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Liz
Savvy August 2021

So many etiquette questions...

Liz, on August 2, 2020 at 9:45 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 12
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My fiance and I recently postponed our September wedding. We had a small guest list (~30 people) so we originally thought we could make it work. But we live in upstate NY and 70% of our guest list (including my entire family) would have been coming from restricted states under the travel advisory.

Our wedding is rescheduled for August 2021, but we are planning to elope in a couple of weeks. I will be changing my name and overall we'll be a married couple from that point on.

So based on this new normal... do we even still call the 2021 event a wedding? My pastor grandfather was going to officiate-- can we still have a ceremony (I think one-year vow renewals are a bit strange)? Can I wear my fancy white dress if I've already been married for a year?

Besides all of this, I feel that my mom is a bit hurt that I'm eloping and she can't be there. We can't live stream it because there is absolutely no signal at the ceremony location. My plan was to have it videotaped instead. My fiance is saying that I should invite her anyway, in spite of the travel advisory, but this makes me a bit squeamish. I'm not so concerned for my own health but I don't want to disrespect the officiant or anyone else who happens to be at the ceremony location (it's a state park). Any advice?



12 Comments

Latest activity by Michelle, on August 8, 2020 at 8:42 PM
  • Yasmine
    Rockstar October 2020
    Yasmine Online ·
    • Flag
    My fiancé and I will be legally married before our wedding also and yes we are still calling it a wedding. That’s also where I will be wearing my dress, I will get something simple for the “elopement”.
    • Reply
  • Nicole
    Rockstar September 2020
    Nicole Online ·
    • Flag

    I'm sorry you're having to deal with all these tough decisions! We're potentially in the same place if CA doesn't get its ish together in the next month. I think you'd probably want to refer to the 2021 celebration as your reception, vow renewal, or wedding celebration, since it won't technically be a wedding. We'll be calling ours either a reception or a first anniversary party. Second, wear the HECK out of your dress! Having a celebration next year gives you more reason to wear it again! I plan on wearing mine as often as I can if we end up eloping. I definitely hear you about the sadness from your mom and being concerned with travel advisories. If we end up eloping, we'll be telling parents and siblings the plan in case they decide to join us (national park, but same state). Maybe tell her of your plans and she can make the decision to join if she feels comfortable doing so? If she does decide to go, she could make sure she's at a socially accepted distance and potentially in a mask (I'd reach out to your officiant on their requests for safety if she decides to come). Best wishes in whatever you decide!

    Editing to add that if you want to say your vows again in front of your guests next year, go for it! There's nothing wrong with renewing your vows after only a year, especially because your original plans were disrupted by COVID.

    • Reply
  • Jana
    Rockstar October 2022
    Jana ·
    • Flag
    According to etiquette, if you elope now and have a party next year, the big party will be a celebration of marriage. It wouldn't be a wedding because the event of saying your vows and signing legal paperwork makes it a wedding. Anything afterward is a celebration. It would be a renewal of vows if you chose to have a ceremony, but it's not legally binding obviously and therefore not a wedding because there isno divorce between the two events. Under normal circumstances, a renewal of vows after a year is odd but a pandemic is far from normal even though etiquette is still in place no matter what.


    You can absolutely wear your dress again. Rock it as much as you can.
    I would not risk anything during this time as far as travel. Restrictions are in place for a reason. The more people who ignore them, the longer the quarantine lasts before things can be opened permanently without restrictions.
    • Reply
  • Katie
    Expert August 2021
    Katie ·
    • Flag
    I say do what you want and call it what you want. If you want to go forward with having a wedding after being eloped and married for a year then go for it. If you want to have a wedding with a ceremony and reception go for it. Just because you eloped because of circumstances doesn't mean you don't deserve to have the wedding of your dreams later on. If you want to call it a wedding instead of a vow renewal and wear the white wedding dress go for it. It's your day and you are allowed to have it exactly the way you want and call it what you want. It's 2020 people don't follow the traditional rules. Nowadays people elope and later have a wedding with a ceremony and reception and theres nothing wrong with that. Nowadays when people have kids they have multiple parties for the unborn baby like diaper parties, gender reveal parties and then a baby shower nothing wrong with having multiple parties for one unborn baby. People nowadays that have multiple children have baby showers for each kid again nothing wrong with that. Point is that its 2020 anything goes, people do what they want and celebrate the way they choose and if people like it great if people don't who cares.
    • Reply
  • Melle
    Rockstar June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    I would absolutely wear your dress again.
    One of my coworkers had a celebration half a year after their elopement and they just called it a wedding celebration
    • Reply
  • Aurelia
    Savvy September 2020
    Aurelia ·
    • Flag
    I would let your mom break the travel advisory and come. Very slim chances she gets caught. And if I were her, I would gladly pay the fine to see my daughter married.


