how to include guests on your elopement day

How to Include Guests On Your Elopement Day

There are several ways to include guests as part of your elopement day ranging from having them be present the entire time to having them just be there in spirit. For many couples, there is a common misconception that if you decide to invite people to your elopement, they will be with you all day. That is true for some, but for the majority of eloping couples, guests are only there for some parts! 

The exciting thing about an elopement is that you can decide every single aspect of your wedding day, including who is present and for how long they are there! In this post, I’ll be covering several ways to include guests on your elopement day and ways to incorporate guests into your day if you decide you don’t want anyone to be physically present.

Ways to Include Guests on Your Elopement Day

Choose a few people to be present with you the entire day

We’ve worked with couples who have opted to invite certain friends or family with them for the entire day. Consider it an elopement bridal party! These guests adventure around with the couple and celebrate with them the whole day. If you can’t imagine your wedding day without your best friend/mom/dad/sibling/etc present with you, nothing is stopping you from inviting them to tag along!

how to include guests on your elopement day

Invite Guests to the Ceremony Only

Some couples want to prioritize alone time on their wedding day but also want guests to be present for their ceremony, you can do both! Choosing to invite guests on your wedding day is not an all-or-nothing decision. You can spend most of your wedding day with each other and invite guests to only be present for a small portion of the day like your ceremony.

Have A Private Vow Reading and a Formal Ceremony with guests

If you don’t love the idea of sharing your vows in front of your friends and family, choosing to do a private vow reading allows you to share your heartfelt words without feeling uncomfortable or “watched”. Later, you can have a formal ceremony with traditional vows or a ring exchange with everyone present to celebrate with you after! This is very common with couples we work with and allows you to get the best of both worlds!

bride and groom having a private voe reading

Split your day: The morning for just you and the afternoon for time with guests

If you’re struggling to decide how to include guests into your day without making it feel like there is no alone time for the two of you, try splitting the day up! A lot of couples we work with opt to start their mornings alone by getting ready together or going for a hike, doing a first look, adventuring around together alone, etc. Once they’ve done the adventures they want to do for the day, they will meet up with all of their guests for a formal ceremony, group adventure, or reception to celebrate with everyone they love!

Make it a weekend event!

Similar to the last one, you can make your wedding day a 2 or 3-day event! If you want to prioritize alone time together but also can not imagine getting married without your friends and family present, spreading your wedding celebration over a few days is a great way to do it! One day can be spent alone with just each other, exploring a location or doing something you’ve always wanted to do together and the next day can be spent celebrating and getting married with your loved ones around!

Have them help you get ready before your ceremony or invite them to a reception

If you don’t love the idea of having guests present for your ceremony but want them to be a part of your day, invite them to help you get ready beforehand and to celebrate with you after! Family and friends can be present while you get ready and put you in an amazing mindset before your ceremony and can meet back up with you afterward to celebrate at a reception or dinner.

mother helping daughter get ready on her elopement day how to include guests on your elopement day

Have a loved one officiate your ceremony

Have guests write speeches for your ceremony

One way to make your ceremony even more special is by inviting guests to write a speech or read something during your ceremony. Elopements are such intimate experiences and the guests present are very important to you. It can be an amazing experience to have a few of them share a few words and be a part of the actual ceremony.

how to include guests on your elopement day guests read letters during a wedding ceremony

Have them sign your marriage license

Choosing who signs as a witness on your marriage license is one way to incorporate loved ones into your wedding day! Even if they are not present for your actual ceremony, you can ask certain family members or friends to sign as witnesses on your license.

Ways to Include Guests on Your “Just Us” Elopement Day

Read Letters from Family and Friends after your ceremony

Reading letters from friends and family can be an incredible experience. Even without them present you can feel the love they have for you and celebrate this new experience with them. Reading letters before your ceremony can be a way to get in the right mindset or read them after for a fun and emotional way to celebrate. These letters can be saved and put aside to remember exactly what your loved ones shared with you on your wedding day.

Grooms reading letter from loved ones as a way to include guests on their elopement day

Have an engagement party, elopement send-off, or post-elopement reception

What’s more fun than celebrating and having fun with your favorite people?! Even if you’ve chosen to not have guests present on your actual wedding day, you can still celebrate with everyone you love!

Invite them to go shopping for your wedding attire

Inviting your friends and family to be a part of the planning process can be a fun way to include people who may not be present on your wedding day. This may be a small part of the process for you, but it can mean the world to family and friends, and allows them to feel like they are a part of your day!

Call or Facetime your family and friends on your wedding day

While you’re getting ready or after you two have officially tied the knot, calling a few close friends and family can be a fun way to get hyped up before your ceremony or a fun way to celebrate and share the news after!

Bring details from loved ones or family heirlooms

This bride brought a veil that had been worn by 22 other women in her family!

Chimney Pond elopement in Baxter State Park

There is no right or wrong way to include guests on your wedding day. You do not have to include anyone if you don’t want to. The main thing to keep in mind is that your day is about you, and if people could take the focus away from you or stress you out, they don’t need to be present!

Meet your photographer team

We’re Bridget & Ryan!

Adventurers turned adventure elopement photographers specializing in national park and hiking elopements! We help couples craft a wedding day that feels authentic to them in a meaningful and epic location. Life’s an adventure, let’s make your wedding one too!