5 etiquette tips to elope like Ben and JLo from who pays bill to telling guests

5 etiquette tips to elope like Ben and JLo from who pays bill to telling guests

When Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez eloped to Las Vegas for their impromptu wedding, their friends and family may have been left wondering ‘why the secrecy?’ while suffering from severe FOMO!

But the Hollywood couple are bang on trend with their choice of nuptials. After all, the past two years have been challenging for anyone planning a wedding – and as a result many couples have chosen to ditch the big bridal bash in favour of the simplicity and intimacy of an elopement.

So if you and your soon-to-be spouse decide to ‘do a Bennifer’, how should you handle the predictable fallout from what some might view as a rather dramatic decision?

Lisa Forde, wedding expert and founder of stationery company Tree of Hearts, explains everything you need to know about the important etiquette that comes with choosing to elope.

JLo and Ben tied the knot in an intimate Las Vegas ceremony

Who pays for your elopement wedding?

“If you’re choosing to elope, you can focus on just you and your fiancé. But it leaves a big question – who pays?

“Tradition goes that the bride’s parents stump up the cost of the wedding but given the fact elopements are just about the two of you and aren’t about following the same customs as a traditional wedding, it’s far more common for couples to foot the bill themselves.”

How and when should family members be told of your plans to elope?

“The idea of an elopement might not go down too well with some family members who’ve envisioned being a part of your special day. But ultimately, you need to do what’s right for you – and the people who love you will understand.

“You can help soften the blow by letting your closest friends and family know before the day. Maybe send one of Tree of Hearts’ ‘Don’t Save The Date’ cards, rather than take them by surprise with a social media announcement after the event.

Loved ones will understand your decision, but be sure to soften the blow

Who foots the bill if the wedding party has already paid for outfits and hotels?

“A change of plan isn’t always ideal – particularly when guests have started to make arrangements, such as booking accommodation and buying their outfits. But actually, there are ways around this.

“The best thing to do is talk to family and friends and make them aware of the change of plan and why. Apologise for any inconvenience and suggest ways they can still utilise their bookings – perhaps suggest they get in touch with their accommodation to move the date for another trip. And outfits can be worn again.”

What legalities do I need to be aware of before I elope?

“Although elopements are largely associated with romantic spontaneity, it’s actually not as impromptu as you might think!

“There may not involve as much planning as a big white wedding, but there’s still a few things you need to be aware of. Make sure you read up on the legalities of where you plan on getting married – how long you need to register in advance, how many witnesses you need plus what ID and paperwork you’re required to bring.”

Bennifer are bang on trend with their elopement wedding and you can be too

What else do I need to know?

“Part of the beauty of eloping is how relaxed the day is – but don’t let that stop you from having a timeline for the day because you still will need some form of structure. If the ceremony takes 30 minutes and dinner lasts three hours, there’s still plenty of time in the day to fill.

“Have a long breakfast, take your time getting ready, spend some time having a relaxed photography session – and if you want to, take some time to FaceTime your loved ones. Make sure there’s some form of plan for the day, to keep the excitement going.”


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