Wedding Reception Forum
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Surprise wedding reception?

Please let me know if this is tacky, dumb, etc.

This will be my second wedding, FI's first.  We wanted to have something very small, low key.  We were thinking of inviting family over for a party over the summer but surprising them by having it be our actual wedding ceremony/reception. 

Our families, I believe, would both love this...they know we're going to get married, just not when. We figured this way we could avoid having to tell people not to bring gifts, as we already have everything we need, we just want to make it official!

Has anyone done this?  Is this just dumb.  It sounds like a good idea for our situation in theory but just wanted to get ideas from others...

Thank you!

Re: Surprise wedding reception?

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    So they'd be invited to a picnic where you'd be getting married?  Sounds like a blast!
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    Someone on (P&)E did this a while ago.  I love the idea, my only concern would be making sure that everyone shows up.  It would really suck if, say, your parents decided they couldn't make the party, and then found out later that they'd missed your wedding.

    But if you can get everyone there without spoiling the surprise, then it sounds awesome.
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    I think it sounds just awesome!
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    I like the idea, but I share the concern of making sure everyone you want there actually comes.  Is there a way to ensure that everyone makes it? 

    I say go for it.  I think it would be awesome.
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
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    I think it's a great idea if you want a low key wedding. 

    To help ensure that key guests attend, tell a few of them privately that it's really important to you that they attend, and you have some important, and happy news to share.  Then leave the rest to the fmaily grapevine.
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    Thank you all for your responses!  I needed a little reassurance this was a good idea lol.  I think I will tell maybe one or two key people so they know, this way they're definitely there.

    Thanks girls!


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    I like this idea, I really do, just one thing I want to point out.

    There might be people that wind up skipping the party because they're thinking "Oh, it's just a party, no biggie if I can't make it", and these same people, if they knew it was your wedding, would make every possible effort to attend. So if there's anybody that you really want there that says they can't make it or somebody you know would be really upset that they missed your wedding because they didn't know it was your wedding, you might want to let them know how important it is to be there so they can do what they can to attend.

    Otherwise, best wishes!

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    I saw that on TV recently on one of those wedding shows. Everyone loved it.
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    I think it's a fabulous idea!

    I'll give you some advice I used years ago for my parent's surprise 50th anniversary party.

    One of my aunts lives out of state, and wanted to be there. She was in on the surprise (my dad hates parties, so he wouldn't have come), She stayed with my parents, and my dad came along  with my Mom and aunt, thinking it was just a barbecue.

    Everyone hid in the garage and when we knew they were coming, we opened the door to the garage and had a "Happy 50th Anniversary" sign tied to the bottom of the door.

    Rather than ruin it for the people you want to surprise, tell as few people as possible if you have to tell anyone. Maybe if you have out of town guests, if they stay with someone you really want there, then everyone comes along for the "party" or "barbecue".

    Or, you could lie and say you won a fabulous chef-hosted party on some radio show, the food will be prepared onsite and will be great, and no one should miss it! Think of something plausible to make sure no one skips it.

    Good luck.
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    My aunt and uncle did this last year.  We thought we were going to a 50th birthday party.  At one point, my uncle got up, thanked everyone for coming, then asked his and his fiance's children to come up.  He said it was time to give them a present - a new stepmom and dad.  It was really lovely.

    Since we all thought it was a 50th birthday party (complete with plated dinner) there were very few concerns that people would flake out.  We all thought it was just a really nice party.  But, OP - your idea sounds great!
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_surprise-wedding-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:29e0b019-d4a3-4dbd-979d-6229c2355169Post:14957433-e23d-401a-8886-42b086054894">Re: Surprise wedding reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think it's a great idea if you want a low key wedding.  To help ensure that key guests attend, tell a few of them privately that it's really important to you that they attend, and you have some important, and happy news to share.  Then leave the rest to the fmaily grapevine.
    Posted by Catwoman708[/QUOTE]

    Haha, my whole family would think I was pregnant and show up with onesies and stuff. 

    I would also be concerned with people not coming or coming late.  When we get invited to a party that starts at 7, we rarely show up at 7.  I like the idea of telling people you won a chef hosted event.  It gives people a reason to get there on time. 
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    Great ideas!!!!  I love the "we won a chef-hosted event" idea, that might actually work out perfectly!!  We decided we'll tell FI's uncle the truth since he's out in CA, but keep it a secret to everyone else.  Thanks again!
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    I think it sounds great!!  I agree with the making a way to have everyone show up.  I watched something like that on a show on TV a few years back, and to get everyone there, they just told people, "we have important news we'd like to share".  Nobody could resist hearing important news! Lol.  Everyone ended up showing up.  I'm sure it was because everybody thought they were pregnant.  :) 
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    Glad you liked the idea!

    Just make sure you let them know a month or two before, plus do enough prep in the area where you live to make sure there are enough parking places, etc. Then get the news out in an informal way, such as emails or phone calls. Maybe you have a favorite restaurant with a great chef, and he/she would play long and let you make up a fake flyer or mailing announcing you'd won this and inviting them. I'm all about selling the story, and the intrigue of surprises.

    I hope it works for you. Come back and tell us how it goes.

    Good luck.
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    A good friend of mine did this to her FH. Yes I said FH. She called a few of the people in her and his family that were very close and special to them and let them in on the surprise. Booked a wonderful restaurant and had all of their friends scattered at tables or in hiding.When he came in for their valintines dinner she walked over to a lady seated at a table and said "Jason, this is XXX and she is here to marry us"
    It was wonderful. Most of the friends didn't know it was their wedding just thought it was a group dinner that was served in their favorite restaurant. Since they set it up not a soul missed it.
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