How to Pull off a Surprise Wedding
Throwing a surprise party with wedding bells ringing, now that’s on a new level. Courtney and Jake did just that. Over the course of 3 months (yes, 3 months), Courtney and Jake secretly planned their big day without family or friends knowing. Ditching the drama, stress and family politics (need I go on?) they wanted to have a chilled, casual day with people they love but those people knew nothing of their plan. Here’s the couple’s love story.
I received a request to photograph an engagement party of a couple I went to school with. They were childhood sweethearts and sweet is all I can describe them as. I had just made the transition into full time wedding videography, which meant I could no longer focus on event photography. This couple was different, they were just amazing and I really wanted to film their wedding, but I explained my predicament and asked to be considered for filming their wedding. The response I received was a request to lock in the date of 2nd December, a time slot of 3-8pm and a coffee date to discuss me ‘’doing the honours’’. The penny dropped - this my friend was a surprise wedding.
With a long black in hand, I excitedly agreed and we discussed ideas on how to lure the guests into a different room for the actual ceremony. I even got a laugh when I mentioned that everyone might think it was a pregnancy announcement - little did I know that Courtney was indeed pregnant and this couple may have just hired a psychic videographer. I got down to planning the logistics and timing.
THE BIG REVEAL
So with the wedding 3 months away, the happy couple broke the baby news to me and we decided on a gender reveal as the perfect distraction for the wedding. The celebrant would move everyone inside, and instead of pink or blue balloons, white confetti would initiate the ceremony. The day arrived and I had the wonderful Liam Gordes as my second. It was nerve wracking; we had mutual friends and I wanted to avoid any suspicion. Courtney had the most beautiful baby bump. So far, only their parents and Jake’s sister knew about the wedding - convincing her and her family to fly in from Cooktown would have been another challenge! The couple greeted 90 guests and during the mingling, they disappeared for an outfit change. While the guests gathered for the ceremony, family and members of the wedding party (unbeknown to them) were secretly shown the newlyweds to be. Those reactions were like no other I have captured before. A pre-wedding movie we recorded was being played to guests and when the time came, Jake walked in and popped the balloon to reveal white confetti. The celebrant was there and boom, the wedding began. The bridesmaids graced the aisle and the happy couple said their vows.
HAPPILY EVER AFTER
The tears, the happiness, the shock made this one bomb of a wedding to be involved in. Putting together the reactions of loved ones was one of the most emotional, incredible and fulfilling pieces I have edited to date. A love like theirs, so pure and caring, was too good not to be captured and remembered. A celebration of an engagement, a baby and a wedding to top it all off - it surprised ME how smooth it went.
SURPRISE WEDDING TIPS
Guests will guess but that doesn’t spoil it. The surprise is the entire day, regardless of how long it took to realise the surprise.
You don’t need an army. Not everyone can make the big day and asking your BFF to fly in for your covert mission can seem a bit Queen B. Accept that they can’t come.
Distraction is key and you need a reason to gather everyone inside for the ceremony.
Invest in more than one videographer. Those reactions are priceless and you don’t want to miss them. Most videographers will have a second shooter they can hire for a few hours to help perfectly capture your day!