Destination Wedding Invitations: Required?

One of the many ways that having an elopement wedding vs. having a traditional wedding is the ways in which you’ll let your friends and family know about it. With traditional, so-called “big” weddings, there is an entire industry devoted strictly to the design, production, and distribution of fancy wedding invitations. Hundreds of dollars can be spent on the perfect invitation and its preparation. Wedding invitations are just one of the many ways that the “wedding industrial complex” has gotten way out of hand, and why elopement weddings are gaining in popularity.

If you’ve decided to forego the expensive calligraphy service, the exquisite parchment paper, and the designer envelopes sealed with organic beeswax, what then? (By the way, is organic beeswax actually used to seal wedding invitation envelopes? We don’t know…we eloped!) Are elopement or destination wedding invitations required? We decided to list a few options below…

  • Don’t let anyone know at all. This might sound extreme, but really, this is how the old-fashioned “elopement” came into being in the first place. A (usually) young couple would decide to run off and get married and skip not only the whole formal ceremony, but also keep their exchanging of vows a secret…at least until after those vows were exchanged. Sure, times have changed. These days, many eloping couples are of a “certain age”, so the scandalous nature of elopements of yore has largely dissipated. Which means that today’s eloping couples should…
  • Be selective about who is informed about the elopement. This is the most common, and usually correct, approach. There is no need to let the twice-removed cousin to your Great Aunt Beatrice know about your upcoming nuptials. Keep the list of those you want to inform about your elopement short and sweet. Short, because you aren’t fishing for a table full of wedding gifts like the couples who (sadly) opt for the $30k (average cost!) wedding are. Sweet, because only your dearest and closest friends and family members should know about your plans. For one thing, you don’t need to hear opinions about “why eloping may not be right” (please) from those who don’t know any better and who aren’t really a part of your lives anyway. And, like raising kids or politics, everyone has an opinion on the proper way to get married. Let the fans of overpriced traditional weddings screw up their lives with mountains of debt. Don’t be one of them: avoid their opinions entirely. This means, unless they are very close to you, they don’t need to know about your wedding.
  • Simply tell those who are closest to you that you’re eloping. Elopements, though they can be classy and elegant, are still somewhat small and simple affairs. The “small and simple” approach should apply to how you inform those around you about your own elopement wedding. Just tell them! No “official” invitation needed (unless you feel it’s necessary). Gather your buddies, BFFs, and family members together at a tavern or coffee shop and let them know you’re eloping. Inform them that they can be present for the ceremony if they wish, unless you are planning on keeping your ceremony between just the two of you and the officiant. Your friends and family won’t mind in the least. Let’s face it: we’ve all been to enough so-called traditional wedding ceremonies that seem to blend together in our memories into one gigantic stew. One run-of-the-mill standard wedding feels like the other ten you’ve attended, admit it. Even the music choices are pretty much the same from one reception to the next. Do we need to hear “Old Time Rock ‘N Roll” by Bob Seger ever again at a wedding? No, we don’t. If your family and friends can’t make it to your elopement wedding for whatever reason, no worries. Maybe yours is a destination wedding and travel isn’t an option for some people, or maybe they quietly don’t approve of your getting married on a beach instead of the neighborhood church. If they’re in the latter group, do you really want them in attendance?
  • Send out invitations…intelligently. Skip the aforementioned organic beeswax and sent out invitations using classy yet inexpensive stationary from your nearest big-box office supplies store. Twenty bucks or less will buy you a lovely set of elegant stationary and matching envelopes. Pick up a gel-point pen for another three dollars, and write out your elopement wedding invitations yourself. Believe us, when your invitation arrives in the mailbox, it will stand out and be remembered for the simple fact that noone writes out letters by hand these days. No calligraphy necessary. Print out your invitations by hand if you forgot (or never learned) how to write in cursive. Simply write something like: “Dear Susie (or Jack or Denise or Mom or whoever) – Robert and I have to decided to have a simple elopement wedding ceremony and would be honored if you would attend. Our ceremony will be held at Sunset Beach in California on October 7th at 4:30 p.m. There are a number of inexpensive places to stay near the beach, or you can book a room at the lodging where we’ll be staying. We have reserved a room at the Wondrous Waves Bed and Breakfast on Seagull Ave. in Sunset Beach. We understand if you will not be able to attend, but wanted you to make that choice yourself. If you can be present, please let us know. We value your friendship and hope to see you there! Love, the future Robert and Nancy Johnson.
  • Should you use social media? Weddings, especially elopement weddings, are very personal  and special events. Indeed, the two of you may have made the intelligent decision to avoid spending buckets of cash on silly extravagances, but you
    still don’t want your elopement wedding to become a mundane experience. Put some care into the ways that you inform those closest to you about your elopement. Don’t just put up a lame post on Facebook or send out a random Twitter message that you’re getting married. For one thing, posting the details including the ceremony location and/or your contact information poses a big security risk. For another, you’ll likely let too many people know about your elopement wedding who you’d rather not see there, while those you care about the most may miss your post or tweet. Mail out your invites – if you decide to invite guests – instead.

Before we eloped, we told our closest family and friends, in person, that we were going to have a small beach wedding. We may have actually been a little too casual in our approach in that we never mailed out invitations of any kind. Nevertheless, we made sure that the most important folks in our lives knew when and where we were getting married. We let them decide whether to attend or not. We knew that travel to our beach ceremony would have entailed significant expense and time. If we were to do it all over again, we probably would have mailed out invitations to the dozen or so friends and family members who knew we were eloping. This way, there would have been no doubt that guests were expected at our elopement wedding. Some eloping couples prefer not to have any guests as is their choice. Still, we were happy with our decision to elope and knew that ultimately the most important people involved in our wedding were present: the two of us! We hope your elopement wedding is as happy and inspiring as ours was.

Find beach wedding venues, lodging options, and wedding service providers in our Elopement Services Directory!