Surprise! It’s a Wedding

I’ve observed recently how many weddings are more expensive and elaborate than they used to be, while at the same time skipping over some of the tried and true rituals – paper invitations in the mail comes to mind. This week’s CBS Sunday Morning program featured something I’d never heard of before – a Surprise Wedding. What happens is this:  the happy couple, for whatever personal reasons, invite their desired guests to a Party, and once everyone is there partying, announce that that it is ALSO THEIR WEDDING. In the show’s clips , the guests were loud and ecstatic in one, and kind of stunned and subdued in the other. (I wonder if, for the surprise wedding where everyone was so joyous, they let at least the parents know ahead of time.)

I can imagine why someone would want to try this, considering all the difficulties and angst involved in wedding planning. When Husband and I started contemplating our wedding, we got stymied at the guest list – my extended family was all over the map, plus I’d already made them travel to one wedding that did NOT prove to work out. Husband’s family is huge, and where do we stop – if you invite one cousin, should you invite all 39? We kept putting off the decisions, and then decided to elope! We did tell our folks about it beforehand.

There are a few planners, apparently, who can help you pull it off. It does seem to cut down quite a bit on the wedding gifts, but with any luck you’ve also cut down on some of the expenses.

How do you think you would react to being at a party, and discovering you were also at a Surprise Wedding?  What’s the most fun you’ve ever had at a wedding?

37 thoughts on “Surprise! It’s a Wedding”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I would love going to a party and finding a wedding as the main event. No Fuss. No Muss. No Gift. Most weddings seem to be a bit intense and the loving couple gets so stressed by it all.

    I have told my fun wedding story before, about the rainy wedding on Madeline Island with an unforgettable cast of characters: Lou’s anxious mother and aunt, the New Jersey car salesman waiting to be eaten by wild animals and pacing on the dock, the Hora…Great wedding.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I think it is important for a couple to consider if they are getting marriied so they can have a wedding, or having a wedding so they can get married. I think the longevity odds are on the latter situation. That said, it is fun to go to a wedding that is being celebrated with all the “paraphernalia and hugaboo”. It all depends on the attitude of the couple.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Had a co-worker (thankfully she lasted less than a year) who was truly a bridezilla. Railed about not finding the “right” pink and green candy for her “candy bar.” Then when she got back post-wedding she fussed that no one at the candy that she had spent so long finding and putting into jars and bowls and whatnot. (I would guess she spent several hundred dollars between the candy and the dishes for it.) Fumed that the very few people she allowed to bring kids let those kids (oh the horror!) read some of the poems they had put out on the tables for folks to read instead of just clinking glasses to get the couple to kiss. Kids reading and stumbling over her carefully chosen words – not what she had planned for her picture perfect, carefully Pinterested wedding! Dollars to donuts her attendants were chosen for size as much as friendship…yikes.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. If I were invited to a surprise wedding, I would imagine I would be delighted. I can think of a couple of friends who might have dug up “duds” that would have had me fretting a bit…but in general, if friend is happy, I am happy.

    Two best weddings both involved great dancing. One was for a college classmate who married one of my Renaissance Festival pals (I feel only slightly responsible…). They are still married 29 years later. We broke a chandelier at the reception – causing a change in rules about what the venue would allow and where. Second was for my cousin – a destination wedding just outside of Denver (where she currently lives). Dancing was stopped mid-song because it started to snow. We were up in the mountains and several of her guests were from the Dominican Republic (where she had been in the Peace Corps, and where she met her spouse – another PC volunteer). The delight and joy of the folks who had never seen snow in person, or very little, was infectious. Darling Daughter was about 2 at the time and had just as much fun as the guests from the DR. A good wedding that leads to a good marriage is a thing of beauty.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I fear traditional weddings do not spark joy for many young couples. Many weddings are 1) too expensive, 2) too cumbersome and 3) too political (with competing interest groups seeking validation).

    I eagerly looked forward to my own wedding, then gamely suffered through it after recognizing I was a minor player in a pageant others would design. I was sorry to learn later that our wedding offended several guests. I’ve noticed that few people do conventional wedding ceremonies the second or third time they marry. Once, for me, was one too many of that.

    Now I cheer when couples reject tradition and throw a wedding that reflects their own values and love for each other. The surprise wedding seems promising, but there are many other ways to do a beautiful wedding.


      1. There were three primary complaints.

        Our service included a reading from Kahlil Gibran, That freaked out some conservatives from my father-in-law’s northwestern Iowa family..

        Then we didn’t acknowledge the eminence of a guest from that family, who expected more deference because he was a Catholic priest. I was told that he deserved, but didn’t get, a special kneeling cushion or something like that.

        And some guests didn’t like the guitar music.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good grief, If that’s what offended people, that just sounds like they are easily offended. And the whole thing about expecting deference because you’re a priest just seems wrong to me.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Ljb and BiR . . . it was 1968. 1968 was a watershed year in American cultural history. There were deep divisions, especially between patriots and war critics. People were easily set off because the whole culture was on edge.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Several years ago we had two weddings on the same day. One was a very nicely planned wedding with just the right amount of pageant and celebration and a hefty, but not exorbitant, price. The other was a ‘Weddin!’ complete with plastic cutlery and beer and pick up trucks. We were obligated to attend the second. That marriage didn’t last. The first is still going strong.

