How To Plan A Surprise Wedding

Wondering how to plan a surprise wedding? We understand! Let’s face it: wedding planning is stressful. Not every couple wants all the pomp of a grand wedding ceremony. If you want the excitement of an elopement without sacrificing the company of your friends and family, a surprise wedding might be the solution you’re looking for.

Surprise weddings are the ultimate atypical wedding. There’s absolutely nothing like seeing the look on your guest’s faces when they realize that they’re about to witness your wedding ceremony.

And if you need a helping hand planning your ultimate surprise ceremony, you can count on Peerspace to have your back. As the largest online marketplace for hourly venue rentals, we not only provide planning tips and tricks, but we can also connect you with stunning surprise wedding-worthy venues!

Here’s how to plan a surprise wedding that your family and friends will never forget!

Make sure it’s right for you

winery wedding
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Before you dive into planning a surprise wedding, make sure that it’s what you really want. While surprise weddings are full of excitement and fun, they’re far from spontaneous. They require plenty of careful planning and coordination to pull off.

Planning a surprise wedding may also mean sacrificing traditional pre-wedding festivities, like bridal showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties. Because they’re a complete surprise for your guests, you won’t receive any wedding gifts on the day of the ceremony either.

But if you’ve never been a fan of fuss, skipping the pre-wedding parties might sound like paradise! Talk over all the pros and cons of throwing a surprise wedding with your partner before making any final decisions. Once you’re both on the same page, it’s time to learn how to plan a surprise wedding! 

Keep it hush-hush

Great Gatsby Wedding Theme
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If you want to know how to plan a surprise wedding, this is rule number one. A good surprise wedding should be, well, a surprise. Only share your plans with people who absolutely have to know about the wedding, like your event vendors and the officiant. While you may consider your friends and family to be trustworthy, all it takes is one set of loose lips to bring the whole surprise crashing down. 

Since you won’t be able to rely on bridesmaids and family members to help plan the wedding, enlisting the help of a professional wedding planner can help you keep everything under wraps. A wedding planner can help you coordinate all your details in total secrecy so that no one will wise up to your plans.

Just make sure to keep all your phone calls, texts, and emails hidden! This is one of the easiest ways to accidentally let your secret slip, so guard your phone with your life.

Our step-by-step guide to planning an epic surprise party can give you more background on planning the perfect surprise event!

Create a decoy event

house and pool oasis east austin rental
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To get your guests to your surprise wedding, you’ll need to create a cover-up event. This can be tricky to do without raising suspicion. But you can pull it off with a little ingenuity.

A common tactic is to invite guests under the pretense of an engagement party, and then surprise them with the real ceremony. You could also invite guests under the ruse of a birthday party or special anniversary

This is an excellent time to embrace non-traditional wedding themes. Try asking your friends to come dressed up under the guise of a costume party or host a pool party and tie the knot by the waterside.

Don’t be afraid to innovate here or come up with new ideas. After all, your surprise wedding should be memorable! 

Find the perfect venue on Peerspace

BYOB Wedding Venues
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If you’re feeling stumped about where to host your surprise wedding, Peerspace can help you out. Whether you want a wedding that’s casual, formal, or completely off the walls, you can find a venue that suits your needs on Peerspace.

Just head to our homepage, choose your event type, city, and wedding dates, then start browsing all the unique venues in your area. You can narrow down the search results based on price, guest count, venue style, and more.

Some ideas include:

As you can see, there’s a venue for every couple here. All you have to do is pick the right one! And since every Peerspace is operated by a dedicated local host, you can count on them if you need any help securing catering, entertainment, or any other service.

Look for something with plenty of space for surprise vendors to hide out. You can also book a space that has a private area where you and your partner can slip away if you’re planning a wardrobe change.

Serve up tasty food

Kitchen Loft Space in SoHo
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After you’ve found the perfect venue to host your secret ceremony, it’s time to work out arrangements for food and drinks. If you’re hosting an outdoor wedding, grilling out is an excellent way to create a more laid-back vibe for your wedding. If you’d like to serve up something more formal, Peerspace concierge can help you find a caterer for your clandestine event. This can save you precious time and energy, letting you focus on other aspects of surprise wedding planning. 

Don’t forget the wedding sweets either! Instead of a traditional wedding cake, try having a trendy donut tower or a self-serve ice cream bar. If you’re wondering how to plan a surprise wedding that’s super unique, serving up non-traditional sweets is a great way to do it! 

Plan the entertainment

small wedding venues in Dallas
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Every wedding needs some good entertainment! Whether that’s hiring a professional band or DJ or cranking up your favorite playlist on a Bluetooth speaker. Music and dancing are an absolute must for any kind of wedding — not just the surprise ones. 

If you need A/V equipment for your wedding venue, talk to your chosen venue’s host. They’re dedicated to making your event a success and can help make your surprise wedding as stress-free as possible. 

Our fabulous elopement ideas are always available to help limit your stress and inspire your wedding imagination!

Send your invitations

beautiful garden in brooklyn
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Once you’ve got all your for your surprise wedding in place, it’s time to get your guests there! Send out a set of invitations for your decoy event–and make sure they look legit! You don’t want anyone to see through your ruse. 

Remember to stress the dress code and the level of formality. You don’t want guests to show up in shorts and flip-flops if the mock event is a cocktail party. While you’ll want to give everyone plenty of notice, sending out your invitations too early could raise suspicion. Send your invitations out 4-6 weeks ahead of time to give everyone ample notice without sounding alarm bells (or wedding bells). 

Plan your announcement

Bright 2500 sf space with wood floors a stage
Source: Peerspace

Last but definitely not least, the announcement is absolutely key to your surprise wedding. This is the moment when all your guests will realize that they’re officially at your wedding, and it requires special care and thought. Have your band or DJ make a special announcement, or tell a younger relative and have them spread the news. 

Sometimes, the best announcement is no announcement at all. Just show up in your bridal gown or tailored tux and watch the jaws drop around you. You’ll definitely want a professional photographer on standby to photograph this big moment. We’re willing to bet it’s one that you’ll always want to remember!

How to plan a surprise wedding: conclusion

Woodstock Themed Party
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As you can see, planning a surprise wedding takes a lot of time and forethought. But following this guide, and booking the perfect surprise wedding venue on Peerspace, will make your surprise wedding day a smashing success. Good luck, have fun, and most of all, do you.

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