How to Include Loved Ones in Your Nontraditional Marriage Celebration

How to Include Family in Your Elopement | Nontraditional Marriage Celebration Planning Tips

You Decided on a Non-traditional Wedding…

You intentionally decided on a nontraditional marriage celebration; whether that means eloping, having an intimate wedding, or having a 2-day celebration that combines privacy with family+friends, a big question that often comes up is:

How do we include our loved ones in our special day while also saving time for ourselves?

Striking a balance of privacy and family/friends can be tough to conceptualize at first, but I promise it’s possible to do if you plan on eloping or having an intimate celebration. Whether you choose to:

  1. fully elope with a private, just you-experience
  2. elope with a small circle of loved ones
  3. have a 2-day elopement where one day is more private/adventurous, and the second day invludes celebrating with loved ones
  4. having an intimate wedding with a slightly bigger guest list than an elopement
  5. or some version that is uniquely yours,

I’ve got you covered in honoring your priorities in your planning process. To get started, these are some easy ways to incorporate loved ones into a day that is less traditional. 

These 8 couples incorporated loved ones in easy, lowkey, yet beautiful ways.

How to Include Loved Ones During Your Elopement or Intimate Wedding

(in order of image appearance)


#1: have your loved ones help you get ready

This can be a great way to spend quality time with your humans while also looking forward to some privacy with your partner later in the day


#2: video call loved ones who aren’t there

Whether you decide on a private ceremony or loved ones aren’t able to make your day, video calling is SUCH a sweet way to loop in your loved ones into the core memories of your elopement or wedding. 10/10 recommend


#3: have a loved one perform a role in your ceremony

Whether your sister says a few words before your ceremony, an uncle officiates it, or some version of this, this can be such a simple and empowering way to include the people closest to you without feeling overly on display or too formal


#4: collect written messages of love

Especially for couples who are having a private ceremony, I have done this for couples (either with their knowledge or as a surprise) and couples LOVE this sentiment from their family and friends. Grab a little book, have people write in it before, or collect emails from those who are a bit further away. This is a forever keepsake


#5: incorporate the talents of others

Someone in the family a musician? Artist? Poet? Etc? Including the unique talents of your circle of people can really personalize your marriage celebration

#6: plan special time for you and loved ones

Nontraditional marriage celebrations means YOU’RE the boss. Carve out time how you want: quality time with a loved one, a break in the day to intentionally be with them, you name it

#7: include loved ones in the activity of your day

For example, maybe you had a private ceremony and then chose to celebrate with family doing a fun activity like a private boat excursion. This can gie you the best of both worlds, especially on a two-day elopement adventure like this one!


#8: have a small group tag along for the adventure

Choosing an elopement location that accommodates your small circle of people is part of the beauty of partnering with a regional elopement photographer…they help you find that ideal spot that checks off the boxes

Considering a nontraditional wedding celebration?

Let’s connect 🙂 As a New Hampshire and New England Adventure Elopement Photographer, my goal is to connect adventure-loving couples with genuinely idyllic moments on their elopement day: alone time, adventure time, fam/friends time, all with a flow that feels authentic to their hearts.

Happy adventuring. Head to my blog for more elopement resource tips, New England expertise, and a calming + compassionate approach to documenting couples stories.



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Hey, I’m Kayla! I'm a White Mountain and New England elopement + intimate wedding photographer.

My passion is turning the dreams of couples in love into a day that is true to them. We leave the rest out, we partner together, and we turn your marriage beginning into an intimate, adventurous, dream experience.