Reception Ideas

How do I pull off elopement announcements & invites for a casual cocktail/apps party, weeks apart?

Ok, so let me explain our situation. We're eloping in Kauai, HI on 4/7. Second marriage for us both. FH is from Phoenix and still has many close friends and family there. My family hasn't communicated with me in years and are in NY, so they're not an issue (besides the obvious). So I, of course, want to mail out our wedding announcements from Kauai the day of our wedding. Very few people know our plans (maybe 3 people) and we want to surprise everyone. (Even though I'd love a huge party in Phoenix, our jobs are just too busy to organize and throw a huge wedding.)

On top of this, his family wants to host a small progressive cocktail/ apps (street tacos) celebration of marriage at his sister's restaurant 3 weeks after our ceremony. It'll be lounge style, come and go... we'll have a small cake for everyone and hopefully we'll have some raw wedding footage and photos to play for everyone. Casual and easy, but of course, not everyone who will receive a wedding announcement will receive an invite to the party in Phoenix (and of course, no NYers)... so I found a small invite card that would match.

Here's our dilemma... Since the party is so soon after the actual elopement (3 weeks), but it's casual... do I need to send them out earlier to give our friends more time to clear the schedule so they can attend? 

Or do I need to give them much more advanced notice? And if so, do I make it a surprise and say it's an engagement party... then SURPRISE!!! WE ELOPED!!!

It's really confusing!!! HELP!!!

Re: How do I pull off elopement announcements & invites for a casual cocktail/apps party, weeks apart?

  • Ok, so let me explain our situation. We're eloping in Kauai, HI on 4/7. Second marriage for us both. FH is from Phoenix and still has many close friends and family there. My family hasn't communicated with me in years and are in NY, so they're not an issue (besides the obvious). So I, of course, want to mail out our wedding announcements from Kauai the day of our wedding. Very few people know our plans (maybe 3 people) and we want to surprise everyone. (Even though I'd love a huge party in Phoenix, our jobs are just too busy to organize and throw a huge wedding.)

    On top of this, his family wants to host a small progressive cocktail/ apps (street tacos) celebration of marriage at his sister's restaurant 3 weeks after our ceremony. It'll be lounge style, come and go... we'll have a small cake for everyone and hopefully we'll have some raw wedding footage and photos to play for everyone. Casual and easy, but of course, not everyone who will receive a wedding announcement will receive an invite to the party in Phoenix (and of course, no NYers)... so I found a small invite card that would match.

    Here's our dilemma... Since the party is so soon after the actual elopement (3 weeks), but it's casual... do I need to send them out earlier to give our friends more time to clear the schedule so they can attend? 

    Or do I need to give them much more advanced notice? And if so, do I make it a surprise and say it's an engagement party... then SURPRISE!!! WE ELOPED!!!

    It's really confusing!!! HELP!!!
    Don't do the surprise. That just sounds upsetting.

    I would include the invite to the party in the announcements to those that are invited. I am assuming, since it is an open house style, you won’t need exact numbers for caterers but I could be wrong. @lyndausvi can you help? If you do need to give numbers, I might send the announcement/ invite a day or two before the wedding (are you mailing them from Phoenix or HI?) and ask for an RSVP the week before the event, phone call/text message or email are fine.
    charlotte989875
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Don't do a surprise party. 

    Are the people invited to the Phoenix party mostly local? If so, I think 3 weeks' notice is OK. For those that are being invited, include the party invite with the announcement. 

  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    5000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Ok, so let me explain our situation. We're eloping in Kauai, HI on 4/7. Second marriage for us both. FH is from Phoenix and still has many close friends and family there. My family hasn't communicated with me in years and are in NY, so they're not an issue (besides the obvious). So I, of course, want to mail out our wedding announcements from Kauai the day of our wedding. Very few people know our plans (maybe 3 people) and we want to surprise everyone. (Even though I'd love a huge party in Phoenix, our jobs are just too busy to organize and throw a huge wedding.)

    On top of this, his family wants to host a small progressive cocktail/ apps (street tacos) celebration of marriage at his sister's restaurant 3 weeks after our ceremony. It'll be lounge style, come and go... we'll have a small cake for everyone and hopefully we'll have some raw wedding footage and photos to play for everyone. Casual and easy, but of course, not everyone who will receive a wedding announcement will receive an invite to the party in Phoenix (and of course, no NYers)... so I found a small invite card that would match.

