Are Surprise Weddings The Way To Go?

July 6, 2015  |  

“So what did you do this weekend?”

“I watched a couple movies on the DVR and got married.”

Wait, what?

Folks are starting to think twice when it comes to their special day. Maybe costs are finally starting to get to people given the average wedding price now dances above $30,000. Does it really make financial sense to spend that kind of money on one day? Remember, you have your entire life ahead of you that includes buying a home, having kids and other pricey endeavors.

Money was more than likely not a factor for Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis as the pair reportedly said their “I dos” in private. Their wedding is said to have taken place at a secluded ranch over the Fourth of July weekend. Musician Billy Joel also exchanged vows on the down low with a surprise wedding of his own.

Secret weddings might offend those who weren’t invited, but just might be the financial break a couple needs.

Weddings have the tendency of getting out of hand when it comes to budget. No matter how much you try, it’s almost inevitable you’ll go over the amount you wanted to spend. In most cases, people blow their load inviting too many guests that quickly add up to a small fortune. It’s cool if you don’t mind your special day doubling as a family reunion, but just know when you offer an invite to extended family and friends you haven’t seen since a #TBT photo, you’re going to pay… a lot.

I think back to my own wedding and whether or not I would make changes. It was a wonderful day with very good weather considering we had the ceremony outside. Even though my husband and I saved thousands of dollars, we definitely could’ve stashed away some more if we crossed a few people off our list. Weddings have a funky way of turning into a political event where you might feel pressure to invite one person because another is coming. Kudos to you if you can put your foot down, but many understandably buckle because they don’t want drama on their day.

A surprise wedding could actually be pretty fun. No one would know about your secret until the time of the event which could make it an even more memorable experience. You could even mask your special day as an opportunity to travel with a few close family members and friends. Destination weddings at exotic locations are very popular for intimate gatherings.

One thing is for sure: you would more than likely save some money.

Think about it, with such a short guest list you can save on the price per plate and other costs — like invitations, wedding favors and securing a venue large enough to accommodate your party. A wedding reception is hands down one of the biggest bills you’ll ever spend. If you can reduce this number to a small dining affair that doesn’t require a crazy down payment or minimum head count, consider yourself lucky.

Jason Mitchell, author of Getting Groomed, is a New York City wedding planner with tips for those considering a secret wedding:

Make sure to actually keep it a secret.  You might think your mom or sister would benefit from being prepared, but they will have double the stress from knowing you are getting married — and not being able to share the news.  However, if pulling off your affair is more than you and your fiancé can handle, hire a professional who isn’t a friend or family member.

Plan. While you won’t be telling guests in advance what to expect, be sure go through all the planning steps as if you were having a non-surprise wedding. You want to be able to enjoy every moment on the night, from when guests realize what’s happening to the last dance. Since you don’t have bridesmaids or a mother-in-law to serve as extra sets of eyes, you must make all the decisions in advance.  Think about everything that can go into a wedding, from personal vows to a monogram on a cake.  Decide what you want to include and plan accordingly. No need to scramble making sure you have a proper photographer and a hair stylist booked when you’re organized.

Communicate how to dress. As you plan the style of your event, be sure to find a way to communicate to your guests how to dress.  If you and your fiancé appear in a tux and gown while your guests are strolling in dressed for the beach, they will feel uncomfortable.  There’s nothing wrong with inviting people to a dinner party with a dress code!

Obviously surprise weddings aren’t for everyone. It’s probably not a good idea to do it if you come from a big family or one that’s very close. You’ll be hearing “Can you believe she did that?” stories until you hit the grave. But geez… less stress on your big day is so enticing.

Would you ever consider a secret wedding?

Read Did You Expect an Invitation? 10 Surprise Celebrity Weddings

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