How to include your family and friends into your Elopement – The people pleaser’s Guide to Eloping

But how will our family react? What will our friends say? We’re gonna hurt their feelings.

Oh my, I can completely understand why thoughts like these might run through your heads. Being a HUGE people pleaser myself, barely able to confront anyone with anything and slowly learning to care less what other people might think (that’s a hard thing to learn for me),  I can really relate to you being scared of stepping onto someone’s toes.

BUT planning the perfect big day for you really comes down to what YOU want this day to be like and not what expectations of others you should fulfill.

I accompanied so many couples in the past years that felt super stressed out on their wedding day. Running from guest to guest trying to have at least five minutes of conversation so nobody would feel left out. Also a lot of couples don’t really enjoy being in the spotlight. And I heard way too many couples say “to be honest: I’m kinda glad that this will be over soon”. Hearing this just makes me super sad. Because I strongly believe that your wedding day should be one of the most amazing days of your life. 

Here comes the guide for people pleasers and couples who wonder how to include friends and family into their elopement day.


Elopement vs. intimate wedding

There’s a big difference between not actually wanting any guests, but feeling pressured to invite people and really wanting your very closest people to be there with you while you exchange your vows.
Maybe you can’t imagine getting married without your best friends, then an intimate wedding, a wedding with maybe up to 10 guests (still totally up to you how many exactly) is the better option.

There are also options for guests to attend only a part of your wedding day, in the following I’ll describe that in a little more detail.

How to include friends and family into your elopement

in person

A lot of couples decide to have their guests attend the ceremony, but then leave afterwards to do some more exploring of nature, have a private dinner or any other adventures that they want to have during their day.
Or the other way around, if you want your ceremony to be private and have this moment without any distractions. Just focusing on your partner. Then in the evening you could have dinner with your closest loved ones. 

not in person

If you don’t want anyone attending your wedding day, but still want friends and family to feel very included, you could for instance do a video call with them at some point during your wedding experience. Some couples decide to have that call “right after” the ceremony or later throughout the day or even during the ceremony ( which I wouldn’t recommend as this might distract you too much).

Another option is to ask your friends and family to write letters or messages for you that you could read through together, read out to one another either during the ceremony or later. This way you can feel the love from them on your day. Also a celebrant could read those letters to you as part of the ceremony.
The more modern take on that would be watching video messages that have been sent to you.

Elopement at Ballintoy Harbour-1-2

How to tell your family you’re eloping

This is a big one. Being a people pleaser and telling your closest people you’re planning to get married just the two of you is probably the part you’re scared of when it comes to your wedding day.
You could use these ways of telling your family you’re eloping

  • write them letters explaining what eloping means to you, saying that it doesn’t mean you want to actively exclude them, but feel that this is a moment you want to experience just by yourselves
  • maybe planning an after-party so your closest loved ones still get to celebrate with you
  • record a video message explaining the situation
  • if you’re brave just the old school way of telling them in person, maybe give them food while doing so as hangry people usually don’t like to hear anything but great news
  • or not tell them at all beforehand, but afterwards for example with a cute “we’ve eloped” card and going through the photos of your elopement experience together afterwards

Pros and cons of having guests on your elopement

What are the pros and cons of having people on your elopement day? Obviously the amount of points of each paragraph doesn’t mean anything. It always depends on how strong each argument is to you. 

Pros for having guests

  • sharing the special moments of your ceremony live with your loved ones
  • your guests can participate in the ceremony
  • having such an adventure with your guests is a wonderful experience

Cons for having guests

  • if you’re planning to travel for your elopement to include the exploration factor, get married in stunning landscapes, all of your guests have to travel too
  • your hiking/walking routes have to be adjusted to the guests’ fitness levels, maybe you even have to leave out routes you had dreamed of
  • depending on where you’ll be staying overnight, you might have to book a bigger place if you want all of the guests to stay with you
  • moments are not as intimate as you might have imagined them to be
  • you’ll be in the spotlight

Alternative to having guests on your elopement

Why not celebrate with all of your loved ones afterwards? Having an after-party is a very popular way to still have the wedding-with-guests-feeling, without having to plan an entire big wedding. It could be a garden party, an evening in a restaurant or just a simple day on the beach with all of your favorite people. A low-key version of a wedding reception might be a great compromise.

Garden wedding intimate micro wedding

Do you want more resources and tips on planning an elopement? Check out my latest blog posts or get in touch with me, I’d love to hear about you and your ideas.

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