A traditional wedding isn’t for everyone. In fact, elopements are becoming more and more popular. No longer the scandalous choice of yore, elopements are now a magical, romantic way to have a more intimate, private ceremony in a special location or at a nearby courthouse.
Elopement invitations may sound a little counterintuitive, but many couples choose to still invite their closest friends and family to an intimate ceremony or elopement party. To help happy couples, we’ll examine the different types of elopement wedding stationery, everything you need to know about elopement invitations (including how to write them), and more.
Without further ado, if you plan to elope and say “I do,” here is everything you need to know about elopement invitations.
To help you find the right announcement wording for your elopement invitation, let’s go through each of the lines that you might need to write. In order, these are:
Host lines – Traditionally, the parents of the bride hosted the wedding so their names came first. Now, couples might host their own wedding, or both parents might host. In the case of elopements, typically the couple is hosting their own runaway affair. So, whoever hosts will be listed first for the elopement invitation.
Request lines – The next line solicits its recipient’s presence at the elopement. For ceremonies that take place in a house of worship, couples typically write “honor of your presence at the marriage of [couples’ names].” The British-style spelling is traditional, hence the “U” in honor. For ceremonies that don’t take place in a house of worship, couples typically write “the pleasure of your company at the elopement of [couples’ names].”
Bride and/or groom lines – In traditional invitations sent by the bride’s parents, the bride is referred to by her first and middle names while the groom is referred to by his full name and title. Of course, times have changed, so refer to you and your beloved in the manner that makes you feel comfortable.
Date and timelines – For formal weddings, the wedding date and timelines have everything written out, including all the numbers. Since elopements are more casual, using numerals is totally okay.
Location lines – Next, you’ll write the city and state in full. The street address is optional but helpful. We recommend including it if it would be difficult to find the location, or if the event is taking place at someone’s home.
Reception lines – If you’re planning a wedding reception and it takes place at a different place, give its location, as well as the time if it does not immediately follow the ceremony, on the following line. Otherwise, write “reception immediately following” or “afterward at the reception” to denote that the ceremony and reception will take place in the same location.
RSVP lines – Some elopement invitations will include a separate response card. If not, place the RSVP request in the lower left-hand corner of the invitation. Include the address that guests should use to send their reply. In our more modern world, you may instead list a wedding website or email address for guests to RSVP to more easily.
The request line wording can be a pain point for many couples, especially if one of their parents is divorced or deceased. Here are some helpful examples:
Only the mother is remarried – If the parents hosting are divorced and the mother has remarried, list the mother and stepfather in one line and the father in the next. The father’s name will only appear first if the mother does not contribute to the costs of the elopement.
Only the father is remarried – If the parents hosting are divorced and the father has remarried, list the mother’s name in the first line. In the next line, list the father and stepmother.
Both parents are remarried – If the parents hosting are divorced and both are remarried, list the mother and stepfather in the first line and the father and stepmother in the second.
Neither parent is remarried – If the parents hosting are divorced, and neither is remarried, list the mother in the first line and the father in the second.
The parents of both partners are hosting – If the parents of both partners are hosting, list all of their names in one line.
The couple is hosting – If the couple themselves are hosting the elopement, then they will list their own names in the request line.
If one parent is deceased – If one of the parents is deceased, then list the living parent in the first line. It’s optional to mention the late parent after introducing the name of the bride or groom.
If both parents are deceased – If both parents are deceased, then add their names after introducing the bride or groom.
There are countless traditions and rules when it comes to invitation wording. You absolutely don’t need to follow them, but if you choose to do so, here are some additional reminders:
The wife’s name is placed first on the invitation if she has a different last name.
The connecting word “and” between two guests’ names suggests the two guests are married.
Children are usually addressed on the inner envelope. Boys under 13 are referred to as “Master,” and girls under 18 are referred to as “Miss.”
If a guest can bring a plus-one and you don’t know his or her name, write the guest’s name followed by the phrase “and Guest.”
By now, you’re about ready to send your invitations out. If you choose to use a full elopement invitation suite rather than a single card, here is the order that you’ll assemble the various elements:
Place the invitation itself on the bottom of the stack with the print side up.
Place a sheet of tissue paper over it.
