About Kate
Lifelong “sporto.” Traveler. Organized optimist. Adventure accomplice.  And, with my whole soul, I believe that you and your partner should marry in a way that feels like you. SO... Four years ago, I completely reworked my photography business to honor that vision. I changed course so that you can too.  Ready to explore eloping?!  Let's Chat!
How-to planning tips
Location inspiration
Activity inspiration
Elopements - Us 2
Elopements - Us 2 & Crew
Back to blog home

*7* TIPS to Break FREE from a Traditional Wedding

How-To & Tips

The Beauty of Intimate Adventure Weddings

Imagine what it feels like as you break free from a traditional wedding:  The moments leading up to your beautiful vow exchange are quiet…. A warm, gentle breeze rustling the trees, the gentle lapping of the water against the rocks along the shore. No one pushing a timeline because the caterer is coming, the DJ is here and charges by the hour, the officiant has another conflict they can’t be late to. No one reminding you that there’s a room full of guests waiting for you to ‘show up.’

Nope. Because you chose adventure for your wedding, you are nowhere else but **here** in this moment. You and your partner, and maybe a few lovingly selected guests, together, celebrating the thing that matters most—your partnership, relationship, and culmination of your journey together in a place that matters to your story ❤️

The Task at Hand

But, while choosing an adventure wedding or elopement may feel like your ‘Cinderella slipper’, how hard it is to break free from a traditional wedding is one of the things I hear from couples. But, don’t give up!

Your vision… your day… supported by those who love you most… It **IS** possible!! 

You CAN Do It!

I’ve  compiled 7 tested, helpful tips to give you creative ways on how to break from from a traditional wedding and tell your family you that you’re choosing an Adventure Wedding or Adventure Elopement instead!   And, if you follow the principles, it can help you not just tell them, it can also allow you to better help them wrap their minds around how amazing your adventure will be!

???? You’ve got this!☺️ ????

A bride and groom exchange rings in an adventure elopement ceremony on the top of a rock overlook overlooking a South Carolina lake at sunrise.  They chose to elope to break free of a traditional wedding

– 7 Tips- to Break FREE from a Traditional Wedding

This post tackles a BIG question, which, is actually probably the most common ones that I get from couples:

“We want to plan and do something different for our wedding, but my gosh, how do we tell our families?!?”

So if you’ve ever had this question, you’re not alone. And, yes, it is possible! How?!?

The Plan

The seven tips on how to tell your family that you don’t want a traditional wedding that we are going to cover in this post are divided into four main buckets.  And, all of these tips work with both adventure weddings and adventure elopements!  So you can apply it to whatever circumstances you and your partner are considering 🙂

But First…

Before we get started, I really just want to say one thing. And that is:

Remember that your wedding day is YOURS.

And while, in some instances, you may choose to share the celebration with others, at the end of the day, the story that’s being told is yours and your partner’s!  That’s who the ceremony should be designed for.  That’s where the meaning should lie.  And, that is truly what is being celebrated.

An couple kissing on the rocky shoreline before a lakeside elopoement ceremony in South Carolina

So as you’re going through this process, and hearing these next seven steps, remembering your mind… maybe in your heart… and definitely in your gut, that as you’re going through this, you will hear things from people who may not understand, and, may not agree at first.

So keep checking in –mind, heart, and gut!– as you go along through the process and remember why you’re doing this

Because This is YOUR Love Story!!!!

And, with an adventure wedding or adventure elopement built just for you and your partner, you’re going to set it free to the places that matter most.


#1 DROP HINTS (And, Lots of Them!)

Step #1 in “Laying the Groundwork” in how to tell your family you don’t want a traditional wedding is dropping hints, and lots of them!  The reason that it makes sense to do this is because the more people hear you talk about it — even before you and your partner know each other! —  it plants a seed in their mind…

Hearing you talk about you thoughts, like…

  • “That’s too much pomp and circumstance… Eloping keeps the focus on things that are most important!” 
  • “You know, I think it would be perfect to highlight something special about our relationship ! So, whenever it happens, we’re going to go rock climbing for the wedding!”

