TIME
When I send out galleries, I always remind the newlyweds that the whole experience should be just as special as their elopement! That means pouring yourself your fave drink, putting on some music, pulling your gallery up on your biggest & best monitor, and looking through your photos like that (and not on a dinky little phone screen while you're running errands). If you have a family member that you're especially close to, let them look through your photos with you that very first time! It'll be super fun for them to experience not only the images, but your reactions to seeing them for the first time as well, y'know?
What other ideas do you have to include your closest friends & family in your elopement?
This list is by no means extensive, so I'd LOVE to hear how you included the folks you really care about! Let me know in the comments!
Kira McGrigg Photo is based in Bellingham, Washington, and specializes in inclusive outdoor elopements and couples photography.