Elope with family - should you do it, pros and cons, and tips on how to involve your loved ones in your elopement day

How to Elope With Family – Include Your Loved Ones at Your Elopement

Have you decided to elope and not sure how this all works? Should your inner circle be involved or just you and your love? There are many questions about the best way to elope, but I’m here to tell you that there are no rules! Whether you elope with family or go solo, elope the way YOU want!

Brides and grooms have many different reasons for why they want to elope. If you don’t really care about following traditions, then eloping may be right for you. Couples elope because their lives are full of adventure, so why not kick off your marriage with one. Be authentically you and do things YOUR way.

An elopement is all about committing yourselves to each other without the traditions of big weddings. It is far more intimate and can be as adventurous as you want it to be.

Eloping with Family

Adventure eloping doesn’t mean the people in your bubble can’t be part of your big day. Perhaps you both would like your parents there, or you want your best friends to be a witness. There are many ways to involve your family and friends.

  • Make sure you have done your research on the venue. Is there hiking involved, or will everyone make it to the destination? Once you know all the details, let your family and friends know to wear comfortable shoes if you plan to walk far.
  • Have a loved one be your officiant or sign the legal documents beforehand. If there is someone special who wishes to marry you, look into getting them ordained, or have them perform the ceremony and take care of the legalities beforehand. It will create a more intimate and personal experience.
  • For a more spiritual experience, have your family pray over you to bless your marriage.
  • If your furry best friend is present at your elopement, put your family on doggy duty. The extra hands to take care of things is a great help.
  • Any entertainers in the group? Ask your talented friend to sing a song at your elopement —something unique and romantic.
  • Good food and beverages are a must when you elope with family. Hire a personal chef to prepare a packed meal for an outdoor picnic or have a beautiful dinner during sunset. Now everyone is fed, and in good spirits, so the celebrations can continue.
  • Pop champagne and celebrate together! Make a toast or cut the cake – Keep any traditions that you and your partner want to share with loved ones.

There are many other ways to involve your family, and you will know the perfect tasks for each of them based on their personalities. Don’t be afraid to delegate!

Eloping with family – Pros and Cons

This bride got ready with all her best gal friends on her elopement day. Discover Ways to Include Your Friends & Family at Your Elopement.

I compiled a list of pros and cons for eloping with family so you can make a choice that is best for you!


  • You have your loved ones with you while you put on your dress or suit, help you with your hair, or straighten your tie. Dad may want to walk you down the aisle, and mom sees you say, “I do.” Cherish those special moments with family and create memories to last a lifetime.
  • A big concern for many brides and grooms is upsetting family and friends. If they came along, it would make them feel special that they got to witness your union.
  • Save money – Since your loved ones are there, you can save money by not having a large wedding and reception.
  • Living during a worldwide pandemic and keeping people safe is everyone’s priority. Eloping with family can create social distancing naturally.
  • Amazing photographs! Ten years from now, you and your partner can look back and see all your loved ones in those intimate photos with a breathtaking backdrop.


  • Location limitations – There are definite limitations of where you can elope. You would need to keep loved ones in mind because they might not be capable of walking long distances or climb rocks.
  • Eloping with family means accommodating more people. You need to think of food and beverages to ensure everyone is comfortable.
  • If your destination is even a mile away, there may be concerns about bathroom use.
  • Friends and family might have opinions on your wedding day planning, and you could end up losing sight of your vision of what you had initially planned.

Eloping just the two of you

Eloping alone creates a unique and intimate experience like no other. A romantic adventure with just the two of you, and memories to last a lifetime.

Eloping alone tip: have your family members write you letters that you and your partner can open at your elopement. It creates a beautiful, emotional experience knowing all the friends and family supporting you on your day.

Eloping without family – Pros and Cons

Here is a list of pros and cons for eloping without family:


  • Go anywhere you want without the limitations of wondering whether your guests can hike or climb. Stand on the top of Mt Assiniboine in beautiful British Columbia, or adventure through Banff National Park. The world is your oyster!
  • There is nothing more intimate than just the two of you and committing yourselves to each other in such a private way.
  • Don’t feel obligated to follow tradition – it’s just the two of you, and you can do things your way!
  • There is more money to spend on your elopement experience.
  • Less planning time goes into eloping alone. There is no schedule to follow, and your day is flexible for all the things you want to do.
  • You don’t have to entertain guests and focus only on each other.


  • Disappointed family – this is the hardest part. Your closest family and friends might have some feelings about the two of you eloping alone. A perfectly natural response. Explain why you feel that eloping is the best option for you and how much you love them. They will come around.
  • If you dreamt about your wedding day with your partner for a long time, you might have pictured your first dance together or cut the cake surrounded by your family and friends. There may be some sadness about missing those traditions.
  • Even if you pass around your mailing address, you’re still going to lose out on gifts or keepsakes.

Couple elope at sunset with a Volkswagen bus. Discover Ways to Include Your Friends & Family at Your Elopement.

