Ceremony and Vow Ideas

Elopement

So my Fiancee and I are thinking about eloping. This is a second marriage for both of us and if we did a wedding it would be a very small (less than 20 people) destination wedding where we would upset a lot of our family and friends. Due to that we were thinking of just the two of us going off and eloping and having a post elopement reception/gathering, however a few of my close girlfriends still want to do the whole traditional bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc. even though they know they or anyone will be in attendance for the real ceremony. Since very few places even mention elopement much less technicalities with it, what is the etiquette for elopements and pre/post parties?

Re: Elopement

  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    It would be inappropriate to have any pre-wedding parties if you and your FI choose to elope.  The only people invited to such parties are guests invited to the wedding.  You simply thank your girlfriends for their offer, and gracefully decline.

    There is nothing that says a group of close girl friends can't go out together and party.

    You can elope and hold a celebration for friends and family when you return.  It would be improper to try and replicate any wedding-esque traditions at this celebration.  
    TeddiD34doeydo
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA
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    So my Fiancee and I are thinking about eloping. This is a second marriage for both of us and if we did a wedding it would be a very small (less than 20 people) destination wedding where we would upset a lot of our family and friends. Due to that we were thinking of just the two of us going off and eloping and having a post elopement reception/gathering, however a few of my close girlfriends still want to do the whole traditional bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc. even though they know they or anyone will be in attendance for the real ceremony. Since very few places even mention elopement much less technicalities with it, what is the etiquette for elopements and pre/post parties?
    The etiquette is that anybody invited to pre-wedding parties (shower, bachelorette, engagement) must also be invited to the actual wedding.  If you eloped nobody would be invited to the actual wedding, so you could not have a shower or bachelorette party.



    doeydoBlue_Bird
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA
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    edited February 2014
    I'm planning a very small (as in 8 guests) destination wedding. Everyone I know knows of my plans.

    Some girls from work keep discussing their plans for a bachelorette party, and I'm indifferent either way, but they seem excited to have an excuse for a party so I figure I'll let them have at it.

    No one has mentioned any showers, and if it comes up I'll probably decline but suggest maybe a casual brunch with my friends instead.
  • What about engagement party. We just recently got engaged and family want to throw an engagement party for close family and friends but we've stalled because of the elopement. Thoughts?
  • Etiquette mandates that you don't throw your own engagement parties, but if someone offered to host one for you that would be acceptable. An engagement party has nothing to do with what type of wedding ceremony you will be having. It is to celebrate a commitment to get married at a future date.
  • No.  Elopements do not have receptions or parties.  After you are married, you should invite your friends and family to a party at your home.  No wedding related activities, except for showing honeymoon photos.  You should send out wedding announcements as soon as you are married.  This does not mean people should send you gifts, though close family and friends might send something anyway.

    Brides Full Name
    and
    Groom's Full Name
    announce their marriage
    Date
    City, State
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    LondonLisadoeydoBlue_Bird
  • Etiquette mandates that you don't throw your own engagement parties, but if someone offered to host one for you that would be acceptable. An engagement party has nothing to do with what type of wedding ceremony you will be having. It is to celebrate a commitment to get married at a future date.
    Actually, anyone invited to an engagement party must be invited to the wedding.
    image
    doeydo
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
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    Yes, I agree with @ArtbyAllie- it is rude to invite people to an engagement party and not the wedding.

    The reason you cannot find any etiquette rules about pre/post wedding parties for elopements is because you should not have any pre or post wedding parties if you are eloping.
     
    ANY party to celebrate your marriage (bachelorette, shower, engagement etc) must only include people invited to the wedding.

    And the party you hold when you are back is just a general open house, not a wedding part 2 so nothing "bridal".

    When your girlfirends talk about throwing you a Hen-Do, just decline and say something like "I would prefer not to have a bachelorette since we are eloping but why don't we just have a girls night out and celebrate our friendship". Everyone loves girls' night out! :)
    doeydo
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA
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    Etiquette mandates that you don't throw your own engagement parties, but if someone offered to host one for you that would be acceptable. An engagement party has nothing to do with what type of wedding ceremony you will be having. It is to celebrate a commitment to get married at a future date.

