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Seattle Wedding & Elopement Photographers

When folks contact us hoping or planning to elope, often their first question is “How do we break it to our friends & family?” There’s often a feeling that you somehow owe your loved ones a presence on your wedding day (for the record, you don’t). But should you wish to include family and friends, there are a ton of different ways to include them into your wedding celebration, and it doesn’t have to be just you and your spouse eloping in secret if you don’t want it to! (Again, I refer to Forthright Photo’s perennial rule of wedding planning: THERE ARE NO RULES, SO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT)

But since I know family can be a major sticking point and cause a lot of stress for folks when planning their elopement, we made a list of all our best ideas & tips on how to include your friends & family in your elopement day!

Amber & Russell's exit from their elopement ceremony on the Oregon Coast.

First off: it’s a myth that elopements can *only* involve the couple. They certainly can if you want to, or you can have your friends & family there if you want to have them there! You can have your loved ones either close at hand during the ceremony or have them at a distance while you exchange your vows privately a little further away. 

Shelby & Garrett's lakeside elopement ceremony.

A really sweet option is to have your family & friends write letters or postcards & then read them together on your elopement day.

You can always skype them in (if you have good service), or send them a photo, a text, or a video on your elopement day! If you need someone to snap a couple of killer iphone shots for Mom, we’re always game. 😉

Kimi & Derek reading post cards from their loved ones at the Grand Canyon

If you want to keep the elopement day entirely to yourselves & share the memories with your loved ones afterwards, you can host a watching party of your elopement video/photos once you get back home and share the experience of your elopement with your friends & family that way.

Another option is to elope & then have a small reception shindig with your friends & family later in the day, while still keeping your ceremony private to just the two of you! That way, they’re still present on the day and get to congratulate you in person, they just don’t have to overhear all the mushy stuff.

Rachel & Zach rolling up to their Montana wedding reception in a vintage jeep.

Some couples choose to have multiple ceremonies in their wedding day. They’ll have one that’s either totally private, more like an elopement, or attended only by their closest, and then one ceremony that’s larger, maybe featuring less personal vows, or a different set cultural traditions.

Cassy & Viva at their first ceremony, a traditional Laotian wedding ceremony.

Of course, you can always opt for an Adventure Wedding & have a reception a few days, weeks, or months after your elopement ceremony! Lots of our couples go this route, as it allows them to hold a more traditional wedding style reception after their private ceremony at their convenience. You can have this celebration be as big and crazy or small and chill as you want, again: the sky is your limit!

Cassy & Viva dancing the night away after their wedding in Oregon.
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