How To Include Family & Friends In Your Elopement (Even If They Aren’t Invited)

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When deciding to elope, many couples feel that they will be excluding all the important people in their lives from being present during their big day. Well, guess what? Elopement don’t have to be exclusionary! There are plenty of ways that you can include your family and friends in your elopement, even if they aren’t actually invited to join you for the main part of the day.

We’ve divided this post up into two main categories: ways to include them in person and “in spirit” (aka without inviting them to be there on the day).

Ways to include them in person

If you want to invite your most-loved family or friends to your elopement but still want to make sure the focus is on what you want as a couple, there are several ways to invite family & friends to your elopement without having them be a part of the whole day.

Get Ready With Them

If you’re having an elopement close to where your friends and family live, or asking them to join you for a portion of the day for a destination elopement, you can easily make them part of your big day by getting ready with them. They can spend the morning with you while you get ready, take cute pictures together and help you out in any way they can. While the ceremony itself may involve just you and your partner, all the important people in your life can be there while you get ready to say “I do.” You can even do a “first look” with your parents or siblings.

Split up the day

Many couples choose to divide the day up into parts just for themselves and parts with their guests. This can be spending the morning alone, perhaps with a sunrise private vow exchange, and then meeting family or friends later in the day for a second ceremony that includes them, followed by dinner together.

Some advice from us: While you might enjoy having most of the day to yourselves and only meeting up with family for a short time, for example, for dinner in the evening, it’s important to be considerate of them too. If you’re asking people to take time off work, travel to your elopement destination, and spend money on flights and accommodation, they may feel a bit taken aback if they are not involved in your day.

While it’s completely your choice whether, and how much, to involve them in your elopement, if it’s only for a few hours but still requires them to travel a long way, perhaps consider eloping alone and celebrating properly with them at a later date.

Plan a Muli-Day Celebration

If your dream for your elopement is to spend the day together doing something fun and adventurous, but you know your loved ones wouldn’t be able to come too, then a multi-day elopement can be the best solution. You get to spend one (or more) days doing just what you want to do as a couple, but have one day set aside to celebrate with the people you love in your chosen destination too.

Invite them to the legal ceremony

Many couples who elope in Europe choose to have their legal marriage taken care of either before or after their European elopement. If you want to involve family and friends in your wedding without feeling the pressure to invite them on your trip, consider inviting them to your city hall/registry office ceremony instead. They can be there as your witnesses as you officially tie the knot, but for your elopement, you’re free to celebrate that day in a way that just the two of you want.

Header and Above Image by Tamar Hope

Ways to include them “In Spirit”

We understand that when you’re planning a destination elopement, having family and friends there can add an extra layer of stress to the planning. So if you want your elopement day to be just for the two of you, that’s ok. Many couples choose to keep their elopement just for themselves, but if you want to, there are still plenty of ways to involve the people you love so that you can share your joy with them.

➡️ Related reading: How to tell friends & family you’re eloping

Go Outfit Shopping with them

Include them in the pre-elopement excitement by inviting those closest to you to join you in shopping for your outfits. Whether that’s visiting bridal boutiques or having an at-home trying session, inviting them to be part of the preparation can help them to feel included whilst still keeping your boundaries.

Have Them Write Notes To Read On Your Elopement Day

A special and intimate way to include your loved ones in your elopement. Handwritten letters are very personal, so ask your close friends and family members to write their heart out. You can read these during the ceremony or afterwards while you and your partner are enjoying a cute picnic on the mountaintop.

Have A Video Call During Your Elopement

This option is one of the easiest and common ones out there. A simple way to include all your loved ones in your elopement is to have them on a video call during the event. You don’t have to share your private vows with them, but you can if you want to. Otherwise, why not plan a time where you can video call them after you’ve tied the knot so that you can celebrate the moment with them.

Ask Them To Make Video Toasts That You Watch On The Elopement Day

Instead of doing the letters, you can ask your loved ones to video record toasts that you can watch on the elopement day. Put a friend or family member in charge of collecting the toasts and ask them to make a video slideshow that you can easily watch on your elopement day.

Send Them Photos On The Same Day

Sending photos and videos throughout the day is a great way to keep your loved ones in the loop. It’ll let them know that you are thinking of them and will also have them feeling included. You can also ask your photographer to capture some “behind the scenes” photos and videos throughout the day.

Include Them In The Planning Process

Just because your close friends and family members can’t be physically present on your big day, you can still include them in the planning process. From picking out a location and photographer to taking them dress shopping, there are many ways you can include all the important in your life on your elopement day. If you have crafty friends, you can invite them to help you make decor pieces like a custom sign or a centerpiece for your elopement picnic. Or if you have a baker friend, maybe ask them to bake you a wedding cake?

Throw a Post-Elopement Reception

Another great way to include your family and friends in your elopement is to throw a small reception or post-elopement party. This way, you and your partner can enjoy a private elopement day but still be able to celebrate with the people that you choose to celebrate with.

As you can see, there are many ways to include friends and family in your elopement even if they are not invited. Just remember that it is your elopement day, so you can do whatever you want!

In Summary

There’s no right or wrong way to elope. And if you want to include your family or closest friends in your day, then you absolutely can, whilst still keeping that elopement feel that focus on the intimate connection between you and your partner. Whether you choose to invite your family to your elopement in Europe, include them in the planning process or choose to celebrate with them afterwards, there are many options available to you. It’s just up to you to choose what’s right for you.

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