You want to elope, and you want your kids to be involved. But how do you ensure a celebration of love and avoid a cranky day of kid wrangling? Is including kiddos––who might not be sure why nature walks and wedding vows are replacing their usual “graham crackers and a nap” routine––a recipe for a nuptial nightmare? Or can your dream elopement meaningfully incorporate the littlest members of your family?
The good news is that it is possible! Not only that: when approached with some careful planning, it can be truly magical. Outdoor Chronicles Photography has photographed adventure elopements across New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont with children as young as 11 months and has some tips for ensuring an enjoyable experience for all.
Enlist a friend! Pick a grownup your kiddos love––and you and your partner trust––to provide extra attention and support. This allows families to breath deep throughout the day, knowing everyone is valued and taken care of. And it lets parents relish the one-on-one moments with their soon-to-be spouse.
Incorporate routines Yes, your wedding day is––ideally––not just another Tuesday, but everyone will be happier if they are well fed, well rested, and can rely on regular rhythms to guide the day. Including snacks, naps, and well-being essentials into your schedule at times when the little ones expect them can help them show up as their best little selves––and avoid “hanger” meltdowns that crop up when sleepiness is high and blood sugar low. This is true for adults too, but it’s essential with the little ones.
Give yourself lots of time Kids need lots of transition time; a rushed kid is (often) a cranky kid. Kids also need time to get comfortable around a new person; photos taken 5 hours in will be lightyears better than shy shots from a short session where your kid still isn’t sure who the stranger with a camera is.
Prep kids ahead of time
Don’t wait til the day-of to brief your kid and expect them to just roll with it. Give them a chance to get excited with you! Tell them about what the day will look like; what they can expect; and how much you are looking forward to it. If you will have people the kids don’t know involved in the day––like a make-up artist, photographer, or far-away friend––explain who each person is and why you’re excited that they’ll be joining you.
Give kids a job
Kids love to help! Giving them a job will make them feel important, keep them engaged. They’ll love feeling trusted, and it will give them a sense of pride and ownership in the experience. Just remember to find age-appropriate tasks. You know your kids and their abilities better than anyone, and I can offer ideas too. Especially for younger kids, be ready to adjust things (shame-free) if they aren’t feeling up to it at the last minute.
Kids can write a letter or draw a picture to express their feelings and document the wedding. You can include an official moment for them to share their work, or feature it in a scrapbook later.
Snacks, snacks, snacks! Bring lots of them. And tell me what their favorite snacks are-–I'll bring some too!
Make space for kids’ voices!
Kids can understandably feel left out when grownups are centered. Inviting them to share their voice at the ceremony keeps them engaged and avoids resentment. Maybe they’d enjoy reading a letter, share a drawing, or reciting a poem. Handing them the (metaphorical) mic, even just to talk for a minute about how they feel about the day, can be meaningful for everyone.
I hope you've found this helpful! Personally, I love when little ones are involved and would love to help you plan a day or two that are in alignment with your values and make for a great experience for you and your family. You can still have te elopement of your dreams when you have kids -- it just takes a bit of planning.
Meet Your New York Elopement Photographer
Your New York elopement isn't complete without finding the right photographer to capture your wedding day. You will want to find someone who is an experienced adventure wedding photographer who is a local expert -- and that's me! I'm an award-winning photographer who has been featured in several publications and was recently named one of the top 9 elopement photographers in New York! And when I'm not photographing elopements, I'm usually out hiking, skiing, or biking to find new, amazing locations for couples to explore. As a local expert, I'm here to guide you through planning your elopement in Upstate New York, including the Adirondacks and Catskills. And then I'll be there to photograph every moment.
My New York wedding packages range from $4,500 to $8,900. Packages range from 5 hours of coverage to 2-days of coverage. Are you planning a longer adventure, such as a multi-day hike during which you will exchange vows on a secluded peak? I offer custom packages for your multi-day elopement. Packages include overall planning assistance, helping you find the perfect location to get married, vendor recommendations, and establishing the perfect timeline for adventuring without feeling rushed. I'm here as your New York and New England expert and I want you to have the best wedding day!