Whether you’re new here or have been following me for a long time, there’s one thing you should know about me: I think elopements are the best. But, one of the questions I often get asked by couples wanting to tie the knot this way is: “Do I have to invite guests to my elopement?” The short answer? It’s entirely up to you—that’s one of the beautiful things about going this route. However, the answer is a lot more nuanced. Family and friends often have a pivotal role in our lives, and it may take careful consideration from you and your partner when deciding whether or not to include others in your elopement celebration.
In this article, I’ll go over the different approaches you can take to elopement invites (or no invites). Let’s dive in!
Before I get into the different options, there’s one thing I want to make loud and clear: It’s entirely up to you if you decide to include people in your elopement celebration. If you choose to do so, ensure everyone invited is 100% supportive of the plan and you as a couple. This space is all about your love. So, everyone entering it should come with open arms.
Your first option is not to invite any family and friends. Keep in mind that you may need to ask some people to be your witnesses and officiant if you’re making your marriage official during your elopement ceremony. Other than that, if you have no interest in having your loved ones there, that’s perfect!
Many benefits come with not inviting family or friends. As a queer photographer who works predominantly with LGBTQIA+ couples, I get that there can be some challenges with genuine support for your marriage. If this is the case for you, elopements offer that freedom to focus on you as a couple and tune out all those other voices.
Even if your friends and family support your relationship, you can still choose to elope without them. If you and your partner want something intimate where you can focus solely on each other, this is the route for you. Plus, you don’t have to go through the hassle of picking and choosing which people to invite and which people to leave off the guest list.
It’s also an excellent opportunity to avoid extensive logistics planning, which can be much more complicated with more people. For example, if you want to hike or travel for your elopement, it may take more time, and you must consider everyone’s needs on top of your own.
Communication is critical when not inviting your family and friends to your elopement. Simply explain to them your intentions, like how you’d prefer for it to be an intimate ceremony where you can focus on each other rather than catering to guests. If this idea is challenging for them to wrap their heads around, consider showing them photos of other people’s elopements. Show them the magic and why you want to experience something just as epic.
If you’re on good terms with your friends and family, it can be a great idea to let them know you’re eloping before it happens. However, if you prefer to keep it a surprise or aren’t in a position where they’ll be accepting, telling them afterwards is just as valid!
Or if you’re like me, just don’t tell your family since they wouldn’t come anyway! :p
If you decide to hold the news until after your elopement, there are many elopement announcement ideas you can try:
Another option is to invite family or friends. Keep in mind that if you’re eloping, this typically means keeping your guest list under 30 people. So, this also means that you may need to be selective about who you let into your space.
Family and friends are special. If you and your partner have a select group of people that mean a lot to you, this is the perfect opportunity to enhance your elopement experience. There’s nothing like celebrating your love with all the people you love.
Again, remember that elopements are meant to be small, with no more than 30 people. This means that if you have a lot of people around you who you’d want to celebrate with, this might mean you’ll need to make some cuts. There may be some hurt feelings in the process. If this is the case, take the time to explain your decisions to your friends and family, and if it fits your agenda, invite the rest of the people to an after-party or other form of celebration.
There are many creative ways to tell your loved ones they have an invite to your elopement. You can try classic mail-out cards, messages, or phone calls. Do whatever makes sense for your relationships—and make as big or small of a deal of it as you want to!
This hybrid option is perfect for those who value the intimacy of an elopement but also want to celebrate with family and friends. There are many variations of this option—there’s no one-size-fits-all!
You can include your friends and family in whatever part of your elopement makes sense to you. You can reserve the actual ceremony for just you two, for example, and include others in various ways, like:
This option is the best of both worlds—if you have loved ones you want to include in the celebration but still value your time alone as a couple, this hybrid approach provides it all. This way, you can experience the intimacy you value as a couple while also sharing your love with all the people you care about.
This is also an area where you can let your creativity shine. Some loved ones may feel hurt knowing they aren’t invited to your elopement ceremony. However, expressing that you still want them to celebrate with you in other ways can alleviate that. Consider sending out a message like the following:
“We are saying ‘I DO’ with just us two, but after, will you join us for a celebration and some laughter?”
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to invite people to your elopement, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions:
One of the most essential aspects of your elopement is hiring a photographer to capture all your special moments—whether or not you decide to invite guests. As an LGBTQIA+ elopement photographer, I can offer words of wisdom when it comes to planning your elopement. Believe me, I understand the challenges of dealing with family and friends on your big day. If you’re ready to have me by your side to guide you through your elopement (guest advice included), reach out to me today! I can’t wait to learn your story and make your dream day a reality!
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