You and your partner decided to ditch the big wedding plans and elope instead. You’ve learned about the awesome ideas of adventuring the endless opportunities to experience a wedding that is truly focused on your love for one another and wanting a “just us” wedding day. But now you have to figure out how to tell your family you want to elope..

How are you going to tell your family you want to elope? How will they react to your decision?. You’re not eloping to avoid having your family and friends by your side during your wedding day, but you’re not wanting to hurt their feelings either.

Good news! I’m here to help you with avoiding hurt feelings and offending family members who want to be a part of your wedding day. As an elopement photographer, I get it! I get the same feelings your heart desires when you crave adventure and want to just go for it.

Believe it or not, you can still experience a “just us” wedding and include family in your elopement plans. Here are some of my favorite recommendations for including family in your elopement.

1. Explain TO YOUR FAMILY Why You’re Choosing To Elope

Quick myth I want to bust before continuing this blog..

Eloping used to be for those who want to run away to the courthouse and get married in secret.


Couples choose to elope because they want a wedding day where they can experience an intimate wedding without the bits and pieces of a big traditional wedding like searching for decorations or spending money on party favors more than half the guests either forget or throw away. Eloping is for couples who want an authentic & unique wedding experience truly focused on their love & commitment together.

Sit down with your family and start with how you felt once you learned about eloping and what it means to you. Explain to your family that maybe having a big traditional wedding doesn’t “feel like you” or you don’t like being the center of attention or you wanted to have a private wedding and not share your personal vows in front of an audience.

Chances are, once you explain to your family the reasoning behind your choices, they will be much more open to you eloping. Remind them that your reason behind eloping isn’t to offend family. Be open, kind, and honest about your choice to elope. Remember, it is YOUR wedding day and you deserve to have it the way you want.

Reminder: You don’t know what to expect until you do whatever you’re afraid of.

Read about Brittany & Matt’s elopement with family HERE!


Have a private ceremony then have a reception immediately after.

If you want to experience an intimate ceremony with no one but you, your partner, and your photographer before celebrating tying the knot I recommend including this in your wedding day plans!

Your family and friends can still celebrate with you the same day you say I do by taking photos in your wedding attire and watch you sign your marriage license to make it official. After signing the legal documents and taking awesome family photos you can spend the rest of the day doing whatever you want to do to celebrate like have a party in your backyard or go out for dinner to your favorite restaurant!

Bring your family along with you.

If you plan on having an intimate wedding with your family, bring them along with you on your adventure. Your wedding day doesn’t have to be in one spot, it can be in multiple spots in multiple days!

Start with including your family on a simple hike or find an easy location to travel to for your ceremony spot. During the ceremony you can have an officiant host a simple ceremony with your family surrounding you, exchange simple vows then seal them with a kiss.

After promising your forever love to each other, 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.

Get the legal papers out of the way then privately elope.

When I say get the legal papers out of the way I mean signing your name on a legal document claiming by the state you legally married and can now file taxes jointly. You can either do this before or after your elopement day. Just because you are legally married doesn’t mean you are not allowed to elope!

Once again, eloping is your wedding day where you commit your love to each other for the rest of your lives in the most intimate way that is true to your relationship – not the day you sign your marriage license.

Some couples like to include their family by bringing them to the courthouse and having a quick and simple wedding before having their own private wedding.

Have a simple reception with family as your witnesses then spend the rest of your day adventuring in private.

Another idea is to have a family member get certified as an officiant, have a small backyard wedding, and celebrate with those who love you before sending you off to your own private wedding experience.

This will still feel like a wedding day to some family members, and that’s ok! What matters is you were able to get married in front of you family and include them in your wedding experience.

Host a group video call on social media.

Technology has SO many amazing advantages for the wedding industry. One of my favorite recommendations for including social media in your elopement planning is making a private Facebook group.

Invite all your friends and family to this group and include some of your elopement details, like when you will be having a private ceremony and where you will be eloping, and a video link so they can watch your ceremony while you can still experience the intimate “just us” wedding you’re wanting.

Include family while you’re getting ready.

Getting ready for your big wedding day is my favorite part of the day. You getting ready while feeling nervous for the first look, your non-stop mind thinking about how the day will go, the things you will do together, looking over your vows making sure you don’t mess up.

Having your family with you while you get ready will make them feel included in the wedding processes. It’s a new memory they can cherish forever. Have your mom, sister, cousin, or best friend help you zip your dress or do your hair.

You could even have a private first look with your family to make them feel extra special!


Choosing to elope with just you and your significant other may make your family feel excluded in your wedding. Sometimes when planning a wedding all family wants to do is help make your dreams become a reality either by paying for a vendor or helping pick out decorations. They want the best for you and help relieve any stress on your wedding day.

If you are indecisive and not sure where you want to elope, you can write a list of locations or activity ideas and help your family pick out your favorite ideas for your wedding day.

Another idea is to bring them along when finding the perfect wedding dress for your elopement! Just because you are planning a private wedding between you and your partner doesn’t mean you have to plan everything alone.


You’ve eloped and promised to love each other forever.

Your celebration isn’t over. You still need to announce you’ve tied the knot! One way you can do that is by sending out “we tied the knot” or “happily ever after” invitations to an afterparty celebrating your elopement.

Include your elopement photos on the invitations by QR code linked to your gallery or print out some of your favorite photos for your family to frame. You could also project your gallery on a slide show or in a photo album during the celebration for your friends and family to see your amazing wedding day!


As an adventure elopement & wedding photographer, I am here for you 100% of the way. I don’t just take pride in taking your photos, I help take away any stress by planning your elopement timeline, location scouting for you, and coming up with ideas that will prevent offending any family members who want to be a part of your day.

At the end of the day, it’s YOUR wedding day. You call the shots!

I understand you don’t want to make anyone upset by choosing your happiness and wanting to elope. But you also need to remember that no one has the right to be offended by how you choose to get married.

Marriage is an extremely personal and intimate commitment. It is the day you commit your love to each other forever. No one should get to tell you how you can or cannot get married, only you can because you are the one getting married.

I am here for you! If you need any help planning an elopement or ideas for including family in your elopement, reach out!


Hey, I’m Kelcee!

As a destination elopement photographer I know everything from the secret hidden elopement locations that aren’t overpopulated with tourists to the best time to elope!

I’m here to help you with all things adventure & elopements. From scouting out your ceremony location to planning your adventurous elopement timeline, I’ll help you plan your best day ever, take away any stress you are experiencing, and support you as your new best friend.

Your elopement is the experience of a lifetime and you deserve not only the support for doing what you love but also the best quality photos that tell your love story that will last a lifetime.


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