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Etiquette

Surprise Wedding - Is there an etiquette?

We are planning on having a surprise wedding (for our guests) but was wondering if there was an established etiquette for it or if we just have to make it up as we go along?

Thanks

Edit - Yes me and FI are getting married. We dont want a 'thing' but FI wants people there. We are currently completely gutting a house and redoing it all so FI thought that as we have already planned to throw a big party (after the last 2 years) as a house warming and we were also going to make it a 30th birthday party for FI so thought why don't we just also do a wedding at the same time.

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Re: Surprise Wedding - Is there an etiquette?

  • Can you please explain exactly how this is going to work? Im a little confused. You and your FI are the ones getting married?
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_surprise-wedding-is-there-an-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:988ef181-a19c-4f18-a4ba-826416c4f6f9Post:3dfb06e0-2f64-45ca-8bc0-15bc386a5dcd">Re: Surprise Wedding - Is there an etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Can you please explain exactly how this is going to work? Im a little confused. You and your FI are the ones getting married?
    Posted by Sierra524[/QUOTE]

    Sorry yes FI and I getting married. I just added some more to the OP. We were planning a big party anyway as a housewarming/FI 30th
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_surprise-wedding-is-there-an-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:988ef181-a19c-4f18-a4ba-826416c4f6f9Post:cdda7372-891a-454a-a501-b9e9767775fd">Surprise Wedding - Is there an etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]We are planning on having a surprise wedding (for our guests) but was wondering if there was an established etiquette for it or if we just have to make it up as we go along? Thanks Edit - Yes me and FI are getting married. We dont want a 'thing' but FI wants people there. We are currently completely gutting a house and redoing it all so FI thought that as we have already planned to <strong>throw a big party (after the last 2 years) as a house warming and we were also going to make it a 30th birthday party for FI so thought why don't we just also do a wedding at the same time.</strong>
    Posted by Flicktop[/QUOTE]

    Ehh, I dont really think its a good idea. You are already celebrating 2 things at once, adding a wedding will really just complicate things. As a guest, I wouldnt like a surprise wedding for the simple fact that I would in no way be prepared (a gift, dressing appropriate, etc).
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_surprise-wedding-is-there-an-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:988ef181-a19c-4f18-a4ba-826416c4f6f9Post:a97ce3a4-0d9a-4f41-b288-cdd6977f7b65">Re: Surprise Wedding - Is there an etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Surprise Wedding - Is there an etiquette? : Ehh, I dont really think its a good idea. You are already celebrating 2 things at once, adding a wedding will really just complicate things. As a guest, I wouldnt like a surprise wedding for the simple fact that I would in no way be prepared (a gift, dressing appropriate, etc).
    Posted by Sierra524[/QUOTE]

    Fair enough
    But that is sort of the point - we don't want gifts, we don't want a 'thing' for the wedding. And thought as everyone is there...
  • Keep in mind that people will prioritize attending a wedding over a housewarming or a birthday party.  What you are planning sounds like an open house--if I were friends with you, I would "try to stop by," but I would know that I could always come see your house later, so if I had a friend in from out of town or other more organized plans, I might not make it to your party.  If you want people there, I think you should tell them in advance that you will be getting married.  

    Summer2011Bride
  • If I were invited to housewarming, and didn't go, and them found out it was a wedding id be insulted. It would seem like you didn't care that I was there or you would have properly invited me.
    CLoGreenEyes
  • edited April 2013
    I agree with jessica. Many people will rearrange things and reschedule plans to attend a wedding; many won't for a b-day or Housewarming party. I also think of Housewarmings as more of an open house, come when you want sort of thing.

    I think if you do the surprise wedding you may be disappointed with the turnout. Some people you may really want there, who would've made sure to come if it was a wedding, may not for what they think is a Housewarming. Just something to keep in mind.

    ETA: And if I was a close friend who couldn't make your Housewarming thinking that's what it was, and then found out it was actually your wedding, I'd be pissed.


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  • I know you want lowkey and not a production, but I agree with the PP that I'd be upset if I missed it, thinking it was "just" a housewarming. I would totally reschedule for a wedding. And, I'm sure some people would be disappointed too to not even have a camera to take a picture, silly as that might be.

    I think you can set a tone with the invites for the party and still get what you are envisioning while also preparing your guests.
  • Agreed Jessica.  I wouldn't try very hard to make it to a housewarming or b-day party unless I knew I wasn't busy.  I certainly wouldn't take off work for it, but would try for a wedding.  The open house thing would be my other concern with this.  In order to host your guests, you need to have a good idea of how many people are coming.  Overall, I don't think a surprise is the best way to approach this.  As a "guest", I wouldn't be too pleased.  But I wouldn't side-eye it though. 

