"Just wanted to say thank you once again for your amazing service. You didn’t even flinch at our idea of a Mexican 30th/surprise wedding. Your help and guidance is what made our ceremony so memorable. Neither of us had any idea on how to pull of the perfect surprise wedding and you made us feel so comfortable and at ease. I recommend you to everyone :)" Claire & Lucas.
Fun, funny and oh so memorable; I think that these photos from Be Frankie Photography say it all..
And although Lucas and Claire's family and friends were supportive and got into the spirit of things when the big reveal was made, there was a lot of groundwork that went on behind the scenes to make it all look easy and effortless on the day.
Here are a few key points that you need to address and/or consider to ensure that your surprise wedding is just as successful and doesn't fall flat.
1) Hire experienced wedding/event professionals and let them in on the secret from the start. This is a no-brainer. They will bring ideas to you that you didn't know you needed and solve problems you didn't know you had.
2) Although the idea of you getting married may be welcomed by your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and friends, it is smart to consider whether a surprise wedding may actually be more of a shock than a delight. Sometimes family and close friends feel disappointed that they weren't able to dress more appropriately (Claire and Lucas' circumvented that issue by having a dress-up party), or feel left out when they discover that you planned the event without them. Some people feel confronted, confused and just plain overwhelmed when put on the spot. Only you and your fiancé will know best how to anticipate your key guests' reactions and work out a mature way to be sensitive to them. At the same time, you need to know upfront; you can't please everyone all of the time. Surprise wedding or not.
3) For this reason and out of respect for your closest relationships, telling your immediate family (parents, children or elderly grandparents) prior to the day is a must.
4) Ensure that your guests arrive in time for your ceremony by giving them a fabricated deadline for something else important that they wouldn't want to miss. Most times the promise of entertainment starting or dinner being served at a certain time will give your notoriously late guests the hurry up needed.
5) Ensure that the reveal (the moment when the surprise is announced) is clearly communicated to everyone at the same time. It can be smart for the MC or celebrant to announce the wedding around 15 minutes before it starts to give your guests the chance to process what's going on, get a drink (if appropriate) and find a seat or comfortable vantage point to view the ceremony.
A gratuitous shot of Claire's gorgeous and painstakingly hand beaded wedding dress that she made herself (via Mon Amour Bridal - now closed).
Photos - Be Frankie
Lucas' suit - Myer
Makeup - Jemma Millar
Cake - Heidelberg Cakes
Dress - Claire's own creation via Mon Amour Bridal (now closed)
Catering - Cha Chi’s Mexican Cantina
Hair, flowers and decorations - Claire again! ("I'm a typical DIY bride")
Have you planned a surprise wedding? I'd love to hear your tips - please comment below.