Are you getting married and wondering how to elope kids? Contrary to what some might assume, you CAN bring whoever you'd like to your elopement; friends, family, pets, and your children! In this post, I'll be going over ways to include your kids in your elopement. As well as tips on making it fun for everyone!
Why including your kids in your elopement is important
Everyone has their own opinions of this, but coming from divorced parents, I can tell you first hand how important it is to include your children. While the day is about the two of you, it is a way to make sure your kids feel like an important part of the family. Whether your kids are your own, or you are joining in families, these moments can really impact them emotionally.
Of course every single family situation is different. Your kids may be older and be more grumpy. Or maybe they are at an age where they can't quite do too much and you can't have the day you were dreaming of. Be creative! Maybe you involve them in a simple ceremony at home, then go away for your "honeymoon" and do the elopement of your dreams. There are plenty of ways that you can have best of both worlds, and still make them feel a part of it.
The biggest thing that I recommend is to just be thoughtful towards them.
Ideas on how to include your kids into your elopement
There are so many fun ways on how to include your kids into your elopement. My biggest piece of advice: do what feels right to you! Think outside the box, and do what makes sense within your own little family. Below are some ideas to get your brain spinning, or of course you can take these ideas for yourself!
Get ready with your kid(s)
This is a special way to get your kids involved. Get them a suit and tie, or a special dress. Have them get their hair and makeup done so they can be excited for the event. It's a fun time to bond before the big moment, and to make them feel like they are a big part of the day.
Have a first look with your kid(s)
Seeing a first look with your kids always melts my heart. It's such a cute way to either see them for the first time, or they see you for the first time. To create such a sweet and emotional moment could be a highlight that they'll look back on forever. The photos could be kinda adorable too ;)!
Have your kid(s) be a part of your ceremony
These moments usually have me in tears. When I was 11, my mom got married and during the ceremony, they said some special words to me and she gave me a locket that I still have today. Some of my couples have had their kids do a reading, a prayer, or be a part of a unity idea.
Take your kid(s) on an adventure
While you can create the day of your dreams, maybe there is an adventure your kid(s) would also love to do! Maybe as a family, you always go to the arcade, or hike, or bowling. Is there something fun you could do as a family for your first day married? This could be a great way to include them and ask what they would like to do. Incorporating them into the plans can get them even more excited for your wedding day.
Let them sign your marriage license
This varies by state, but in most states, there isn't an age limit to who a witness has to be. My couple Erin and Michael had their son, Carter, sign their marriage license as a witness. It was the cutest thing ever.
Have them write a speech
If you want to get real emotional, then have your children write you a speech. This could be at the reception, or even at the ceremony too. Especially if they are older, this may be a sweet way to share their emotions and how excited they are for this new chapter. When my couple Beth and Kris had Kris's daughter, Schaefer, do a speech, everyone was in tears.
Have a first dance with your kid(s)
Another tear-jerker is having a sweet dance with your kid. Instead of parent dances with your own parent, do it with your kid(s)! This will make them feel extra special, and we all know kids love to be center of attention!
Write vows to not just your partner, but to them as well
When you get married, you are creating a family together. This could include the kid(s) you have together, or the kid(s) you have separately. Again, every family is different, but seeing both sides of the spectrum, I can tell you that making them feel seen and taken care of will go a long way. Writing them vows of your commitment to them is a really simple yet powerful way to make them feel special.
How to Include your Kids While Avoiding any Stress
It's no question that including kids (depending on the age) can add some stressors to the elopement day. I have some key pointers on how to make sure you are creating a day while trying to avoid stress. That way when you are trying to figure out how to elope with kids (yours or others) the little things won't come as a surprise.
Remove all expectations. Things may not go according to plan
The wonderful thing about an elopement is it doesn't have to be a super structured timeline of exact events or schedules. You have the flexibility to go with the flow and embrace the adventure! No need to stress about every detail but rather be in the moment with your family and let the moment's happen. Make sure to hire vendors who understand this and are willing to be flexible with timelines.
Prepare the night before
Pack the snacks, the toys, the little things you may misplace the morning of, etc. Have a list of everything you need to bring and where it is being put. Then go over the plans with everyone so they know what to expect and can be well prepared. When it comes to timing preparation, I'd recommend putting a hard time when everyone needs to be ready by and build in a 20 minute buffer.
Have a back up plan or two
With any elopement, back up plans are ideal. My biggest advice when planning any adventure (especially when considering how to elope with kids) is be flexible. If you have difficult children and you don't know what mood they are going to be in, having a plan B to pivot to could help relieve any stress you may be in.
Bring a family member, or someone they are close to
Depending on the age group, it may be helpful to bring a person that your kid(s) are used to and feel comfortable with. That way they can help when you two are taking alone time, or going off on your own adventure. Or of course if the kid is really young (hi babies!), then that person can take care of them while you two are fully present and in the moment.
Split up the day into two parts - one with them, one with just the two of you.
Kids or no kids, this is one of my favorite parts about elopements. When you try to imagine how to elope with kids, it may be just a single day of chaos. Splitting up the day (or two days) in some way to have alone time, then kid time, is an amazing way to get best of both worlds. Kids are wonderful, but it can be nice to have just time the two of you to celebrate your marriage.
Let them be a kid
A lot of people have this vision of having these perfect photos to show how perfect their families are. And coming from a photographer, I can tell you that the best and most meaningful photos are the real ones. Allowing your kids to just be kids will benefit you in so many ways outside of the photos. The moment you try making them "perfect", the more they push back and cause you stress. It's ok if they are fooling around and being a kid. Allow them to be who they are, and your day will definitely be more stress free.
A note on combining your families, from someone with split parents
I'm pretty passionate about how to combine your families, because I lived it as a child. I have also seen my mom go through it now as an adult, so I know how difficult it can be as a step parent. And while if you're reading this, you have absolutely no idea who I am nor may want my advice, I'm going to give it anyway! But if you really don't want it, then you can just exit out now. I take zero offense!
Here's my perspective. When you decide to get married to someone with children, you are making the conscious choice to combine your families. You are taking the responsibility as step parent. Yes, you may not be that childs true mom or dad, but you are now an integral part of their life. It is not a responsibility you should take lightly. I tell you from my own experience, you can have a serious impact, negatively or positively, on these kids lives. It's important to parent together. To create a safe and healthy environment where they feel like one family.
You have to understand that when a child has separated parents, they now have two completely different lives. It can be incredibly confusing, no matter what age they are. They have different rules and responsibilities, bouncing from one place to the next, living out of packed bags, have one parent who's super involved while the other may not be, etc. This is why making an environment where they can feel like part of a family, with multiple parents that love and cherish them, can help them grow into strong humans. There are pros and cons to having separated parents, but the bottom line is, you have to make a commitment from the very beginning that you are now one family. Not two separate families living in the same household. Be patient. Set boundaries. Create the same rules and responsibilities for all the kids.
And this can begin with your own wedding!
I hope this post on how to elope with kids helped you in some small way. I could write a book about this, and maybe some day I will (goals). But for now, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or having any challenges and need an outside opinion! Head over to this blog post for more helpful information on How to Prepare Your Guests for your Elopement!
How to Elope with Kids
How to Elope with kids. Elopement resource for families planning an intimate wedding with children.
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