Surprise and wedding are not two words normally strung together. For most people, a wedding means months upon months of planning the decor, deliberating over seating arrangements and agonising over finding the perfect dress. But some savvy brides-to-be are kicking tradition to the curb and throwing a whirlwind surprise wedding using the cover of an engagement or birthday party to lure their guests to location.
28-year-old Amy was married in February this year to Paul in her parents Mosman Park back garden. She says she has always loved the idea of a surprise wedding so when Paul proposed to her on Christmas Day, she immediately began to figure out whether they could pull one off.
“We feel that the true romance and meaning of weddings can sometimes become lost,” she says.
“So for us, it was a way of maintaining that meaning and making it about two people sharing a special day with their nearest and dearest.”
Of course, some people have to be aware of what is going to happen to avoid problems or disappointment. Most obviously, both the bride and groom need to be aware of the wedding and legally have to submit a notice of intention to marry at least one month before the ceremony. It’s a good idea to tell those closest to you, who might feel left out or resentful towards you, for keeping the secret from them, for example your parents. And anyone who needs to make a special trip from across the country or overseas needs to be notified, as they probably won’t make that journey for just a birthday party. It might also be prudent to tell anyone who might be emotionally or physically challenged as a result of your announcement (especially your older guests for health reasons).
Amy says she and Paul had one local confidant each to make it easier on themselves.“Paul had one of his best friends, who was also to be our MC and I had one of my best friends, Anna, who helped me get ready on the day and also performed as I walked down the aisle,” she says.
While for many, the idea of a surprise wedding is accompanied by high levels of stress or thoughts of missing out on a big white wedding, Amy said she would definitely do it all again if she had the choice.
“I think when you attend a function, you go with certain expectations,” she says.
“So when you experience something [different] to what you were expecting, it just creates a new, very emotional and adrenaline charged environment.”