How To Throw A Post Elopement Party or Reception

There is no question that eloping is one of the most spectacular, intimate, and romantic ways to tie the knot. But just because you want to elope doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t want to celebrate your union with your friends and family. That’s why it’s becoming more common to throw a party or reception either on a later date or even later that same day but separated from your ceremony. 

However, a post-elopement party is not exactly the same as a wedding reception. Otherwise, you would have just thrown a wedding right?! 

So today, we want to walk you through what you need to know to throw the perfect post-elopement party without feeling like you’re planning an actual wedding all over again. 

Set A Budget Before You Do Anything

For most couples, the point of a post elopement reception is to focus on the celebration part without breaking the bank. In fact, finances may have been the primary reason that you chose to elope in the first place. 

It is important that you take an honest look at your finances and set a clear, realistic, and definitive budget so the financial stress of throwing this party doesn’t overwhelm you unnecessarily. There is nothing wrong with throwing a modest BBQ or potluck in your own backyard as long as it gives everyone the chance to come together in love and joy. This is a happy celebration, not one worth a series of headaches.

I love that Andrew and Sarah self-solemnized their marriage on a mountain-top, but still joined their family and friends for a post-elopement backyard reception the same evening catered by one of their favorite local restaurant, Illegal Petes!

Make A List Of Priorities

Once you have a budget, it’s time that you make a list of your primary goals and priorities for this party. If there were some traditional activities that you missed out on like a parent dance or toasts from loved ones, this is the perfect time for them. In fact, you may even want to ask close family members if there are certain traditions they would like to see included. 

Regardless, there are no rules for what should or should not be important to you. While it is kind to be considerate of those that missed out on your ceremony and exchange of vows, this celebration is still about you and your union. Therefore, you don’t need to allow people to pressure you into doing anything you truly don’t want to. 

Katriona and Austin chose to self-solemnize for their destination Estes Park elopement and plan a celebration with their family and friends on the East Coast (their home) on a later date!

Make the Big Announcement

If you eloped in secret or told only a few close friends, your post-elopement reception invitation can also double as your elopement announcement! We love sending our couples a sneak peek of photos to use on their announcement (and just to enjoy while we pour all of the TLC into editing the full gallery).  

Consider A Second Ceremony

There is certainly no need to go crazy but you may also want to consider holding another ceremony. After all, you and your partner got to do the real one alone already, so what is the harm in a reenactment for the benefit of those that love you? 

In fact, if there may be certain ‘traditions’ that you didn’t want to be included in your elopement experience, but are important to your family, you may even be willing to incorporate those into your post-elopement celebration – for example, a unity ceremony, being walked down the aisle or something specific to your family’s culture or religion. However, you should only do this if you want to, not because you feel forced to do so. 

Kaity and Kyle privately shared their vows during their snowy Winter Elopement at Sapphire Point in Dillon, but renewed them for a post-elopement reception at The Barn at Evergreen Memorial Park the following Spring!
I love that these two got to celebrate their promises to one another in both an intimate setting at Sapphire Point and surrounded by their family and friends at their Barn at Evergreen Memorial Park wedding celebration

Shout out to their wedding and elopement officiant, Phil Gallagher, for performing two incredible ceremonies!

Share Photos, Momentos, And Video From Your Special Day

Did you have an elopement photographer or videographer for your elopement (if you’re eloping in Colorado we hope it’s us, but we know this post is a resource for any couples, not just our clients)? Your post-elopement party would be the perfect time to share those pictures or the video with everyone. Ask your elopement photographer how long it takes them to deliver your gallery before you set a date for your party! For reference, we always send our couples a sneak peek of photos within 1 week and they receive their full elopement gallery within 6 weeks.

Additionally, if you have other mementos that played a role in your special day you may wish to display those as well. For example, you may consider a display a recreation of your bouquet, or even display a framed version of your vows. 

We also love creating guest books, canvases, or even wood or metal prints with elopement photographs for the couple’s party guests to write messages in or on!

Showcasing an intimate detail or two from your day is an easy way of helping those that weren’t there to feel more included in your union. 

Andrew and Sarah popping champagne after their Loveland Pass self-solemnized elopement ceremony before joining their friends and family for a backyard reception in Denver

Shout out to their Denver elopement florist, Reverie, for this gorgeous bouquet!

Why Are You Eloping?

There are so many wonderful reasons to elope versus throwing the big traditional wedding. However, there are also times when you may have chosen to elope because you were ready to marry your partner, but couldn’t have a large celebration (a situation many couples were faced with during the coronavirus pandemic.) It is important that you remember why you eloped in the first place when planning your post-elopement party so you don’t get carried away and wind up throwing a huge, stressful, expensive wedding just to please other people. 

Would you throw a post-elopement party for friends and family? Why or why not? Please sound off in the comments!

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