My fiancé and I were together for 8 years and he finally popped the question a month ago. Everyone is extremely excited for us. We have been talking about our marriage options. We’ve decided that since we will have to pay for the wedding ourselves, we may not want to have a wedding. We just can’t seem to justify spending around $150 a person when we could be putting our saved up money to other uses (education, travel, a car, etc). We have discussed eloping. We think that going somewhere beautiful and getting married, just the two of us, would be amazing.
The only thing I’d be missing if we eloped is getting together with my close friends for one last hoorah. I thought it might be fun if my fiancé and I both had a night out (bachelor/bachelorette festivities) before we head off somewhere to get married alone. What would be the proper etiquette for something like that? I feel like no one has ever done that so I might just be crazy. My friends know how laid back I am so I’m not sure they’d be surprised. Also, I would plan on telling my friends (obviously) and our families if we were going to go “elope”. What’s the proper way to do that? announcements? before, after?
Larry James, President CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com
Nowadays a fancy wedding at a hotel or resort equates to a down payment on a house. We talking big bucks. In the Greater Phoenix area that could be from $20,00o to $30,000+. The last thing you need is a hugh credit card bill to start your marriage.
I once did a “surprise” wedding (for the guests) at the home of the Bride and Groom. Everyone brought finger food, etc., and though they were coming to a party. I arrived about 30 minutes after the party began. When the bride and groom told me they were ready, they invited everyone to the patio where they turned the announcement over to me. The guests were very surprised. Their only expenses were my Wedding Officiant fee and a little more for food and drinks. You could have a similar “surprise” party after you elope to announce the news to your friends.
I recently performed a wedding where only both parents and siblings were present. Both mothers were the witnesses who signed the marriage license.
You could elope in the city where you live. Hire a Wedding Officiant, get a very special room at a local resort (be sure to tell them you are newlyweds – sometimes there are perks!) and save yourself the expenses of going somewhere else to get married.
Some say that you need to ask yourself if your immediate family will be hurt by not being included? They most likely will. They also say that telling family comes first before money and your personal feelings considerations. I don’t agree. It is YOUR decision to make. You know your family… I don’t.
You could elope, then tell your friends or tell your friends and elope. Etiquette says you aren’t required to invite anyone, but you may want to tell your parents and siblings before you tie the knot, or immediately afterward. Telling your family and friends first might not be a good idea if you think you may be pressured by family to have a standard wedding when that is not your desire. How easy it is for you to say no?
Once you return, you could send out wedding announcements to let your friends and family know the good news. Remember to include a photo or two from your wedding day. Since your initial intent was: “we could be putting our saved up money to other uses (education, travel, a car, etc),” be sure that you start a savings account and begin putting the money you saved in it.
I wish you both much happiness!
Though the national average for weddings is around $25,000.00, that doesn’t mean yours has to be that high. You can have a nice wedding for way less than that with a smaller guest list and the right team of vendors. I highly suggest that you take some time to seriously think over the *why* behind your decision to elope and forgo a wedding ceremony/reception. Don’t let money dictate how you get married. It’s not all about the money. Unless you *are* putting money away towards a car or travel or education right now, you can spend a little for a party. Your wedding celebration is about celebrating *with* your closest family and friends. It’s as much about them as it is about you and your fiance. You’re a laid-back gal, you can throw an intimate gathering with friends (say 40) vs. a large “to-do” of 150 and it won’t break the bank. I can’t tell you how many calls and emails I get from women who have eloped, or had a civil ceremony, and 2 years later are wishing they would’ve had the reception with their close family and friends. Are you certain that you will have to pay for the *whole* wedding yourselves? Someone in your family may want to buy your dress for you or make your cake for you. They may not be able to pay for the entire cost but want to help you out with the cost…just something to consider as this is a once in a lifetime event.
Eloping is getting married without anyone knowing. I’m not reading in your post that eloping is what you are really doing as you would be telling those closest to you that you are getting married. I read that you want a small affair, possibly a destination wedding. Destination weddings can be expensive, too, unless you are meaning getting married in a beautiful, secluded location somewhere locally with just you and maybe your parents present. You can certainly get married privately and then you would send out wedding announcements after your wedding. Those would have the date that you got married and who is announcing your marriage (either you and your husband or your parents).
It is proper etiquette that a bride does not plan her own parties. If your friends want to throw you a bachelorette party or a couple’s party or a “last hoorah” of any kind, it’s up to them to do it. Your job is to be available, and provide them with a guest list and any ideas they would ask for.
I agree with these experts. If you are going to elope, have a party afterwards. However, do consider why you are eloping. Money alone is not usually the answer. If it is, keep thinking. There are lots of options available to you as have been suggested. Good luck!
Should You Elope? Here Are The Pros and Cons
Is eloping for you? Given the high cost of a wedding these days it is no surprise more and more couples consider eloping. Before you say yes to this idea, you should understand all the Pros and Cons:
Pros for Eloping
Less Expensive: Elopement beats traditional weddings in basically every cost category. No reception, no catering, no transport. It is way cheaper.
You Decide: No need to listen to anybody else’s opinions. If you opt for a private ceremony, you and your partner will probably do all the planning
Build’s Character: Your family all wants you to have abig wedding. Defying everybody else’s expectations will be great practice in standing up for your own wants.
Way More Creativity: Make your commitment in an Airbnb house in Lake Como or exchange vows on a remote Australian beach.
No Rules: Forget every wedding tradition you’ve ever known. All that matters during your elopement is that you say the vows and sign the paper.
Only the VIPs Are Present: If you choose to have any guests present for your elopement, they are going to be the friends and family who matter.
Photographers Love You: Photographers love to work on elopements. It is way more intimate.
No Stress: Weddings are stressful. Elopements are not.
Privacy: It’s hard to share a moment with your significant other when 200 other people are watching you.
Cons against Eloping
Hurt Feelings: You will piss people off. When loved ones find out that you’ve eloped, they won’t be happy.
Less Gifts: One of the most awesome wedding traditions is gift-giving. Not so much when you elope.
Less Extravagance: No fairytale wedding when you decide to elope. Less glamour and less attention by everybody on you for the day.
Fewer Guest to Share the Memories: Fewer people will be able to celebrate with you on your wedding day.
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