Most brides are so excited to share wedding planning with their friends and family that it is hard to imagine keeping the whole thing a secret until the last minute. But, this is exactly what some couples do when a surprise wedding is in store for their guests.
The legality is that only the guests can be surprised at a wedding since both parties being married need to have a valid marriage license in order to have the union recognized by the state.
Surprising your guests may seem like a great, fun idea. However, there are some guests who will not be pleased to be left out of the planning process. Parents, siblings, and close friends may not find it amusing and much older guests who have weak hearts probably don’t find a surprise as much fun as they used to.
Try to incorporate another celebration. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan told their guests they were coming for a graduation party, only to find out it was really their wedding. Surprise!
Keep the whole affair low key. Guests will feel they would have liked to dress up a little more unless it is a casual, relaxed atmosphere.
Make sure you tell your guests there will be some sort of special entertainment at a certain time. Party guests often arrive late… you don’t want them to miss out!
Have a DJ or Emcee announce what is about to happen and then give some time for the guests to digest the news, chat and laugh.
People want surprise weddings for many different reasons. It can be a way of holding the reins over what happens, it may be a way to keep the costs down, for others they just don’t want any fuss; and well, some people just like to stage a big surprise. As a guest, it is your job to honor this and not to judge, to be happy for them and not make it about you.
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo