Is Eloping For You?

By Jennifer Baumann

Believe it or not, there is etiquette on how to elope, and how to handle all the important people in your life who may feel spurned by your not including them. In addition, there are also some important questions you need to ask yourself before you run off and get hitched without including those most important to you. Here's a rundown of things to consider when planning to run off like some of the kids are doing nowadays.

What are your family obligations? Will your immediate family be hurt by not being included? And, do you care?

This, before money and personal feelings, comes first. You may want to consider calling your parents before you make the big leap, just to let them in on the secret. Or, perhaps you feel like it would do more harm than good. You might want to include them in the runaway, like so many couples do who simply want to avoid a huge, expensive wedding: a few of you get on a plane to some exotic destination, and wed there.

Then, there's announcing your marriage afterwards. Some couples do send a formal announcement, and some throw their own "reception" or big party after they've wed, which is a great way for family and friends to feel included on your big decision. Others send what's called an "At Home" card, which simply announces that the two of you are married, you're home, and your new names (and addresses, etc.). A personal note explaining why you eloped is often included, to assuage possible hurt feelings.

Lastly, most couples that elope give the advice that in the end, you should do what you want to do. It's your marriage, after all, and if you want to be alone, then so be it.

Should We Still Register and Receive Gifts?

This is a bit of a complicated issue, because many times people close to you may feel insulted or hurt that you didn't want to include them in your ceremony, but you still want them to buy you gifts. Most etiquette mavens recommend that you not register for gifts, but if you want to have a reception for your family and friends, you are more than welcome to accept any gifts they may bring.

Can We Send Announcements?

Eloping, by definition, is a secret, unplanned, getaway wedding without anyone's consent. So, if you plan to tell everyone you just want to have a private ceremony, you're actually just having a non-traditional, destination wedding. Announcements are recommended, and gifts are acceptable.

The internet has a plethora of suggestions about where to go if you're planning a wedding getaway.If you want to pay the price, you can certainly hire a coordinator to arrange your plans for you, like they do in Puerto Vallarta or Australia, or even Scotland. Choose where you want to wed, and then begin comparing prices to see where you can get the most bang for your buck. Be sure you research marriage license and passport requirements as well as waiting periods. Also be sure there will be an officiant who's able to marry you.

Even eloping can be a complicated wedding plan that will require a bit of organization and money. It all depends on what your image of a "dream day" is. Take that idea, and run away with it.

Jennifer Baumann is editor of Wedding Gazette, the resource for real-world wedding planning that's packed with info on how to plan your budget, how to avoid killing certain family members, exhaustive theme ideas, plus tons of resources on finding favors, necessary accessories, and much more.

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