Why You Should Have a Surprise Wedding – and Why You Shouldn’t

There’s a real rush of excitement that comes from springing a surprise wedding on your families and friends. Depending upon your personal situation, it may be the perfect party for you, or you may wish later that you had gone the traditional route. Keep these considerations in mind as you make your decision.

No Wedding Advice. Anyone who’s had a traditional wedding can tell you, everyone they knew shared plenty of unsolicited advice on everything from fashions to favors to flowers to decor to entertainment. Basically, everyone wants to remake your wedding in their image, so they can tell everyone, “I told them to do that.” With a surprise wedding, you make all of your own plans, and execute them, before anyone has a chance to try to talk you out of them.

No stressing over your guest list. “If I invite X, then I have to invite Y, don’t I?” No, you don’t. It’s just a dinner party or a birthday party — or so everyone thinks. So no one puts pressure on you to let them bring their children, or that new girl they just started dating last week. The normal rules of wedding guest lists don’t apply.

It’s cheaper. There’s no expense for “save the date” cards, or expensive formal invitations, or over-the-top flowers and decorations. And you don’t necessarily have to book a giant banquet room, especially if you’re springing the wedding during a small gathering of intimate friends and relatives.

You can keep it loose. You don’t have to go overboard with a $5,000 gown, bridesmaid dresses, tuxedos and a 6-foot-high cake. Your guests are expecting a small get-together with you, not a grand gala. So your surprise wedding won’t be burdened by high expectations, followed by a big letdown. Your surprise ceremony will be an emotional high point of the evening; and everything after that is just icing on the cake.

But… there are a few downsides to a surprise wedding. For one thing, you can’t have an engagement party, or a bridal shower, or a bachelor party, or a rehearsal dinner, without spoiling the surprise.

No-shows. Everyone you know will find room in their schedule for your wedding, if they KNOW it’s your wedding. But some people may decide to skip out on a dinner party if their favorite TV show is on that night. You have to find a way to convince them that it’s important to you that they be there — without giving your secret away.

No gifts. If you’re counting on your wedding to help you fill up your new home with neat stuff, don’t have a surprise wedding. People who don’t know it’s a wedding won’t bring gifts. If you already have all the housewares, linens, furniture and bedding you need, then missing out on wedding gifts won’t be such a big sacrifice.

Consider that a surprise wedding isn’t for everyone you know. Most of your workmates, passing acquaintances and distant relatives you haven’t seen in years probably won’t be on your guest list. Your wedding will be much more intimate. But for the people closest to you, it’ll be the highlight of their year — and yours.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2017 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.  

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