| January 19, 2021

How to Plan a Post-Elopement Party

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A post-elopement party gives you the chance to have the best of both worlds – you had a beautifully intimate elopement adventure, and now you get to spend some quality time with your loved ones! It’s a win-win for those who want to celebrate their marriage with friends and family, without overwhelming their wedding experience by hosting a big party on the day of. Whether you’ve already decided to elope, or you’re still considering your options, keep reading! Below, we’ve outlined exactly what an elopement party is, how to plan it, and provided five unique ideas to make this celebration special! 

What is a Post-Elopement Party & Should We Have One?

First, let’s define what a post-elopement party is – it’s a celebration that occurs after a couple has eloped (duh), with the intention of bringing family and friends together to celebrate their union.

A post-elopement party can be as unique to each couple as the elopement itself – the where, how, why, and other details are 100% up to you. The purpose of an elopement party is usually to include those who weren’t present the day of the elopement, and it’s an opportunity to tell the story of your elopement. Since wedding photos and videos are often returned within a few months of the event, you can incorporate them into your elopement party!

There’s no set timeline for when a post-elopement party should take place. You could plan it for the day after your elopement, or a year later on your anniversary. We love a good excuse to celebrate, so we support whatever it is you want to do! It’s also perfectly okay if you don’t want to plan an elopement party. If you’re entirely content leaving the wedding celebrations to the elopement itself, that’s also okay – in the same way that you’re not obligated to invite anyone to your elopement, they aren’t entitled to a party at any point. Your wedding day, whether you celebrate with or without guests, is still your day – commemorate it however you want!

How to Plan an elopement party

If you’ve decided to plan a post-elopement party, congratulations! You’re going to get to relive one of the best days of your life retelling the story of your elopement to your loved ones – you deserve this! Now, you’re probably wondering where to start. Do you send invitations? Do you tell guests that you’re already legally married? Will family travel for “just a party”? There are probably a lot of questions running through your mind right now, so we’ve crafted a simple step-by-step guide to planning a post-elopement celebration.

  1. Pick a Date – This is actually pretty important, not just from the logistical point, but because it’s going to affect the way you communicate this event. If you want to plan a post-elopement party immediately after you elope, then you’re going to want to send out invitations and have a reception-style event. You won’t have photos or videos back yet to help you tell the story of your day, but you’ll be riding the wave of fresh memories and emotions. There’s no right or wrong length of time between an elopement and a post-elopement party – just consider how the date will affect the activities you can do and who might be available to come.
  1. Choose a Location – You can plan this party anywhere in the world – the same as you can choose to get married anywhere! Do you want to bring your guests somewhere special, or plan a party close to home so fewer people have to travel? What season would be best for the activities you’d like to do?
  1. Invite Guests – This can be done a few different ways. If friends and family know you eloped, you can simply send invitations to this party in whatever manner you want to frame it – call it a reception, an elopement party, or even an anniversary party. If you’ve kept your elopement secret, your party invitations could also be a marriage announcement! You could print invites with your elopement photos in the same way that couples planning traditional weddings often send invitations with their engagement photos on them. 
  1. Rent a Venue – Depending on the style of party you want to plan, choose a venue that matches your vibe! If you want a wedding-style formal reception, you could get a great deal on a venue during the week or off-season (if you have the flexibility to avoid peak Saturdays since it’s not your *actual* wedding). If you want something more intimate and cozy, renting a unique Airbnb, or planning a destination elopement party might be great options!
  1. Figure Out Details – Will you and your partner get back into your wedding attire, or wear something more casual? Do you want to cater a meal, eat at a restaurant, or maybe have a backyard BBQ? How formal or relaxed do you want the day to be? How long do you want everyone to get together? Do you want to plan structure into the day schedule?
  1. Prepare for A Little Confusion – Eloping in the modern sense is still a relatively new and often misunderstood way to tie the knot. If you’re inviting family and friends to a post-elopement party, expect that some of them will have questions. We’ve heard everything from grandparents who don’t understand the purpose of a party when they didn’t get an invite to the “real wedding,” to parents who ask that you re-do your vows “so they can see it.” Most of the time, these questions and requests are coming from a loving place, even if they might hurt. You don’t owe anyone a particular kind of experience – setting clear expectations and boundaries can help mitigate some of the confusion and emotions loved ones are feeling. Hopefully everyone is simply excited to celebrate your marriage, however you want to do this thing!

5 post-elopement party ideas

  1. Rent A Wedding-Style Reception Venue
    • If you want all the wedding vibes without the big wedding stress, planning an elopement party at a formal venue is an awesome way to enjoy a day of stress-free glam with your loved ones. The level of formality to your elopement party is completely up to you, and doesn’t have to have anything to do with your elopement day vibes. You could have planned a casual elopement and want a black-tie event for your party, or vice versa.

  1. Book Out Your Favorite Restaurant
    • Rent a private event room, or book out the entirety of a local restaurant and spend your elopement party catching up while enjoying some of your favorite foods. This is an awesome way to plan a get together without having to put in too much effort actually hosting – no one in your party has to cook or decorate, and you get to support a business in your community!
  1. Plan a Cozy At-Home Party
    • A laid-back get together in your home (or a family member’s home) might be the perfect way to spend some quality time with your loved ones and tell them all about your amazing elopement experience! Throw your photos or video up on the TV and get everyone together to relive your elopement day – answer their questions, tell them about your adventures, and enjoy their excitement and awe that you chose a wildly different wedding experience!
  1. Have a Destination Elopement Party
    • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Maybe you planning a destination elopement and want to explore another incredible spot, or maybe you got married close to home and want to take advantage of this opportunity to travel somewhere new – a destination elopement party is a sure way to entice your friends and family to go on an adventure! 
  1. Rent An Airbnb & Plan A Backyard Picnic
    • If you’re looking for a place that can host a small-ish group of people, a unique Airbnb might be the ideal solution. There are so many incredible event-ready cabins, beach houses, or lodges in every imaginable environment to choose from! Book a beach house on the Oregon coast and spend the day overlooking stunning views while you enjoy a backyard BBQ with your family, or get a mountain cabin in Colorado surrounded by thick, lush pine forests.  

Did any of these ideas help you plan an elopement party? Are you still on the fence about eloping, or curious to learn more about how to include family in your elopement experience?

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Maddie Mae

Elopement Photographer

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Your Elopement Photographers & Planning Consultants. We are Maddie Mae, Amber, and Tori. We're your photographers, your elopement consultants, your cheerleaders, and your go-to adventure buddy on the day you say your vows.

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