Post # 1
Hi everyone, My fiance and I want to elope BUT we also have family and friends who want to be a part of our special day. So, we have considered having a small wedding ceremony and then a large reception. The problem with this is when we run down the list of friends / family who might want to enjoy both the list grows very large!
I, the bride, do not like being the center of attention and I would really prefer to not walk down an aisle. I want a fun and easygoing wedding that everyone will enjoy – me included!
IDEA: We get our marriage license before (so we are officially married) and tell everyone to come celebrate our union at a huge reception / party. In the beg/mid of the party we wiill surprise everyone with a quick ceremony/vows, and then the party will resume.
This idea we came up with seems fun but I’m not sure how people will like it? Sometimes I come up with ideas I like but others may think are crazy.
If we did this, some questions I have are:
1. do I change into a wedding dress just before the surprise ceremony? I would really like to dress up in a beautiful gown but it doesnt seen right to wear the gown to the reception when people think we already got married.
2. my father really would like to give me away – how would we do this if i’m not walking down an aisle?
Help! I dont know if this is the right thing to do?
Post # 3
I do think it would be odd if it was right in the middle of the party. I have heard of situations where people have done something similar, but it the surprise ceremony was at the beginning.
My aunt and uncle had a semi-surprise wedding on New Years Eve a few years ago. I say semi-surprise because the only one that wasn’t in on it was… the groom! At least until a few days before… It sounds crazy but my aunt had been through a nasty divorce and still wasn’t really over it even though she had been dating and living with this guy for a few years. He begged her to marry him constantly, but she just said she wasn’t ready. Finally, she decided that since they always had a big new years eve bash anyways that would be the perfect time for a wedding. She invited all their close friends and family and for Christmas gave him a copy of the invitation saying they were getting married in just a few days. He was absolutely thrilled and it was one of the best weddings I have ever been to. They had it right in their house and a friend who was a florist came in and just covered the house in red roses. They exchanged quick vows a 10 minutes before midnight and wrapped up just in time for a countdown and their midnight kiss. Seriously, it was awesome.
I think if you were going to really make it a surprise for them you might as well legitimately exchange vows in front of them. Otherwise, they might feel it really is all for show. You could tell everyone that it will be a celebration of your recent elopement/city hall marriage but then surprise them with the real thing. You could always have your finance pretend you are running late (something about being stuck in traffic, etc), then have someone announce what is really going on, and then you come into the party escorted by your dad. The above wedding I talked about was casual that way, everyone was just standing around drinking wine and then all of a sudden someone announced, alright she’s coming in! So you might not even have to worry about trying to get people seated, etc, especially since you said you wanted it to be quick. Either way, I think it sounds really fun! Good luck!
Post # 4
Thank you for your ideas! I wanted to clarify that the vows would be the real thing… just quick and relaxed… the idea about doing it at the reception allows things to be informal and relaxing – I think.
Maybe – we could all venture to the deck (overlooking beach) and we could be down on the beach (SURPRISE!) with the officiant and then exchange vows?
Post # 5
@sunset love: Ok, I got ya, sorry I misunderstood. That sounds like a great idea but would everyone be able to see? Either way, it could be really sweet and a fun way to involve your close friends and fam! : )
Post # 6
If you haven’t had an engagement party yet you could use that as a rouse to get people there and then surprise them with having it be a wedding. I would have done something similar except for the face that my parents are recently divorced, its hard enough to have gotten it worked out to have both of them at the wedding, so I would only be able to get one to an engagement party. Also we are having it at an unusual time, so if we would probably miss out on having most family there because of that. I know a few people who have done a engagement dinner party with it being a surprise wedding and said it was the best decision they made.
Best of luck figuring it out!