Wedding Reception Forum

Celebration after Elopement

Hi all!

My fiance and I are planning to elope to Colorado in September. I didn't really think about having a reception... but when I talked to my close friends most of them said something along the lines of: "That's awesome! I hope you have a reception when you get back because I am want to party/celebrate with you!"

So now I am kind of loving the idea of a celebration! We are going to have it in January so that people can have time to plan for it and we can send out combination invites/announcements.

I do NOT want to give the impression that we are just doing this to get presents! The whole idea of this elopement/celebration is that we are doing something nontraditional. I really just want to celebrate our happiness with our friends and family.
What "reception" elements should I include? There will be a meal and dancing, but is cake a good idea? Or the father-daughter dance? Should we make an entrance?

Most importantly, what do I wear?! My elopement dress is short dress, but it's still pretty wedding-y. It just seems tacky to wear it again. Should I wear a normal white/cream dress? Or just go with an evenging/cocktail gown?

Any input is appreciated!

NYCMercedes

Re: Celebration after Elopement

  • We are doing an 'open house' after our wedding since our wedding is in Alaska, but my family lives in the Midwest.  I'm not sure if we'll serve a meal or just lots of appetizers yet, but we are having a cake.  We're also going to set up a slideshow/pictures of our wedding and honeymoon.  As for the dress, I am just going to re-wear something I already have - probably a cute summer dress.  
    NYCMercedesCLoGreenEyes
  • CMGr- Thank you for sharing your opinions, but it makes it hard for me to take anyone's advice when they present their opinions as fact. It is nice to know how other people feel about this, but I don't understand why you would tell me what I "can" and "must" do. Perhaps I just misinterpreted your tone though, and I really do appreciate the information in your post!

    cborries - Our families are from the Midwest also! Sounds like you are doing pretty much what I was thinking! Do you know where you are holding your open house? I wanted to do ours at our house, but I doubt that construction will be done in time...
    NYCMercedesMayberryAfterMidnightleroweb
  • CMGr- Thank you for sharing your opinions, but it makes it hard for me to take anyone's advice when they present their opinions as fact. It is nice to know how other people feel about this, but I don't understand why you would tell me what I "can" and "must" do. Perhaps I just misinterpreted your tone though, and I really do appreciate the information in your post! cborries - Our families are from the Midwest also! Sounds like you are doing pretty much what I was thinking! Do you know where you are holding your open house? I wanted to do ours at our house, but I doubt that construction will be done in time...
    She's really just trying to give you the proper etiquette for post-wedding celebrations. 
    image
    NYCMercedes[Deleted User]wittykitty14CLoGreenEyes
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes member
    First Anniversary First Answer First Comment 5 Love Its
    edited June 2013
    You can have a wonderful rockin party to celebrate your marriage, probably even wear your short dress. In general, stay away from wedding things, like first dance, father-daughter dance... You and husband can have a spotlight dance and even cut a pretty cake. Also, announcements should be ready to mail the day of (or day after) your wedding. Invitations to the party are mailed separately afterwards. Have fun!
    keeperlaura
  • I guess we just have a difference of opinion on etiquette books, which is I fine by me! Thank you very much for all this valuable information!
    I definitely do NOT want a PPD. I am not looking to have a traditional wedding reception. I am looking to have a post-elopement reception. To my knowledge, this sort of thing is becoming more and more common. I accept that I might not be adhering to proper ettiquette, but I am ok with that because I don't believe that these ettiquette guides properly address the modern post-elopement situation.
    I probably wouldn't wear my wedding dress, since it isn't my wedding day. I am most likely going to have a cake, which is standard for most parties.
    I still think it's ok to have certain "reception" things since there are parallels between a day of reception and this celebration.
    Again, thanks to everyone for your input! This thread is really helping me!
    NYCMercedesnavygirl440AlexisA01
  • i think to answer this properly we need to think of what the word 'elope' really means. i dont think its what your doing as it's not a secret. eloping is done in secret-not discussed with everyone. you're just getting married elsewhere alone. that's not eloping. you're having a destination wedding.

    since you want to have a party why not just get married at home and then have a real reception?

    if you still want to get married in september and have a party 4 month later you do not treat it as a reception. no wedding dress, no cake. your wedding day has passed months ago at htis point. no gifts from guests, no registries. it's a party only. once you start having celebrations or 'receptions' far after the date they get to look like gift grabs and AWs on your part. it would be perfectly acceptable to have a destination wedding (which is what youre doing)  and then have a party the following weekend. but 4 months later? why? for people to plan? who? the only one who needs to plan is you. send out invitations/announcements?huh? if what i hthink you mean is 'hey we got married in CO on 9/10 join us for the reception on 1/15' no.

    and while a cake is standard for most parties a wedding cake is not. while YOU may think it's ok to havbe 'reception things' at this party the rest of the planet does not. it's not a reception. it's a party. totally different things. don't be an AW.

     

     

    Dreamergirl8812
  • I find this thread interesting. My fiance and I are having a family only wedding in Feb with a dinner afterwards. Then in March we are having a party with friends to celebrate.
    As of right now it's going to be a appetizer and dessert party and maybe some dancing. We will probably be sending out the invites around the time of our actual wedding. I will be letting my out of town friends/relatives know the date once we have it booked. My parents are paying for the party and they will be booking a banquet hall right by our house.

    My advice would be discuss things with your fiance and come to a mutual decision about things. That's what we did. I did not want the garter/bouquet toss and several other "traditions" anyways.

    Best of luck with your planning.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    realblonde474melissambehm
  • We'll probably be doing it at either my parent's church hall or our hometown community building.  Both places are very inexpensive to rent for the day.  Unfortunately, due to family drama, we need a neutral venue.  

    We originally wanted to do it this way to keep the family drama at a minimum, but I'm not sure if it will in the end.  I think a lot of family members are going to feel insulted that they weren't invited to my wedding ceremony, but that's just how my family is!  So we're still playing around with different ideas to prevent hurt feelings.  
    keeperlaura
  • keeperlaurakeeperlaura member
    First Comment 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited June 2013

    We are really eloping -- nobody will know about it until we are home and the deed is done! I did mention to some of my friends that I was thinking about eloping instead of having the big wedding that everyone expects, but I definitely haven't told anyone that it's actually happening. I think you guys have helped to reinforce my ideas for the celebration... we are just going to keep it very low key/laid back. We are probably still going to have some sort of cake... but to be honest, even if we were having a reception we probably wouldn't have a normal cake since the FI hates cake! So a nice dessert, dinner, and dancing... I think that sounds like a great time! No silly reception traditions required :)

    @cborries We're trying to avoid the drama too! I am trying really hard to embrace the fact that we just can't please everyone. Another one of our reasons for eloping is that several of the family members we are closest to are in failing health or wouldn't be able to attend for other reasons. My grandpa gets more and more upset every time he has to miss something... We don't want our family members to feel pressured into coming to something that they really aren't up to it! I am hoping that this later celebration will take that pressure off, but still give others a chance to feel included if they want to show support/love for us.

    NYCMercedes
  • edited June 2013
    I guess we just have a difference of opinion on etiquette books, which is I fine by me! Thank you very much for all this valuable information! I definitely do NOT want a PPD. I am not looking to have a traditional wedding reception. I am looking to have a post-elopement reception. To my knowledge, this sort of thing is becoming more and more common. I accept that I might not be adhering to proper ettiquette, but I am ok with that because I don't believe that these ettiquette guides properly address the modern post-elopement situation. I probably wouldn't wear my wedding dress, since it isn't my wedding day. I am most likely going to have a cake, which is standard for most parties. I still think it's ok to have certain "reception" things since there are parallels between a day of reception and this celebration. Again, thanks to everyone for your input! This thread is really helping me!
    I love what you said here, it sums up how I feel perfectly! I've been struggling with myself about if I am having a PPD or not, since my husband's parents and mine wanted to host "a reception" for us a month after our private wedding. While I understand this may be non-traditional, we are still going to have a cake and our "first dance", but I am not wearing my wedding dress. But how exciting you are eloping! I kind of wanted to myself haha! 
    keeperlaura
  • Thanks, @navygirl440! I am glad there are other brides out there dealing with similar situations!
  • I feel like a lot of the misunderstanding is coming from semantics. The word "reception" is used to describe non-wedding related gatherings as well. 

    You're having a non-traditional wedding, so there isn't a word to describe what you want to do. 

    My friend had a private ceremony far away, then came back home and had a party to celebrate. In no way did he want it to resemble a wedding. He called it a "Marriage celebration/meet my wife/"reception"/backyard bbq/welcome back" party. Literally, he used that description on the e-vite he emailed out to family and friends. 

    So, I think a good "rule of thumb" to determine what elements to include is to use the same guidelines you would use for an anniversary party. Video of (portion of) ceremony? Yeah, I'd show that at my anniversary party. Wedding dress? No way. Toasts? Probably. First dance? No way. Dancing? Yes! Dancing with my dad? Yeah, but not alone! People would notice and probably point it out on their own. 



  • @keeperlaura,

    If you want to celebrate with these people at all, then don't "elope."

    If you want to "elope," then lose the idea that you can have a "reception" afterwards to celebrate your wedding.  You cannot politely have a "reception" to follow an "elopement."  A reception is to receive guests, which you will not have if you have an "elopement." 

    It says to these same people you want to celebrate with, "You are good enough to give us gifts, and for a reenactment of our wedding, but you weren't good enough to share the actual moment of our wedding, which is the purpose of this 'celebration,' with us."  And that's a very offensive message to send. 

    Also, lose the idea that this is a "matter of opinion" or about "being nontraditional."  It is about being polite to people.  We're not going to tell you how to do things that are not polite.
  • @Jen4948

    We have already established that this isn't an actual reception, but simply a celebration of our marriage much like an anniversary party. We do not want gifts. We are not reenacting any part of the wedding, besides maybe sharing some pictures.
    As I said before, we are eloping out of consideration for my family. I do not want to put them through another tearful event because certain family members are unable to attend due to failing health.
  • @Jen4948 We have already established that this isn't an actual reception, but simply a celebration of our marriage much like an anniversary party. We do not want gifts. We are not reenacting any part of the wedding, besides maybe sharing some pictures. As I said before, we are eloping out of consideration for my family. I do not want to put them through another tearful event because certain family members are unable to attend due to failing health.
    As long as that's all you're doing, fine.  It doesn't matter what your motivations are for eloping; you don't get a "wedding" afterwards.  But as long as you understand that, enjoy your celebration.
  • keeperlaurakeeperlaura member
    First Comment 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited July 2013
    Thanks.
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