If you’re like many of the couples I’ve worked with, you might be dreaming of eloping in private. You’ve got all sorts of elopement ideas, and already know what your ideal day looks like. Celebrating your wedding day just the two of you, or with just you and a couple of your closest friends. But one question that might come along with that: how do you involve your family who won’t be there?
Some of you may not be thinking about this; you’re ready to celebrate in private, and you know your family will be there to spend time with later on. But if you’re close to your family and want them to be involved somehow, I want to give you a list of ways you can elope in private but still involve your closest loved ones!
Whether you’re planning a destination elopement away from your family & friends, or you’re having a local elopement but still want to keep it private, consider each of these options if you’d like to bring your family in somehow without physically being there.
But remember: this is all up to you. Your elopement day doesn’t need to include family if you don’t want it to, just like it doesn’t have to be 100% private if you don’t want it to. This is your day, and I want to give you options + open your mind up to the possibilities in front of you!
Elopement ideas: 10 ways to involve your family in your elopement
1. Have them write you letters to read during/after your elopement ceremony
One super simple way to include the emotions of your family members in your big day: have them write you letters beforehand!
Bring along these letters to your elopement, and read them either during your ceremony or sometime after. This is an easy way to let your family members tell you what they want you to hear – how much they love you, how excited they are for you, etc. Reading them aloud to each other on your big day will bring tears to everyone’s eyes, and will allow you to connect with them even though they aren’t physically present.
This is also a great way to include family members that are far away, in your wedding or elopement day! Even if you’re inviting guests to your intimate wedding or elopement, there will likely be some people who can’t make it for any reason. Ask these people to write you letters as well, and read them sometime during the day.
2. Write them letters on the big day
If you want to get your emotions, love, and gratitude across to them on your elopement day, you can do one of two things:
- Write them letters beforehand for them to read on your elopement day – this will definitely make them feel loved and involved if they’re reading these letters back home while they know you’re getting married.
- Write them letters during your elopement day for them to read at a later date – write them letters of gratitude + love while your emotions are high and you’re having the best day ever. Then, gift them to them afterward for them to keep! You could frame them, put them in a cute envelope, or simply tear off a piece of paper from a notepad. I’m sure that whatever way you choose to do it, your family will absolutely love this!
3. Take videos for your family
If you have a videographer, this will happen no matter what – you’ll have a video to show them after the big day!
But if you didn’t hire a videographer (or even if you did!), have fun taking a few videos on your phone throughout the day. Take little videos of yourselves talking, behind-the-scenes videos, etc. Or, ask your photographer (aka me) to record little clips of you two throughout the day – then compile them for your family members after!
They’ll love seeing the emotions of the day from your perspective because phone videos can be super cute and personal. It’s just like taking fun selfies to show friends & family!
4. Watch videos from your family
You can also have your family record videos beforehand, and choose a friend of yours to compile them into one slideshow/video! Watch this video after your ceremony, during it, whenever you want to. I guarantee you’ll love seeing your loved ones talk to you and wish you a happy marriage!
A lot of couples I know did this during COVID, too, when they weren’t able to invite family members to be physically present on their wedding day. It’s a great way to feel like they’re there with you, without having to pay for their meals or have Aunt Karen trying to control the day😉
5. Elope solo, then have a reception sometime afterward
This is another route a lot of couples decided to take during the pandemic: elope in private, and then hold some type of party or reception at a later date! Whether you want to hold this party the day or weekend of your elopement, or have it a few months later, find a time to celebrate with your loved ones after you celebrate in private.
This way, you truly get the best of both worlds: private vows + a private day full of love and focused on you two, and a big celebration with the people you love most.
6. Have a wedding video viewing party
If you hire a videographer, once you get your video back, host a viewing party! Invite your loved ones over to your house, and eat good food + drink good drinks while you watch the playback of your day together. It’ll be so fun for them to watch your celebration with you after you’ve celebrated in private together!
7. Invite a few of your closest loved ones
And hey – if you have a few people you really want to invite, your elopement doesn’t have to be completely private!
I know, normally when you think of elopement, you might think of running off together alone. But the beauty of modern elopements is that you get to choose to do whatever you want.
If that means inviting your closest friends or family members to make your day as special as possible, do it!
8. Give them gifts to open on your elopement day
Put together some small gifts beforehand for your loved ones to open on your elopement day. This could include a sample of the cake you’ll have on your elopement day, party favors for them as if they were attending your elopement, cards/letters, etc. Customize a little bag or box for them to have fun opening while you celebrate in private.
9. Include them in your planning
If you want some help with planning (because let’s be honest, planning even a small, private elopement can turn into a LOT of work), you can absolutely still involve your family in planning! If your mom really wants to help you find a cake, have her help you find a cake. Allow them to contribute as much as you want them to without it being overkill, and have fun creating your dream day with your loved ones.
10. Include special items from them in your day
Finally, you can include little items from your loved ones in your big day. For example, maybe you’re super close to your dad – wear one of his favorite bowties, or frame a photo of him to keep with your other elopement details. Maybe your parents are your role models for a love story – bring along their rings to photograph with yours, or bring a photo of them to keep with you. There are tons of ways you can include little keepsakes or bring items along that remind you of them, and incorporate them into your elopement day somehow!
Need some elopement inspiration? Check out my recent elopement + intimate wedding work below!