April 1, 2020

How To Involve Family and Friends in Your Elopement

A Series on How to Elope During COVID-19

During this time of uncertainty, it can be difficult to decide what to do with your wedding plans. It’s hard to know what to do when you’re faced with cancelling all the amazing plans you had for your special day! This is not an easy decision, and there’s no right choice. We’re encouraging our couples to elope now and plan a big celebration with their original guest list once it’s safe to do so. With this in mind, we realized how hard it can be to put a pause on the plans that you’ve spent ages planning. So, we’ve set out to create a few guides on how to elope. This blog will have a few tips on how to involve family and friends in your elopement.

First of All, What’s an Elopement?

Elopements are a super unique and intimate way to get married to your best friend! We love elopements because they are so personal and personalized. Each elopement is tailored to you and what you want your day to look like. Each one is truly as unique as the couples getting married! When thinking about eloping, you may wonder how you can include your family and friends. In this blog we’ve included how you can involve family and friends in your elopement.

Family is very important to us, and we understand the importance of including them as you plan your elopement. I can be hard to think of ways to include family, especially extended family, while keeping a shorter guest list. Here are a few ideas on how to safely include family and friends in your elopement.

1.Get Some Fresh (Mountain) Air

Putting a pause on your big celebration and eloping before does not mean you have to exclude your family and friends. Eloping traditionally means having a smaller wedding party and guest list (we define elopements as less than 20 people). However, this does not mean you and your fiance run off to marry in secret. There are so many creative ways you can involve family and friends in your elopement! If you’re able to narrow down your guest list (we know it’s hard!), why not pick an epic spot for your elopement that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do with a large wedding? Getting outdoors not only feels like a breath of fresh air (literally…) and with the right planning, you can have your important people there in a space that reduces risk of exposure if you have the room to maintain the 6-feet recommended by the CDC.

2. Involve Them in the Ceremony

In reality, 20 guests is not a lot. This requires your creativity in how to involve your family and friends! Doubling up on “roles” allows your family to be present for your elopement, while also filling essential spots. In an elopement, the most important person there besides the couple is the Officiant! This means you wouldn’t have to hire an officiant that will also fill another spot in your group of 20! Getting ordained is easy to do online. Before signing up for a program, check your state’s laws on ordination. Here are a few websites that offer online ordination:

Universal Life Church | Universal Ministries | Rose Ministries

3. Elope Over Zoom

If you want to include everyone from your guest list in your elopement, Zoom is a great option! A Zoom call allows up to 100 guests to tune in and watch you tie the knot. While this doesn’t replace your big wedding, but it certainly can add to the excitement of seeing them again soon in a few months when you throw your big celebration in person! We suggest doing a trial Zoom call beforehand to ensure it’s running smoothly. Here are a few other tips when using Zoom for your ceremony:

  • If your ceremony is less than 40 minutes, you can get away with using a free Zoom account! However, if you go over the 40-minute limit, Zoom will kick you off. If you know your ceremony will go longer, you might consider getting Zoom Pro which has no time limit and allows up to 100 guests (not sponsored, just something to think about).
  • Find out if your ceremony location will have service. Zoom needs a signal in order to work, and if you’re exploring the remote mountains of Yosemite, you might not get any there!
  • Do a test run in the location of your ceremony before the actual ceremony to work out any kinks.
  • Let your guests know about some Zoom etiquette prior to your elopement (you’ll thank us later).

4. Drive Through Wedding Shower

If you’ve decided to elope and you can’t have everyone from your original guest list, there are still ways you can celebrate this big moment with them! Planning a big celebration when it’s safe to do so is great option. Consider throwing a drive through wedding shower before your wedding as well! This gives your guests the opportunity to share words of wisdom prior to your Big Day, and it also serves as a bit of a pre-party. Create a cute front-yard seating area where you can wave at your guests as they drive by and share gifts, laughter, and even snacks! It will be a sweet memory to carry with you as you elope, and something to laugh about together at the after party in a few months!

5. Include Them in Planning

It can be hard to relinquish control of such an important day! However, if a family member can’t be there in person because of their health, including them in the planning or preparation process is a good option! Consider involving family members in making your bouquets or DIY decor (yes, you can have decor with an elopement!). If there’s a certain look you’re going for, give them photos or create a Pinterest board for them to look at.

Changing your plans from a big wedding to an intimate elopement can be difficult. It can be daunting, scary, and heartbreaking to narrow down the list of those you want by your side. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed, sad, and any other emotions you may feel. For those who are considering eloping and holding off on your big celebration until later, we don’t say all this to scare you. We want you to know that, 1.) your feelings are so valid, and 2.) we are here for you. If you have questions about how to involve family and friends in your elopement, anything we’ve mentioned above, or anything we haven’t mentioned, please reach out to us! 

If you’d like to read more about how to plan your wedding during the outbreak, head over to this blog: https://josiahandsummer.com/wedding-covid19/

It is always important to consider the safety of you and those around you. If it’s not safe to include your family members for the sake of their health, then perhaps it’s best if you don’t have in person contact with them. We strongly insist on adhering to CDC and state guidelines.

*Disclaimer: The advice given by us is general advice to help you stay healthy. This is no substitute for professional medical advice, and therefore should only be taken as general advice. This advice is only meant to inform and following the advice given is not a guarantee you will avoid getting sick. Always consult your health care provider for professional medical advice. Please contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you are feeling ill. You can keep yourself informed about the Covid-19 virus at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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The Party's This way—

Josiah and Summer are photographers and videographers based in Orange County in Southern California. They specialize in elopements, small weddings, and branding.They are dedicated to telling authentic stories and forever chasing Southern California sunsets. 

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