For couples who want to plan something completely out of the box, a surprise wedding may be just what they’re looking for. It offers couples a chance to plan an event that most of their family and friends have probably never attended, and gives them a chance to plan a wedding with minimal input from everyone since very few are in the know. “A surprise wedding can be the right fit for couples who are looking to simplify, or who are worried about the unavoidable stress from uninvited input and help from family and friends,” Katie Wilgus of Gather Event Planning in Portland, Oregon says.
Whatever reasons you may have to plan a surprise wedding, here are seven things to keep in mind to ensure that it goes off without a hitch, and without anyone ruining the surprise.
Don't tell too many people.It may seem obvious, but the more people who know about your surprise wedding plans, the more likely it is that the news will get out. Tell as few people as possible, and make it clear that it’s a secret and they cannot share the details with anyone or on their social media channels. “The personal relationship between the couple and their immediate family should dictate who is let in on the secret,” Joanna Lenck of Square Mile Events in New Jersey says. If you’re not sure if someone can keep a secret, don’t tell them.
Create a cover-up event.To ensure that your friends and family will attend your surprise wedding, invite them to an event that will guarantee their attendance. “Without understanding the importance of the event, people may feel more casual or less inclined to attend,” says Katie. “It may be challenging to get out of town guests to fly in without a great reason.” You may want to pretend it’s your engagement party or a BIG birthday celebration. The more important the reason for the party, the more likely it is people will RSVP yes. “And if a couple is inviting out-of-town guests who they really want to be a part of the big day, they should share the details about a secret wedding because the guests may be less apt to fly in for a milestone birthday than a wedding,” advises Joanna.
Tell vendors it's a surprise.Don’t forget to let your wedding vendors in on the secret. You can even include in your contract that it’s a surprise wedding if you want to be extra precautious. “Many vendors log their planning process, design inspiration and real client stories on social media platforms leading up to a wedding or special event,” says Joanna. “A surprise wedding should be communicated to each vendor so that they have clear expectations of what they can and can't share with the social media community leading up to and during the wedding.” They may also have some super-creative ideas that would be perfect for a surprise wedding!
Photo: Matthew Lim Photography