Best Guest Etiquette for an Elopement

Should you bring guests to your elopement?

This is actually such a tough call!

It can be nice to have friends or family share in your special day, but it can also complicate the planning process.


Elopements are meant to be simple and easy.

Here at Elope Outdoors, we’ve planned and photographed hundreds of elopements in the Blue Ridge Mountains and we have witnessed enough to notice that an elopement with just the couple allows you to be so real, present, and full in your intention.

If you are unsure about eloping alone or with guests, we will help you out by discussing the pro’s and con’s (below).

And if you ultimately decide that guests are coming, we have a whole list of “best guest etiquette for an elopement” tips further down in this blog that you can share with your people!

Pros & Con’s of Bringing Guests:

-You get to share the day with loved ones
-Guests can help you get ready

-Guests can be Witnesses (although we can provide them with our vendors)


-Less flexibility with your schedule
-You have to communicate details/info to others
-May restrict you from spontaneous decisions day-of
-Might prevent you from making your elopement a longer vacation, getaway, or built in honeymoon

-Less private and intimate (possibly more performative, people are watching)

-Guests may force you to change plans for their needs. If the guest can’t make it, it may interfere with your plans by having to change the ceremony spot, cause delays (less photo time), and cause stress on guests and yourself. This one is really so serious and can interfere with the flow of your day.


One more really important con to note- and this one is a biggie –

Guests may be on their phones, taking photos and not being fully present. This can interfere with the sacredness of your ceremony and just be a bummer to look out and see.

Even if you or your elopement company, officiant, or photographer communicates to your guests that they should not be on their phones, sometimes they don’t listen and it can be very distracting. Plus in the photos/videos guests will be holding their devices which takes away from the timelessness of the imaging.

We have watched over and over guests looking at their phone during the ceremony, or overly concerned with the photos they are taking. This pulls them completely out of the moment and not paying attention. We are all about presence and honoring the sacredness of the ceremony and we want that for you!

Best Guest Etiquette for an Elopement

If you are bringing guests, here are some tips for making it as chill as possible.

1- Choose those who will light you up, not bring you down. Drama is not welcome on your day!

2- Less is more! Don’t overdo it. More guests = more needs to consider. Feeling the need to take care of guests is normal, which is why we call them guests. If you don’t have guests you get to focus on what you want entirely. We will say that bringing just 2 guests is the sweet spot as it doesn’t feel like a crowd and there are fewer people to “take care of.”

Our packages are limited to 10 guests and even that can feel like a lot. The locations where we hold elopements are not at event spaces but public hiking spots with limited parking, so it is important to keep our groups small.


3. Keep your wants and wishes at the top of the list, as best as you can. Consider other’s needs but don’t let it take over your intentions.

4. No cell phones or other photography. You paid a lot for your photographer, save the reveal of your images and make it special. This is why our policy is that no one else can take photos during your ceremony/photo shoots because it is distracting and it pulls people out of the moment.


5. Guests need to wear appropriate footwear and layers for the ever-changing weather.

6. Make sure guests are fit enough if location requires a hike.

7. If children are coming, consider a guest acting as a babysitter. If you are bringing your doggie don’t forget the leash and consider bringing a friend to wrangle them if you worry about them wandering off.


Celebrating your elopement with friends on a mountaintop

We love working with just the couple only because we get to provide you with the best, most intimate experience possible.

That being said, we definitely work with couples who want to bring a few guests and keep it small. 

Eloping is a special time for you and your partner and part of the fun is sharing all the photos and videos with everyone after the big day. 

We would love to be there to help you create your dream Asheville, NC elopement!

Contact us today and let’s get started!

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