Ceremony and Vow Ideas

How exactly does eloping work?

This will not be a secret, so it's technically not eloping (what would you call it??).  I'm not engaged yet, but we have been talking about our future wedding and I feel like I will be getting engaged soon.  My father passed away when I was a teenager and I have always hated the idea of not being able to have him walk me down the isle (and the thought of someone else doing it seems even sadder for me) or do the father/daughter dance.  I really don't have any friends that I think I could have be my bridemaid.  My entire extended family consists of less than 10 people.  I don't think that it would be possible for me to be happy with an actual wedding. 

I really want to go to some beautiful place, just him and me (depending on the cost of transportation/hotel and the distance, maybe bring our moms, brothers, and SILs (and a toddler nephew)) and then stay for our honeymoon.  We would have a party celebrating our marriage with everyone else after we got back.  

How does this situation work?  Would we still do the STDs, engagement pics, fancy invitations (with the party date), and everything else?  Is there a website that would help me with planning something like this when it is closer to time?

Re: How exactly does eloping work?

  • That sounds like a destination wedding.  The etiquette is that you should only invite people to the at-home reception if they were invited to the destination wedding. Some people still do a big reception for folks who weren't invited to the wedding and it tends to be accepted, but technically it goes against etiquette.  It's always okay to have a big non-wedding related party with the whole family after you are already married. 

    Your invitations can be as fancy or as casual as you want depending on the formality of the party you're throwing. 

    I would only do STDs for those invited to the wedding itself. 

    Don't have a wedding party or do-over ceremony at the at-home reception. 

    Decline showers and bachelorette parties unless only those invited will be invited to both the wedding and the reception. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_exactly-eloping-work?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:db43ca32-c12a-4c29-b1df-6f2d6f446c4dPost:4af9d1dc-9171-483e-8dcb-87f66e97398e">How exactly does eloping work?</a>:
    [QUOTE]This will not be a secret, so it's technically not eloping (what would you call it??).  I'm not engaged yet, but we have been talking about our future wedding and I feel like I will be getting engaged soon.  My father passed away when I was a teenager and I have always hated the idea of not being able to have him walk me down the isle (and the thought of someone else doing it seems even sadder for me) or do the father/daughter dance.  I really don't have any friends that I think I could have be my bridemaid.  My entire extended family consists of less than 10 people.  I don't think that it would be possible for me to be happy with an actual wedding.  I really want to go to some beautiful place, just him and me (depending on the cost of transportation/hotel and the distance, maybe bring our moms, brothers, and SILs (and a toddler nephew)) and then stay for our honeymoon.  <strong>We would have a party celebrating our marriage with everyone else after we got back</strong>.   How does this situation work?  Would we still do the STDs, engagement pics, fancy invitations (with the party date), and everything else?  Is there a website that would help me with planning something like this when it is closer to time?
    Posted by steph96[/QUOTE]

    <div>I was with you until the bolded part. If you want to celebrate with everyone anyway, you should have a normal wedding in the first place. If you want a small wedding, then do that without any additional parties. Eloping is, technically, unplanned and has no attendees beyond the bride and groom, officiant, and necessary witnesses.</div>
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  • What you're describing is a destination wedding, not eloping. The Knot has a place just for discussing those, under "Wedding Theme Boards" to the left there.  Click here. 

    With a destination wedding, the guest list is small - typically only immediate family, and sometimes a few very close friends.  Expect important people to decline due to the cost and/or time commitment. Because of these factors, think very carefully about your priorities before you decide to have one of these.

    Etiquette is split on having a big at home party afterwards, but generally they don't ruffle too many feathers as long as it's not a do-over reception.  (Dinner and dancing are fine, but no wedding party, no wedding gown, no cutting the cake, no first dance, etc.)  Professional photographs, if you want them, are fine whether there's a wedding in the works or not.  Pre-wedding parties get tricky, because anyone invited to a shower or bachelor(ette) must be invited to the wedding, so these events are usually either small or skipped entirely with a DW.  You would send out save the dates and invitations to those invited to the destination.  You can send invitations for the at home after party as well, but ask around for wording, so it doesn't sound like an invite to the wedding itself.  

    Don't do too much planning until you're actually engaged though, and have talked to your FI to see what he wants.  A traditional wedding may not mean much to you, but it might mean the world to him.
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  • You start with: "I don't think that it would be possible for me to be happy with an actual wedding." And end with: "We would have a party celebrating our marriage with everyone else after we got back." If you don't want a reception, then why are you have a reception?
    image
  • You have plenty of time to think about this and talk it over with your boyfriend.  I'm sure he'll have a point of view on the wedding he'd like to have, too, and the two of you will be able to customize it to fit your needs.

