How to elope with friends and family in Glacier National Park

We get this question all the time: How can I elope with my friends and family? If you’ve found this page, it’s because you are ready to elope! You, and your partner, and alllll of the love in the world are ready to make it happen. Wild horses couldn’t keep you away from saying ‘I Do” RIGHT NOW. But you know what could? That nagging feeling that while you’d love to not have a care in the world, in your heart of hearts, you don’t want to say those two words with your family and friends involved. 

To get you inspired, here are a few of our favorite micro weddings with family and friends!

Glacier National Park Micro Wedding

Montana Waterfall Hiking Micro Wedding

Micro Wedding with Live Band and Gorgeous Reception

BUT you also don’t want to have a big fussy wedding. What’s a bride to do?! Here’s what you do – whatever you damn well please. GASP! Are you allowed to do that? Yes, queen, yes you are.  If you’re getting stuck in the logistics, give yourself permission to make heart decisions based on your priorities. If your heart wants you to get married now, do it! It’s your relationship and partnership that should be the driving force to your decisions. The main thing to remember is that your wedding day should be WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT IT TO BE. Say it with me now! Whether you’re planning a small micro wedding or a full on adventure elopement, we give you permission to do whatever you damn well please.

Don’t believe us? Wikipedia says: you don’t have to elope alone; in fact, elopement is the perfect opportunity to organize a close-knit ceremony. Invite your closest friends and relatives as you commit to your vows and have a small but fun get-together afterward.

If Wiki says it, it must be true. It’s gotta be more reliable than Twitter at this point, right?

How to elope with friends and family in Glacier National Park

let’s get to it

We have a lot of people asking us if it’s okay to elope with family and friends or if it is just for two. Once again, you’re in charge here. It is absolutely okay to have family and friends if that’s what you want! Oh, the adventures you could choose. The decision is all you, but we are here to help and to guide. Think of us as your therapist but more tipsy and far less qualified. 

So, there are really two options to elope with family and friends. You either elope as a pair and incorporate them in other ways or bring in the troops to be there physically with you.

Option One: How to elope with family and friends IE have them there, but not there.

A Separate Reception 

The most common way to include them is to have your elopement, and then have a separate reception. For couples concerned about how to elope without hurting your family, this is usually a solution to appease them. The reception can be later in the evening, over the weekend, or even two months later. Sometimes the family throws the reception for the couple or you can plan it yourself. The idea is you still get the big party, but you also can do your wedding your way. Most of our couples show their elopement videos at their reception! This Iceland elopement couple showed their video to their families and reported all the happy tears!

How to elope with friends and family in Montana

Get in loser, your family and friends are helping you go shopping!

Invite your friends and family to go wedding dress shopping. Traditionally, the bride has her crew around for a say yes to the dress moment. You can still do this! It will help your number ones feel like they are part of your big day as they help you choose the perfect wedding dress for your elopement. While this can be at a bridal boutique, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for a more unique dress, take your crew thrift shopping with you. Or if you are choosing a hiking elopement, bring your hiking boots to try on with the dress. The most important thing you can do is to be authentic. Make sure you talk about your day with them, they know it’s happening and this is your opportunity to make them feel involved.

Prep with pals!

Along with shopping, there are plenty of other self care options you can enjoy with a small group. Have your gals join you for lunch and pedicure. Get a full fledged spa day complete with a back hot rock massage while showing off your sparkling rock. 

Something borrowed

Having something borrowed, blue, old and new is a great way to involve your key peeps! Off the bat you can have four different people you are involving with this tradition. The groom can join in the fun by borrowing the cuff link of someone close to him as well. These meaningful details can make your friends and family feel close to you and when they see the photos after, they’ll know they were on your mind.

How to elope with friends and family in Glacier National Park

Dear John, errr hopefully not him.

Ask a few key people to write letters for your elopement. You can read them before your vows or space them out so you read one each mile of your hike! Hearing their voices inside your head makes it feel like they are there. This also gives you and your partner something fun to do on the climb.

Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist

Have your would-be MOH create a playlist for you. When you are getting ready, you think of your number one hype girl. Have your mom add a song that reminds her of you as a little girl. Ask your dad what his father-daughter dance would be. As with the letters, you can listen to the song picks all at once or sprinkle these gems throughout your day. Learn more about your partner and their closest relationships by sharing stories about why the songs were chosen.

Double Duty

Split the day. The idea is similar to having a reception, except this is guaranteed to be the day of your elopement. You can choose a spot to have brunch with your friends and family. Let them send you off with a glass of champagne before you are lawfully wed. Or, say your vows and meet them after for a group dinner and some wedding cake! Both of these options can be more low key than a big reception, think 10-20 people.

psssst! This is what we did for our own wedding day! We spent one day up in Glacier National Park and the second day was devoted to a little reception at Jake’s family cherry orchard. Check it out!

