Remember the choose your own wedding scene in the movie, the five year engagement? No? Well let me give you quick overview. After a long engagement, full of life disruptions, Violet (Emily Blunt) surprises her fiancé Tom (Jason Segel) with a wedding. All the elements of the wedding; music, officiant and outfit, and as they jog up a hill (literally not metaphorically) he makes his selection. At the top of the hill friends and family are waiting and boom they get married. Pretty cool idea hey? Alas, I must be the one to inform all the fiancés out there mulling this idea over, that in Australia these kinds of fabulous surprise wedding shenanigans wouldn’t be legal.
So let’s talk about how you could have a legal surprise wedding. First things first, it can’t be a surprise for each other. Regardless of how spontaneous you both are, the major requirement of getting married is that you both consent prior to the wedding which rules out a surprise!
What you could do though, is surprise everyone else!
Legally the box that you need to tick is lodging your Notice of Intended Marriage with a celebrant/officiant at minimum one month prior the date you want to tie the knot. Once this legal box has been ticked, the beauty of a celebrant is that they can marry you anywhere at anytime. Want to marry your love at the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean? That’s cool. Under a secluded waterfall that you can only get to via a treacherous hike? Done. Celebrants are a committed bunch, my mother in law (who is a seasoned celebrant) once married a couple in a hot air balloon.
Given it’s a surprise, you want to make sure the people you really want and need to be there can make it. Using the guise of an engagement party or significant birthday and having RSVPs will help with this. Once you know your nearest and dearest will be there to witness, it’s time to drop the amazing bombshell.
The next thing to consider is how to execute your masterplan. There are SO many ways, depending on how creative you are, but here are a few suggestions.
Option 1. Get married on one day, celebrate on another. What do I mean by this? You get married in front of your closest family and friends and then a day/a week/a month later you surprise everyone else at your engagement party/other significant event by telling them that you are already married and now is the time to celebrate. A friend of mine went down this route and said she would highly recommend it. It took all the stress out of wedding organising and allowed her to really enjoy the process.
Option 2. You turn up to your engagement party/other significant event, once all the guests have arrived, you grab the mic and say ‘Surprise everyone, we’re getting married today!’ then you drop the mic, the crowd goes wild & you get married.
Option 3. Alternatively, you could do something similar but really low key with all your special people. Perhaps you could invite them to a beautiful location under the guise of wedding planning, then announce that you have actually asked them all together to witness your wedding!
Getting married is awesome, and many will say it is the best day of your life. Surprise weddings are a great way to reduce the anxiety that surrounds wedding planning and allows you to really enjoy the journey. They won’t always save you money, especially if you enjoy good wine & great food (guilty), but what they will do, is reduce your stresses, enable you to ditch many of the wedding norms (I am looking at you bonbonniere) and allow you to create an incredibly special day/night that includes everything and everyone that means the most to you both.
Image by Aimee Catt
Ms Zebra Says: I just LOVE the idea of a secret/surprise wedding!!! How much fun to plan away the details under the guise of secrecy and then WOW your besties and families?! Love love love!
Hi I am Sarah or SGceremonies if you want to get official. I am a lover of love stories, dogs, coffee by day & wine by night (or sometimes the other way around) I love working with couples to create wedding ceremonies that truly represents you and what you are about. I work my butt off to be the ultimate wedding wing woman and my mission is to put your nerves at ease and keep reminding you why you’re doing this thing; because you’re two humans that are head over heels for each other!