    That being said, I think there are ways to combine this into one big event, without making a huge deal out of having a wedding with it.  Growing up, my best friend's parents got divorced and eventually married other people.  When her mom and stepdad did this, they had just bought a house together, and did a housewarming/wedding thing that worked quite well.  They had a casual luau in their new backyard once they were settled.  They had very casual hawaiian-looking invites that said something along the lines of "come check out the new place out our housewarming luau (with a wedding on the side)".   Very informal, but still let everyone know what was up.  Granted, this was a second wedding, but I don't see anything wrong with anyone doing it for their first wedding.  Perhaps something like that could work for you and your FI?

  • My cousin threw a surprise wedding.  We got an invitation to a 50th birthday party and in the middle, they got up, thanked everyone for coming, and said they had a gift for their children.  "We're going to give you a new step-parent."  It was really sweet.

    Both members of the couple told their children and their parents beforehand so they would definitely be there.  If you have people that you absolutely want there, please tell them first.  My family was a bit scared afterwards because we considered not going.  The restaurant was far from us through rush hour traffic on a Friday.  But, it all worked out okay.  I didn't hear too much upsetment from guests, but that doesn't mean that there wasn't any.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_surprise-wedding-is-there-an-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:988ef181-a19c-4f18-a4ba-826416c4f6f9Post:29b5e7c7-8d3f-4996-bf46-850ed512bbbc">Re: Surprise Wedding - Is there an etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]My cousin threw a surprise wedding.  We got an invitation to a 50th birthday party and in the middle, they got up, thanked everyone for coming, and said they had a gift for their children.  "We're going to give you a new step-parent."  It was really sweet. Both members of the couple told their children and their parents beforehand so they would definitely be there.  If you have people that you absolutely want there, please tell them first.  My family was a bit scared afterwards because we considered not going.  The restaurant was far from us through rush hour traffic on a Friday.  But, it all worked out okay.  I didn't hear too much upsetment from guests, but that doesn't mean that there wasn't any.
    Posted by Joy2611[/QUOTE]

    I think even this scenario is slightly different, as it was a "milestone" birthday.

    But I agree with PPs - don't surprise people by getting married. If you want a small, casual ceremony, have a small casual ceremony. Weddings don't have to be a big all out party with hundreds of people.
  • Agreed with PPs.

    I think this could work in small, tight knit communities where everyone on the guest list lives nearby and always attends these things.  Otherwise, it's just asking for trouble.

    I *personally* wouldn't do it, but if you're going to, then definitely inform the VIPs first so that your brother or mom or best friend whoever doesn't accidentally miss it because something came up.

    SaveSave
  • Would you have any sort of reception afterwards, or the things that normally are included in a reception (cake, first dance, etc?) or would it just be a party then- Surprise! Here's a wedding ceremony- then back to the party already in place?

    I think etiquette-wise, even if it's surprise wedding (which I'm not a fan of, but that's my opinion and I really don't know if a surprise wedding considered bad etiquette or not) you still have to be host your guests properly.  Will you be having food brought in or prepared for your guests?  Every housewarming I've been to involved the guests bringing food to the couple- but that wouldn't be appropriate for a wedding.

    However, I think the board needs more information about the timeline of the whole evening to really help you out.  Can we get more of an idea what your plan is?
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_surprise-wedding-is-there-an-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:988ef181-a19c-4f18-a4ba-826416c4f6f9Post:ceda1713-e57b-4072-9f46-6486c5fa69d0">Re:Surprise Wedding Is there an etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]If I were invited to housewarming, and didn't go, and them found out it was a wedding id be insulted. It would seem like you didn't care that I was there or you would have properly invited me.
    Posted by STARMOON44[/QUOTE]

    <div>Ditto this. I'd easily skip a housewarming party, and then be really upset that you got married and I missed it because you failed to inform me of the real reason for the party.</div><div>
    </div><div>Why don't you ask your nearest and dearest (friends, parents, siblings, etc) to go to the courthouse or your backyard for a wedding ceremony? It doesn't have to be a big extravagant affair. Afterward, you can go to a restaurant for lunch / dinner or have food at your home. </div>
  • I have the tendency to arrive later at housewarming parties because they tend to last for a long time and it's a bit of a "come when you want, leave when you want" party. I'd be upset if I came late or left early and missed the wedding. As long as you tell your VIPs, I guess that you'd be fine, but you could potentially make some people hurt/angry. It's a bit of a know your guest list thing I think. Not my style, but you could make it work.

    That being said, why don't you stick wedding on the invitation so people at least know it's more than a housewarming party? Or you could have a really low key wedding a different weekend in the back yard.




  • I also would not to a sprite wedding. If you want low key just send out simple invites a few weeks in advance and have a backyard BBQ style shindig. Nothing to fancy but gives people who really want to celebrate with you an opportunity. If you where having a party anyway then a lot of the costs you where probably going to spend anyway.
  • The other thing to think about, as I'm reading other people's responses, is that people do come and go - and if they are anything like mine and DH's families, be ready for people to pop in and interrupt the ceremony. I can see it now: best friend walking in mid-vows with a bottle of vodka screaming "the party's here! Who's ready for a good time?!" Also, people may show up with other plans that they have to get to because its "just" a housewarming party. Now you spring a ceremony on them, but they have to leave in order to make it to their next obligation on time and miss part of the ceremony (potentially disrupting it as they leave).
  • Honestly OP, if I blew off what I thought was a house warming/b-day/whatever party and later found out it was a wedding, I would be incredibly hurt...to the point where I would question my friendship with the people getting married.  People plan to be at weddings.  Other parties they go to if it fits into their schdeule.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    People take weddings seriously enough to make plans to attend.  They do not necessarily do that with other parties like housewarmings or birthdays.