..means that they’ve exposed to the idea of all of these different and creative options.

So, when you actually say that you’re going to go to these things, it’s ultimately not a surprise.

And that’s why, dropping hints, lots of them as early as possible will pay massive dividends 😀

Southeast adventure elopement photographer at a lakeside wedding in South Carolina

#2 Allies for the WIN!

Step #2 is to strategically engage one of your friends or family members who “get it” to help you explain your interest in choosing an adventure wedding.

Sometimes, there are people who really just don’t understand why you would adventure, why you would elope, or why you’d choose something “beyond tradition.” This is where your trusted partner comes into play!  You can tap into this person to strategically seed the idea with this person who maybe is having a hard time wrapping their head around it.

As much as you want to have an impact on their understanding, sometimes your ally can have a different conversation with the person than you can. 

Why?  Your ally can share their own perspective on why they think your desire to adventure is really cool & unique.  And, they can give a different view on why they think that the choice to adventure makes sense for your journey with your partner.

And perhaps seeing it from the other person’s perspective (who isn’t you or your partner!) will help them better see, “Hmmm, maybe I do understand!”

So, how can you tell your family you don’t want a traditional wedding?  By not doing it alone–strategically tap into your allies!! 😀

Tips on how to tell your family that you don't want a traditional wedding


#3 Share Your “WHY”

Now we’re in the “reveal” stage!

There comes a point when you really just need to tell everybody that this is what you’re going to do! But, don’t be apologetic. This is your vision this is your story, so own it and be proud!

Step #3 is to share your “why.”  One of the best things that you can do to help your loved ones get their heads wrapped around why you’re choosing to adventure is help them under why it’s important to you and your partner.  Really take a moment and explain how the adventure you envision fits into your love story.

Ultimately, because the more they understand and see that bigger picture of why adventure matters to you, the more they’ll get a perspective that can help any preconceived ideas of your “why” fade away…

Now, often this won’t happen overnight. It will take a couple iterations of you explaining your why, but, persist. Keep checking in to remember that “this” is why it’s important to you. “This” is what it means to you. And “here’s” what you want your day to stand for… And, when everything else fades away in 5, 10, 15 years, “these” are the memories that are most important to you.

Remember, the more you can share your why, the more people can identify with where you’re coming from, and how it fits in your journey.

Elopement ceremony image of a bride and groom with a Southeast Intimate Adventure Wedding Photographer

#4 Reassure with “HOW”

The process to break free of a traditional wedding gets easier when you put Step #4  into the mix with the family!  Share “how” you are excited to have them a part of your journey, even though you’re choosing adventure.

Oftentimes, people are hesitant to accept things are different or new because they don’t see how they are going to be a part of it.

They don’t know their role, and, they don’t know what this “new” thing means for them. And, with the importance that many folks place on the wedding, this “not knowing” how they fit in can be stressful!

So, as part of this journey, and in bringing people onboard with your vision, one of the best things you can do is help them know how they can continue to be involved.

You’ll find that once they see their role and understand that they’re important in helping you create & remember your wedding story, they’re more likely to get excited:-)

And this leads us directly into the plan and prepare stage!


#5 Put Them to Work!

Remember how you shared with folks that you are excited for them to be a part of your journey? Next up, Step #5 is actually putting them to work!  Let’s use these resources and that desire to be connected and involved to your benefit 😀

As you can imagine, picking out your wedding finest just like you would normally (if that’s something you’re interested in!)  is a huge win with besties and parents. So, you can definitely still do those things as they make sense for your personal situation.

Excited to share your experience?  You might even have your loved ones help plan a post-wedding party, as people like to know that they’re still going to be a part of the celebration! So if that works for you & your partner, and what’s important to your wedding story, it can definitely be a fun way to engage the ones you love!

