7 Pros and Cons Of A Surprise Wedding

Surprise! This is actually a wedding. Wait, what? Yes, more couples are tricking guests into thinking they’re attending another event or gathering all their friends and family into one place just to do the most unexpected thing possible…get married! The New York Post recently wrote about the growing trend of surprise weddings, and we’ve seen stories popping up too, like the couple who got engaged and married in just 30 minutes (they tricked friends by telling them they were attending a 30th birthday party) and the bride who surprised her groom with a wedding on his birthday. It’s not just a way for celebs to avoid the paparazzi on their wedding day anymore. Remember when Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan tricked everyone into thinking they were attending a graduation party, and then BOOM wedding? There’s a lot of really cool and practical reasons why you might want to have a surprise wedding, but before you make any judgements read this list of pros and cons.

The Cons

You might not get gifts.

A registry and wedding website would pretty much give everything away, and the chances are low that if guests don’t know they’re going to a wedding that they’ll have a gift on hand. You might get a few gifts from guests after the fact, but since there’s no etiquette rules around this you shouldn’t expect them. This might actually be a pro if you already have everything you need and weren’t planning on asking for gifts anyway because it gets you out of the awkward invitation wording.

No pre-wedding parties either.

So you could plan a fun night out with your friends beforehand, but you’d be the only one who knows it’s actually a bachelorette and not just a fun night out. For the couple that doesn’t like being in the spotlight too much this is great because you can pack all the love into one day. Sometimes the bridal shower or the rehearsal dinner can be the most sentimental though because it’s a chance to spend quality time with those closest to you.

Your parents and grandparents might not get it.

A lot of friends and family will make a sacrifices to attend someone they love’s wedding that they wouldn’t for any other life event. So even if you’re planning a surprise wedding under the pretext of another big party they might not choose to come even though they wouldn’t think of not being there on your wedding day. The way to get around this is to let your VIPs know what’s going on, but then what’s the point?

The Pros

Guests can’t ask you all the questions you’re too stressed to answer.

What are your colors? Are my kids allowed to come? These are the things people don’t ask when they think you’re just throwing a nice dinner party.

From the album: An Elegant Summer Wedding in Sydney, British Columbia

There’s less pressure to make it fancy.

Since it’s spontaneous, there won’t be an expectation for the finery that usually comes with weddings (unless that’s totally your style, go for it). For a surprise wedding the focal point won’t be the cake reveal or the floral arrangements, it’s going to be the shocking fact that you’re getting married right then and there.

From the album: An Intimate Backyard Wedding in Rocky River, OH

You’ll save some money (especially on invites!).

Surprising guests on the fly with a wedding instead of planning it out means, you’ll save and not just on the save-the-dates and invites that you don’t have to send out and since it’s more spontaneous you probably won’t have to do an entire sit down dinner or five-hour reception.

From the album: A Romantic Country Wedding in Hillsdale, WI

It’s definitely unique (and they’ll never see it coming). 

The surprise wedding is still new enough that the novelty of it hasn’t warn off yet. Be a trendsetter and you’re guaranteed to have a wedding that everyone talks about for years to come because no one has ever seen it before.

From the album: A Romantic Dessert Wedding in Tucson, AZ

Want more? Right here!

> 5 secret celebrity weddings

> Couple gets engaged and married in just 30 minutes

> 6 new wedding ideas you’ll see in 2014

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  • Shyanne
    02/28/14 at 11:50

    I don’t think that gifts should be a factor, pro or con, in how you choose to throw your wedding, but I can agree with the rest of it.

  • Melizabe
    02/28/14 at 12:24

    “For a surprise wedding the focal point won’t be the cake reveal or the floral arrangements, it’s going to be the shocking fact that you’re getting married right then and there.” – Shouldn’t the focal point always be that you are getting married, right then and there? Flowers and cake are just extras.

  • annshi1988
    03/01/14 at 11:31

    I do not think A Surprise Wedding is a good idea.

  • 12/11/14 at 09:07

    my boyfriend and i have discussed this option… we are all for it. i’ve been to that many weddings now, and it feels like everyone is just trying to outdo each other, and the cost of every event leading up to the wedding is just insane. one friend of mine had not only the engagement AND hens party, she had a kitchen tea, drinks for the weekend before getting married… it seems a tad impersonal, and the whole point of getting married is because you love each other.

    this focus is so lost these days and i love the idea of a surprise wedding as it brings the focus back onto the bride and groom. my boyfriend and i also both have a lot of friends in different groups, and thinking of who would and wouldn’t be invited to our wedding gives me a headache. and not getting gifts? who cares! as long as everyone at the “engagement” party you love is there thats all that matters.

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Escort cards are extremely easy to personalize and an excellent way to bring in your wedding day colors -- from calligraphed seating cards set atop a textured linen to apples tagged with each guest's name or small personalized bundles of lavender tied off with string. Other ways to display escort cards: Pin them to a clothesline, post them on a board covered in color-coordinated ribbon, or incorporate them into your cocktail hour using personalized stirrers tagged with guests' names.
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