Post Elopement Party Planning: Everything You Need to Know

No matter if you are currently planning your elopement or if you already eloped and are looking to plan a celebration with all your loved ones, we are here to help you to decide how and what is right for you to celebrate your union with all of your loved ones!

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to plan the perfect post elopement soirée. From defining your celebration style to choosing a stunning venue and crafting the ideal guest list, we’ve got you covered with creative post elopement party ideas. We’ll also explore invitation wording, dress options, and personal touches to make your party truly one-of-a-kind. Remember, there are no rules when it comes to celebrating your elopement – it’s all about honoring your love story, your way.

It is so important to remember, no couple is the same, no elopement is the same. There are no rules when it comes to how you define elopement, elopement celebration or how you decide to get married. Planning with an open mind can help you craft a day that is true to you two and forever memorable.

A bride spins and then her groom kisses her.

Defining Your Post Elopement Celebration

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of planning your post elopement party, let’s define what it actually is.

A post elopement party is essentially a celebration after your intimate elopement ceremony. It’s an opportunity to share your joy with loved ones who weren’t present at your actual elopement adventures.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to post elopement parties. You can host it whenever and wherever you like, whether that’s a week after your elopement or on your one-year anniversary. The beauty of eloping is that you get to do things your way, so embrace that freedom when planning your celebration!

Unlike, tradional weddings, where there are a lot of protocols or ettiquettes, that doesn’t exist here. The protocal is to do what is right for you two.

When to Host Your Post Elopement Party

The timing and location of your post elopement party are entirely up to you. Some couples prefer to keep the celebration fresh and host it shortly after their elopement, while others may wait a few months to settle into married life first. Here are some of the most common times we have seen elopements celebrations happen:

For Bill and I personally, we eloped on a 6 day backpacking trip and then on our 1 year anniversary went to the Great Smokey Mountains Naitonal Park to hold our mini elopement reception with 12 of our loved ones. We decided to wait one year for a few reasons: time to save money, spread out the celebration and our general schedule with ideal weather.

So let’s talk about it, how do you decide when is the best time for you two hold your elopement party? These are the main things we recommend considering:

  • Budget
  • Venue, if you need a venue, securing a date may dictate a lot of your choices
  • Time of year/ideal weather if you are planning out outdoor event
  • Turn around time for photo and video from your elopement day. You may want to share these with your loved ones at your reception. For example, we turn around photo in 5 weeks and video in 8 weeks so most of our couples that celebrate after the elopement day will plan 6-9 weeks past their elopement date.
  • The time that you have to plan + stress management. You do not want to elope and then immediately have to go into a big event. Consider how much time you want between the two and what works for you.

Where to host your post elopement celebration

As for the venue, your options are endless. Picking the right location may have a lot to do with when you choose to host your elopement celebration. When picking the right location for your celebration consider:

  • Budget
  • Guest count
  • Overal desired vibe/experience
  • Weather

We have been honored to actually attend and photography some of our couples elopement parties and these are some of the locations we loved:

  • Eastside Bivy – located in Bishop, CA. The couple eloped on a hiking elopement just them and then hosted a dinner + party the next day at their stay here. It was such a beautiful setting and walking distance to the bar after! The day after the reception the couple hosted everyone on a hike into the mountains.
  • Red Earth Venue – located in Moab, Utah. We have had several couples use this venue. All of the couples have done a full day adventure elopement and on day two done a more tradional wedding where they hold the formal ceremony, dinner and dancing.
  • Camp Saturna – located in the Mt Baker, Washington area. We had a couple share their private vows in the morning and then in the evening held their ceremony here, canoed into the reception where dancing and dinner happened. Everyone was also able to stay on the property.
  • At an Airbnb – A lot of our couples choose to host a dinner the same day as their elopement or another day. We ourselves hosted our entire weekend at an Airbnb. It is important to get permission from the Airbnb host if you are going to go this route. We have had seen couples use Airbnbs in Joshua Tree, Yosemite National Park, Washington State and Sedona for this.
  • Your backyard or a family members porperty – This is a recipe for affordable, laid back and fun! Hosting at a place you do not have to rent saves you money, but also allows you more flexibility in your plans.

Visit our recommended guide for 40 Small Wedding Venues located in Adventurous Regions.

Unique locations to consider for an elopement party:

  1. A State Park
  2. A county park
  3. A campground
  4. On a house boat!! (Did anyone say Lake Powell??)
  5. On a Cruise
  6. Vineyard/Brewery
  7. Art Gallery or Meausm

Remember, there are no rules – choose a location that feels special and enjoyable for you and your partner.

A bride dances outside under twinkle lights in celebration of getting married!

Detailed Planning Guide for Elopement Reception

Now that you have some ideas on when, where and overall vibe of the elopement reception you wish to host, let’s dive into planning it out!

Setting and Invitations

First, consider the overall vibe you want for your post-elopement party. Will it be a casual backyard BBQ or an elegant evening soirée? This will help determine your invitation style and wording.

