There’s nothing like a pandemic lockdown to make us see the world from a different perspective. If you’ve been planning a wedding, you might be feeling differently about your wedding now than you did before lockdown. Maybe that elopement adventure with just the two of you doesn’t seem so attractive now you’ve been apart from your friends and family for so long. Or perhaps the time alone has reaffirmed you and your partner’s decision to elope, but you still don’t want your closest friends and family to miss out.
Well, the best thing about an elopement wedding is that you make the rules. If you want your family and friends to be there, go for it! There are many meaningful ways to include your loved ones in your elopement, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Before Your Elopement
Even if you want to spend your wedding day with just the person you love, it’s often nice to involve your friends and family in the run-up to your big day.
Go Shopping For Wedding Outfits
For lots of people, deciding what to wear is one of the most difficult parts of planning a wedding (and finding an outfit that’s fit for an adventurous elopement is particularly challenging!). Taking along your mum, your brother or your best friend for a second opinion is both helpful and makes them feel part of your elopement experience.
Make Something Personal For Your Elopement
Cakes, decorations, bouquets of flowers—there are plenty of things you can make with your friends and family and take with you to your elopement. That way, you’ll have a personal reminder on the day of the people you love most.
Plan Some Elements Together
Just because your friends and family won’t be there on the day doesn’t mean that they can’t help you plan it. Brainstorming ideas for destinations, food or activities with your loved ones makes them feel involved, and gets them as excited as you are.
Have A Wild Bachelor or Bachelorette Party
If you’re not including your friends and family in your actual elopement, make your bachelor or bachelorette party an experience they’ll never forget. Choose something you all love to do and go wild! After all, it may be the last time they see you before you’re married.
Ways To Include Family On Your Elopement Day
You can make your elopement feel intimate and personal while still involving close family and friends. Why not try some of the following ideas.
Get Ready Together
If you’re someone who loves to get ready with your best friends, there’s no reason you can’t do this on your elopement day! Have a glass of bubbly before helping each other with hair, makeup, shoe shining, tie straightening and generally making yourselves look fabulous.
Seeing your loved one in their wedding outfit for the first time is an amazing experience, and one of the highlights for your family and friends too. Even if you want your elopement ceremony to be a private affair, you can easily involve your loved ones in your first look before setting off alone to your elopement location.
Read Personal Messages From Family & Friends During The Ceremony
Involve your favourite people by asking them to write personal messages to you and your partner, and then read out the messages during the ceremony. This is a beautiful way to include your friends and family in your elopement without them actually being there, and is often one of the most memorable parts of the day.
Continue Family Traditions
If your family has a wedding tradition, such as wearing a certain piece of jewellry or playing a special song, include this in your ceremony. It makes your day more meaningful and honours the things important to your family.
Ask Someone Close To Officiate Your Ceremony
You don’t have to have someone officiate your ceremony. But if you do, get a family member or friend to lead you through your vows. An elopement is one of the most personal moments of your life, and having someone there with you both only adds to the intimate atmosphere.
Have An Online Ceremony
If you’re eloping somewhere far away from family and friends, stream your ceremony over Zoom or Skype and let them be part of the day that way. Alternatively, get someone to film your ceremony and then watch it all together once you’re back home.
Consider A Multi-Day Celebration
A two-day elopement is the best way to combine adventure with all the people closest to you. One day is for your friends and family. Make it a beautiful celebration that suits everyone’s wishes, in a location that everyone can get to, and enjoy being able to spend time all together.
The other day is just for you. Do something you both love: go hiking in the Dolomites, kayak through Norwegian fjords, or choose another adventure that reflects you as a couple. This second day is just about you and your love for each other, and nothing should compromise that.
After Your Elopement
Celebrating with friends and family after your elopement is something that many couples do, and is particularly good if you didn’t tell many people about your elopement beforehand. You could try doing one of the following options:
Have A Party
Invite your friends and family to a post-elopement party. It can be as formal or as informal as you like, and it’s a great way to celebrate your marriage without all the usual wedding stressors.
Recreate Your Ceremony At Home
Reaffirm your vows by repeating them in front of your family and friends. The scenery might be a little bit different but the words are still as powerful as they were the first time, and your friends and family will love hearing them.
Look At Your Photos Together
Finally receiving your photos is one of the most exciting parts of any elopement. It’s also the perfect opportunity to share your day with friends and family. Put up a big screen or even better pull out your handmade album, grab some chairs and show them what an amazing experience you had.
Two Final Things
If you do decide to have friends and family at your elopement, there are two important things that you should keep in mind.
Firstly remember that your ceremony location has to work for everyone. Even though you might be ok with extreme temperatures, high altitudes and challenging hikes, you’ll need to make sure the location is accessible for everyone. If that means compromising your dream location, perhaps consider a two-day elopement where you can have your dream “just us” elopement one day, and an intimate family celebration the next.
Secondly, as soon as you start to invite other people to your elopement, there is a chance you’ll end up compromising what you really want to keep others happy, which is something you probably wanted to avoid when you chose to elope. Just remember to keep planning a day that is what you want, and find a way for your family and friends to fit around that.
Real Wedding Stories
Here are some examples of real elopements and small weddings where the couples found different ways to include their closest family & friends: