Including Family in Your Elopement

January 25, 2023

Although your elopement is a day meant for you and your partner, it may still be a priority to have your family members there, or somehow involved in your special day (besides just attending the ceremony). Your family can be included in multiple ways besides just watching you say i do and have a kiss. Here’s a list of my favourite ideas i’ve seen clients do to involve their family on their wedding day.

1. Have them get ready with you

This is the perfect opportunity to spend time with your family on the day of the wedding. You can share all the feels with them and is a unique bonding experience you won’t be able to recreate. It helps get everyone excited, and there are often many tears, hugs, and mimosas to go around.

2. Include them in the details

A simple, small way to include your family – and this can be done in so many different ways! Maybe you’ll choose your mom’s favourite flower as the main flower in your decor or it could be her birth month flower. I’ve seen small tokens added to bouquets of pictures of passed away family members to include and remember those who can’t physically be at the wedding. Maybe you have jewelry that’s been passed down through generations – you could wear it on the elopement day, or include them in detail shots during the getting ready portion. Reusing pieces of your parents wedding attire is also an option – perhaps the veil your mom wore, or the tie your dad used.

3. Have them write you letters beforehand for you to read on the day of

Maybe your family isn’t the mushy gushy type (and that’s okay – mine isn’t either). Whether or not they are, this is a great opportunity for your family to give you words of love, encouragement, or advice. They can write whatever they would like in these letters and it can be however long or short they want, but it is something special for you and your partner to read during the day of your elopement. This is also a great option if you’re choosing to spend your elopement day just you and your partner, but still want your family to be included. Send this detailed blog to your family to help get them started.

4. Have a meal for them on your elopement day

There’s no better way to show someone your love than through giving them a full belly. Your family may not be there for everything that happens on your elopement day, but you can still honour them by dining with them for dinner. Who doesn’t feel loved and appreciated when their fed by someone they care for?

5. Invite them to come along on your exploring/activities

There can’t be a better way to include them than to bring them along on your adventures. As long as your photograph is okay with this and aware it’s happening, by all means invite them to come!

6. Give everyone a job/task to do

Giving your family members jobs can help them to feel useful and more involved in the planning process of the elopement! If you trust them, you could give them some discretion or allow them to offer their opinion on things you’re choosing for your day. For example, let’s say you give your mom the job of picking up the flowers. You can let her choose the ribbons they use to tie around the bouquet, or get her to choose a flower being featured in the bouquet. It does seem like a small thing, but can really help your loved ones feel included in what you’re doing!

7. Invite them dress/suit shopping

Arguably one of the best of elopement planning is finding the dress (or suit). There’s no better way to do it than with your closest people with you. You can even make a whole day of it, and it’s such a great way to involve your family in the day!

8. Have one of them officiate the ceremony

This is the perfect way to include a family member, and to make your ceremony more personal. I see this very often, and usually the couple chooses someone they are both close to, or even the person who introduced them. You will of course have to check on the rules around wedding ceremonies where you’re getting married, but if you’re able to make it work, do it!

9. Give them a gift the day of

Everybody loves getting gifts, and your family will be no exception. Giving your family members is a fantastic way to make them feel appreciated and to show you’re thinking of them on this special day. I’ve seen photo books, jewelry, cards, pregnancy announcements – you name it.

Remember: just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean it has to be a secret from your family! There are always ways to include your loved ones in your special day.

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amanda reed is an elopement photographer based in vancouver, british  columbia capturing authentic love stories for the couples who don't take themselves too seriously.