When crafting your invites, be clear that you’ve already tied the knot and this is a celebration of your marriage. However, how you celebrate is up to you two. This may just be a party, this may include a typical reception activities, or it could even include a formal ceremony. If there are formal events happening you may want to consider listing them on the invite, this could help your guests determine what type of attire to wear.

When to send invites for a post elopement celebration?

When to send invites partly depends on when you decide to tell people you have or plan to elope. We recommend sending invites at least 3 months in advance so your guests can plan ahead. However, if it is during Summer when people typically plan their vacations + travel you may want to send them 6 months in advance.

Where to get elopement party invites?

You can order invites online at a place like Minted or Vista Print. However, you can also use an online resource to save money + paper product. This option is great because you can also share more information more easily with your guests. We recommend using: Zola or With Joy.

A detail photo of a couple's elopement plans.

What to wear to your Elopement Reception

Ah, I am always team wear the wedding dress as much as you can!! However, you can wear whatever you want! Here are some things we have seen our couples do:

  • Wear the same thing you wore on your elopement day.
  • Wear something new, a secondary dress, suit, typically it is something fun or slightly more casual.
  • Wear something cute and dressy, but not wedding related, maybe a Summer dress?
  • Your everyday attire, depending how casual the event is.
  • Consider something personalized like a jacket or shirts.

Some places we love for shopping bridal attire that is affordable for a second dress/bridal look:

A couple toasts with their eloement guests during a celebrotory picnic.

Budget and Allocation

Next, establish your budget. Post-elopement parties can be as simple or extravagant as you’d like, so figure out what’s most important to you as a couple. Will you splurge on a live band or prioritize a top-notch caterer? Allocate your funds accordingly.

When budgeting for your elopement reception some common things to consider budget for are:

  • Stay
  • Food
  • Decor
  • Cake/dessert
  • Photography
  • Other vendors (You may consider hair and make up, DJ, chef, florist)

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to your celebration. You can host it whenever and wherever you like, whether that’s a week after your elopement or on your one-year anniversary. The key is to stay true to yourselves and what will make you happiest.

If you are unsure of a budget or what is realistic my advice would be to reach out to a few options you are considering or browse websites to gauge how much funds you may need for what you envision.

A couple chat with their dinner celebration guest under twinkle lights.
Sedona Elopement

Essential Elements of an Elopement Party

When planning your post elopement party, there are a few essential elements to consider that will make your celebration truly unforgettable. Let’s dive into the key aspects that will elevate your event and create an incredible experience for you and your guests.

Entertainment

One of the most important elements of any party is the entertainment. Consider hiring a band or DJ to keep the dance floor packed all night long. If you’re looking for a more laid-back vibe, plan some fun games like lawn games, board games, or even set up a projector to show your elopement photos and video. The key is to choose activities that reflect your personalities and will keep your guests engaged and having a great time.

Having music of some sort also presents you the oppurtunity to share a first dance together or with your parents. Again, this is a great way to provide the guests the ability to feel apart of the wedding experince, but not something required or even needed. Just an idea!

Here are a few first dance songs we love:

“Harvest Moon” by Neil Young

“Rivers and Roads” by The Head and the Heart

“Wildest Dreams” by Taylor Swift (Acoustic Version)

“Ho Hey” by The Lumineers

“Bloom” by The Paper Kites

“Lover” by National Parks

Food and Beverage Choices

No party is complete without delicious food and drinks! You have so many options when it comes to catering your post elopement celebration. Consider hiring a food truck to provide your favorite eats, or work with a local restaurant to create a custom menu. If you’re hosting a more casual affair, a BBQ or potluck can be a fun and affordable option. And don’t forget the drinks! Set up a bar with signature cocktails that represent you as a couple, or keep it simple with beer and wine. You can have a bartender or you can set out ice chests with drinks. For special cocktails without a bartender consider making it bulk.

Guest Experience

Above all, your post elopement party should be a reflection of you as a couple. Think about ways to personalize the experience for your guests. Some ideas include:

  1. Create a custom playlist with songs that are meaningful to you
  2. Set up a photo booth with props that match your theme
  3. Provide favors that guests will actually use and enjoy
  4. Include personal touches like handwritten notes or a slideshow of your love story
  5. Display photos from your elopement day so they can see and hear your story.

Remember, there are no rules when it comes to celebrating your elopement. Wear your wedding attire again, re-read your vows, or plan a weekend getaway with your closest friends and family. The most important thing is that you do whatever feels authentic and enjoyable to you. Remember you can make this event feel like a wedding type celebration, but it can also just be a gathering of everyone you love casually.

By focusing on these essential elements – entertainment, food and drinks, and the overall guest experience – you’ll create a post elopement party that is truly unforgettable. So let loose, have fun, and revel in this exciting new chapter of your lives together!

A couple shares a kiss surrounded by their loved ones as they celebrate their union.

Personal Touches to Enhance Your Elopement Celebration

Now that you’ve nailed down the essentials of your post elopement celebration, it’s time to infuse it with personal touches that reflect your unique love story. These special elements will make your party truly unforgettable for both you and your guests.

