Our elopement that people were invited to attend: re-thinking what “eloping” means

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Our elopement was attended by 60 people… 60 people who were all invited. That's not an elopement you say? I say, well then maybe it's time to change your definition of elopement! It might actually make your wedding planning way less stressful.

I'm an extrovert with a capital EX, while that guy I married HATES the limelight. I wanted a big wedding guest list with everyone I've ever known or loved in attendance. And the thought of all those eyeballs made Aaron want to cancel the wedding. Instead of canceling the wedding all together, I suggested we elope to Maui, with the caveat that anyone who wanted to see us get married was welcome to do so.

Once we started looking at our wedding as an elopement to which people were invited to attend, it began to relieve a lot of pressure.

  • A destination wedding meant we could invite all the people I wanted (Megan says “yay!”), knowing that most of them wouldn't be able to attend (Aaron says “phew!”).
  • Invites weren't that hard to figure out — all people needed to know was the date and the location. We listed the time as “around sunset.” Fuck it, we're eloping — you want to know more details, you'll find out when we do.
  • We didn't mess with booking a block of rooms because… you know… eloping! If you want to show up, you can, but that's as far as we're worrying about your travel plans.
  • No rehearsal necessary. It didn't matter if there were just three people, or fifty-three people showing up on the day we chose to get married — the plan was the same: we show up, we meet our officiant, we make it official, we eat dinner.

Framing our wedding as an elopement meant that I could keep my comfortable laissez faire attitude about the whole event because it helped me focus on the whole point — gettin' hitched. But it also meant that we had a lot of loose ends flapping in that warm island breeze.

For example, no one knew where Aaron and I would be standing along the beach (hell, neither did we until we just… ended up somewhere). And my dad and I had to just wing him walking me down the “isle” (get it? When you walk down a non-aisle on an island, you walk down the ISLE?! HAR HAR!) — giggling the entire time at how unorganized the whole event was, and how wonderful it was that it really didn't matter. And did our photographer that I didn't waste much time worrying about totally suck? Absolutely.

But all those last-minute confusions and problems didn't really stress us out. Because framing our wedding as “an elopement that people were invited to attend” let us keep this in the forefront of our mind:

As long as we end up married at some point during this trip, that's all that matters.

Well we did, and it was.

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Comments on Our elopement that people were invited to attend: re-thinking what “eloping” means

  1. I too am in love with this mentality and am applying it to the bigger wedding idea…might actually work for us since pretty much everyone is travelling (to some degree or another) to our venue….its up in the mountains….great idea!

  2. @Megan Finley I’m so in love with this idea. Hopefully I don’t change my mind once again. This is what I’m gonna try to plan for next October in myrtle beach. You snail mailed post cards to invite people to see y’all elope. Then you also did RSVP cards as well? Maybe I read something in the thread wrong Hmmm? Help please.

    • Hey Charla, we sent out post cards with the initial “we’re getting married, you should totally come” for the Save the Dates — you know, since some people need some major time to save up the $. Then sent out invitations with an actual RSVP card. That was all really important to my parents. If it were up to me now, I would just do the post cards with a link to our website where people could RSVP there. Because, it really didn’t matter how many people were coming until about the week before to tell the restaurant how many chairs/tables we’d need.

  3. How would you define the difference between a destination wedding and an inviting elopement? In my someday second wedding I am thinking destination wedding, so I’m curious how people would explain the difference.

  4. This sounds like the idea my fiance and I came up with the other day. We just kept getting buried in all the wedding stuff and were already arguing about it! We’ve got two years to plan this, but it was already overwhelming. We decided we essentially want to elope, and if people wish to come they can. We did decide to cover the cost of ten hotel rooms because we know for sure our immediate families will be in attendance, but we’re not sure how to relay this message or if we should invite everyone? Any advice on how y’all came to the decisions you did about the guest list and deciding to not cover the cost of any hotels?

    • What did you end up doing? How did you word the invite? I’m in the same boat.

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