How-to Pull Off a Surprise Wedding


In early January 2015, Mark and Rachel contacted us about their wedding!  But, we were not chatting normal wedding details.  They were engaged secretly!  Not in rebellion to family, but to pull off  a surprise wedding!  Here's some tips on how we pulled off this huge surprise! 

Tip 1: Keep the guest list short

Sambuca helped us host 50 close friends and family and pull off the surprise of a lifetime.  With a smaller guest list, it was much easier to help disguise the wedding as a birthday party. 

Tip 2:  Host An Event to Disguise the Wedding  


We disguised the wedding as a joint birthday party for Mark and Rachel - believable as their birthdays were days apart in early August.  Family and friends gathered with birthday gifts and well wishes, but Mark quickly made the announcement about the big secret they had been keeping!   We've seen other disguise the wedding as an engagement party or as the proposal! 

Tip 3: Tell the VIPS 


Of course, with any surprise, there's some anxiety.  But, this is your wedding day.  We suggest letting a few VIPs including your parents in on the secret.   They can help keep the surprise, spend the day with you and they'll be thankful they didn't show up to your wedding in cut-offs. 

Tip 4: Make the Announcement Memorable 


Mark allowed all the wedding guests to gather and mingle before he made the big announcement that Rachel was waiting in a white dress!  We draped the room with blackout linens so guests couldn't see the space prepared for the ceremony!  We've also seen a couple create a wedding video, play it at the cocktail hour right before dinner and guests are seated to announce they are getting married now!  The film ends and the wedding immediately begins! 



Just because this was a surprise wedding, we didn't want to sacrifice wedding traditions!  Rachel decided on a very traditional ball gown with modern twist, colorful summer florals and enjoyed getting pampered the day-of by a hair and make-up team.  It was important to still make the day feel like her wedding day!

Tip 6:  Shorten Your Planning Process


Trust me, this is going to be the hardest secret to keep!  Don't drag out your engagement or the planning to leave room for giving up your secret.  We planned Rachel and Mark's wedding in about seven months! They were bursting at the seams to tell guests. 

Photography /  Love is a Big Deal