Double the Days

We are suckers for a two day elopement. Have one day just for the two of you, and a second with the family. This could be a fun way to have a two day vacation style elopement where your family and friends travel somewhere exotic to be with you. You have one day with you and your love and the second everyone is involved. Call us Hannah Montana, because this is the best of both worlds. We are envisioning one of the top 7 luxury resort wedding venues with this plan.

How to elope with friends and family
How to elope with friends and family

Peek a boo, I see you…. virtually

COVID-19 opened up the door to making elopements more accessible for the family and friends you want there (in spirit) but not there. Whether family members can’t travel, they’re ill, they can’t afford to travel to the venue, or are otherwise tied up #coronavirus, there are many reasons why live streaming is a great way to have our loved ones at our ceremony. Plan a zoom meeting (password protected) for your ceremony time and live stream the wedding to your loved ones. According to Chip Dizard, a live stream expert, it’s best if a camera can be connected to a laptop and a wired internet connection. We also suggest leaving this in the hands of professionals so you don’t have to worry. Here are his professional tips on how to live stream your wedding. Your videographer (heeey!) can help out with this.

Option Two: How to elope with family and friends IE rally the troops and bring them along!

If you decide it’s important to you to have family at an elopement, we have you covered. There are many ways to elope with family and friends and involve them in your special day, while also staying true to you!

Choosing the location

Especially for adventure elopements, the ceremony site will dictate the number of people that can join. If you’re wondering how many guests you can have at an elopement, the number is up to you, but the ceremony site selection can give you a good idea. Our stomping grounds of Glacier National Park has numerous ceremony sites, all with varying people counts and also vehicle counts! We have a whole blog dedicated to how to elope in Glacier National Park if that’s your thing. You’ll need to determine how many people you have on your must include list and then solidify the location from there.

Getting to the location

If you have the perfect ceremony site all picked out, you have to make sure the team can actually get there. You will want to adapt your final location depending on the physical abilities and ages of your guests. Especially on our hiking adventures, some members of your I Do Crew may not be up for the same level of challenge that you are. Or some, like 18 month Odin who killed it at his parents glacier elopement at logan pass, teach you that you never know unless you try! 

Make expectations clear up on what the fitness level will be to complete the hike. Some may opt to start the hiking journey with you knowing they won’t be able to finish. It could be their wish to start the trek with you, then hang out under some trees sipping an IPA. These people are usually named Uncle Greg. 

How to elope with friends and family, micro wedding in Montana, hiking with friends in Montana

Let’s get ready, girls

A fun part of how to elope with your family and friends is to get into the pre wedding rituals with your crew! Especially if you are opting for sleeping apart from your soon to be spouse, having your girl gang there for morning rituals is a ton of fun! Someone to fetch the croissants, another to pop the bubbly, a third to inject the espresso! Just kidding. Ish. If one of these lovely ladies has a knack for hair or makeup, let them doll you up. Soon you’ll be singing, “Man! I feel like a woman!”

How to elope with friends and family in Glacier national Park

Add a processional

A hybrid of an elopement and a small wedding can be adding a processional. Whether it’s a dad walking the bride down the aisle, or a grandmother, or her man of honor, a processional is a great way to include the people you love and give your elopement that extra thoughtfulness. You can also have your family and friends in bridesmaids or groomsmen attire!

literally elope with your friends or family!

Have a friend or family member officiate!

At the end of the processional is the chatty Cathy explaining what it means to be bound together for eternity. If you already know someone who fits this description, having them be your officiate is a great way to involve them. If Joey Tribbiani can do it, so can they.

How to elope with friends and family in Glacier national park

Signing the marriage license

Then there is the business of having two witnesses. You need two witnesses, and now by involving your friends and family, you have two! Our friends over at Vows and Peaks point out that this is a great way to include family in an elopement without actually bringing them along on the trail!

Give a toast

Toasting is an all American wedding tradition that many are happy to partake in. Instead of a flower girl, what about a prosecco babe? The one tasked with bringing the bottle up the mountain and kicking off the toasts! Don’t have one of those? We volunteer as tribute! The families always loooove to share stories about the couples, indulging them over some bubbles is a great way to involve them during your elopement.

How to elope with friends and family

So while you are mulling over your options on how to elope with family and friends, consider all the different ways you can involve them, and then talk to your partner and make that decision together. There are plenty of benefits to all the options, but at the end of the day, there are only two people in your love story. Just listen to your heart before you tell your family gooooodbye. 

Alright, we are done quoting fractions of love songs from the 80s. Call us if you need a prosecco babe or a team of badass photographers. We are expertly skilled in both.

Bonus: check out our 2 day elopement add on for a big discount!

The best ideas on how to elope with friends and family, whether they are there in spirit or part of your elopement, make your wedding special.
The best ideas on how to elope with friends and family, whether they are there in spirit or part of your elopement, make your wedding special.
The best ideas on how to elope with friends and family, whether they are there in spirit or part of your elopement, make your wedding special.
The best ideas on how to elope with friends and family, whether they are there in spirit or part of your elopement, make your wedding special.

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