You’ve decided that you’re going to elope, but you still want to celebrate with friends and family afterwards. Traditional wedding invitation wording can be tricky, but when you’re eloping it can be difficult to find the right thing to say.

1. Think About When You Are Sending The Invitations

One of the first things you will want to do is to decide how soon after your elopement you are going to hold your reception, and whether you are going to send out the invites before or after you elope. Obviously, if you send them out beforehand, everyone will know that you are eloping but there is more chance that people will be available. If you want to keep it secret, a “save the date” style invite is a better way to make sure everyone can attend, but without telling them why. You can even go as far as saying where and when, but without telling everyone what they are celebrating.

2. Formal or Informal Wording

Decide whether you want your invitations to sound more like a formal wedding invitation or whether you want to keep things informal and fun. Formal wording might be something along the lines of “Jennifer and Richard would like to invite you to a celebration of their marriage on…” whereas something more informal might read along the lines of “Surprise. We eloped! But we’d love to invite you to celebrate our marriage with us on…”.

3. Make It Clear There Will Be No Vows

However you decide to word it, make sure it is clear that you are already married. You don’t want anyone turning up thinking otherwise. Including a short line like “Jess & Tom were married on 26th January” or “We tied the knot on during our trip to the Alps” means there should be no misunderstandings about your marital status.

4. Dress Code

As with a traditional wedding invitation, let guests know what sort of celebration you’re going to he holding and what (or what not) to wear. Let them know if it’s going to be black tie for canapes and cocktails or smart casual for a festival style shindig.