How to Plan a Surprise Wedding
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How to Plan a Surprise Wedding

Surprise Wedding Overview

For some couples, their wedding is a hectic time filled with lots of celebrations, planning, fittings, meetings, and gifts. However, there are some couples who want a wedding without all the hassle and hoopla. And a surprise wedding is one way to achieve this.

The way a surprise wedding works is fairly straightforward. The couple invites their guests to an event that they will say is another type of party. Then, after all the guests arrive, the bride and groom will tell them that the event is actually a matrimonial celebration.

A Checklist of Things-to-do

Pre-planning: One to two months before the surprise wedding

Planning a surprise wedding is not that hard because you'll have a lot less to take care of as opposed to a full-blown wedding celebration.

  1. Set a date. Decide together on when you want the event to take place. You can hold it right after you get your marriage license or after your engagement party (if you will have one).
  2. Choose your Venue. The wedding can take place anywhere from your own backyard to a function room of a hotel, a fancy restaurant, or a beach. The important thing is that the number of guests you plan to invite should fit in your location. Plus, it should not look too obvious like a wedding is about to take place.
  3. Prepare your guest list. You can invite as many or as few as you want. If you're having a surprise wedding because you also want to keep expenses down, then a small intimate party of close relatives and friends is enough.
  4. Send your invitations. The key to keeping the wedding a surprise is an invitation that is misleading in purpose. You can say in your invitation that it is an engagement party, or another type of formal party so guests will come dressed in something more appropriate for a wedding.

Planning the Details: 2 to 6 weeks before the wedding

At this time, just a few weeks before the surprise wedding, you should have ironed out all the things you need.

  • Officiant/Priest – contact and make arrangements with the priest or officiant for the wedding. Make sure the details of the ceremony are clear to him/her. If you live in a small town where everyone knows each other, then tell the priest that the wedding rite is a surprise.
  • Food – you have the option of having a formal dinner in a restaurant, or have something as casual as a backyard barbecue. It can be anything in between, just remember to have plenty of champagne and a wedding cake.
  • Entertainment – you can go through some of the usual wedding reception entertainment like tossing the bouquet, first dance, and the toast. You can have a few intermission numbers like an impromptu song from one of your willing guests. A little bit of dancing is the perfect way to wind down the ceremony.
  • Favors – even if you're having a surprise wedding, it's not an excuse to forgo giving a thank you gift for those who attended. Whether you give out personalized wedding favors or practical favors, your guests are sure to appreciate your thoughtful gesture.

Surprise Wedding Etiquette FAQs

An unconventional wedding like a surprise wedding brings a lot of questions and confusion. Here are a few of those questions answered:

Should I skip the Thank You notes?

Since you had a surprise wedding, you most probably didn't have to register for gifts and your guests did not bring gifts. Therefore, a thank you note is not required. The favors you give out will serve as your gratitude, where you can also attach a thank you note.

Should I keep the surprise wedding a secret from everyone?

It's a good idea though to let your parents know that you're having a surprise wedding to avoid hurting their feelings. Just make sure that they'll be able to keep the secret.

How do you apologize to the people who felt bad when I had the surprise wedding?

There really is no way to take back how they felt. All you can do is explain to them that you didn't want the hoopla of a full wedding ceremony but still wanted to share the special day with them. They'll understand eventually.

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