This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime….
OMG!! Did you seriously just elope!?!? Congratulations! Whether it was planned or spontaneous, secret or Instagrammed…you probably came home to lots of excitement and curiosity. Marriage is a milestone moment in life and it is natural to want to celebrate! Today, the majority of couples who choose to elope still opt to have an inclusive after party at a later date. While the reasons for eloping are various, many couples that successfully pull off a later celebration do the following….
Hiring A Wedding Planner For Your Post-Elopement Party
First and foremost we would be remiss if we didn’t go ahead and just say it: Hire a planner for your celebration. (If you already enlisted their help with planning your elopement–fantastic! Most of your work is done!) However, even if you are just getting started, and yes–even if you’re keeping it casual, your event coordinator is the foundation for all other decisions. To begin with you will want you and your guests the freedom to be present and fully occupy their given roles. You will treasure the memories you make with friends and family as celebrators, not event managers.
Albeit, for some couples, the reason to elope was born out of challenging family dynamics. If this is your truth, it will aid your wellbeing if you allow someone else to manage the day and help to surround you with peace. Even if you have been blessed with a close circle of support, you will still benefit from hiring an event planner. Most notably your planner will guide you to putting together the best vendor team to meet your needs; they will assist you in hiring vendors you can trust. Which leads directly to the next point….
Ensuring Timely Wedding Photos & Videos
When selecting both your photographer and videographer make sure to include language within their contracts to insure you will have your photos/videos done on time for your celebration. This is imperative as you may be on a tight timeline and will understandably be planning on their presence at your event. The presence of your photos and videos will aid guests in their celebration and may also give them a stronger sense of bearing witness to your marriage. Not only do the photos/videos provide inclusion they also play a secondary role of visual entertainment and helpful conversation starters for the introverts in your midst.
Dressing For Your Post-Elopement Party
Another element many couples consider is wearing a different or more casual dress/suit. Whether you want to call it memory attachment or “energy” the clothing you wore for your elopement will have its own meaning. Elopements are special; usually, the location is of importance. It naturally follows that the clothing worn would have been chosen to fit the mood and atmosphere of the location where you married. More than likely your celebration will be several weeks (perhaps even months) later–locations and moods will be different, seasons may have changed. Choose something to fit the spirit of your present event.
Planning Your Wedding Reception
When it comes to planning out the celebration itself, many couples choose to include common elements of a traditional wedding reception. This may look like toasts or prayers offered on your behalf by close friends and relatives. Another option some couples consider is to partake in a ritual or ceremony of their own design before or alongside their guests.
Some ways to accomplish this are with pouring sand or a ring blessing/warming. This offers guests a chance to feel as though they are experiencing a symbolic nature of two lives becoming one as well as you the memory of their collective blessing. It really does seem to be that those who matter most will look for opportunities to willfully and abundantly add to your observance. Your guests are there because they want to inclusively show you their support.
Another feature not to be overlooked of course there is the entertainment! Music sets the tone for the event, so even if you are having a simple luncheon, music will help create your atmosphere. With this in mind, opt for live music if your party will be informal with the focus on eating and chatting. If a large formal “reception” is more your style definitely secure a DJ to your vendor team.
Last but not least, another thoughtful touch would be to include elements of where you eloped as part of the overall theme of your wedding. This could easily be accomplished when considering your cake, table decor or guest favors. Were there wildflowers or shells nearby? Perhaps street food made an appearance or stop for donuts and coffee. This will can really be a place to let your personalities shine!
Achieving Perfection At Your Wedding Celebration
Whether your elopement looked more like a planned for intimate, destination wedding or a spur of the moment occurrence prompted by the passions of love–to create the celebration of your dreams (and budget!), find an event planner. They will be invaluable to combining your perfect vendor team even on short notice.
No matter how it happens, two people choosing to commit themselves to one another is worthy of celebrating and being blessed. It is our sincere hope that these tips alleviate planning anxiety and gift you the day worthy of your love.
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BIO: Written By Amy Habicht with Tan Weddings & Events, which specializes in planning, officiating, elopements, and music in Sacramento, Napa, Sonoma, California Coast, and Sierra foothills.