    We had a good time at our wedding. The wedding party itself was a good bunch of people and the minister had to tell us to settle down before the ceremony started. He said it with a smile though.

    We have two weddings coming this fall. I’m not sure about the first one; I’m just a guest. I can image the bride might be a little high strung.
    The second bride is already a little overwhelmed with details. The mother of the groom is only too happy to swoop in and “help”. People are trying to hold her back and give the bride room and support. We’ll see.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I know someone who is, to put it mildly, a bit pushy. When her son got married a few years ago, she basically took over the wedding plans and told me that the bride didn’t care about the details. I bit my tongue, but was thinking, But do you KNOW how pushy you are?

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I love the concept of the “Weddin!” (Autocorrect better not add the g when I hit Post—GRRRR) That said it all and it was immediately understandable. Pick ups and all.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. I think the word “pageant” really describes the traditional large church wedding. I’ve enjoyed some of these in the past, but welcome the avant-garde, even a Surprise Wedding. I think my favorite wedding to date was the Maui one you’ve already read about in late April. I loved the vows they had written, the unique way they included their daughters in the ceremony, and of course the setting, the meal, the wine…

    Afterward there was some music and dancing in the couple’s room at the resort, a sort of after party. At one point there was a lull, and one of the “other moms” and I said to each other – I wish there was a song we could all sing right now. We couldn’t come up with one (if any of you know a good one, let me know!). I am aware that in ancient times, there would have been singing – and dancing – at all kinds of village celebrations, including a wedding. We have handed over wedding music to professionals, but we miss something by not all being able to lift our voices together to celebrate the bride and groom.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I was pleased when my Cousin Jack told me that mine was the most simple wedding he had ever been to. No tuxes. The ushers and the one grooomsman were told to wear dark suits. I wore a knee length dress and had one attendant. We had lots of music at the ceremony. We had a wedding dance at the Luverne VFW club along with 3 other couples, so the place was packed, there was a fun dance band, and there were four brides and grooms wandering around.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Conventional large church weddings are pageants, and few folks have experience organizing a pageant. I loved that book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. That pageant had a happy outcome, but there’s no guaranty of that with a wedding. When a friend of my daughter had her wedding, she was forced to work with some woman from the church who presented her with an astonishing list of things she *had* to do (and pay for). The bride showed courage standing up to her, saying, “This nation is at war right now. I don’t want to have a wedding that is obscenely expensive and pretentious.” Renee’s wedding sounds perfect to me!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I think I would like a surprise wedding. As Jacque said, No muss, No fuss, No gift. I’m not a fan of the weddings nowadays where everything has to be perfect and couples spend tens of thousands of dollars that they might not even have. Not that I’ve ever been invited to any of them, just read about them, but they are not my cup of tea.

    My favorite wedding in recent memory was oldest daughter’s 10 years ago. They had an outdoor wedding on Memorial Day weekend and the weather couldn’t have been lovelier. Sunny, low humidity, and in the 70s. They had no suits, the groomsmen wore khakis and I think a polo shirt. Bridesmaids wore dresses purchased from Target. Bride wore a nice but not fancy dress; groom wore khakis and I believe a traditional Mexican wedding shirt. I made cupcakes for the reception (there was other food, too). It was all very pleasant.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I am seriously not a wedding person. My first wedding I let my mom handle the whole thing and pretty much just showed up. This did mean however that it wasn’t very fancy because she couldn’t get me to cooperate several times. So I had a dress I liked and shoes I liked and people I liked around me. All the other decisions were made by her.

    I think I’ve talked about my second wedding before. I got married at Good Earth Restaurant in Calhoun Square. The restaurant had bought some flowers for us because we had called ahead of time to reserve a table. Our waiter Philip and the waitress from the next section Sarah were our witnesses and the judge came and married us right there at the table but didn’t stay for lunch. Our honeymoon was at downtown Dayton’s; I bought a pair of shoes, he bought a book.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I guess I should have answered the actual question. I have actually been to a surprise wedding. It was a Halloween party so in addition to being a surprise wedding everybody was all dressed up in costume. It was a not a large wedding but a lot of fun. I think in order to pull off a surprise wedding you have to have enough friends and family who are flexible enough to deal with it. There were just a couple of people who were outraged at the Halloween wedding because it wasn’t traditional and what they expected. They left early.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I was a bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding in 1980. She wore a Gunne Sax dress, similar to the one shown here:
    and it was pretty inexpensive and low key. She made her own bouquet from silk flowers, and the other bridesmaid and I carried single silk roses. We had a buffet style luncheon at the party room at her mother-in-law’s condominium. A friend of my sister’s played guitar and sang. Nothing more is really necessary.

    I’d like the surprise wedding.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. There were wonderful Italian immigrant tailors in Winnipeg when we planned our wedding, so we got Husband a tailor made Italian suit for the wedding that he wore for several years until the realities of my cooking grew him out of the suit. We loaned it to our son’s less wealthy high school friends for proms and such. We still have it.

    Liked by 2 people

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