The rules of wedding etiquette have long been set in stone, but side-stepping a traditional wedding means that you don’t have to worry about these details. This doesn’t mean there aren’t some things to consider when eloping. We’ve answered your elopement etiquette questions so you can focus on what matters – your romantic getaway to Barcelona.
Should our elopement be a secret?
The element of surprise is what differentiates elopements from traditional weddings, so do your best to keep quiet. If you are already engaged then your best bet is remaining vague about your plans until the big day. If you’re not engaged then it may be a better idea to keep things completely hush-hush until after the elopement. Your loved ones may try and talk you out of it or convince you to have a big wedding. And a little white lie about a romantic getaway to Barcelona will throw anyone off your tail!
If you do decide to only tell one or two people, make sure that they will be happy to carry your secret until the elopement. Some people may feel burdened by having to keep a secret and some people are not good secret-keepers at all!
Kids are notoriously bad at keeping secrets, so this is something you’ll have to navigate carefully if you have children. Depending on your situation, you will have to choose between telling your children in advance and risk them spilling the beans, or telling them once you’re already on your way to Barcelona, and run the chance of flustering them. The most important is that you give them time to ask questions and make them feel involved in the celebration.
How do we tell our parents?
Depending on your circumstances, in person or on the phone. Since your families likely don’t live in Barcelona, you could video-call them shortly after the ceremony and show off both of your beaming smiles and give them a peek of this amazing city. Plan a lunch or dinner for when you return so you can all celebrate together. Be prepared to answer their questions and soothe any apprehensions they may have. They’re appreciate and respect your decision, especially if they are as in love with your future bride or groom as you are.
When should we break the news? And how?
Once you’ve told you your parents, spread the news to other family members and close friends. It’s up to you if you want to do this in person, by phone, or even by sending out a quick video to your loved ones. This is especially useful if you’re dealing with different time zones.
It’s a good idea not to wait too long to mail out announcements once you’re back home and settled. Perhaps you’ll want to include a few professional photos so you can share not only the news, but also some of your beautiful moments. Just like an elopement is a toned down version of a wedding, the announcements you send out should follow a similar vein – sweet and simple, “[Name] and [name] wish to announce their wedding at a private ceremony in Barcelona on January 22, 2018.”
Can we still have a reception?
Of course! Just because you’ve opted not to have a traditional wedding doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the party that comes with it. If you have friends or family in Barcelona, or if just you and your partner, we can help you organize a night out on the town to celebrate. If you’re heading home after the elopement, you can plan a get-together with family and friends.
What about gifts?
You’re bound to receive some gifts and the same etiquette applies here as for traditional weddings – a handwritten note thanking the sender for their thoughtfulness. If you are planning a reception upon your return home, having a wedding registry isn’t a bad idea as it takes the guesswork out for your guests. If you are adamant about not wanting gifts, you can always register with the charity of your choice. Just be sure not to mention gifts in the invitation, as this is seen as bad form, in both weddings and elopements.