DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am eloping, with a small group of 20 of our closest family members being present. I am a new doctor in residency and simply do not have enough time this year to do a proper wedding. We would like to host a party in a year for all our extended family.
The question is whether or not I can have a bachelorette party with girlfriends who will not be attending the elopement this year, but who will be invited to the party next year.
GENTLE READER: Elopements being clandestine by definition, Miss Manners is unclear what the 20 family members will be doing. Holding the ladder while you make your escape?
She suspects that you are actually having a proper wedding -- a ceremony at which people become legally married -- and an anniversary party next year. Your confusion is a predictable side-effect of changing the meaning of well-understood terms.
Prenuptial parties are held before the wedding, and the guests should be invited to both. Skipping this should save you valuable time.