How to Plan a Wedding Celebration After you Elope

Guests at a wedding reception toasting.

Congratulations! You eloped. You successfully made your special day about just the two of you—but now your friends and family want to get in on the action and celebrate your nuptials! While planning a wedding celebration post-elopement isn’t (or, at least, shouldn’t be) as stressful as planning an actual wedding reception, it does require some thought and consideration, and a little bit of prep work. After all, you only get to celebrate your “I do’s” once. So even if you did choose to say them in private, now is your chance to do it up with your inner circle. So without further a-“do”—here’s how to plan a wedding celebration after you elope!

Decide Who to Invite

A bride and groom hugging their grandmother at their wedding reception.

Because you eloped, there’s a good chance that you might be a little picky about your guest list. You might prefer a more intimate party that’s just immediate family and close family friends. Or, on the other hand, you might want a huge bash! Talk to your new spouse on who they would like at the celebration and decide on whether you want it to be a small or large gathering.

Decide When you Want to Host the Party

The main idea behind an elopement is freedom, which is probably important to you and your beloved. The good news, then, is that your wedding celebration can be whenever you want it to be. It can be a few days or weeks after your elopement, or, depending on the scale of your soirée, it could also mean that you throw it a few months later. So check in with your friends and family. Depending on where they’re at in the world and what’s going on in their lives, you might want to schedule your party around their timelines.

Decide Where to Host It

A wedding reception set up in a courtyard next to a tree with lights.

Do your friends and family live in close proximity to you and your partner, or do they live far away? Are most of your loved ones scattered around the country, if not further away? If that’s the case, then you might want to consider hosting your wedding celebration somewhere in the middle or perhaps even consider having a destination elopement celebration. Whether you’re hosting it in your hometown or elsewhere, deciding on the venue is key. You will need it to fit your guest list in addition to fitting the theme of your evening. Yes, you’re allowed a theme! It might not be an actual wedding reception, but you still want the venue to suit the vibe of both you and your partner.

Decide Whether or not to Make a Gift Registry

Just because you eloped doesn’t mean you get to miss out on a having a gift registry! However, having a registry is a personal choice—and many eloped couples prefer not to have one. The choice is up to you! If you’re opting for a registry, send the link to your guests. If you choose not to have one, let guests know with a quick note in their invitations. (But be prepared for unexpected gifts anyway!)

Decide Which Traditions you Want to Keep

People at a wedding celebration toasting with champagne.

There are certain wedding reception traditions that you can still do, if you want! Everything from toasts to a DJ is up for grabs! Decide on what works for your reception’s vibe and guests and, if necessary, dole out the responsibilities to willing friends and family who want to help.

Planning a wedding celebration post-elopement doesn’t need to be complicated. By sticking to the necessities—the when, where, and who—and remembering that your celebration can be whatever you want it to be, toasting your new nuptials will be a piece of (wedding) cake.

Find Amazing Vendors