Eloping With Family | 11 Ways To Include Your Loved Ones In Your Elopement

So, Can You Elope With Family or Guests?

Can’t imagine saying “ I Do” without a few loved ones present? We get asked all the time if you can have people be a part of your elopement. And the simple answer is yes! You can always include a few guests on your elopement day and we have had a few couples do it perfectly!

Eloping has evolved from the typical secret courthouse marriage to a more intimate experience-centric tiny wedding. If you are on the fence about eloping because you feel that your family cannot be included, this blog post is for you!

Check out Jacalyn and Matt’s Elopement and how they included guests at the end!

How to Include Your Family In Your Elopement 

Hand Written Letters Or Video Recordings

If you are eloping on top of a mountain and your loved ones cannot be present during your ceremony, you could ask for your family and friends to write something they would like to say to you on your day! This could be as simple as congratulations and well wishes or stories of when you were growing up which you can read together with your partner after your ceremony. Getting video recordings serves this just as well and it will make you feel like your family was present with you on such a special day.

Invite Them To Your Ceremony

Inviting your loved ones to your elopement ceremony is a great way to make them feel included in your day. Other couples decide to include their family for a more “formal” second ceremony but head out on their adventure to read their vows for their own private elopement ceremony. There are so many unique ideas for ceremonies that also include family. Have a nice dinner afterward at a yummy restaurant!

Include Special Details

Think things like heirlooms or objects with sentimental value. Bring these so you can get photographs of them as part of your elopement. This is a great options for couples who have had loved ones that have passed away so that you can have them present in your heart on your special day.

Planning an adventure elopement? Download Our Free Adventure Elopement Planning Guide + Checklist To Get Your Started!

Have A Loved One(s) Officiate Or Sign Your Marriage License As Witnesses

Did you know anyone can be ordained in less than 5 minutes? Check out Universal Life Church! Letting a loved one officiate your ceremony is a great way to make them feel included on your elopement day. Having a couple of witnesses also works. Make sure they research legalities in the state you are choosing to elope. Did you know in some states like Colorado you don’t even need an officiant? You can self-solemnize and still have a loved one do a speech to make it special.

Facebook Live Your Ceremony Or Record It

Recording your ceremony live on a social media platform has gained a lot of interest due to COVID-19. Recording your ceremony lets others share the moment with you even if they cannot be present at the time. Hire a professional to help or set up a tripod!

Create a 2-day Elopement Experience Or Split Up the Day

The beauty of choosing to elope, means that you get to throw away the rulebook and do what you want. Many couples that we work with know that they are eloping because they want an intimate experience that they won’t get with a 200+ guest wedding, but sometimes part of that experience means including a few close guests. These couples typically split up their day to have the “just us” experience for part of the day and use the other part to spend with loved ones. They also split the days where one day is a family day and the next an all day elopement or vice versa! Nothing is off the table when you decide to elope. Planning a post elopement reception is also a common thing!

 Let Them Help You Get Ready

Getting ready photos are some of our favorite activities that tie into your day. Letting your parents or loved ones help you get ready creates an intimate and important memory that can be part of your day and make them feel like part of it too. 

Include Them In Pre-Elopement Activities

Think engagement party, bachelorette/bachelor party etc. Just because you are eloping, doesn’t mean you can’t have some pre-elopement fun!

Sign Your Marriage License Back Home

If you are traveling out of state for your elopement, having a marriage license signing ceremony and brunch back home can help your family feel included on your day. This might look different in each state so that may look like walking into the courthouse with family members. States like Colorado allow you to pick up your license and self-solemnize in whatever location you’d like in the state without an officiant. This will also mean only having a commitment ceremony for your elopement and not making your marriage legal until you came back home.

Meet Up With Them For A Fancy Dinner 

Planning to have an elopement will probably have you very hungry afterwards! Making dinner reservations or hiring a private chef for a family dinner can be a way to include your loved ones at the end of the day.

Have A Reception Back Home Or At Later Date

Whether you are eloping out of state or home state, you can always celebrate with everyone at a later date. You don’t have to squeeze everything into one. Remember, you make the rules! 

Have Your Dog Or Pet Sign Your Marriage License

You guys thought we skipped some of our other family members on this post huh? Did you know your dog can sign as a witness on you marriage license in Colorado? Pretty cool huh? We aren’t sure about other states but out state is pretty dog friendly so if you love your fur babies and want to include them please come elope here!

Tips For Eloping With Family Members On Your Elopement + Logistics

Set Expectations And Don’t lose Sight The Main Purpose For Your Day 

Chances are you are eloping because the big wedding thing isn’t “you”. Choosing to include others as part of your day means having to accommodate some of them. It is important to set expectations with your guests so that the day stays true to its purpose which is you and your partner. When you invite guests, make sure they are on board with what you have envisioned for the day. 

Consider Accessibility For Your Guests

Older guests may not be able to hike to a location or feel comfortable at certain altitudes if you elope in the mountains. This is a great example of having to accommodate for others when choosing to include loved ones. Transportation can also be something to think about in bigger cities or different terrains.

Be Prepared

Always be prepared when choosing to have an outdoor elopement. Educate your guests on how to come prepared in regards to weather, transportation and attire!


How Many Guests Can You Have At An Elopement?

Elopements are meant to be small in numbers, preferably just the couple . There is no magic number for this but think under 10 people total including vendors. Anything over that and under 25 is considered a small wedding. If you are having over 10 people be a part of the day , make sure you secure a location that can either be reserved or obtain a permit to hold that many people.  Colorado has a lot of options for outdoor feel elopement-type events. Some outdoor areas can accommodate guests with proper permitting!

What Do You Need To Do To Elope?

Eloping is super simple. All you need is you , your partner and a marriage license. In Colorado you can self- solemnize, so there’s no need for an officiant or witnesses.

Can I Include Traditions In My Elopement?

Yes! The beauty of elopement is the flexibility to include things that are only important to you. If you want a first dance, you can still have it etc.

Want us to help you plan and photograph your elopement?

We are Laura + Hugo, and we help couples plan an epic elopement day that they can remember. We are based in Colorado but travel everywhere and would love to help you put together an experience-centric day.Ready to elope in Colorado? Check out out Colorado Elopement Guide and Contact us to set up a zoom call and see if we are a good fit! If you haven’t already, check out our pricing and let’s get this thing started!


  1. I think excluding loved ones is one big barrier to elopements–this is a really good guide on how to include your family and friends in your wedding day without having to have a giant party. Super helpful information and ideas!!

  2. Man I love this post. It’s so important that couples eloping know that there are still many ways they can still include loved ones and family! Kudos!

  3. You included so many good points and tips on how to include family on your wedding day. I can see the genuine happiness of the families in the photos you included in this post. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Elopements that include family and friends in a unique way are my favorite! Feeling surrounded by love is something every couple should experience so if that means being surrounded by loved ones, why not find a way to include them in your day? <3

  5. Ahhh so many cool ideas here! I wish every couple eloping could read this, and find their own way to include friends and family in their elopement 🙂

  6. This is really cute! And super helpful. “Elopement” means different things to different people; I love that the more modern definition happily includes loved ones.

  7. A lot of good advice in here! I personally love the idea of having video recordings of loved ones, because they can be watched again and again and you can hear and see the person, which can be so warming.

  8. There are so many amazing ideas here! Helping couples look outside the box on how to include family/friends could really encourage more to elope, since I think that’s such a big hesitation for people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *