Ok, this is super unusual, but I think it's our best and only option. I'm looking for advice, recommendations, ideas for how to word and structure all of this so it works.
Some background: 1) we're easily stressed out; 2) our families on both sides carry a ton of drama and there are people in my family I don't want to vacation with; 3) we have amazing friends who we love to vacation with (as a group of friends, we've all gone to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Boston, New York, and elsewhere together).
Our dilemma: 1) we want to elope in Hawaii; 2) our families support us eloping, but our moms want to be there if we do a destination wedding; 3) our friends support us eloping, but they really want to go to Hawaii with us; 4) if we were to elope in Hawaii alone, I would want to get drunk and dance afterward and this could be embarrassing if it were just me and my fiance; 5) I do not want to walk down an aisle (my father and brother/my only sibling are dead, and walking down the aisle was something we talked about a lot; it would break my heart to walk down an aisle without them by my side).
My proposed solution:
1) We do a religious type of ceremony with family only in my parents' backyard before we leave for Hawaii (this ceremony would be very short and simple, and mainly intended to appease our moms/let them feel like they were a part of our wedding in some way).
2) The next day we would fly to Hawaii and stay at a resort with all of our friends.
3) A few days into our friends' vacation, my fiance and I would go down the beach a ways and elope.
4) After we elope, we do a party-on-the beach with all of our friends to celebrate (music, foods, open bar -- but not a full on reception//more of a party).
I am planning to talk this idea over with our moms in the coming month and see what they think. Then, if they are on board, I will send out Save the Dates that mention a "Elopement Party" and specifically say we are eloping and then having a party on the beach and they're invited to it. This way, people have enough time to plan for a trip to Hawaii if they want to come -- but, it will be clear this is not a destination wedding/traditional wedding reception.
I'm open to everything anyone has to say -- I'm probably the only bride on the planet who came up with exact type of multi-ceremony, destination-elopement-party concoction...