    Actually, anyone invited to an engagement party must be invited to the wedding.

    This is always what I thought.

    But isn't it slightly common to have long-ish engagements? I mean, how are you supposed to know who you'll want to invite to your wedding 2-4 years down the line anyway? Or what if you decide to elope or have a more intimate wedding after-the-fact?
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
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    Etiquette mandates that you don't throw your own engagement parties, but if someone offered to host one for you that would be acceptable. An engagement party has nothing to do with what type of wedding ceremony you will be having. It is to celebrate a commitment to get married at a future date.
    Actually, anyone invited to an engagement party must be invited to the wedding.
    This is always what I thought. But isn't it slightly common to have long-ish engagements? I mean, how are you supposed to know who you'll want to invite to your wedding 2-4 years down the line anyway? Or what if you decide to elope or have a more intimate wedding after-the-fact?
    One should tread very carefully with engagement parties and err on the side of declining them if they foresee any of this as an issue. One should only have engagement parties with guests they are 100% sure they want to invite to the wedding. They should not include every Tom, Dick and Harry but rather close VIPs. If there is ANY hint that they would like an intimate wedding, they should decline an engagement party to be safe.
    doeydo
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago
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    So my Fiancee and I are thinking about eloping. This is a second marriage for both of us and if we did a wedding it would be a very small (less than 20 people) destination wedding where we would upset a lot of our family and friends. Due to that we were thinking of just the two of us going off and eloping and having a post elopement reception/gathering, however a few of my close girlfriends still want to do the whole traditional bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc. even though they know they or anyone will be in attendance for the real ceremony. Since very few places even mention elopement much less technicalities with it, what is the etiquette for elopements and pre/post parties?

    I really dont get why you would elope and have a reception/ party later. Doesnt that defeat the purpose?

    Only people who are invited to the wedding can be invited to the bridal showers, bach parties and engagement parties. So your fi can host a bridal shower for you, and invite only you, if you really want.

    BabyFruit Ticker
    Blue_Bird
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown
    Moderator Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
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    edited February 2014
    KatWAG said:
    So my Fiancee and I are thinking about eloping. This is a second marriage for both of us and if we did a wedding it would be a very small (less than 20 people) destination wedding where we would upset a lot of our family and friends. Due to that we were thinking of just the two of us going off and eloping and having a post elopement reception/gathering, however a few of my close girlfriends still want to do the whole traditional bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc. even though they know they or anyone will be in attendance for the real ceremony. Since very few places even mention elopement much less technicalities with it, what is the etiquette for elopements and pre/post parties?

    I really dont get why you would elope and have a reception/ party later. Doesnt that defeat the purpose?

    Only people who are invited to the wedding can be invited to the bridal showers, bach parties and engagement parties. So your fi can host a bridal shower for you, and invite only you, if you really want.

    THIS!!! Actually, a true elopement is going off and getting married without most people knowing about it. So, if most of your circle knows about it, it's not really an elopment per se. I actually eloped and kept it a secret from most family and friends (some people did put two and two together prior to us leaving for the trip). We are also on our second marriages. I did this because not only did I want a private ceremony, but I wanted to avoid all of the traditional wedding activities (showers, parties, receptions, etc.) I was beyond thrilled to be married and then just move on with our lives as husband and wife.

     

    edit- spelling

     







    Blue_Bird
  • I'm not that familiar with wedding etiquette (recently started planning my wedding so I had no exposure to this at all until one month ago) and I really don't understand why it's such a big deal for her to have a shower and/or bachelorette party. She didn't ask for it, "a few of her close friends" know that they won't be invited to the wedding, they support her and her decision to get married so they want to throw her some parties. What's the problem? I see that a shower where they give wedding gifts may be strange, but even then, if she didn't ask for it at all and her friends want to do this for her, isn't it just a nice opportunity to celebrate a very important event? 

