There are so many awesome ideas for turning an ordinary wedding day into an adventure elopement experience. There are endless opportunities and elopement activity ideas to experience a wedding that is truly focused on your love for one another. Believe it or not, you can still experience a “just us” elopement and include family in your elopement plan. Here are some of my favorite elopement ideas with family!

family cheers beside couple at Sedona elopement

Elopement Ideas With Family & Friends for an Elopement WITH GUESTS

IDEA #1: Include them in just portions of the day.

You can split the day between private moments and group gatherings to experience intimate moments together and still tie the knot surrounded by family and friends. There are so many different versions of dividing the day between elopement ideas with family and private moments between just the two of you.

  • 1. Have a private ceremony followed by a reception immediately after.
  • 2. Include family in one portion of the day such as the ceremony, then spend the rest of the day adventuring privately with separate vows and an activity like a picnic together for portraits. 
  • 3. Parts of the day include guests: first look, ceremony, dinner, cutting the cake/dessert, and toasts. 
  • 4. Spread the experience over several days: spend day one with family and reserve day two for just you two.
  • 5. Have a friend or family member officiate the ceremony and then sign your marriage license.
  • 6. Spend time with family at the ceremony spot by having a picnic or adventuring off to your favorite restaurant to celebrate before saying goodbye and continuing your intimate wedding experience just the two of you.
  • 7. Your family and friends can still celebrate with you the same day you say I do by doing wedding photos with family after you get married at a courthouse.
  • 8. Celebrate with those you love at a small backyard wedding before sending you off to your own private elopement experience.

IDEA #2: Include family while you’re getting ready.

Having your family with you while you get ready will make them feel included in the wedding process. You can have a family member do hair and makeup for the bride and bridesmaids (if any). Have the mom, sister, cousin, or best friend help the bride zip up her dress or do her hair. You can alternatively do a first look with just the parents, the entire family or the bride with dad followed by family portraits. It’s a new memory that they can cherish forever that will make them feel extra special!

EXAMPLE: Eryka & Areya’s Two-Day Elopement

Eryka & Areya’s first day was an adventure session with the whole family. They hired a Pink Jeep to chauffeur them up to an off-roading location in Sedona, Arizona.

We hiked to the beautiful ceremony spot that overlooked Sedona and they had a handfasting infinity knot unity ceremony.

After the ceremony we took some epic portraits then drove back down the mountain as the sun set. On the second day, Eryka & Areya had a second ceremony at the Chapel of the Holy Cross and a reception with family and friends at their Airbnb. 

Read more about Eryka & Areya’s elopement here!

IDEA #3: Bring them along with you for the entire experience.

One of my favorite elopement ideas with family is to take them along for the entire elopement adventure experience! Your wedding day doesn’t have to be in one spot, it can be in multiple spots over multiple days! Here are some examples of including family in multi-day elopement destination experiences:

  • Do adventure activities together!
  • Start the day with a simple hike to your ceremony spot.
  • Spend the entire day together but end it at sunset with private portraits.
  • Have a party in your backyard or go out for dinner together at your favorite restaurant!

Brye & Greg invited their close friends and family to enjoy the top of Mt. Humphrey in Flagstaff during their elopement.

Elopement Ideas With Family & Friends for an Elopement with ZERO GUESTS

The elopement planning process has so many different phases, that there are many parts both before and after the elopement itself that can involve family. Even when you decide to have a “just us” elopement without any guests, there are elopement ideas with family included!

IDEA #1: Technology, Heirlooms or Documentation of the Day

Technology has SO many amazing advantages for zero-guest elopements. One of my favorite recommendations for elopement ideas with family is making a private Facebook group.

Invite all of your friends and family to this group and include some of your elopement details. Share a video link so they can watch your ceremony live while you’re still experiencing the intimacy you desire.

  • Host a group video call or stream the ceremony live.
  • Videographer: document the entire day.
  • Content Creator: the new trend is to hire a content creator to capture BTS videos and images for Reels, Tiktok, and post stories on your friends-only feed option in Instagram with highlights from the day. I offer videography or a 2nd photographer option for your elopement package and recommendations for content creators.
  • Family and friends can create pre-recorded video messages or write personal notes for you to enjoy on the day!
  • Share the sneak peek gallery as soon as it arrives from your photographer (I usually send mine within a week!)
  • Bring framed photos or heirlooms that represent family and friends (e.g. small pendant of family or pet).

IDEA #2: Include Family in Planning Your Elopement

Choosing to elope with just you and your significant other may make your family feel excluded from your wedding. Sometimes, all your family wants is to help make your dream become a reality. Just because you are planning to elope privately doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. Ask them how they would like to be involved so that they feel included!

  • Paying for a vendor: transportation, hotel/Airbnb, florals, etc.
  • Helping pick out decorations or create DIY wedding decor like floral arrangements and a boutonniere.
  • Make the desserts or create other details and features of the day (signs, vow books, etc.).
  • They can throw a shower, engagement party, or help throw a post-elopement celebration.
  • Ask a parent to be the go-to person that family and friends can talk to regarding your decision [LINK TO OTHER BLOG]
  • Bring them along when picking out your wedding dress or wedding shoes.
  • If indecisive about your elopement destination, you can write a list of locations or activity ideas and have your family pick out their favorites.
  • Put family in charge of your pup or other pet that may be included in the day.

IDEA #3: Plan a Post-Elopement Celebration with Your Family & Friends

You’ve eloped and promised to love each other forever, but your celebration isn’t over! You still need to announce you’ve tied the knot! One way you can do so is by sending out “we tied the knot,” “we eloped,” or “happily ever after” invitations to an afterparty celebrating your elopement. Use the elopement photos as part of your invitation and show the full gallery and videography in a slide show.

A QR code linked to your gallery can be included on the invitation or at the event have some of your favorite photos printed or in a physical album. Whether physical or digital, there are so many different elopement ideas with family so they can become a part of your amazing elopement day!

Hey, I’m Kelcee!

I would love to be your ADVENTURE elopement photographer

I’ve been capturing elopements since 2021, and it’s my passion to help adventurous couples like you create the perfect wedding day.

Your elopement is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you deserve the support to make it uniquely yours. Together, we’ll create quality memories that beautifully tell your love story, lasting a lifetime.