Surprise, it's our wedding!

Surprise weddings can be wonderful events, for obvious reasons – they combine two exciting elements: a wedding and a surprise party. However, there can be a downside, so consider the pros and cons before choosing this option.


  • With few family and friends in the know, you'll completely minimise the amount of advice and interference many couples have to contend with.
  • You'll also eliminate guests' expectations and greatly reduce the pressure on you while planning the event.
  • The excitement of surprising your guests will intensify your enjoyment of the day.
  • With no preconceived ideas from others, you are free to be as creative as you like.
  • If you're on a limited wedding budget, hosting a party that starts after dinner allows you to cut costs by serving drinks and nibbles instead of a full meal.


  • You risk upsetting family members with more traditional values, or those with expectations of being involved in the planning and build-up
  • It's possible you'll experience some fall-out from those who didn't agree with our way of doing things. Work out in advance how you'll deal with negative comments/hurt feelings so they don't tarnish your enjoyment of the event.
  • You may not get as many wedding gifts from your guests.
  • Those you really want to attend may not be able to make it or may not make the effort to come because they weren't aware of the importance of the occasion. Out-of-town guests will need to be in on the secret as they're unlikely to travel great distances for your purported 'Halloween party'.

Surprise wedding advice

Yes, it might be your party, but there are some rules you'll need to follow to make your event a success:

  • It's a vital that the reception management and caterers know what's going on.
  • If there's someone in particular you know will be deeply hurt or completely caught off guard by the 'surprise' nature of your party, tell them in advance, swear them to secrecy and let them help with the planning. This might include mums, best friends (you'll need two witnesses), siblings and children.
  • Arrange your own surprise wedding party, don't hijack Grandma's 80th birthday celebrations or our brother's graduation party.
  • It is acceptable to combine your won birthday or other celebration (or use if as a cover) with your surprise wedding.
  • So the exchange of vows early on in the evening – 60 to 90 minutes into the event. This means guests who leave early won't miss the whole thing and you can get on and enjoy the party sooner.
  • With the above point in mind, your invites should have a defined start time with a note for guests to arrive promptly.