You might be looking to quickly elope with your significant other and then have your dream wedding in the future. Here's the answer to the main question of whether or not you can elope and have a wedding later.
Is it Possible?
Yes! It's absolutely possible. You could have a private elopement with your partner and then have a nice, traditional wedding reception experience later. An elopement might not include the décor or extra activities most wedding receptions include, but it's a good way to seal the deal quickly.
The Difference Between an Elopement and a Wedding
An elopement is a much smaller ceremony than a normal wedding reception. Traditionally, for a big wedding, it's usual to invite a lot of friends and family. But, for an elopement reception, you would usually just invite your closest family and friends to the celebration. Elopements are not as popular as traditional weddings.
Why Couples Elope
Couples elope for a lot of reasons. It's a good way to save money, you could be getting an elopement involving military deployment, if you and your partner want to be legally married before one of you is deployed by the military. Your partner could have a serious illness and you would like to get eloped if anything happens to them. You could do an adventure elopement and have a little fun before the post elopement party, or you could have a nice destination elopement maybe at a local park, a luxury private room, or a nice nature scene. You could also just have a laid back backyard barbecue if that's what you're into.
Different Ways to Elope
For eloping, you could also go to a courthouse and not have to worry about finding someone with a marriage license.
If you have a small elopement, you might get some hurt feelings from some friends but other than that, eloping is a great idea. But, if you're getting eloped at a courthouse or government hall, you might need some witnesses if your state requires it, so it would be good to send invitations to some close friends and family. Although, you can make it a special private moment with your significant other by not inviting anyone.
Regarding Elopement Ceremonies
For both ceremonies though, many couples normally wear some sort of wedding attire. Wedding attire might not be too important to some couples though, but a great idea if you hired an elopement photographer or videographer just as you would on a traditional wedding day.
You can also just have a post-elopement party instead of a large wedding where you do the ceremony again. It will possibly still be an expensive party. But still good for sealing the deal early and still having time to celebrate. But of course, you could just have a second ceremony.
Post Elopement Party
A post elopement reception is a elopement celebration, taken place after the main event, but there is not another ceremony. There are no rules to post elopement parties! It's to celebrate the elopement of the couple and reunite family and friends for a nice party.
Post Elopement Celebration Activities
You could do a lot of the same activities you would do at a wedding reception, like cake, a dinner party, maybe support some local business by getting a food truck and local band! Or to keep it simple and save money, go to your favorite restaurant. For an elopement reception, it's usual to only invite your closest friends and family, and not invite a large amount of people. Or, you might not invite people at all!
You could get a planner for this party, but you could also plan your own elopement reception. In your elopement reception invitations you should not mention the word wedding.
You could have a post elopement reception the same day you get eloped.
Traditional wedding reception
A traditional wedding celebration contains a lot of extra activities than your casual elopement. The stress of getting the wedding dress, or wedding outfits, and the hopes of the main event going well. (But of course, you could leave most of the hard stuff to a wedding planner.) A normal wedding celebration contains all of the wedding gifts, almost always having reception parties, maybe getting a local band to perform. There are a lot more ideas for weddings.
Get a guide
Another easy way to plan for a wedding is to get a complete guide so you can remember everything you need to get for the wedding day. There are also tons of wedding traditions the couple might like to follow, like the first dance at the reception, a bachelor/bachelorette party before the big day, or a special speech from the couple or family and friends.
Vow renewal ceremony
Although, a vow renewal ceremony is different from both. It is a ceremony to celebrate and strengthen the promises made during the vows during their wedding and reaffirm their commitment to each other. These could also be seen as an elopement by many.