    So I strongly advise against this.

    Not to mention, a "surprise" occasion with yourselves as the honorees at another (double) occasion for yourselves comes off as AW-ish as well as too cutesy and coy.  If you don't want to "do anything" for your wedding, have a private wedding and send announcements afterward.
  • Another vote not to do this.  If you want to do a casual wedding in your backyard, that is totally fine.  But, tell people that's what is happening.
  • I think if you made it a large dinner party - like tables set up in the backyard - and had people RSVP, it has potential. 

    But have you seen the episode of Girls with the surprise wedding where one character is super upset that she wore a white cocktail dress to what she thought was a party and turned out to be a wedding? I would totally be upset if I was just wearing capris or something!
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_surprise-wedding-is-there-an-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:988ef181-a19c-4f18-a4ba-826416c4f6f9Post:cdda7372-891a-454a-a501-b9e9767775fd">Surprise Wedding - Is there an etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]We are planning on having a surprise wedding (for our guests) but was wondering if there was an established etiquette for it or if we just have to make it up as we go along? Thanks Edit - Yes me and FI are getting married. We dont want a 'thing' but FI wants people there. We are currently completely gutting a house and redoing it all so FI thought that as we have already planned to throw a big party (after the last 2 years) as a house warming and we were also going to make it a 30th birthday party for FI so thought why don't we just also do a wedding at the same time.
    Posted by Flicktop[/QUOTE]

    IMO, surprise weddings are a HORRIBLE idea for many reasons.

     If you invite me to a party at your house, I may not feel like coming so I may ditch it. I probably wouldn't do that if I knew if it was your wedding. Do you REALLY want to riskt he most important people in your life may not be present because they just didn't feel like going to a "party" one night.

    If I have a choice with a 30th bday party and a wedding, I'd go to a wedding because I would find it more "priority". You might have people skip your party if another "more important" event comes up that same day. They won't be able to properly prioritize based on the importance of an event because they wno't get it. Again, you might have important people skip it because they have a conflict..


    Please PLease reconsider this

    3) People will want
  • I LOVE THIS IDEA! We are having a surprise wedding also, I think it is fun, unique and different.  If people don't show up it is no one's fault but their own, you invited them!  :)
  • rajahmdrajahmd Galifrey member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited August 2013
  • SVikeSVike member
    10 Comments

    I think a surprise wedding sounds lovely! I definitely agree with PP that it could be a little difficult in terms of making sure the important people are there, but you could definitely just tell those people about it beforehand! I think if you did a barbecue, and made it clear when you invited people that it was also for the birthday most people would come anyways. And if they don't well thats their problem. Have someone take a video that you can show them later.

    Everyone else is saying that you should have a low-key bakyard wedding instead, but that isn't the same thing as a surprise at all. As a guest I would love a surprise like this, and if I didn't go, I would be a little sad that I missed it but it wouldn't make me mad. Enjoy your wedding the way you want it to be!

    polly212
  • SKPMSKPM member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    I LOVE THIS IDEA! We are having a surprise wedding also, I think it is fun, unique and different.  If people don't show up it is no one's fault but their own, you invited them!  :)
    Why the need to resurrect an old thread? There is a current thread about this, you posted in it today.image

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    The same PP resurrected that thread too :/

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  • rajahmdrajahmd Galifrey member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited August 2013
  • I think a surprise wedding is fine- especially if you don't want a big "thing" and you want people there to celebrate with you. My aunt (lives in CA, we live in CT) did a surprise wedding. They just threw a BBQ, then during it they said "Oh, hold on, we forgot, today we are getting married". No one who didn't go was upset that they missed it (us included) simply because if they wanted to have a big to do, they would have picked a wedding date and invited everyone. It was their preference, and they were happy. We couldn't have been happier for them, even though we weren't there. Sure, had we known they were getting married, we would have flown out to CA to be a part of it, but they didn't want people spending money on them. 
  • I've been to a surprise wedding before. They said it was their engagement party then all of a sudden it was a wedding. It was really nice, and anyone who was really important to the couple that declined were sworn to secrecy and informed it was actually a wedding. It worked for them, but only you know your crowd and how they would feel about it.

    Alternatively, be up front and say it's a wedding. You can still keep it casual and small, your invites and word of mouth will indicate this. You can still have it at home etc. It would probably be exactly the same, but more people would make an effort to show up. 

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  • Bad idea..This is why.

     

    SOME people may feel the need to "skip" a housewarming party, but they wouldn't skip it for a wedding. You may inadverantly miss important people coming because they don't know significance. They may be mad when they find out they missed it

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