i get that question a lot. and my friends have gotten it too. so i thought i’d share a little more about our “surprise” wedding, based on the faq’s we have gotten in the last 2.5 months. i’ll break this up into a few parts…since it will be a long post!
what’s a surprise wedding? did you know about it?
i’ve gotten this question a few times. i was in on the surprise, not the one surprised! we told our 35 guests they were coming to a small engagement party, but surprised them by getting married right when they showed up to the party. the girls found out about the wedding the morning of the wedding, during a bridal shower brunch, using this inspiration as a game.
why keep the wedding a surprise?
nathan and i both wanted something different for our wedding. we had been a part of so many weddings, and attended so many weddings, and consider ourselves more “non-traditional” (i.e. we didn’t want cake cutting, garter toss, single girls going out on the dance floor to beyonce, etc.). we considered eloping, but knew we wanted a few of the people that are closest to us to be there. i couldn’t imagine saying our vows without my mom or his family present, so our next thought was destination wedding. we decided against that when we remembered we needed to give our guests advanced warning so they could save up money and vacation time to celebrate with us. we didn’t want to wait that long to be husband and wife. we just wanted to be married.
we sat down to figure out a guest list for a more traditional wedding. in 10 minutes we had over 250 people. we both come from such large families and friend groups and family friend groups, we knew it would be almost impossible to have less than 400 invitations go out. although we wanted to celebrate with everyone, when we both thought about our ideal/perfect/from-a-dream wedding, we imagined just a few people, by the river, standing, intimate, woodsy. with a more traditional wedding, we wouldn’t be able to have the intimate wedding we wanted.
i’ll also be very honest. since the death of my father, i couldn’t imagine a big wedding without him. i didn’t want to walk down the aisle by myself with a bunch of people watching. i didn’t want to have the traditional first dances because i couldn’t dance with him. and although family and friends mean well, i just couldn’t hear “if your father was here”, “if he could see you right now”, “he’s smiling down on you”, “that star in the sky is him right now wishing you the best”, etc. during my wedding day. nathan and i wanted our wedding, the start of our marriage, to be about us and our vows before God. we wanted it to be about that, not about the fact that my father was not there to witness it. i wanted to honor him in other ways, and feel that special connection with God and him, without others reminding me of his missing presence.
i talked to a good friend of mine who reads me like a book, and knew i wanted to marry nathan. i didn’t tell her we were “unofficially engaged”, but told her i wanted to marry him, and that we had talked about eloping. a few days later, she sent me an e-mail with a blog of a couple that got married during their engagement party and surprised their guests. that night, i had a dream nathan and i did that same thing. and it was magical. i presented the idea to nathan (who loves privacy and surprises!) and off we went with the planning. i told that friend to save the date of april 28th, but no other details, so she could be surprised as well!
in the next “what the heck is a surprise wedding?” post, i’ll cover our wedding inspiration, the little details, our projects, and one of the most important things…the food!
have questions about our surprise wedding? leave a message here, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!