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Eloping Ideas with Kids — Ways to Include Your Child in Your Elopement Ceremony
If you’ve read our blog before — or seen our website or our Instagram — you probably know how we feel about creating your dream elopement day. If you haven’t, we’ll clue you in really quick:
- We think that every elopement has the same hard-and-fast rule—there are no rules.
- Want to elope just the two of you? Do it. (That’s actually the biggest reason couples choose to elope).
- Want to bring your fur baby along for a pup-friendly elopement ceremony? Do that. (Please).
- Want to bring your whole family along for an epic hiking elopement so they can watch you say your vows at the top of the mountain? You can do that, too.
With all that in mind, if you have children and want them to be a big part of your special day, we think that’s incredibly important. There’s no reason why you can’t have the ideal, adventure elopement you’ve always dreamed of while including your kiddos — sometimes it just requires some creative solutions.
While we always encourage couples to elope exactly how they want and have a day that’s entirely reflective of who they are, we also like to share inspo to get the creative juices flowing. Feeling stumped on how you can include your kids in your elopement? Check out these ideas!
How to Include Your Kids in Your Elopement — Ideas for Eloping With Kids
Your elopement is a special, meaningful day where you’re choosing your partner forever. You’re taking hands, pledging your lives to each other, and making a beautiful commitment.
If you have kids though, your elopement is something else, too. It’s more than just you and partner teaming up for life, it’s about your family, too!
Including your child in that process can be a really meaningful, special thing — something they would feel honored to be included in, no matter how you do it.
Every couple is different, and every child is different, too. We’re not saying that if you have kids you absolutely have to include them — for some couples, an elopement is about just the two of them honoring their vows privately. And you know what? That’s perfectly OK.
Just like it’s OK for you to want to include your kiddos, too.
No matter what you decide for your elopement, make sure you’re being true to who you are as a couple and, above all, you’re honoring what matters the most to you.
If you’re looking for some inspo to get your wheels turnin’, check out a few of these cute ideas for including your kids in your elopement ceremony. We’ve been a part of a lot of special days where couples have eloped with kids, and every time it’s been a unique, special experience.
FUN FAMILY FIRST LOOKS
Just like two partners have their first look in their wedding attire, you can have a first look with your kiddos! We’ve seen families do this and we think it’s super, super adorable and sweet. Before (or after, it’s up to you) you do your first look with your partner, have a mini first look with your little one so they can see you all fancied up in your wedding attire. They’ll love seeing you dressed to the 9s and will feel super important being one of the first people to see you all gussied up.
GET READY TOGETHER
Whether you’re planning to bring your kiddo to your ceremony or not, getting ready together can be a great way to include your child. Having your little one help you brush your hair, zip up your dress, tie your tie, or button your jacket can make them feel really special. Plus, you’ll have some adorable photos to remember the day by.
“FLOWER” GIRLS AND RING BEARERS
This is always a cute idea — especially if your child loves the idea of playing a particular role or having a special job on your day. Sure, it’s a little more traditional by nature, but don’t let that stop you. Remember, there are no rules — you don’t have to color inside the lines for this.
Here’s an extra tip about LNT principles — If you plan to have your little one be your flower child, make sure you’re abiding by the Leave No Trace Principles. That means not throwing flowers or confetti — try a creative approach to the flower child task and come up with your own LNT approved way to include this in your day!
LET YOUR CHILD PRONOUNCE YOU MARRIED
This is a fun one that most kiddos can take part in, even if they can’t totally speak yet. Let your child be the first one to pronounce you married! Whether it’s a babble or a full-sentence, it’s a blast for them to be the first person to acknowledge you as a married couple. Plus, it’s adorable, trust us.
HAVE THEM SIGN YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE
In certain states, you’re able to self-solemnize, which means that you’re able to marry yourselves without someone else acting as your witness or officiant. Typically, couples sign their marriage licenses as their own officiants (which, is a super great perk of self-solemnizing). But, if you want to give your kiddo a fun job, you could have them sign as either the witness or the officiant. Even if they can barely scribble, this is a fun way to include them in your ceremony. Not to mention, it’s a document you’ll keep, meaning it’s a memento that will last forever (like your elopement pictures). When they’re older, it’ll probably be touching and funny to show them their name on your marriage license!
GIVE THEM A FUN, UNIQUE JOB IN YOUR CEREMONY
We always encourage couples to create the elopement ceremony that’s true to who they are — in other words, get as creative and as unique as you want. That totally applies to how you include your kids in your elopement ceremony, too. If you don’t want to go the traditional flower girl or ring bearer route, come up with something fun and unique to your family. Once, we photographed a couple who eloped with their three daughters. During the ceremony, every person held a different jar of candy, then poured each different kind of candy into a single bowl, symbolizing their new family bond. Adorable? Absolutely. Meaningful? You bet. Your ceremony can happen any way you want, which means your kids can take on any task you want them to!
ENCOURAGE THEM TO WRITE A LETTER
We photographed an elopement once where the couple’s 10-year-old son read a letter he wrote as part of the elopement ceremony. There wasn’t a dry eye for miles, friends. If your child is old enough to write (or, you could even help them write what they want to say if they’re young), encourage them to take some time to write a letter about their thoughts and feelings about becoming a family.
Give Them Time to Talk
If you want your child to feel like they’re a part of your ceremony, you can always set aside special time for them to share their feelings and talk to you and your partner. Give them space to express how they feel about your elopement and what they’re thinking. We bet you anything it’ll be incredibly sweet and adorable.