    Again - I'm new here and perhaps what it's very wrong, but I fail to see the problem with this. Could someone explain the reasoning?
  • @crimsonsaffron:  Everyone who is invited to pre-wedding parties like bachelorette parties, showers or engagement parties MUST be invited to the wedding.  Elopements do not have guests.  Now do you understand?
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    doeydo
  • @CMGragain - Well, I understand the "rule" but maybe there are times when breaking that rule isn't such a big deal? If it's just a few of her close friends who are wanting to throw her a party and they already KNOW they're not invited to the wedding, what's the big deal with breaking that rule?
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA
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    Generally it's just seen as rude to invite people to these things. It's kind of like saying "hey, you're important enough to buy me a gift, but not important enough to actually come to my wedding!"
    doeydo
  • I never knew the engagement party was included in the whole wedding parties list. I've been to several engagement parties where the B&G ended up eloping. In my experience it has been long engagements, and B&G had no set wedding plans at the time so idk if that changes anything. I guess it makes sense.
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA
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    I'm not that familiar with wedding etiquette (recently started planning my wedding so I had no exposure to this at all until one month ago) and I really don't understand why it's such a big deal for her to have a shower and/or bachelorette party. She didn't ask for it, "a few of her close friends" know that they won't be invited to the wedding, they support her and her decision to get married so they want to throw her some parties. What's the problem? I see that a shower where they give wedding gifts may be strange, but even then, if she didn't ask for it at all and her friends want to do this for her, isn't it just a nice opportunity to celebrate a very important event? 

    Again - I'm new here and perhaps what it's very wrong, but I fail to see the problem with this. Could someone explain the reasoning?
    Nobody should ever be asking for parties to be thrown in their honor, so they don't get bonus points for not doing something they shouldn't be doing. 



    doeydo
  • edited February 2014
    Viczaesar said:


    I'm not that familiar with wedding etiquette (recently started planning my wedding so I had no exposure to this at all until one month ago) and I really don't understand why it's such a big deal for her to have a shower and/or bachelorette party. She didn't ask for it, "a few of her close friends" know that they won't be invited to the wedding, they support her and her decision to get married so they want to throw her some parties. What's the problem? I see that a shower where they give wedding gifts may be strange, but even then, if she didn't ask for it at all and her friends want to do this for her, isn't it just a nice opportunity to celebrate a very important event? 
    Again - I'm new here and perhaps what it's very wrong, but I fail to see the problem with this. Could someone explain the reasoning?

    Nobody should ever be asking for parties to be thrown in their honor, so they don't get bonus points for not doing something they shouldn't be doing. 

    I wasn't saying she gets bonus points, I was simply emphasizing the fact that her friends want to do this to celebrate a big event in her life knowing they are not invited to the wedding. 

    (Tried to edit to get change the strange formatting)
  • @crimsonsaffron,  There is nothing wrong with having a party to celebrate anything.  They are given AFTER the event, not before.  That eliminates showers, bachelorettes, engagement parties.
    Her friends can throw her a party later, after she is married.  A tea would be nice.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • @CMGragain - I guess we can just agree to disagree on this one :) 
  • CMGragainCMGragain
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    edited February 2014
    You aren't disagreeing with ME.  You are disagreeing with Emily Post, Miss Manners, Amy Vanderbilt, and most of us who care about etiquette on The Knot.
    I do know about elopements.  They are a tradition in my family, though I did have a small, traditional wedding and reception, myself.  Most of my cousins, my aunt, and my late grandmother all eloped.  Grandma was fighting family issues both times she eloped.  The rest were just being practical.  None have any regrets.
    BTW, it is perfectly proper to send a wedding gift to a couple who is recently married - elopement or otherwise.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    doeydoKatWAG
  • @CMGragain - I am disagreeing with you about the absolute importance of rules of etiquette. I don't see a big problem with breaking rules of etiquette in certain situations, you do. 
  • @crimsonsaffron-- You are ABSOLUTELY right.  Some people fail to recognize that as traditions change, etiquette also changes.  With weddings becoming increasingly about showiness, and less about the love between the bride and groom, more and more people are deciding to elope, which usually meant that either the family didn't approve or that there was an urgent need to marry.  This is no longer the case as increasing costs, anxiety over wedding planning, second weddings, disapproval of the commercialism of weddings and a dislike of being the center of attention are common reasons to get eloped.  I've noticed a lot of people on these forums state past etiquette rules as facts that cannot be disputed but when quoting outdated references and mindsets, at some point, you have to realize that there are gray spots that require your best judgment and not someone else's opinion.

