Are you searching for a fabulous idea for your wedding day? If you love to catch folks off guard, plan a huge surprise for them—literally. With a bit of planning and some covert operations, you’ll be dreaming of a surprise wedding in no time. Reynolds and Carter had a beautiful big day filled with love (and shock!) for their loved ones.
Can you have a surprise wedding?
This year—ok, and last—have been an extra strain on couples as they have planned micro weddings and elopements. As a result, some couples have even had an on-again-off-again relationship with their wedding plans.
However, this couple originally planned to elope and ultimately decided to turn their engagement party into a surprise wedding. So, can you arrange a surprise wedding? This gorgeous event proves that YES you can keep a secret and have a great big day.
How to Arrange a Surprise Wedding
Of course, keeping your wedding day a secret can be difficult. As a result, the bride, Reynolds, provided fabulous tips on how she pulled off her special day. If you’re wondering, “Can I arrange a surprise wedding?” her story will inspire you.
Why did you decide to have a surprise wedding for guests?
We initially really wanted to elope but with Covid restrictions, it was making that hard to do. We wanted it to be more of a party than a formal wedding, and for people to be up and dancing and not follow a strict timeline. Eat, drink and dance when you want and enjoy the evening!
How did you keep your big day a secret?
A handful of our family and friends knew about it being an actual wedding. But mostly we stuck to saying we were eloping and wanted the opportunity to still celebrate with our friends and family. We called it a ‘prenuptial cocktail party.’ The invitations came from Carter and me vs. the formality of coming from our parents.
What was the reaction to your surprise wedding ceremony?
It was fabulous! Many were surprised, and the shock value was so great. I honestly was more surprised at the amount of people that hadn’t totally figured it out. Meeting with our friends and family and hearing how surprised they were and how much fun they were having was the best part.
What surprise wedding ideas can you share with other couples?
It’s hard to keep it a secret, but stick to it! Even though it wasn’t a formal wedding day, having all the little details buttoned up relieved a lot of stress on how we would pull it off. I would keep any formalities to a minimum, you want the day to flow like a normal party.
I did do a first look with Carter before getting into my party dress, which I would recommend for anyone. We did the first look with JUST the two of us. It was really nice to have that moment with Carter.
You are around people all day long, and all night long. I think it’s easy to forget when planning that you don’t truly have a moment with just the two of you.
What was the best part of your special day?
Having a wedding, in general, is a stressful time for any bride and groom. But it allowed us to have a more relaxing day, we think. Working out the logistics took some planning, but we were able to enjoy time with our family and friends.
The whole time was a big party. Food was out, and drinks flowing when guests arrived, so we were able to start greeting and having a good time with our guests from the beginning.
After our postponement due to Covid, this was the first event many of our family members and friends attended. Being able to have all the people we loved in one place and truly enjoy our time with them, and hug them after a very wild year of being apart, was one of the best things for us.
What else did you love about your big day?
The band! We absolutely loved having a band. DJs are great and always fun, but the aspect of a live band really made the day for us. The atmosphere was so happy and fun. If it’s a possibility for brides and grooms to have a band for their wedding, do it!
So, if you’re trying to plan a surprise wedding at engagement party time, it’s not as difficult as you may think! Also, just for reference, these photos may seem a bit out of order for a traditional wedding. However, it’s not a typical set of images, so here’s the order of events:
- Getting ready for the bride and groom.
- First look with the bride and groom.
- Engagement party while mingling with guests.
- Surprise wedding ceremony.
- Post ceremony couples portraits.
- Wedding reception.
I hope that helps you with the flow of photos. It’s a beautiful event, but my favorite part is the smiles. What a beautifully happy day filled with love—and surprises!
An Unexpected Wedding Day in Virginia
Virginia Wedding Vendors:
- Virginia Wedding Photography – The Mullins Photo Co.
- Wedding Planning – A Little Party Events
- Virginia Wedding Venue and Florals – Pharsalia
- Dress – Modern Trousseau
- Band – The Krewe
- Hair – Jessica Comiskey Hair Design
- Makeup – Laci Fore Makeup Artistry
- Food – Avenue Foods
- Cupcakes – Baked on the James