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.
1 – “Surprise, We Got Married” Reception Invitation – from Thomas Printers
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).
3 – Elopement Announcement Invitation – Love at Every Sight, Personalized – available from Amazon
4 – Personalized “We Eloped” Elopement Announcement Card – from Zazzle
5 – Elopement Reception Invitation – available from Amazon
6 – Bright Colors Elopement Wedding – from Brown Fox Creative Shop
7 – Positano, Italy Custom Map Design Invitation – from Compass Rose Studio
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
- Spanish-style Tapas Party
- Country Western Theme
- Chinese Fusion Theme
- Moroccan Theme
- Tropical Luau Theme
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.
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.
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!
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