Photo: Anna and Spencer Photography
Leighton Meester and Adam Brody, Stacy Keibler and Jared Pobre, Kerry Washington and Nnamdi Asomugha, and Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' weddings all had something in common — besides the obvious expensive price tag. Each couples' nuptials were top secret. While famous pairs typically get hitched undercover for privacy and security purposes, throwing a surprise wedding in real life actually comes along with some super-sweet perks. Whether you want to save money, get married as soon as possible or feel like doing something totally non-traditional, saying, "I do" out of the blue is one option to consider. Below, we're breaking down how to throw a surprise wedding and pull it off like a star:
Zip Your Lips:
The hardest part about having a surprise wedding? Keeping it a secret! As many celebs can attest to, anyone can "accidentally" let the cat of out of the bag, so tell as few people as possible. "This may just be your partner, parents or officiant, but whoever it is, make sure your group of insiders is small," advises Sunny Ravanbach, President of White Lilac Events
Assign a Point Person:
With that said, it's important to put someone (not you!) in charge. "Even more than a traditional wedding, a surprise wedding will have unexpected situations pop up, so you need to be sure there is a substantial amount of planning and a key point person to help facilitate everything," cautions certified wedding planner and founder of Pretty Pear Bride, Shafonne Myers, CWEP.
Create a Cover Event:
To ensure a great turnout, you'll need to dream up a creative decoy. "Milestone birthday parties, anniversaries or even faux engagement parties are all important events that guests will likely attend," says Stephanie Carmody, founder of Très Chic Events. "For complete ease in planning, you can also tie your surprise wedding to a preplanned holiday or vacation where family and friends will already be joined together." (Just like Stacy & Jared!)
Send Out Detailed Invitations:
Ensure guests show up on time by being as specific as possible. "Clearly communicate on the invitation if they must be prompt and what the attire is," recommends Shawn Rabideau, president of Shawn Rabideau Events & Design. "And don't worry about telling a little white lie if it means you have to get your guests to come to the party. In this case, it's okay!"
Design Your Surprise:
No one is expecting traditional wedding décor, so you can get creative. "You can incorporate any theme, color and look, but it's really critical to create a main ceremony area because that's the focus of the surprise," Ravanbach says. Celebrity wedding planner Donnie Brown of Donnie Brown Weddings and Events in Dallas, Texas, suggests setting the reception up with a disguised altar. "Camouflage could be in the form of sheer fabric with accent lighting. The guests arrive and sit down, then the sheers are pulled back to expose the ceremony."
Forgo (Most) Formalities:
If you're throwing a surprise wedding, your probably not the most traditional couple so you're bash shouldn't be either. Try thinking outside of the fancy dinner reception. "Do mini desserts and champagne cocktails, or make it even more casual with a backyard luau theme," Robyn Bruns, President of Red Letter Event Planning suggests.
Let Your Vendors in on the Secret:
Don't forget to tell all your vendors you're throwing a surprise wedding. "There would be nothing worse than your guests overhearing the band ask the headwaiter when the wedding ceremony is going to begin," Rabideau notes. (Can you say party fail?!)
Be Aware of the Downsides:
While a surprise wedding can be super fun and exciting, there are, of course, downsides. "Family may feel hurt that they were not included in the secret. Plus, you probably won't have the opportunity to register for needed gifts," points out Carmody.