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How to Plan a Post-elopement Dinner: A Celebration of Your Marriage

Post-elopement dinner celebration

Looks like a new wedding trend is brewing! Slowly but surely, a growing number of couples are opting to elope rather than have a huge, elaborate traditional ceremony. Perhaps it’s the romance of being just the two of you as you say your I do’s. Then of course, there’s the huge savings as well! But after the exchange of vows, many newly-eloped couples still want to celebrate with their nearest and dearest. So, they host a post-elopement dinner or reception on a separate date.

Do you think elopement might be for you? To help you weigh the options, we’re lining up an exciting series on “everything elopement”—starting with this post on planning an elopement dinner, from invitations to favors! (*this post contains affiliate links)

Elopement Announcement Cards & Reception Invitations

Wait! Isn’t an elopement supposed to be a secret? You’re right! But there are fun ways to make the big reveal after the fact. Take these creative announcement cards we found, some of which also invite guests to your reception afterwards.

from Thomas Printers

1 – “Surprise, We Got Married” Reception Invitation – from Thomas Printers

from Cheree Berry Paper

2 – “You’ve Got Mail” Inspired Invitation Suite – from Cheree Berry Paper

Note: This cute concept channels the popular Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks rom-com film by blending ‘90s technology with a classic invitation (a floppy disk contains images from the private wedding, with the disk label giving the reception details).

Love at Every Sight, Personalized - available from Amazon

3 – Elopement Announcement Invitation – Love at Every Sight, Personalized – available from Amazon

Personalized “We Eloped” Elopement Announcement Card

4 – Personalized “We Eloped” Elopement Announcement Card – from Zazzle

Elopement Reception Invitation - available from Amazon

5 – Elopement Reception Invitation – available from Amazon

From Brown Fox Creative Shop

6 – Bright Colors Elopement Wedding – from Brown Fox Creative Shop

from Compass Rose Studio

7 – Positano, Italy Custom Map Design Invitation – from Compass Rose Studio

from Lemon Leaf Prints

8 – “Eat, Drink and Be Married” Post-Wedding Reception Only Invitation – from Lemon Leaf Prints

Themes to Consider for Small, Casual-style Receptions

Following the intimacy of the elopement ceremony, the reception afterwards is often a small, relaxed gathering as well. So the dinner theme can be one suited to a small venue, perhaps even in your family home or backyard; or inspired by your heritage or a favorite place that means a lot to you.

To spark some theme ideas, here are some of our styled sets that could inspire your own elopement dinner.

Vintage Travel Theme

Elopement dinner theme: vintage travel theme

Here, we channeled a bygone era of travel with a vintage-style tablescape featuring a lace table cloth, hot air balloon centerpieces, flowers in antique vases, mini vintage boxes, and travel-inspired menu cards.

French Country Theme

Elopement dinner theme: French country party

For a backyard venue, why not a charming French Country-inspired setting? We brought in rustic elements like a burlap table overlay, floral wreath plate chargers, sweet bunting overhead, and even French baguette favors!


Americana BBQ Theme

July 4th Patriotic Elopement Dinner BBQ

Will your reception fall around the 4th of July? Then, how perfect would an Americana-themed BBQ bash be—decked out in red, white, and blue, striped table linens, star accents, and fave food like corn on the cob and apple pie, plus a beverage station of ice cold drinks!

Italian “Buon Appetito!” Theme

Italian dinner party for elopement celebration.

Having just a small gathering at home with a close-knit group of guests? Or perhaps one or both of you are of Italian descent? Then, we suggest a classic yet simple Italian wine and cheese theme. You could serve pasta, a spread of cheeses, nuts, fruits, and of course Italian wine. And as favors, give guests bottles of vino with personalized labels.


Japanese Cherry Blossom Theme

Cherry blossom themed Japanese elopement dinner

Captivated by Japanese culture and cuisine? Then, a cherry blossom-inspired reception would be just the thing to follow a springtime elopement. For the tablescape, think themed elements such as origami paper cranes as place card holders, earthenware plates, chopsticks, and centerpieces of faux cherry blossoms in obi-wrapped vases. While for favors, give gift items and edibles presented in Japanese-inspired packaging.


Havana Nights Theme

Elopement dinner theme: Cuban Havana Nights Party

For a casual get-together on an open verandah after a summer elopement, one “hot” option would be a One Night in Havana theme! The scene would be vintage Cuba, complete with tropical centerpieces, straw hats, and of course cigars. The menu would include empanadas, Cuban sandwiches, and  mojitos. And the lady guests could come in Havana-style sundresses, while the gents come in light linen shirts like the traditional guayabera.


Other small-dinner themes to choose, from Bellenza sets


Ideas for Elopement Dinner Favors

Since the post-elopement gathering is generally for a small guest list (20 guests max perhaps?) and budget is a factor, then homemade favors would be a practical choice. For the crafty couple, these could be DIY “from scratch” gift items. Or you could go for semi-DIY, using ready-made items that you then decorate or personalize, and package in style!

1 – DIY Glitter Champagne Flutes – See the how-to tips for these glittery glasses from United with Love.

2 – Succulents on Agate Slices – Such a chic “living” favor idea we found at Succulents and Sunshine.

3- DIY Pressed Herb CandlesEvermine provides both the candle tutorial and the pretty diamond hang tags

4 – Coffee Beans in Woven Heart Boxes – This is a sure hit favor idea from Bellenza, especially packaged in our shaped sinamay favor boxes.

5 – Gold Foil Chocolates in Fabric Wraps – Any candy treat looks special in our colored organza wraps, but chocolate favors on each place setting make a yummy surprise!

6 – DIY Hand Fans to Match the Theme – Whether for a tropical, Japanese, or vintage theme, hand fans you’ve made yourself are sure to be impressive favors.

6 - Scented sachets

7 – Homemade Potpourri in Floral Sachets – Mix your favorite scented potpourri and present it in our silk flower-shaped sachets.

Origami-inspired photo frames with obi sash band

8 – Origami-inspired photo frames with obi sash band

Is the idea of eloping growing on you now? Stay tuned for the next topic in our series on the elopement option for today’s couples!

Don’t’ forget to pin the graphic and share it!

Post-elopement dinner celebration ideas

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