    @weddedfaerie84-- ;There isn't an issue as long as those throwing the bachelorette party/shower/engagement party and those who are coming to these parties understand the wedding plans and are okay with them.  Many people love a reason for a good party and there is no reason to deny them of that.  If you feel iffy about it, you could always have them include on the invitation that you would prefer no gifts. General rule of thumb: put yourself in your guest's shoes and if it feels wrong, don't do it! You could also sit them down and explain your reservations and let them decide themselves.  Best of luck, and congratulations!

  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown
    Moderator Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
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    edited February 2014
    whitecc4 said:

    @crimsonsaffron-- You are ABSOLUTELY right.  Some people fail to recognize that as traditions change, etiquette also changes.  With weddings becoming increasingly about showiness, and less about the love between the bride and groom, more and more people are deciding to elope, which usually meant that either the family didn't approve or that there was an urgent need to marry.  This is no longer the case as increasing costs, anxiety over wedding planning, second weddings, disapproval of the commercialism of weddings and a dislike of being the center of attention are common reasons to get eloped.  I've noticed a lot of people on these forums state past etiquette rules as facts that cannot be disputed but when quoting outdated references and mindsets, at some point, you have to realize that there are gray spots that require your best judgment and not someone else's opinion.

    @weddedfaerie84-- ;There isn't an issue as long as those throwing the bachelorette party/shower/engagement party and those who are coming to these parties understand the wedding plans and are okay with them.  Many people love a reason for a good party and there is no reason to deny them of that.  If you feel iffy about it, you could always have them include on the invitation that you would prefer no gifts. General rule of thumb: put yourself in your guest's shoes and if it feels wrong, don't do it! You could also sit them down and explain your reservations and let them decide themselves.  Best of luck, and congratulations!

    The entire point of an elopement is to avoid a traditional wedding for what ever reason, which means avoiding the parties and stuff that go along with a modern day wedding. Especially to the bolded. If you are eloping due to not wanting to fall into the trap of commercialism, then avoiding these types of parties does exactly that! These parties are all about commercialism, especially if you aren't inviting the people attending to the marriage ceremony. Ditto about being the center of attention. Showers and bachelorette parties throw you into the center of attention! It highlights the fact that you are a bride!!

    If OP wants to have a small DW, then she can accept the offer to have a shower or bachlorette party with the women who are invited to the DW. If the OP is truly going to elope, then she needs to decline the offer of these formal parties. A true elopment is done without the knowledge of others, so this would not even be an issue because noone would know anything about the pending marriage. If her friends want to send her a gift, they are free to do so. If they want to spend an evening out with her, then there is nothing stopping them from meeting up for dinner and/or drinks one evening, as most friends do. It's just rude to have a formally hosted event and invite people that cannot and willnot be a part of the wedding (which is what these parties celebrate, right?)

     

    edit- spelling

     







    LondonLisa
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    whitecc4 said:

    @crimsonsaffron-- You are ABSOLUTELY right.  Some people fail to recognize that as traditions change, etiquette also changes.  With weddings becoming increasingly about showiness, and less about the love between the bride and groom, more and more people are deciding to elope, which usually meant that either the family didn't approve or that there was an urgent need to marry.  This is no longer the case as increasing costs, anxiety over wedding planning, second weddings, disapproval of the commercialism of weddings and a dislike of being the center of attention are common reasons to get eloped.  I've noticed a lot of people on these forums state past etiquette rules as facts that cannot be disputed but when quoting outdated references and mindsets, at some point, you have to realize that there are gray spots that require your best judgment and not someone else's opinion.

    @weddedfaerie84-- ;There isn't an issue as long as those throwing the bachelorette party/shower/engagement party and those who are coming to these parties understand the wedding plans and are okay with them.  Many people love a reason for a good party and there is no reason to deny them of that.  If you feel iffy about it, you could always have them include on the invitation that you would prefer no gifts. General rule of thumb: put yourself in your guest's shoes and if it feels wrong, don't do it! You could also sit them down and explain your reservations and let them decide themselves.  Best of luck, and congratulations!

