How to Plan a Reception After Your Elopement

Filed in elopements, Intimate weddings — May 10, 2023

Eloping, even if it’s just the two of you, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate with your loved ones too! Many couples decide to plan a reception after their elopement, whether it’s hours, days, or months after the ceremony. This guide will tell you how to plan a reception after your elopement, with some tips and ideas for your party!


Why Should You Plan a Reception After Your Elopement?

If you aren’t sure about a post-elopement party, here are some reasons why couples decide to plan a reception after they tie the knot.


Celebrate With Friends and Family

The biggest reason to plan a reception after your elopement is that it gives you a chance to celebrate with loved ones. Though you may decide that a private ceremony is the right choice for you, you may still want to share the joy with the people you love – and a reception allows you to do that. Your loved ones will really appreciate being a part of your elopement, even if they weren’t at the actual ceremony!


Wear Your Elopement Attire

A reception also gives you a reason to wear your outfits again, if you want to! Wedding dresses and suits are often worn once and then never again, so having a reception to wear them to gives you a good reason to get glammed up again.


Best of Both Worlds! 

Eloping and having a reception afterwards really gives you the best of both worlds – you get to exchange vows in private, maybe with just a few people around, and still celebrate with the people you love afterwards. You don’t have to compromise when it comes to the day you get married!



When to Have Your Reception

When you’re planning a reception after your elopement, you’ll need to decide when to do it. Some couples have a reception the very same day, planning a private ceremony for the beginning of the day and then meeting up with friends and family later, but most couples have their reception a few weeks after they’ve eloped. Having some space allows you to soak in that just-married bliss with your partner and enjoy your honeymoon, and then you’ll feel more ready to share and celebrate with more people around! 


When you have your reception after the elopement is totally up to you, so talk with your partner and decide when is best.


Who to Invite to Your Post-Elopement Reception

You’ll need to make a guest list for the reception – and just like your elopement, this should be intentional, and it should be as small, or as big, as you want it to be. Think about who you want to celebrate with! Some couples invite their family to their elopement ceremony, then plan a friends-only reception, others have the same guests present for both, and others don’t have any guests for their ceremony and invite all of their loved ones to the reception. 


Make a guest list for your reception, and do this early on to help with the rest of the planning process!


Where  to Have Your Reception After the Elopement

You’ll need a place to host the party! This can depend a lot on the size of the reception, which is why deciding on a guest list first is helpful. There are tons of options for where you can have your reception after the elopement, but renting a space is usually the best option for groups that are on the bigger side. 


Here are a few ideas for where you can have your reception.


A Restaurant

Restaurants are a good option for receptions, providing a place to eat and celebrate! Many restaurants will have rooms available to reserve so that you can have some privacy, and so that you can celebrate.


A Park

Picnic shelters in parks make a great place for a reception, and if you want a laid back celebration with barbecuing and just hanging out with the people you love, an outdoor space like this is perfect! You’ll have plenty of space, and many parks allow these spots to be reserved in advance.


A Venue

For bigger parties, you can book a reception venue to accommodate your guests. Some wedding venues, especially hotels and banquet halls will allow you to book one room for a few hours, giving you a place to host.


A Cabin or Airbnb

If you have a small reception after your elopement, it can be a lot of fun to just rent a cabin or an Airbnb for a night or two, and have your loved ones over for food and drinks! It’s the perfect cozy way to celebrate.

What to Do at Your Elopement Reception

Your reception might look similar to the reception for a traditional wedding, or it might be more low key! Remember – it’s all about celebrating your marriage your way, with the people you love. Here are some ideas for things to do at the reception after your elopement.



Food is pretty much the only must-have when it comes to your elopement reception. Whether you have a laid back barbecue in your backyard or you order catering, make sure your guests are fed!



Letting some loved ones give a toast at your reception is a great way to give them a chance to express themselves after you elope! 


Cake or Desert

After the food, it can also be nice to have a celebratory cake, or some other kind of desert. You can even do a cake cutting!



If you love to get down on the dance floor, your elopement reception can definitely include some dancing. You might do a dance as a couple, maybe some parent dances, or open up the dance floor for everyone!


Vow Reading

Some couples also choose to recreate their ceremony at the reception – so if after you’ve exchanged vows in private on your elopement day, you want to share them with your loved ones too, you can totally do a little ceremony and read your vows to each other again.


Share Your Photos

The people who weren’t at your elopement will absolutely love seeing the story of your day, and the closest they can get is through your photos! During the reception, it’s a great idea to have an album out for people to look through, print some wedding photos, or even have a slideshow or a video for everyone to watch together. This is a great reason to have your reception a little while after the elopement day, to give your photographer a chance to get your photos back to you!


Hire a Photographer for Your Elopement Reception

The elopement day is important, but the reception afterwards is a part of your story too! Make sure you document this time with your friends and family, and have a photographer there to take photos of the celebration.


If you’re ready to plan a reception after your elopement, contact me!