    I have immediate family from NY that will be breaking the travel advisory to come see me elope. They are driving, standing in the back of the church, and then leaving. I don't feel an ounce of guilt about it.
    • Reply
  • Super August 2020
    ·
    • Flag
    2020 has made it impossible to follow a lot of etiquette rules safely and safety>etiquette. I don't think you should call it a wedding, but you can invite people to celebrate your wedding/marriage. If you don't want to do a vow renewal (I think they're kind of weird after a year, too), but you do want a ceremony, it can be a reenactment for the people who couldn't be there the first time. Wear your dress as many times as you can! This is pretty much the only situation in which I'd approve of breaking the covid rules. If you're close with your parents, and they're not covid positive, they should be allowed to be there if at all possible. Bring your mom (and fiancè's parent/s?) to the ceremony, make her stand at least 6 feet from everyone else, wear a mask, and sanitize her hands constantly and make sure she doesn't touch anyone or anything while she's there. Don't let her go to any restaurants, stores, or public places while she's visiting, and don't hug or get really close to her until after the ceremony (so you're protecting the officiant).
    • Reply
  • W
    Expert September 2020
    Willow ·
    • Flag
    That is pretty much what we are doing. Microwedding now to get legally married, a full blown wedding/vow renewal next year. I am wearing my dress as many times as I can.
    • Reply
  • S
    Savvy October 2020
    Seasonm ·
    • Flag
    Hi, catholic weddings aren legally binding, so a lot of people I know do both and threw a party for both. For the civil wedding, I've noticed they don't wear white. They have fun with the dress. In short, it's very common to first get legally married then have the party. Maybe your second ceremony can be a "blessing" if you aren't catholic
    • Reply
  • Marisa
    Rockstar May 2021
    Marisa ·
    • Flag

    We’re eloping with just our parents present and it’s local so they will get to be there at least for that part. I wish I knew what advice to give you about your mom. I honestly wouldn’t feel comfortable having her travel.

    Aside from that we are doing a “vow renewal” next year but it will be in the format of a ceremony. FH doesn’t want to exchange rings again so we are thinking of exchanging some other gift or token, maybe do a hand fasting, have some readings we wanted originally...we shall see. We’re just getting things squared away for our actual ceremony this fall so it’s really hard to say at this point seeing as we have so much time to figure that out. I decided to wear a second dress for the renewal & celebration as I want FH and everyone to be surprised.

    • Reply
  • Rachel
    Savvy August 2020
    Rachel ·
    • Flag
    We are “eloping” with everyone there virtually this year and then having our wedding celebration next year. I’m wearing my dress for both in case next year is still the same with COVID and at least i got to wear it once!
    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Devoted November 2021
    Michelle ·
    • Flag

    While you will only be legally married once to your partner (unless you are Elizabeth Taylor), you can definitely have two weddings! It is actually common in certain parts of the world and cultures. Here is a pre-COVID take on it and it will be even more common with everything going on... https://www.marthastewart.com/7883876/guide-to-having-multiple-weddings#:~:text=Having%20two%20weddings%20may%20sound,of%20their%20family%20and%20friends.&text=For%20others%2C%20it's%20the%20only,make%20a%20wedding%20abroad%20legal.

    As someone who has taken care of COVID patients, I would not recommend disregarding public health rules.

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