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I'm Shanmari - elopement crafter and photographer here at Avonture. I'm based out of Ohio and travels worldwide to help couples plan their dream elopement that values their beliefs and authenticity. Reach out anytime if you'd like to chat about yours!

How to Elope with Family

There are pros and cons to eloping with family. You might still want a family member to give you away. Maybe you want to stand next to a waterfall where you exchange your commitments to each other, and not a soul can hear you in this intimate exchange.

Whether you decide to go solo or elope with family, ultimately, it all depends on what you want. It is human nature to worry about what others think and feel, but when it comes to YOUR wedding, do it your way!

There are many reasons why couples choose to elope. They want less stress and more intimacy and start their marriage with an adventure, to name a few. But the idea of eloping without their parents or loved ones might not be as exciting when they have so many people they want on their elopement day. Well, you can absolutely have your inner circle at your elopement. You never have to compromise at your elopement!

Bride and groom watching their kids play on their Nelson Kennedy Ledges Ohio elopement while standing in front of a rushing waterfall surrounded by large ledges covered in moss and fern

Planning for Guests at Your Elopement

The first place to start – jot down your vision. Ask yourself:

  • Where do you want to elope?

  • What season do you want to elope in?

  • What activities do you want to do on your elopement day?

  • Who must be at your elopement?

  • Will you be hiking with your guests?

Knowing all the where's, what's, and who's will give you a better idea of how to plan. If your parents can only hike 3 miles, your location must only be a 1.5-mile hike away. You don't have to compromise. You can still have your dream elopement. You will just have to plan accordingly beforehand to accommodate all your loved ones.

gay interracial couple having their first dance on their elopement surrounded by family and friends

Pros and Cons of Eloping with Family

What are the Pros for Eloping with Family?

  • The before elopement moments are often very special to couples. For example, when your parent sees you for the first time in your dress or your loved ones fixing your hair, friends fluffing the skirt of your dress, or your parent putting your boutonniere on your suit pocket. These make for beautiful, tender moments that you will carry with you forever.

  • Make your inner circle feel included and special by witnessing your union.

  • The most beautiful photographs! Years from now, you will look back on them with your partner and see how you were surrounded with love by those closest to you with a breathtaking backdrop.

  • You have a meaningful adventure together; adventures with close family members always make for meaningful memories that will last forever.

What are the Cons for Eloping with Family?

  • One of the main concerns when eloping with family is the limitations on your elopement destination. Can your loved ones hike far? Will they be okay stepping over rocks?

  • Providing food and drink on the journey can be challenging.

  • Another concern is bathroom needs. Would you need to find a location that provides ablutions?

  • It can take the focus from the 'just you two' aspect of eloping, and it becomes all about your loved one's needs.

  • Inviting a few might pressure you into inviting more and then eventually taking away the focus of your wedding day making you feel defeated at the end of the day.

dining table setting for an elopement with family under a large tree that has lamps and fairy lights hanging from it to light up the dining table

Ideas for How to Include Your Family at Your Elopement

There is no wrong way to elope with family. Let's explore the best ways to include them.

  • Having brunch: Whether you are eloping at sunrise or sunset, schedule a beautiful brunch with your loved ones.

  • Getting ready: Let your friends or family be there while you get ready for your day, help you get dressed, and calm your pre-elopement jitters.

  • Officiate: If you need an officiant, ask a family member to officiate your wedding. It's easy to get ordained – fill out this form and be ready for the elopement in minutes.

  • Post-elopement celebration: Let your family plan a beautiful dinner to celebrate your union.

  • Traditions: Eloping doesn't mean you can't have traditions. You can share a toast, have a parent give you away, or have every guest give you a blessing over your marriage.

  • Music: Maybe you have a talented best friend who wants to serenade you two after the ceremony.

family and friends hiking through snow on an elopement surrounded by evergreen trees that is covered in a layer of snow

How to Prepare Your Family for Your Elopement

Let's face it, some of your family have never been to an unconventional wedding such as your elopement and might not know what to expect or what to bring. Make a checklist of everything they need to know before your big day.

  • Attire: Depending on the weather, let your guests know what they should wear to your elopement outdoors. If it is in the middle of the summer, ensure they bring light, breathable clothing to get too hot. During the winter, let them know it will get cold and dress accordingly. Don't forget hiking boots for hiking elopements!

  • Backpack: Make sure everyone brings their own backpack to carry personal items such as car keys, an extra pair of shoes for the ceremony, and other relevant items.

  • Water: Probably the most essential item is water. Stay hydrated, especially on those hot summer and spring days.

  • Sunscreen: Not just the couple needs sunscreen! Avoid having a lasting sunburn and bring protection.

  • Trash bag: Keep a small trash bag in your backpack to put your trash in and dispose of it when they leave the park. Everyone must have a clear understanding of Leave No Trace guidelines and respect mother nature.

First aid kit: Designate one family member to bring a simple first aid kit for bug bites and scratches.

family elopement with red rocks and the sun setting behind them while the parents hold the baby

How to Elope with Family Your Way

There are no limitations or obligations as to how to elope with family. Another option you have is splitting the day in two. You can elope in the morning alone with your partner for an intimate ceremony and meet up with family at a beautiful location for dinner.

Research the perfect elopement locations that can accommodate your family's needs and plan around them. If you need more information on choosing the perfect elopement location, read more here!

However, you want to elope with family, be true to yourself and do things YOUR way!


Elopement Photographer | Avonture Elopem



I'm Shanmari - elopement crafter and photographer here at Avonture. I'm based out of Ohio and travels worldwide to help venturing couples like you plan their dream elopement that values their beliefs and authenticity.

Need help crafting your own elopement day?

 If you'd like help planning your dream elopement day with a ultimate elopement planning guide, personalized location idea list just for you, vendor recommendations, planning and traveling tips and tricks, my never-ending help and guidance and an authentic, documentary approach to photographing your adventure - I would love to help you plan your day from scratch and make all your wedding dreams come true and more.

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