For many people, the decision to elope is easy - less stress, less expense, and more quality time with each other. Choosing an adventure wedding doesn't mean you're consciously choosing to exclude your family to hurt them. It means that you're choosing to keep the experience for yourselves because you cherish the idea of being fully present with your partner and not sacrificing that time to worry about anyone else. This day is supposed to be about the two of you, so it's ok to be a little "selfish" (if that's what people want to call it) by choosing to do what makes you most happy.
However, having family involved in some aspect can be very important to couples, so there are plenty of ways to include them in the day!
BRING THE KIDS!
Many people getting married already have children together or from a previous relationship, and that's wonderful! Just because you're eloping doesn't mean they can't be involved. Make it a family affair and bring the kiddos along with you. Here are some ways they can be included:
Read vows to your significant other's children too to let them know they're an important part of your life too
Give rings to the child - they'll be so happy to match their parents!
Have your child walk you down the aisle
Let them say a few words during the ceremony
Include them in your unity ceremony, like sand pouring or candle lighting
If you're planning a hike and are looking for a fun way to keep the little ones busy in the wild, a scavenger hunt is a great way to motivate them to keep going!
Pro tip: Have a close family member or friend present to care for your child that day. If you think that they can only handle a little bit of "wedding fun" they can take your child back to the accommodations or do something fun with them. Then you'll get to include them in the day, but still have time together without the responsibilities of parenting.
If your dog is your adventure companion, then they'll love the experience of joining you for your elopement! Bring them along as your flower girl or "best dog", deck them out with a flower crown or bowtie, and bring lots of treats! If you're bringing them along for the ceremony, a dog handler (whether it's a family member or friend) will be super helpful to have on hand so that you're not worrying about tying their leash up or what they're sniffing. Or you can keep them at your Airbnb and bring them out for an adventure later!
If your dog is naturally stressed, isn't big on being around new people and other dogs, are overly hyper, and really wouldn't enjoy the experience of being somewhere new, then it would be best to keep them safe and happy at home. Bringing your dog sounds like a fun idea, but we always want to make sure that their health and happiness comes first.
INVITING CLOSE FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Some girls dream of having their father walk them down the aisle. Some people want their siblings or best friend by their side on the most important day of their life, and you may even want Grandpa to officiate the ceremony! That's amazing, and you can still have an intimate wedding with the most important people in your life by your side. If your friends & family are the adventurous types then hiking to the top of a mountain or kayaking to a private beach might be perfect for them! But if not, we can definitely take that into consideration when we're location scouting. Or you can split the day up by spending part of the day adventuring with just the two of you, but still include them in the ceremony or post-wedding celebration dinner.
My advice - make sure the people you're choosing to include will bring you joy! Don't involve anyone who will stress you out and make the day anything but happy for you.
NO GUESTS, BUT STILL INVOLVING THEM IN THE PROCESS
If you love the idea of having an unforgettable, fun adventure with the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and only that person, then that's perfectly ok! Whatever the reason is behind your decision, wanting to keep the day to yourselves is normal and understandable. Family & friends can be as involved or uninvolved as you want them to be, but here are some great ways to include them without them being present.
You can allow your family to be present in spirit by live-streaming or recording the ceremony on your phones (or with a videographer) with a flexible tripod.
Ask them to write letters to you that you can read on the day of your wedding.
Video call them at any point during the day.
Allow them to celebrate you in other ways, like planning an engagement party, bridal shower, or letting them help plan a post-wedding celebration afterward with all of your favorite people.
Share an "exclusive" slideshow of your wedding photos with them before you share them to social media or have a "watch party" at home with them
Some people don't tell anyone that they're eloping until after it happens, and that's probably the least stressful way to go about it because then you only have to hear about it after the deed is done and they won't guilt you into inviting them all the way leading up to the event. But if you'd rather be upfront with them about it, breaking the news to everyone that they won't be invited beforehand will be a tough conversation. Click here to see my post about how to tell family that you're eloping without them.
You can involve your family and friends and much or as little as you would like. Inviting them won't make it a bad day if you want them there! Leaving them at home is ok too. It's all about how you want to feel and what you want to do on the day of the wedding. They'll love you no matter what you decide!
If you're ready to start planning the best wedding day ever, start with finding a partner in the planning process! Check out the all-inclusive Wild North Weddings elopement photography & guide package for anywhere in the continental U.S. online, using the button below! I'm here to help you with every step and decision to make it the dream wedding that you deserve.
More Elopement Inspiration
Hey there! I'm Carly D'Angelo-Hall - a photographer specializing in documenting weddings across the U.S. If you love adventure, experiencing new things, and if you like to live "outside of the box", let's talk about how I can help you create and capture the wedding day of your dreams! Visit wildnorthweddings.com to view all-inclusive wedding day and adventure session packages.