I’ve read all your updates, and this is my 2 cents.
Your future Mother-In-Law and SIL are correct, calling this an elopement is incorrect, and it will confuse people.
I understand why you are referring to it as an elopement. But when you have friends/family present as witnesses, they are also guests. So that’s why it is now a private ceremony, or a tiny wedding, intimate wedding, whatever.
If the cloth is important for you, I’d ask them in person, or call the people who live far away.
This is a request that will raise a lot of questions, and potentially cause hurt feelings. Definitely don’t mail a card, email, text, or instant message.
If I recieved such a card, I would be confused. Here is a sample of the confusion you will cause:
- Is this card a really casual invitation?
- Are they inviting me to the wedding?
- Should I ask if I’m invited? But why else would they tell me in advance?
- Oh, they just want cloth? But surely they won’t mind if I show up at the wedding?
- Why else let me know ahead of time!?
- Let me ask the extended family or circle of friends if they got a card too!
- I’ll check what they think about this. Whether it’s an invitation or not.
- Oh shit. Jennifer didn’t get a card. Now she’s upset.
- Why didn’t the bride send Jennifer a card? Did she forget about her?
- Did she.. gasp…. not want Jennifer at the private wedding too!?
- Why did Uncle Bart get a card but not Aunt Caroline?
You can avoid all of that unnecessary confusion and hurt feelings by not mailing those cards.
In your previous replies you have stated how you felt about being asked to donate an item or money to a wedding you weren’t invited to. I think you are not acknowledging that how you felt isn’t necessarily the way everybody in your life is going to feel.
While you feel that you are including these people by asking them to give you cloth, you have no way of knowing they are going to feel included by this. They might feel excuded, and rightfully so.
You are having a tiny wedding and inviting two people.
You are not inviting anybody else.
A lot of people may feel “not inviting me equals excluding me”.
Especially because you have only invited people from your FI’s side, and none from yours. (I’m not judging you on that.) Once word gets around the FI’s family were invited but not your own, this may cause a lot of hurt feelings, anger, and offense. Even if you don’t have a great relationship with your own family.
There was another forum thread recently about a couple who planned to invited the groom’s mother to be the photographer or something, so they considered her a vendor, not a guest. They were quite surprised with the notion that the bride’s mother would be upset by this. Kind of using the same logic as you, “She’s not there as a guest, she’s there to perform a function.” That won’t matter to your family who are not invited.
(I say this to you as someone who is planning a tiny wedding myself with no family present, just three friends as witnesses. So believe me, I empathize with your situation.)
These people you plan to ask for cloth; if you are close enough to those people to ask them, it stands to reason they are close enough with you to want (or expect) to be invited to see you wed.
So by telling them ahead of time “We’re getting married in December! Can you do this for me?”, you run the risk of causing a lot of bad feelings. Of course you know your crowd best, but wedding planning can bring out the worst in people. Emotions run high, feelings get hurt. Whlie this may seem like a simple request to you, weddings bring out the big emotions.
Finally, after you’re married, I love the idea of inviting your friends and family to your party. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of opinions on how to word the invite, that it will seem gift grabby, or whatever, but a wedding is an exciting time in your life! If you want to celebrate, go for it. Have fun. I’ve recieved a few invitations myself to celebrate with a couple who recently got married and I enjoyed attending.
I think the major issue people have with your idea is that by asking people for something, even though it’s small and of little cost, you may have some people in your life reacting in a way that you don’t expect. You want that handfasting rope? Go for it. Just proceed cautiously in how you ask people.