Are you considering an elopement? Congratulations! Choosing to elope rather than put on a traditional wedding is a great solution for some couples to be sure. From the courthouse to the exotic tropical island and all options in between, elopements are typically less stressful and more economical. Although you may not be beholden to the usual wedding day etiquette, there are some basic guidelines to follow.
Elopement Etiquette: 6 Tips to Success
1. FAMILY FIRST – DO TELL!
As per typical wedding etiquette, it is important to tell those closest to you personally, before you announce on social media. This shows proper respect and is just a loving and kind thing to do. If your elopement is a surprise, Facetime or call your closest loved ones, informing them of your exciting nuptials before making a public announcement. Bottom line: most friends will be excited to see the announcement on Facebook, your mom will not.
Tip: If you have family that you are especially close with, you can always include them in the planning so they feel like they are still celebrating with you. One suggestion: Take your mom and sisters out for lunch and let them help you pick your wedding wardrobe.
2. SEND ANNOUNCEMENTS INSTEAD OF SAVE THE DATES
Since there is no reason for a Save The Date, announcements of your engagement and upcoming elopement are perfectly acceptable and are actually most welcome! Your family will love being included by receiving an announcement and they will want to congratulate you. If you are planning a wedding celebration at a later date, you should include that in your announcement so they know the be looking for it.
Tip: You can include the location of your upcoming wedding but beware — you may end up with company (see next point).
3. SHIRTTAIL STRANGERS
Okay, so not really strangers but what do you do when acquaintances or distant relatives see your island wedding as a great opportunity for an exotic vacation themselves and ask to tag along? There are several options to consider, depending on your particular circumstances.
- If you are determined to keep your space and privacy, you can write on the announcement that this is a private time between you and your future spouse and leave it at that. If someone asks you can simply answer “We are getting married privately.” Note though, this may be hard on some relationships.
- If you are getting married locally, a better option may be to invite the ones you are closest to for lunch or dinner before or after the wedding for a quiet, no-host celebration.
- For a destination elopement, of course, you can’t stop others from traveling to your same destination at the same time but you CAN keep them from butting in on your day with tact. On your announcement, don’t give the exact time or location for the wedding event. Since it’s wrapped up with your honeymoon, it is likely a longer stay.
- Also for a destination elopement, if you have relatives who insist on coming, let them know that you have a private itinerary but offer to have dinner or go on one excursion with them if that would be enjoyable for you.
4. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Make sure no paperwork is needed or that you bring it with you. Need a license? Officiant? Blood test? Make sure you know the regulations and come prepared. It isn’t anyone else’s responsibility to dig up information and overnight express mail these things to you.
5. SAY YES TO THE DRESS ….OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO WEAR!
There is absolutely no dress code for an elopement wedding. From formal wear to swimsuits to … nothing! It’s all been done! Whatever you and your future spouse are comfortable with is perfectly acceptable.
Remember though, the wedding pictures will be around longer than you and your kids and grandkids – and your mom – will all see them at some point.
6. REGISTRATION PLEASE
Want gifts? Host a party after the wedding to celebrate your union and invite everyone that would have been invited to a traditional wedding. You can send out invitations with registration information as usual. But because this is much more low-key, gifts are not to be expected, they are simply a courtesy that guests can choose to bring.
With compassion and common sense, you can absolutely pull off an elopement and maintain a great relationship with your friends and family. In the end, they all just want to see you happy.
We would love to make your elopement dreams come true at Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort in Curacao. Give our wedding planners a call. They would be delighted to help you plan!