When you think about the idea of having an intimate and adventurous elopement, you can hardly contain your excitement. Everything about eloping is perfect for you and your partner: a wedding day experience that focuses on you and your partner and an opportunity for an epic adventure to commit yourselves to one another before embarking on the biggest adventure of all that is marriage.

BUT if you are like me, no matter how perfect and idyllic the elopement is, the idea of getting married without your family there is unfathomable.
Fear not, I want to let you know that you can have an adventurous and intimate elopement and include your family too!
Elopements are intentional wedding experiences where the day authentically reflect and focus on the couples themselves. There are no set guidelines or rules as to how they can look. What really matters is how you want your elopement to feel and look, the choices and decisions are yours and yours alone.
If you’re planning to elope with family, I hope these ideas help you think of new intimate and sentimental ways to incorporate your loved ones into your ideal elopement day.

Have one intimate ceremony

For couples who could not imagine being married without their family and close loved ones, having one and meaningful ceremony is a great idea. There is something special when you get married with your loved ones standing around you. While having one ceremony to include everyone sounds simple, there is one caveat: you may have to compromise about your elopement ceremony location. Depending on the age and physical abilities of your guests, your ideal location may be unfeasible for your guests to get to. Instead of trekking 10 miles to the most perfect viewpoint, you might want to opt for having your ceremony in a clearing by the trail head.

eloping with family Chicago wedding and elopement photographer Kyle Szetoeloping with family Chicago wedding and elopement photographer Kyle Szeto

Have separate ceremonies

This is the best way to get everything you want for your ideal elopement is to split up the day. A common way to split up your elopement day is to have an intimate ceremony with you and your partner either at sunrise or sunset. Then you can head back and have another ceremony where you are surrounded by your family and loved ones. By splitting the elopement day, you can have your quiet moments when it’s truly about just you and your partner. And you still get an opportunity to be with the ones who mean the most to you. There are no compromises.

Have Family Be a Part of Other Moments

While you don’t need have your family or loved ones to be at your elopement ceremony, you can still have them play a role in your elopement day. You can have them be at the earlier parts of your elopement like the getting ready, final touches of putting on the wedding dress, having a first look with them, or even having them send you off to your ceremony. Having your family be a part of these intimate wedding moments can be a beautiful alternative if you want to have a private elopement ceremony.
mother helping bride into wedding dress Chicago wedding and elopement photographer Kyle Szeto

Letters and Recorded Messages

This option is perfect for couples who want to be physically alone during their elopement day but still want their loved ones to be present in some way, shape, or form. Having letters/messages allow for family and friends to still play a personal part in your day, whether it is sending well wishes or congratulating you. You can read the letters or watch the messages at any point during your elopement day!
Groom reading letter Chicago wedding and elopement photographer Kyle Szeto

Important things to consider when eloping with family:

  • How accessible is your elopement site? Do you want all of your guests to be physically present during your ceremony?
  • With more guests comes more logistics. How is everyone getting to your location site(s)? Is there transportation?

All things considered, I hope these ideas on how to elope with family help inspire you to think of intimate and sentimental ideas that will make the day special for you and your partner. Remember: don’t lose sight that the elopement day is about celebrating the love between the two of you.

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