Share your Elopement Images

One meaningful way to personalize your post elopement party is by sharing photos and videos from your intimate ceremony. This allows guests who couldn’t be there to feel like they were part of your special day. Consider setting up a slideshow or creating a video montage to showcase your elopement highlights.

You could even incorporate your elopement photos into the party decor. Print out your favorite shots and display them on tables or hang them on a memory wall for guests to admire. This is a great conversation starter and helps everyone feel connected to your journey. Depending how far your reception is after the elopemetn considering having a full ablum printed and displayed so they can flip through the day and unfold the full story.

Second Ceremony Options

If you want to include your loved ones in your union, consider having a second ceremony at your post elopement party. This could be as simple as reciting your vows again in front of your guests or incorporating traditional elements that are important to your families.

You could also ask a close friend or family member to officiate the ceremony, adding an extra layer of intimacy. This is a beautiful way to blend the private commitment you made during your elopement with a public celebration of your love. You can make it serious, tradional, fun or extremely untradional.

Check out our guide for elopement ceremonies for more ideas.

Customized Keepsakes

Create custom favors or keepsakes for your guests to take home as a reminder of your special day. Some ideas include:

  1. Personalized candles with your elopement date or initials
  2. Small jars of local honey or jam from your elopement location
  3. Customized postcards with a photo from your elopement
  4. Miniature potted succulents or plants native to your elopement spot

You could also set up a guest book alternative, like a wishing tree or time capsule, where guests can write their well wishes and advice for your marriage. This interactive element encourages guests to share in your joy and creates a meaningful memento for you to cherish.

Also, keep in mind it is not mandatory to give a gift.

A couple holds their custom cocktails at their elopement celebration.

Conclusion

Eloping is a beautiful way to celebrate your love story on your own terms. Whether you choose a scenic destination or a sentimental spot, the key is to stay true to yourselves and what makes you happiest as a couple. A lot of couples choose to elope because they want to seperate the intimacy of the ceremony and the party aspect of the reception. In this case planning the party can be a lot of fun. However, many couples choose to elope because they do not like to be center of attention. Remember, just like your elopement, when it comes to your reception, stay true to you two and do what feels right to you two.

When it comes time to celebrate with loved ones, a post elopement party is the perfect opportunity to share your joy and revel in this exciting new chapter. Focus on creating an experience that reflects your unique personalities, with personal touches like custom cocktails, a meaningful playlist, and photos from your elopement day. Above all, embrace the freedom and flexibility that comes with doing things your way – because in the end, all that matters is your love for each other.

The family of the couple join them for a picnic lunch celebration in the park.
Olympic National Park Elopement

FAQs

1. How do you organize a celebration after eloping?
To plan a post-elopement celebration, consider these 8 creative ideas:

  • Choose a specific theme or style for the party.
  • Select the ideal venue that suits your taste.
  • Display your elopement photos for guests to see.
  • Hire a professional photographer to capture the event.
  • Incorporate some of your favorite wedding traditions.
  • Wear an outfit that you feel great in.
  • Hire a DJ or a live band to provide music.
  • Make a toast to celebrate the occasion.

2. What is a post-elopement celebration called?
A post-elopement celebration can be referred to in various ways including a reception, a post-elopement party, an evening celebration, or even a “Happily Ever Afterparty.” The choice of name depends on your personal preference; there’s no right or wrong term. Here are a few ideas for you:

  • Adventure After Party
  • Happily Ever After Bash
  • Just Married Soirée
  • Post Vow Party
  • Newlywed Adventure
  • Just Hitched Bonfire

3. How should you announce your marriage after eloping?
When announcing your marriage after eloping, you can use formal messages such as:

  • “[Name] and [Name] were married in a private ceremony in [Location] on [Date].”
  • “Announcing the new [Name] and [Name], married at an intimate wedding ceremony on [Date].”
  • “We are delighted to announce that our [Relation], [Name] married [Name] on [Date] in [Location].”

It is really up to you! When Bill and I personally eloped no one knew except our closest folks. We simply annouced on our social media platforms with photos and our account of the experience.

4. How can you involve family and friends after eloping?
To include family and friends after eloping, consider hosting a reception back home. This allows you to celebrate your marriage with loved ones in a way that does not necessarily have to follow traditional reception norms. This gathering can be tailored to reflect your personal style and preferences. As we have mentioned earlier in the blog you can include them by doing first dances, toasts, re-read vows or hold a simply or fun formal ceremony. We have seen couples even toast to their guests, explaining to each why they are important to them and their story. Do not be afraid to do something creative or different!

A group photo at the reception with all the couple's guests.
a man holding a woman on his shoulders who herself is holding a camera

Your Elopement Photography Team!

We believe couples really can have it all. The intimate moments just for themselves and the stress free celebration with friends and family.

We are by your side every step of the way and we’re always excited to help with any planning that brings you each step closer to your full dream elopement experience.

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