    Here's our dilemma... Since the party is so soon after the actual elopement (3 weeks), but it's casual... do I need to send them out earlier to give our friends more time to clear the schedule so they can attend? 

    Or do I need to give them much more advanced notice? And if so, do I make it a surprise and say it's an engagement party... then SURPRISE!!! WE ELOPED!!!

    It's really confusing!!! HELP!!!
    You cannot send out invitations to a wedding celebration prior to actually marrying.  The only way to do that is to announce your elopement, which goes against the concept of eloping.

    Send out wedding announcements as planned, from Hawaii AFTER your ceremony.  You can then send out invitations to your celebration of marriage party and hope the three week window is enough time for guests to attend.  Your other option is to plan a slightly later date for the celebration party.  Does the party HAVE to be held within three weeks?  Is that a stipulation in order to hold it at SIL's restaurant?  

    Unless many of your guests are coming from a distance, a 3 week window to be invited to a local event seems sufficient to me.
    SP29InLoveInQueens
  • I don't understand how your FI's family can be planning a celebration of marriage party for 3 weeks after the elopement if only 3 people know you're planning to elope? I guess of of these is the SIL who owns the restaurant and has offered you that date? 

    I do think mailing the invites to a party 3 weeks before the party can make it pretty tight on people, since they may take a few days to arrive and not everyone checks their mail every day. 

    You basically have 2 choices: postpone the party by at least a couple weeks, or just own it and understand you may have both a lot of declines, and some hurt feeling from people who didn't get the invite and have a chance to realize that before the party happened. 
  • SP29SP29
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Send your marriage announcements from HI after your ceremony has occurred.

    Send the party invitation after, even if it's only a few days later. Can't invite guests to a celebration of marriage party when the marriage has happened yet.

    3 weeks is a bit tight, not that there is anything wrong with giving 2-3 weeks notice to a party, but your guests may have already made other plans for that date.

    I agree that personally, I would plan the party later (say 6 weeks out) from your wedding. If that doesn't work because it's the only day your SIL has/can offer the restaurant, then I think you go with it and realize some guests may be unable to attend.
    InLoveInQueens
  • Actually, it's his mom and 2 sisters... one of the sisters owns the restaurant. It's not a full blown over the top wedding reception like thing... That's how they're able to arrange it all... unfortunately, due to his work schedule on the road and mine is cuckoo too (I'm construction/ project) management... this is the time that really works for us and his family.

    Mostly everyone is local... that's what makes it convenient. I think since it's casual... including the private celebration invite with the elopement announcement (and drop them in the mail as soon as we get off the plane a couple days before the wedding) to give them a head start... that would make the most sense and they can RSVP our Knot webpage so we can give his sister a rough number. 

    It would make me sad to miss some people, but I understand springing this little surprise on people would mess up some people's plans. 


    charlotte989875ahoywedding
  • Can you have the announcements and invites printed up and addressed and have someone in Phoenix send them? I don't know how that would be viewed, etiquette-wise, but local mail would get to your guests way sooner than mail from HI, right?
    charlotte989875
  • Can you have the announcements and invites printed up and addressed and have someone in Phoenix send them? I don't know how that would be viewed, etiquette-wise, but local mail would get to your guests way sooner than mail from HI, right?
    Ditto this. Phoenix to Phoenix mail is going to be a lot faster than Hawaii to Phoenix. 
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    charlotte989875
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    You can elope and have a celebration afterwards, but I would skip the surprise. Coupled with elopements, where you're not inviting your guests to the underlying event that you're celebrating, I think you'll be especially opening yourself up to judgment -- especially because people are more willing to take time out of their lives for actual weddings, but skip parties that are meant to be "casual" when they aren't aware of the reason for them. If they find out later that they skipped your wedding celebration because you didn't announce it when inviting them, they're not going to be happy.

    I think that if you want to invite anyone to celebrate your marriage, at the very least you owe them the courtesy of explaining that in your invitation.

    Beyond that, I personally would give a little more notice than 3 weeks, but that's me.
    charlotte989875sparklepants41
  • SP29SP29
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Can you have the announcements and invites printed up and addressed and have someone in Phoenix send them? I don't know how that would be viewed, etiquette-wise, but local mail would get to your guests way sooner than mail from HI, right?
    Good point.

    Since your MIL and 2 FSILs know about your upcoming elopement, could one of them send the announcements and invitations from Phoenix once you have  married? Local mail should only take 2-3 days, so they could even send the announcements right away and the invitations a day or two later.
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