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Eloping with Family and Friends

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How to Elope the Way You Want & Include Your Family 


Planning the perfect day to celebrate your relationship with your partner is challenging but indescribably rewarding. It’s why you chose to elope—to enjoy your partnership your way.

For many couples, including their families in the celebration is an essential part of making the day meaningful and memorable.

There’s no doubt, though, that accommodating them can add an extra wrinkle to the planning and execution of your idyllic elopement.

Trust me; I get it!

To help you have your (wedding) cake and eat it too, I’ve thrown together a few tips and tricks to help make eloping with family the most positive experience possible.


bride and groom elope with family


Include Your Family in Pre-Elopement Activities

Whether you plan to have your family play a role in the elopement itself or want that special time to be reserved for you and your partner, arranging for your family to be included in pre-elopement activities is a fantastic way to get them involved.

For example, you can take your loved ones dress shopping with you, ask for insights in planning your elopement, and even throw an engagement party.

At the end of the day, you know your family best. So, feel free to include them in any way you see fit!


Bride laughs with friend before her elopement


Family Participation on Elopement Day

No matter how supportive your family may be of your personal preferences for your elopement day, there’s a good chance they hope to be included in some way.

Only you and your partner can determine how significant their involvement should be. Thankfully, there are endless ways to scale their participation to the level you’re comfortable with.


bride and groom video family during elopement


In-Person Family Activities

If your family is able to be with you physically on your elopement day, you can take full advantage of their presence by arranging their participation in the festivities.

In the morning, you can get ready together, reminisce, and share in words of encouragement ahead of the ceremony. Having everyone gather for a delicious breakfast or brunch is another way to ensure everyone is included and you kick the day off right.

During the ceremony, you can incorporate your family however you desire. From being directly involved to acting and signing as witnesses, the capacity of their involvement is up to you.

When the ceremony has concluded and the day’s activities start to wind down, it’s time for the celebration to commence. From a delectable dinner to exchanging gifts to eating cake and dancing, you can celebrate with your family however you want. You can even put some structure in place—such as time and location—and let the celebration develop organically!


Bride's mom watches as daughter gets ready for her elopement


Including Family from a Distance

Even if your family can’t physically be with you on your elopement day, there are several great ways to involve your family from afar.

Before you head on your next adventure—both on elopement day and in life—consider doing a video call with family members. Then, enjoy reading letters or watching prerecorded videos with your partner at a time before or after the ceremony.

Bringing sentimental items and including them in your elopement day festivities is another wonderful way to include family that cannot be physically present. Heirlooms, gifts, and more can be incorporated in fun, meaningful ways, making your elopement that much more profound.

At a later date, you can party with your family at a planned “reception,” share the moments captured in your elopement album, and regale with the tale of your epic elopement day.


Groom reads letters from family and friends during their elopement


When to Tell Family You’re Eloping

Whether you choose to elope with family or elope alone, breaking the news can be hard. So no matter how your family may respond to the news of your elopement, here’s a bit of guidance on when to tell your family you are eloping can ease the nerves and make the process a little easier.


Bride and groom elope with family and friends in colorado


Tell Them Before

Informing your family of your decision to elope before doing so can be both extremely positive and accompanied by some challenges.


  • They have an opportunity to accept and process the decision.
  • Being preemptive is essential if you want them to participate.
  • You may avoid intense negative emotions after the elopement, preventing the mood from being brought down when you should be celebrating.
  • You get the potential anxiety and stress out of the way, giving yourself the chance to fully enjoy the moment.


  • If your family disapproves, it may cast a cloud over the day.
  • They may be insistent on being included.
  • Communicating what you want (and getting people to listen) can be complicated.


Bride has pictures of family on her bouquet.


Tell Them After

Waiting until after the deed is done can be equally as rewarding and risky as telling your family beforehand.


  • There is no explicit outside pressure from outside sources.
  • You can focus exclusively on your partner and yourself.
  • You save yourself the potential heartache of familial disapproval.
  • Your family may be excited and extremely happy for you.


