Three Expert-Approved Tips for Planning a Memorable Post-Elopement Party

Now that it's safer to gather, you're likely itching to plan a celebration with all of your family and friends.

bride and groom share a kiss while pouring champagne on glass tower
Photo: Abby Jiu Photography

Elopements have been popular for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic really gave them their moment to shine. In light of the global health crisis, couples across the country—and the world—scaled back their weddings to just their nearest and dearest (or just the two of them) in order to tie the knot safely. Now, with vaccinations well underway and loosening gathering restrictions, brides and grooms who threw intimate weddings in 2020 and early 2021 are likely looking forward to bigger celebrations. And that begs the question: As a couple who is already married, what can you do to make the post-elopement (or post-micro wedding) reception extra special?

Keep the Reception Personal

BillieJo Kunkler, an event planner at Michelle Leo Events, suggests personalizing your reception to be both a reflection of you two as a couple and of your original wedding day. After all, the majority of your guests weren't there, so this is the perfect time to give them a taste of what that night was like while also celebrating your bright future together. Your guests can experience elements of your first celebration and you can relive that special day, she explains. Some of her favorite ways to nod to your wedding are through the décor, music, and food.

But don't feel that you have to plan a celebration that's a direct reflection of your elopement or micro wedding. If you've always had a vision in mind for your wedding and weren't able to incorporate that aesthetic into your smaller nuptials, embrace that vibe this time around. Ultimately, this is your day, and you should celebrate it however you see fit.

Hire a Photographer

Whatever you do, don't skip the photographer just because this isn't your "official" wedding. You'll want the memories you make with your extended family and friends to be documented. "Hire a wonderful photographer to take beautiful photos," says wedding planner Shannon Leahy. "This is a lovely way to mark the celebration, spend time together, and have wonderful images to share with your loved ones."

Consider an Alternative Celebration

If you're not sold on the idea of a classic reception, do something creative. If you're not already locked in with a venue, Leahy loves the idea of a sunset sail or a beach party, which are fun ways to celebrate with loved ones while also treating them to an experience. Similarly, if your goal is to get straight to the party, skip the sit-down dinner and serve heavy passed appetizers or food stations so that guests can focus on the dance floor.

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