    I don't know if I'd write off the local wedding just yet.  You can always customize the day to work within your needs.  I've seen beautiful weddings where the bride walks down alone, or her mom walks her down, or even where she and DH walk down the aisle together.  There's no rule that your dad has to walk you down.  I chose to walk with both my mom and my dad, because she had as much of a role in my life as he did, and because rather than "giving me away", they were just supporting me into the next step.  So I'd encourage you to wait and have the discussion with your sig other to figure what works for you both and adjust from there.

    What you describe does sound like a destination wedding, and you should definitely visit the destination board if you and your future fiance decide that might be right for you.  You can also do something less costly / exotic and instead get married at the courthouse which is an equally ligitimate way to go.
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  • slpankuchslpankuch member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    You don't need bridesmaids to have a good wedding. You can omit the wedding party all together if you want and have a normal wedding back at home with everyone.  You can use parents as the wedding party or have none at all. So don't let the lack of a wedding party hold you back.

    Destination weddings are nice too for those who want to do a smaller wedding.

    It depends on what you truely want but don't let the idea of a wedding party or no wedding party hold you back from what you really want to do.

    Again with invitations that is your choice. Basically your wedding day is an expression of you and your fiance. Do what makes you happy. You don't need to worry about sticking to traditions.

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  • Without thinking of traditions (dad walking you down the aisle, BP, etc), what do YOU (both) want in a wedding?  Do you want everyone you know to celebrate with you?  Or do you want it really private and intimate?

    If you want to celebrate with everyone like you mentioned, you might as well just get married at home and skip the traditions that you said were a concern. (<--etiquette-wise, I don't mind AHRs, but I don't understand them for this purpose.  If you want a party with everyone, then invite everyone to the wedding too).

    If you really do just want a private thing, then do the destination wedding and leave it at that.  There's no reason why you can't throw a BBQ or something to get everyone together, but I really don't see the point in relating it to your wedding.
    Anniversary
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_exactly-eloping-work?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:db43ca32-c12a-4c29-b1df-6f2d6f446c4dPost:a8c525c5-7b39-4ec7-9d93-b78e4f85dc34">Re: How exactly does eloping work?</a>:
    [QUOTE]You start with: "I don't think that it would be possible for me to be happy with an actual wedding." And end with: "We would have a party celebrating our marriage with everyone else after we got back." If you don't want a reception, then why are you have a reception?
    Posted by Simply Fated[/QUOTE]
    I stated that all of the traditional aspects of a wedding would make me feel depressed.  No dad (and I'm even crying right now from the thought of people watching me walk down the isle with anyone but my dad).  No friends for me.  My only guests would be my mom, brother, SIL, and then 5 members of my extended family.  Having to stand at the alter and think about how lonely my life is would make me miserable.  It seems common where I am to have a super tiny wedding (maybe even somewhere else) and then have a party later on.  I don't see why I'm being criticized for this.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_exactly-eloping-work?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:db43ca32-c12a-4c29-b1df-6f2d6f446c4dPost:f1d4f41d-f1f5-4316-bba3-b445fdd8ce07">Re: How exactly does eloping work?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Without thinking of traditions (dad walking you down the aisle, BP, etc), what do YOU (both) want in a wedding?  Do you want everyone you know to celebrate with you?  Or do you want it really private and intimate? If you want to celebrate with everyone like you mentioned, you might as well just get married at home and skip the traditions that you said were a concern. (<--etiquette-wise, I don't mind AHRs, but I don't understand them for this purpose.  If you want a party with everyone, then invite everyone to the wedding too). If you really do just want a private thing, then do the destination wedding and leave it at that.  There's no reason why you can't throw a BBQ or something to get everyone together, but I really don't see the point in relating it to your wedding.
    Posted by jemmini6[/QUOTE]<div>I really want it to be intimate.  It's not like the party would be a wedding reception.  I really don't know how to explain it.

    </div>
  • I think I understand what you're saying. I don't think there is anything wrong with you having a small wedding at a different location and then once you get home have like a get-together for the friends and family you do have. It wouldn't be a reception where you'd wear  your wedding dress, it would be more like a gathering where you can maybe have some food and desserts and have a nice time celebrating your marriage.
  • Well, I guess I'm confused, because if your family is small, and you have no friends, who is the "everyone else" the party would be for?  I'm sorry you lost your dad, but really, you have to find a way to find some happiness, and not constantly dwell on what you don't have.  You're in love, and found someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, isn't that reason to be happy?
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  • You are not engaged yet. Once you are, listen to your FI first, think about what you both want and then come back to hear the advice of random strangers on the internet.

    But if your FI shares your vision, I think you will do fine with what your saying. People here are telling you not to have a typical wedding reception when you come back, but a normal party, a bit in a homewarming style, would be fine.
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