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Key Steps for Arranging a Surprise Wedding

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While many couples like to spend months or even years planning a big, lavish wedding, some want to get married sooner, save money, or keep things simple and pared back. If you’re in the latter category, you might be interested in arranging a surprise wedding for yourself and your partner. 

This means you turn a general party or another occasion into a surprise exchange of nuptials, with your guests none the wiser until the ceremony begins. Here are some key steps for making this happen for yourself so you can say “I do” in a memorable, fun way.

Don’t Let Many People in on the Secret Before the Big Day

For starters, it’s vital to keep the number of people who know you plan on getting married at your event very small. The more people who know what’s happening, the more likely it is that someone will accidentally let the news slip. 

You’ll want to let at least some contractors in on the true nature of the occasion, such as dressmakers, hair and makeup artists, musicians, caterers, and florists, but limit the number of people in your family, friend, and colleague circles who know what’s happening to the bare minimum. For instance, you could let only your groomsman and bridesmaids in on the news, or your parents, or even keep it even more minimal, at just the wedding celebrant or priest, etc.

Choose an Event That’s Enough of a Drawcard 

While those you love and who care about you will do their best to attend any event you put on, people are much more motivated to ensure they can attend a wedding. As such, if you’re having surprise nuptials, you must ensure the occasion you’re inviting people to celebrate is big enough and at a time when the most people can attend. 

You might have to tell some little white lies to get people to say “yes” to attend a general birthday party, New Year’s Eve celebration, Fourth of July shindig, or anniversary party, etc., to make the drawcard big enough. For instance, you could say there will be a famous live act for people to see, or you have big news to share. 

This is especially the case for those who need to travel from afar. Plus, consider inviting those with young children to bring their kids along so they don’t have to stress about getting babysitters and are more likely to attend. 

Spend Time Planning and Getting Paperwork in Order

Keep in mind, too, that while you might be able to pull together a surprise wedding in just a few weeks or days, it won’t be legal unless you have the necessary paperwork ready for your nuptials. As such, you’ll usually need to plan your big day at least a month or two in advance to ensure you have a marriage license available to you.

Also, you’ll want to allow enough time to plan and book elements such as your dress, caterer, venue, wedding cake, rings, music, and so on. Many top contractors book out months in advance, so you may have to settle for people further down on your list or give yourself more time to prepare. 

Come Up with a Fun Reveal

One of the major elements of a surprise wedding is deciding how you’ll actually reveal the big news to your guests on the day. You want this to be a fun scene that helps celebrate the momentous occasion, so don’t just work it out on the day. It’s worth deciding on a suitably big and memorable reveal. 

For example, you might have someone do a drum roll, stop music suddenly, and get the lights dimmed as you and your fiancée take your positions, or you could erect some lush, thick curtains in the wedding venue and set up an altar behind that, and raise the drapes when the time comes for your vows. 

For lots of impact, why not arrange for some fireworks, like Roman candles, rockets, mortars, cakes, etc., to blast into the sky to shock people and take their attention while you get ready to exchange vows or have your pet dressed up as a ring bearer to walk the wedding rings through the crowd to you and your beloved? 

Fireworks in the sky

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Other ideas are to have a special family member or friend who no one has seen for a long time flown in to officiate the nuptials, serve everyone champagne and give a toast in which you reveal the true intentions of the party, or get your guests completing a treasure hunt where the clues end up delivering the happy news. 

Be as creative as you like and develop a reveal that will make your surprise wedding even more of a “wow” moment for those in attendance to talk about for years to come. 

Pulling off a surprise wedding takes organizational skills and smart strategizing, but it can be a great way to reduce the stress of a traditional wedding day and help you save money if needed. 

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