Eloping With Kids
We realize that the idea of a small scale, lower budget wedding is probably more appealing to older couples as well as couples where one or both members have been married previously. Because of this, it’s likely that there are already children in the family, as was the case when we were married. In our situation, we met first, had the kids not long after, and got married last. Not the chronological order that society expects with a relationship, but we’ve never been big on following society’s expectations anyway.
Your children should definitely be a part of your elopement ceremony. They are a major facet of both of your lives, of course, and one of the biggest reasons (though they shouldn’t be the only reason) that you two are getting married. So, for the purposes of this section, we’ll assume you’ll want your children at your ceremony. Eloping with kids won’t be nearly as complicated as planning a “big wedding” with kids can be.
The biggest issue that you will have in dealing with kids is how to make sure they won’t run off and get into trouble while you are exchanging vows! This isn’t an issue if your kids are “old enough to know better” (whatever age that is). But if you’re like we were and plan on getting married with two toddlers present, you have to be prepared. In our case, we were married when our oldest daughter had just turned four, and our younger daughter was only 1 1/2 years old. Both required some attention from someone other than the two of us, as we would be busy dealing with…well…going through a bit of a life-changing ceremony!
The two of us are fortunate in that we both have several siblings. Although we decided not to send out invitations to our elopement, we also didn’t want to discourage anyone from showing up for our marriage ceremony if they decided to do so. When it became clear that we couldn’t be sure that anyone would show up other than our officiant and the photographer, we had to take steps to get at least one of our siblings to show up for babysitting duties (as well as to act as a legal witness to our marriage). We asked a number of siblings if they would be interested in watching our kids during the service as well as during the night afterwards. We offered to pay for transportation and hotel costs, and provide meals as well. Eventually we were able to convince one of the groom’s sisters to “take the job”. Unfortunately, this particular sister lives thousands of miles from our Southern California home. However, since our ceremony would take place during a traditionally slack travel season, we were able to book her round trip plane ticket for a reasonable price. In addition, we received a small but still helpful discount from our hotel because we booked two rooms instead of only one. Ask for a “quantity discount” from the lodgings you check out, if you’ll need additional rooms.
For us, some of the most magical moments of and some of the most treasured photographs from our elopement wedding were those that involved our children. We couldn’t have imagined not having them with us, and we certainly treasure the moments captured by camera where they are either running around on the beach in dressy attire or laughing with the wedding minister. We didn’t burden our kids with the demands of “ring bearer” or “flower girl”, as our elopement ceremony didn’t include most of the trappings of a traditional (and therefore rather unoriginal) wedding. So, if you have kids, expect the best from them, and they’ll likely reward you. Even the youngest children will view your elopement as a solemn but joyous event, and will remember your elopement as long as you and your new spouse will!