Place all other card inserts on top in order of size, with the smallest on top.
Place the reply card under the inner envelope’s flap.
Place this stack into the inner envelope with the print side up.
Place the unsealed inner envelope inside the outer envelope with the guests’ names on the inner envelope facing the back flap of the outer envelope.
Now that you’re a verified elopement invitation expert, it's time to start shopping for stationery. If you can’t find specific elopement invitations, simply look through wedding invitations and customize them to your needs and liking. At Zola, you’ll find hundreds of customizable designs so that you can create an engagement invitation as unique as you and your partner.
Titles – It’s tradition to write your guests’ full names and titles on the outer envelope. It might be helpful to contact them in advance to ensure that you have all of this necessary information.
Addresses – When you write the addresses on your envelopes, make sure to spell out all of the words instead of using abbreviations, such as “Apt.” or “St.” The same rule applies to city and state names. Numbers less than twenty should also be spelled out rather than using numerals.
Return addresses – The return address is traditionally on the envelope’s back flap. Couples used to use colorless raised lettering called embossing, but the postal service prefers that couples don’t because it is more difficult to read. This service is still available, however.
Explanation – If you've already eloped, know that your elopement reception invitations don't require an explanation. However, you can include a brief statement if desired. For example, "We wanted a special, intimate ceremony with just the two of us" or "We wanted to get married in a location that is special to us."
Keep it Authentic – Regardless of what you write, make sure that it's authentic to you and your significant other. You chose (or are choosing) to get married in a way that is meaningful to you. Keep that same energy with your wedding party invitations or announcements. So long as you're loving, your recipients should be happy for you.
Elopement invitations don't differ much from your standard wedding ceremony or wedding reception invitations. The only difference may be the removal of ceremony information or a second location. This all depends on whether you're inviting loved ones to the elopement or to a post-wedding reception. In any case, browse the following customizable invitations for one that fits your celebration.
Include a photo. Include an engagement or beloved photo of your and your SO in your invitation for a personal feel, as seen in the Geneva invitation. If you've already eloped, consider including some wedding photos.
Keep it simple. Nothing says no frills, just love like a minimalistic invitation with a hint of watercolor and a beautiful font, such as Violin.
Go formal. Elopements can be formal affairs. Keep things sleek and simple with a formal card design. Take the Colbie invitation, for example.
Use florals or greenery. Tap into the scenery you'll experience at your elopement by making it a key part of your invite. Galata is ideal for settings with a lot of greenery.
Make it light and airy. Perhaps your nuptials are taking place on the beach, in a garden, or in an equally breezy spot. Get the feeling going by choosing an invitation like Lydney, which is light and airy with an array of color options.
Tap into the scenery. Nothing gets guests excited like sharing your location. Take it a step further by displaying your location in your design, as seen on the Deepcreek invitation.
Use a motif. A motif is a small image or symbol that reflects your special day's location or theme. Include one among your design details for some added flair, like on the Dubuque invitation.
Opt for fun designs. Elopements are (relatively) out-of-the-box. Choose a design that leans into that fun feeling, like Cabo.
Use bold colors. Likewise, don't be afraid to forgo neutrals and go for bold colors that feel more like your intimate celebration. The Domino invitation does just that.
Make it a feast for the eyes. A simple design can be made all the more eye-catching by including something exciting, like foil. The Larimer invitation does just that by adding foil to a minimal agate graphic.
Perhaps you already eloped or plan to do so in private (or with a very limited number of people). In this case, you may still want to send out elopement announcement cards to loved ones who weren't or won't be present.
In terms of phrasing, you can go in a number of directions. Formal, casual, wistful, and humorous. Traditional, detailed, brief, and everything in-between. Below are a few of our favorite wording examples. Copy directly or take inspiration and customize to your liking.
Before you hop on a plane or into a car to speed away to your elopement, hop on over to Zola for everything you need to plan an enchanting elopement. Since you’re probably keeping the guest list small, consider creating a wedding website to share photos and updates with all of your friends and family who can’t be present at the ceremony.
Zola offers 250 free wedding website templates for you to choose from. You can even match your website design to your invitations. Enjoy an easy and breezy elopement with our help.