  • Not telling your family beforehand may hurt their feelings.
  • You may feel stress throughout the elopement because you have to tell them afterward.
  • It gives you a (potentially) burdensome task to handle post-elopement.


Bride and groom bring photo of dog to their elopement


How to Tell Your Family About Your Elopement

Approaching your family to inform them about your elopement can be one of the most joyful or most difficult moments in your life—it all depends on how they receive it.

Be confident and try to communicate how happy you are to share the news with them. If you find yourself in a situation where it’s important to be firm, set the necessary boundaries while still cherishing those relationships.

This is easier said than done, of course, but with enough tact and grace, you can ensure your elopement day includes your family in whatever capacity you choose!


Photo of loved one and video call of elopement ceremony


Elope with Family the Way YOU Want

No matter how you want to include your family in your elopement plans, I’m happy to give you the pointers and guidance you need to make your dream ceremony take place. Hopefully, this guide gave you the foundation you need to kickstart any conversations you need to have or plans you need to make.

For more info on eloping in Colorado, ideas on how to incorporate your family in creative ways, or to simply discuss your dream elopement, feel free to reach out. I’m happy to help you in any way I can, and it’s my passion to facilitate your idyllic Colorado elopement experience!


Join the Facebook Community, Mindful Elopements, filled with free resources, free videos, engaging conversations and questions, and other couples that are exactly like you, in the same place, trying to book an adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer.



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Alex, Coastal Elopement

"We loved our experience having Marcela as our elopement day photographer.

What was even more special about our experience was her ability to set us at ease months before our day. Through constant communication leading up to, and during, the day we got eloped. Her personality is that, in just four days time, we felt as if we've known her for years. 

Ah, but you're wondering about her photos. We loved every thing about them especially the raw emotion captured in many of the shots."

Caitlin, Alpine Lake Elopement

"My husband and I have been trying to put into words how simply amazing working with Marcela was.

From the start we could tell she truly cared about us, our relationship, and our story. She asked us so many questions, valued what we wanted, and kept up with the ever changing plans that came along with planning a wedding.

She made us feel so comfortable, made us laugh till we cried, and captured our true wholesome love for each other."

"We loved every moment of the day she helped create. Marcela was the perfect photographer for our adventure elopement! She worked tirelessly to make our adventure into marriage happen after our first options were snowed in! Great Sand Dunes felt like the perfect unique place for two Floridians who met in the mountains.

She made us comfortable to be ourselves throughout the whole day while making her job look effortless and fun. Our cheeks hurt from smiling, laughing and a few tears.

Marcela captured every precious moment! Her photography is absolutely stunning every way! I highly recommend Marcela for your elopement or wedding!"

Lauren, Sand Dunes Elopement

Amy, Forest Elopement

"Instead of telling us how to pose or interact with each other, Marcela gave us prompts that seemed simple but made a huge difference.

She asked us to talk about our first date. We discussed the weirdest things we loved about each other (which made us laugh) and how we could fulfill each other’s love languages. Amy and I played games with each other and Marcela captured the energy that happened naturally between us.

I love this shoot because it perfectly captures the love we share. It’s incredible to see that love and admiration encapsulated in a photo! Thank you for this!"

Chris, Anniversary Session

"The photos we just got back from Marcela are giving me CHILLS!! They are absolutely stunning!!!

She did SO MUCH more than just photograph us — she created special moments that I’ll cherish forever. She encouraged Con & I to genuinely interact & share intimate moments together. She prompted us to tell each other things that we love about one other, ways that the other person inspires us, & how being together has positively changed us.

It was more than just a beach shoot. We ended up giving each other precious, heart melting encouragement & that makes these photos all the more treasured to me."

Andrea, Red Rocks Elopement

"We had a pre-meet with her before the big day which definitely helped me feel more relaxed going into the wedding day. She gave us great suggestions and things to think about to be ready with on the wedding. On the day of she showed up early to help scope out the venue. She was creative to try and pull extra joy into our photographs.

When I look at these photos I see more than just beautiful images. I feel the moments that Marcela helped us experience and the connection we had.

I can't thank Marcela enough! We will treasure these moments forever!"

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