Ultimately, Step #5 is all about getting your crew engaged in helping you to think through or plan perhaps florals, transportation, lodging, trip logistics, etc.  Things like these are totally fair game for help!  🙂

Think creatively, as the more that your loved ones are involved, the more that they have this connection to still being part of a celebration with you, even if they’re not physically there.

And don’t forget–keep them focused as they get involved on solutions, ideas, and outcomes that match you & your partner’s vision & priorities for your adventurous wedding story.  It’s a win for everybody!

Unique lakeside camping wedding in Asheville with a couple who broke free of a traditional wedding

#6 Remote, Not “Distant”

As Step #6, I really do want to make a special mention of elopements as I stress the point that:

“Remote doesn’t have to be distant.” 

I think a lot of times couples just like you feel like an elopement isn’t for them as you can’t imagine not having any presence of the people who mean the most to you.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way! So in an elopement, or, even an adventure wedding where not everyone you’d want would be able to make the trip, you  can find beautifully meaningful ways to incorporate them “across the distance.”

Perhaps it could be:

  • Having your loved ones record a video message or writing a special letter that you can open on the day of your ceremony.
  • Invite them to script in some special messages, well wishes, or blessings into your vows.
  • Traveling with a photo or memento special to those you want to connect in
  • Having your loved was create special “just married” signs for your tent, backpack, boat, etc

These are just a few of so many other creative, personal options that can help those that you want to be a part of your adventure, still be there, even though they’re not physically with you.

Remember, just because someone may be remote from where you are at that particular moment, it doesn’t have to mean that they have to feel distant to your wedding story.

Alternatives to getting married at a courthouse with an adventure wedding photographer and planner in the Southeast


#7 Celebrate!

Coming back from your adventure wedding or adventure elopement, it’s time to celebrate!  How? Images!

Images are so important because people want to see and share that joy with you.

Without a doubt, images are truly the best and most beautiful way to do that!

Hopefully one of your friends or family helped you find that after party (if it works for your personal story!) Have a slideshow of your favorite images at the party so people can see and experience what your day was like, and, can see how magical it was:-)  Once they see those images, they’ll understand why you couldn’t tell your adventurous wedding story with 100 people in tow.

Finally, in an elopement with just you and your partner, or an adventure wedding where your guests don’t join the whole adventure, images matter!  In these, mini-album or gift prints for your loved ones become really important to so that they can have that connection back to your favorite memories as well.

So as it makes sense for you and your partner and your personal stories, do share & celebrate your experience!  You never know who might be inspired 🙂

I hope that you find these tips helpful as you work out which of these ideas are most important to you in how to let your family know you want to break free from a traditional wedding!

Leave me a comment below & let me know what you think, and, how you’re going to use these ideas to work! And, then, if you found these helpful, please share this page with a friend who could use a little inspiration to do something for their wedding or engagement that’s more true to their love story.

Curious what an Adventure Wedding or Elopement could look like for you?  Let’s chat–grab a time for your no charge brainstorming session here!

⠀**7 Tips** to Break FREE from a Traditional Wedding

Don’t forget!  You can always bookmark this page if you want to refer to the video or tips again!

What do I need to have at my elopement?

That is a loaded question….but a great place to start is by finding an experienced elopement photographer. As an elopement photographer and elopement concierge, I have this allll figured out and I would love to help you create the right experience for you and yours.

Hi! I’m Kate, 

and I’m in your corner.

Lifelong “sporto.” Traveler. Organized optimist. Adventure accomplice.

With my whole soul, I believe that you and your partner should marry in a way that feels like you.   SO... Four years ago, I completely reworked my photography business to honor that vision.  To create a safe space for couples to create a wedding experience that feels right.

I changed course so that you can too.

Freeing couples to get married exactly how they want to, with no limits on what that looks like.   Is that bold?!?  Maybe, but you're ready!

Let's build your elopement adventure!