    @Jells2dot0 addressed your first point, so I will only speak to your second mistaken point.  It is never appropriate to mention gifts on invitations, even if it is to request "no gifts".  
  • mobkaz said:
    whitecc4 said:

    @crimsonsaffron-- You are ABSOLUTELY right.  Some people fail to recognize that as traditions change, etiquette also changes.  With weddings becoming increasingly about showiness, and less about the love between the bride and groom, more and more people are deciding to elope, which usually meant that either the family didn't approve or that there was an urgent need to marry.  This is no longer the case as increasing costs, anxiety over wedding planning, second weddings, disapproval of the commercialism of weddings and a dislike of being the center of attention are common reasons to get eloped.  I've noticed a lot of people on these forums state past etiquette rules as facts that cannot be disputed but when quoting outdated references and mindsets, at some point, you have to realize that there are gray spots that require your best judgment and not someone else's opinion.

    @weddedfaerie84-- ;There isn't an issue as long as those throwing the bachelorette party/shower/engagement party and those who are coming to these parties understand the wedding plans and are okay with them.  Many people love a reason for a good party and there is no reason to deny them of that.  If you feel iffy about it, you could always have them include on the invitation that you would prefer no gifts. General rule of thumb: put yourself in your guest's shoes and if it feels wrong, don't do it! You could also sit them down and explain your reservations and let them decide themselves.  Best of luck, and congratulations!

    @Jells2dot0 addressed your first point, so I will only speak to your second mistaken point.  It is never appropriate to mention gifts on invitations, even if it is to request "no gifts".  
    I was so drawn to the first point that I didn't even see the gift part!!! Yes- no mention of that anywhere on invites at all. ever.

     







  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
    2500 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    edited February 2014
    whitecc4 You are confusing tradition with etiquette. Etiquette is just treating everyone nicely so there are no hurt feelings.

    If you say that one of the main reasons to elope is because of the commercialism of weddings, then don't perpetuate the "gimme pig" attitude of weddings by having a bridal shower etc for people not invited to the wedding. It is really a simple rule- no one should be invited to an official pre-wedding party (engagement, shower, hen-do) if they are not invited to the wedding. No one is entitled to wedding gifts and pre-wedding parties. 

    If OP's friends want to have drinks- then that is fine, that is not a pre-wedding party. If they want to give a gift, they are more than welcome to. But if they ask "can we host a shower/ bachelorette for you" the bride should politely decline and say "since we are eloping, I'm uncomfortable with pre-wedidng parties, but how about girls night out"? 

    Would you invite your friends (or allow your friends to host) to a "pre-birthday party" to give you presents and then not invite them to your actual birthday party? Of course  you wouldn't! This is the same situation.
    JennyColadacupcait927
  • @CMGragain - Well, I understand the "rule" but maybe there are times when breaking that rule isn't such a big deal? If it's just a few of her close friends who are wanting to throw her a party and they already KNOW they're not invited to the wedding, what's the big deal with breaking that rule?
        I find that a lot of times you only have to call it something else to make it etiquette proper. For instance, if her co-workers wanted to take her out for drinks the Friday before she left for her elopement they just call it 'girls night out' and don't have any of the trappings of a bachelorette party, then you are in the clear. You and your co-workers know it's really to take you out for a drink to celebrate your wedding, and no one is bent out of shape because you called it a 'Bachelorette' party instead of 'girls night out'. 

       Shower is trickier. You can't really have any of those or a 'Bridal Tea' or anything if you are eloping. I'm not having any of these either as I am only having a 20 person destination wedding. I think I read somewhere that co-workers can throw one without an expectation of being invited to the wedding, but I'd double check. When I worked in the office we would do it all the time as a surprise. It was an excuse to eat cake and we'd usually pitch in for something larger off their registry with no expectation we'd be invited. Since it was a surprise they couldn't refuse us without making a scene! (I was raised by an etiquette challenged family and so were my co-workers apparently)
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