Elopement receptions are a great way to include your family and friends in your wedding festivities without them actually being present on your wedding day.

Elopement reception gives your family and friends a designated time and place to celebrate you.

Plus, who doesn’t love a good party? 

Why Have an Elopement Reception?

Honestly, elopement receptions are somewhat catered around your family and friends.

It’s a way for them to feel included. It’s a way for them to partake in marriage festivities.

For some couples, this is the comprise that allows them to feel guilt-free about eloping. Remember, you don’t need to have a reception.

But if you want to plan one, I’m not going to leave you hanging, here are my top tips on planning an elopement reception.

Reception Ideas

Just like your wedding day, you can plan your reception any way you want to. You can have the reception the day after your wedding or wait for several weeks. It’s completely up to you. 

Your guest count will greatly impact where you can hold a reception. For small groups consider backyard parties, Airbnb’s, and breweries.

If you will have a group larger than 30 I would suggest looking into booking a venue and a catering company. 

However, if you want to keep it small and simple here is a list of ideas for planning your elopement reception. 

Northern Colorado Elopement and Engagement Photographer and Planner

How to Plan a Small Elopement Reception

Receptions with a small guest count can easily be thrown together with some help from your family and friends.

Small receptions can be hosted in a backyard, local outdoor park, or at an Airbnb.

Make sure whichever location you choose has adequate parking and bathrooms for all your guests.

Here is a list of five ways to make your elopement reception feel special!

1. Food

If you are not hiring a catering company I suggest keeping the food extremely simple. Instead of a formal dinner, you can provide appetizers and desserts.

Consider making a giant charcuterie table full of dried fruits, nuts, seeds, cheeses and some cut-up vegetables. Have two friends or family members be in charge of keeping food on the table.

Have a separate table for desserts and sweet treats. This is a fun way for family and friends to contribute. They can each make their favorite cookie recipes. Or have a table of homemade pies.

Food done this way can be simple and inexpensive.

2. Drinks

Drinks come down to personal preference. Do you want to taste with champagne or would you rather get a keg from your favorite brewery?

What drinks you choose is completely up to you.

When hosting any party or reception make sure there is enough water for all of your guests. Don't let them get dehydrated while dancing the night away.

3. Signs

Signs are a fun way to make your party actually feel like a wedding reception. There are dozens of cheap DIY decorative signs.

Create a sign for your guest book, to help guests locate bathrooms, and make a sign showing a designated area for cards and gifts. 

4. Decor

This is where you can really get creative! Do you want to get flowers, have a photo booth backdrop, or string twinkling lights?

There are dozens of ways to spruce up any backyard reception or after-party. Colored napkins, centerpieces, table runners - the sky is the limit!

You can create your look on your own if you are trying to keep a small budget or this is a time you could actually hire a decorator!

A personal favorite of mine is printing pictures from your elopement and places them in frames for décor. If you are having your reception soon after your elopement date ask your photographer if they can send 5-10 pictures early. I’m sure they would be happy to accommodate you!

5. Guest Book

Guest books are a fun way to commemorate the people who came to celebrate you. Let loved ones write you a note, have an advice tree, or simply have them sign their name in a book.

The act of writing provides a formal way for your guests to feel included in the festivities

Northern Colorado Elopement and Engagement Photographer and Planner
Elopement Photographer

Hi I'm Kjersten!

Are you considering having an elopement reception?

Do you need help finding a reception location? Or are you still looking for a place to elope?

Hi, I’m Kjersten! I plan and photograph elopements in Northern Colorado.

I would love to walk you through the entire planning process!

Remember, you don’t need to do this alone. I’m here and ready to help!

Contact Me