Sharing your big day

There are various ways you can share your big day with the ones you love. For those joining you on the adventure, pop some champagne on the hilltop or have a relaxed dinner to celebrate. If they aren’t joining you for the actual commitment ceremony, plan a small intimate party and paint a picture of the beautiful day you just had.

There are some fun activities you can do with your guests at your elopement. Make a weekend out of the celebration and create unforgettable memories with those closest to you:

  • Camping or glamping – spending the weekend in the great outdoors is a great way to bring everyone together. Sit around and sing campfire songs while you roast some marshmallows
  • Have a festival style celebration with live music and karaoke
  • Schedule a sunrise or sunset hot air balloon ride for a romantic and tranquil experience
  • Go wine tasting at a vineyard and explore local cuisine

Relive your memories and the excitement of your elopement by planning a watch party and send an invitation to everyone to come over to your house for a big celebration. Watch your wedding video together and browse through all your beautiful photos. This gesture will make everyone feel included and special.

For the family who can’t be there, Facetime and Skype are excellent tools to use. Everyone will feel included, and you can have multiple people on the call at the same time. Say “I do” and give your favorite people a call. Show them the magnificent backdrop that is your view.

Hold a sign that says “we eloped” while I take the perfect picture for you! If you don’t have reception, send it out later.

couple elopes in Saskatchewan, photo of them flipping off the camera with their ring fingers. Advice on should you elope with family or alone?

Don’t take reactions personally

Because you’re going against tradition by eloping, you can expect to have mixed reactions from those closest to you. Some will be happy for you, and others will feel left out and upset. Speak your truth, and stick to you and your partner’s plans and ideas.

Your tribe will respect your decision once they’ve come to terms with your dreams. Remember that you can’t control how people react, and you shouldn’t take anything personally. However, what you can have control over is how YOU react, so try to remain understanding of others.

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries once you’ve planned your elopement is essential. Always be upfront with others, and explain to them what’s important to you.

Don’t let anything get out of your control, as you will end up having to explain yourself, and you and your partner will be unhappy with your planning.

By compromising on too many things, you will lose sight of what’s important to you, and your elopement may end up becoming a traditional wedding.

Final thoughts

couple elope in Joshua Tree just the two of them. Pros and Cons of eloping solo vs. eloping with family.

Your elopement day is a magnificent journey that you and your love will take to kick off your lives together. You’ll get to set your own rules whether you choose to take your inner circle of family and friends with you or not – make sure that whatever you decide to do makes you feel comfortable.

Your family and friends will support and love you no matter what you decide to do!

Liv Hettinga Photography is an Alberta elopement photographer helping couples create the wedding day of their dreams, I give advice about eloping with family and activities to include in your elopement day

Still have questions about eloping with family or breaking the news that you are eloping just the two of you?

I’m here to help 🙂

Elopement Tips





I’m your elopement hype girl and a photographer for the goofball lovers + those who want to make their wedding day an adventure. I’m also the owner of a converted camper van and love exploring the outdoors. You’ll find my heart on this blog. Whether it’s documenting my real life couples or giving my brides + grooms the tips + tricks they need to plan their best elopement, I’ve poured my heart out for you here. 

I'm Liv Hettinga


How to Elope With Family – Include Your Loved Ones at Your Elopement

  1. Krissy says:

    It’s so important to set boundaries during your elopement if you decide to include family members. I loved the pros and cons that you laid out so you give people an option to see the full picture and choose what works best for them.

  2. A perfect resource for how to elope with family and include your loved ones at your elopement, thank you! Such an important subject to educate couples on because this is such a critical element in any elopement. Awesome job, beautiful work, keep being amazing.

  3. Maya says:

    Such a great blog post on how to include your family on your elopement day! So many great ideas and gives couples the option to include their loved ones when maybe they thought they couldn’t. Well done!

  4. Sienna says:

    It is definitely so important for couples to go the route that truly speaks to him!

  5. Amy Isacson says:

    These are really great! I love how you set it up pros and cons – the images are wonderful too. BRAVO!!

  6. Jess Wright says:

    Pointing out the pros and cons of having your family involved and not there is so nice to see! It’s the added extra details that helps us make a better decision. Great information for how to elope with family!

  7. Ann Marie says:

    This is such a great resource for couples trying to make decisions like this while planning their dream day – whatever that may look like! Wonderful information, great organization and beautiful photos. Love it!

  8. This is such a great resource for couples who are torn with whether or not to include family. My husband and I really struggled with this, and in the end we decided to include them. We had a beautiful day and loved everything about it– but there are definitely some key points here to factor in when deciding what you want to do and what boundaries you want to set. Great post!

  9. Lot’s of great tips in here!

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"Liv is extremely talented and great to work with! She gave us enough direction in our shoots to know what to do but still left tons of room for candid, genuine moments. Nothing beats seeing real smiles and laughter in your photos! She was more than willing to collaborate and go for some sillier ideas, and was always super encouraging. She's an incredibly sweet person and we felt very comfortable to be ourselves around her. Liv's talent is beyond just the technical knowledge, she really has an artist eye for beautiful photos. Her editing style is perfect, not too dark or light but still brings personality with the warm tones she adds. I HIGHLY recommend working with Liv!!"

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