Donna Marie




02—Make the big decisions first


Once you have come up with the overall vision for your day, the next step of the planning process is about making the biggest decisions that will most affect your elopement experience: who you’re inviting, where you’re getting married, and how long your whole trip is going to be.

Take your time with these and make sure what you choose is in alignment with what you two decided you wanted out of your wedding experience when you were brainstorming.

Decide on “who”

Are you inviting any friends or family?

For some couples, this is a super easy question to answer—and for others, it’s more of a debate. The truth is—an elopement doesn’t have to be just two people. You can definitely still have an intimate elopement experience and a day that’s fully centered on your relationship with your closest friends and/or family involved.

However, if you do decide to invite family or friends along, whether it’s just a celebratory meal, the getting ready portion of the day, just the ceremony, or the whole day, make sure they’re fully on board with your vision and understand that you’re not having a big traditional wedding—but a unique celebration that’s authentic to your relationship.


things to consider when eloping with family or friends


Out of the people you’re considering inviting, is everyone on that list going to be just as excited as you about the experience and be fully on board for what you have envisioned for your day?

Is there someone who you think it would be really meaningful to hear your vows, or would you rather read them privately to your partner without anyone else listening?

Do you feel like inviting a few people could result in a “snowball effect” where you have to continue to invite more or is there a clearly defined “short list” that you don’t imagine would spiral out of control?

Is there anyone you’re planning to invite that may try to take over or take control of your experience, try to shift focus away from what matters to the two of you, or who makes you uncomfortable, nervous, or stressed out?

How accessible do you envision your ceremony location is going to be? Can everyone you want to invite physically make it to that kind of spot?

What about transportation and lodging? Where is everyone traveling from and is it possible for them to get to and from your location? Are there going to be suitable places for everyone to stay nearby?


As you decide, remember that there are many beautiful ways to include family or friends in your “getting married” experience, even if they’re not physically present when you say your vows. There’s no right or wrong answer here as you’re following your heart. Don’t compromise. Don’t fall victim to expectations. Don’t let anyone else tell you how to have your day (that’s what big weddings are for).