Facetime or Video Chat
If you want to include your kids in your elopement without having them physically there when you say your vows (whether you want a just us day or they can’t make it to where you want to adventure, etc.), set up a time for a FaceTime or a Skype date on your elopement day. They can see you all dressed up, happy, and ready to pledge your life to your partner without being physically present on your elopement day.
EXTRA TIPS FOR INCLUDING YOUR KIDS IN YOUR ELOPEMENT
If you’re a parent or a guardian, then you know how absolutely incredible it is to have your kids by your side for life’s most important moments — so, it makes sense you’d want your children with you when you’re making a life changing, impactful decision to choose your partner forever.
But, if you’re a parent or a guardian, you also know that having your kids by your side doesn’t always guarantee that you’re in for a day that goes according to plan.
Every child is different and you know your little one best, so you’d be the first person to know whether or not your kiddo is going to be happy, excited, and capable to hike up ten miles to your elopement spot. You’re also the person who knows whether or not you’re little one is able (or willing) to make a trek.
As you know, kids can get hungry, tired, grumpy, and more at the drop of a hat, and if that’s not something you want to have to work around on your elopement day, that’s OK! And it also doesn’t mean your kiddo can’t be a part of your elopement.
We’ve laid out a few important tips and considerations for parents who want to elope with their kids here:
You know your child better than anyone, so you know what’s going to work for them and what won’t. If you and your partner really, really want to do a backpacking trip for your elopement but know that you’re little one either can’t make it that far or wouldn’t enjoy it, that’s OK. You can always take your backpacking trip and include your child in another way (have a special reception just with them!) or, you can create a plan B that is more accessible for your child (if it’s super important they’re there with you on your elopement day). Above all, be realistic about your child’s abilities and desires — if you think they’d be jazzed to hike up a mountain, rock climb, paddleboard (whatever you decide on) don’t hesitate to include them.
HAVE A PLAN B (AND PLAN C)
If you’re planning on having an 8, 10, or 12-hour elopement (or even a two-day elopement) and you want to bring your kids along, that’s awesome — but we do recommend building in some breaks for them. No matter how happy your child is that you’re having the adventure elopement of your dreams, the reality is, kiddos tire out, get hungry, and need a break more often than adults do, so plan for it! You can create a schedule that makes the most sense for your family. Bring your kiddo along for the ceremony and then send them back with a family member while you do a little more exploring. Or, do the opposite and explore with your kiddo and then send them back while you have a private ceremony. You truly can arrange this anyway you want—but it’s definitely wise to schedule in some downtime for your little ones.
A KIDDO WRANGLER IS A GREAT IDEA
This isn’t just for kids who might be less enthused about the adventurous parts of your day. All little ones need a ton of attention, and if you want some freedom to zone out and relish every moment of your day. We don’t mean you need to hire a babysitter or anything, but if you have a family member or friend that you love (and your kids love, too), including them in your day to take on the role of kid wrangler can be really helpful (and it makes a heck of a wedding present, too).
SPLIT THE DAY UP
Just like we tell couples that they can split the day up for some just us time if they’re planning on including their family in their elopement day, we also advise this for couples with kiddos. Listen, it’s okay to want time with your partner on your elopement day — no matter how important your kids are. If you definitely want to include your kiddos in your day but also definitely want some private, intimate time with your partner, try splitting the day in half — spend four hours adventuring with your kiddo, then have a family member or friend watch them while you spend the second half of your day just the two of you.
MAKE YOUR ELOPEMENT LAST TWO DAYS
If you have big elopement adventures planned, want to include your kids, and want to make sure you’re savoring every single moment without rushing, you could also choose to have a two-day elopement. Make your first day all about becoming a family — focus on your kiddo, make them a big part of your day, and have special ceremonies they can be a part of. Then, take the second day entirely for yourselves and have an adventure that’s just for the two of you. Or, switch that around. The point is, when you elope, everything is up to you — make it a day (or two) you’ll want to relive forever.
EXPLAIN THE LNT PRINCIPLES IN A WAY THEY CAN UNDERSTAND
No matter how old your kiddos are, there’s always a way to explain the Leave No Trace Principles to them in a way they can comprehend. If you’re planning to include your children in your adventure elopement, make sure you’re carving out some time to teach them about how to respect, preserve, and protect nature. Go over the 7 principles, explain what’s good and what’s bad (running off the trail, picking flowers, leaving trash, etc.) in a way that makes sense to them. You can even take them on a few hiking trails beforehand to practice if that helps!
Hint: If you’ve got super young kids, you’ll also have to keep a close on them to ensure everything is A-OK with trash, staying on the trail, and more. That’s also where having a friend, family member, or babysitter tag along can come in handy (something we’ll discuss in more detail in a moment!)
No matter how you decide to create your perfect elopement experience —kids, dogs, family, or just the two of you — know that it’s already destined to be a special experience. Why? Because you’re making the choice to give yourself a choice. The second you choose to pick a day that uniquely reflects who you are as a couple, you’re freeing yourself from pressures, obligations, and opinions — you’re opening yourselves up to a day that’s entirely you, intimate, and wholly meaningful.
Above all, remember that this is your wedding day and that there are no rules, restrictions, or limitations. Have the day you want! If that means bring your kiddos along, the more the merrier!
Hey there! We’re Maddie Mae, Amber, & Tori. We’re the adventure elopement photographers and guides behind Adventure Instead. Though we’re based out of Colorado and Washington, we’d love to help you and your love elope anywhere in the world you want. We can promise to help capture your unique elopement experience in a creative, meaningful way, while being here to answer all of your elopement questions! We can’t wait to help you start planning your special just us day.