Surprise weddings are an awesome way to get married, but also a fantastic wedding hack to save money!
Luckily, as a local Perth Wedding Celebrant, I happen to be the perfect person for the job. My secret weapon? The fact that I am also a stand-up comedian. This means, I can arrive at your party with all the equipment needed for a ceremony without raising suspicions!
I’ve done many surprise weddings as a Perth wedding celebrant and have discovered a few things you will need to pull yours off flawlessly.
Read more to discover how to pull off the perfect surprise wedding!
STEP 1. LEGALS
In order for me to marry you legally, both parties must have completed, signed and witnessed the Notice of Intention to Marry (NOIM) at least one month and no earlier than 18 months prior to your wedding day. This means that one person can’t “surprise” the other person with the wedding. So, the surprise element is purely for your guests.
What if your surprise wedding is in less than a month?
Have no fear! We can still do a surprise “commitment ceremony”.
I had a really cool couple called Rob and Carly book me to do a surprise wedding. Unfortunately, there was less than a month before the date. So, we did a surprise commitment ceremony that involved them and their blended family. I created a commitment certificate that the kids signed alongside their parents.
It was made clear to the crowd that the official wedding would take place at a later date legally but we got to celebrate all the fun parts and surprised their guests with an epic night!
STEP 2. THE WEDDING CEREMONY SCRIPT
When we have done the paperwork, I will send you questionnaires to write your wedding ceremony like any other wedding. I make sure we have gone through the script of your wedding prior to your big day so there are no surprises and you are completely happy. Check out my other blogs to discover what I do prior to weddings.
If you have chosen one my “comedy roasts of your bridal party” service, there will be a questionnaire sent to you for that as well. You can hear a snippet of this at the 30 second mark of the video that I have incorporated into the housekeeping about the wishing well and toilets.
STEP 3. PLANNING YOUR SURPRISE WEDDING
The second hardest part to a surprise wedding is planning an event that all the important people you want there are going to be able to attend. There are many varieties of parties you can throw that cover a surprise wedding, such as a house warming, baby shower, or birthday but the most common set up I have performed at are engagement parties.
These provide the perfect cover as it’s not uncommon for everyone to be well dressed, have a high attendance rate and most importantly, keep everyone’s suspicions at bay.
If you think some of your loved ones may not attend, you might need to tell a few special people some white lies about why it’s really important to you that they make it.
Good reasons/white lies to give to make sure people attend your surprise wedding
The obvious one - It means a lot to you that they’re there and can’t imagine a night full of love with them missing
The sneaky one - Tell them it’s extremely important to your partner that they attend as it’s a strong family tradition and you don’t want to let them down!
The guilt trip one - You have spent a lot of money on entertainment, venue and food and want to make sure they are there to enjoy it
The misleading one - You have a very important announcement to make
The gratitude one - we want to thank you in our speech
The free stuff one - We have a gift that we would love to give you (little do they know, it’s the wedding)
The reveal - you may need to tell them the truth if they are really unable to make it
You may also need to reveal your plans to some key people that are going to help you pull off the surprise ceremony. It’s not uncommon for the best man and the maid of honour to be in on the secret. Often, the parents are in on it as well to help with transporting dresses, looking after kids or providing cover to leave and get changed.
As part of your plans, you may want to let people know that there will be live entertainment at the wedding as you have hired a stand-up comedian to roast your bridal party or perform a comedy set depending on what you choose. Because Daniel Delby is a well-known Perth comedian and wedding celebrant it might be best to leave out who the comic is so not to give away the secret.
(My portable PA system and microphone hide in plain sight and double as a stand-up comedy set and wedding ceremony essential!)
STEP 4. SETTING UP THE COMEDY PRIOR TO THE SURPRISE WEDDING
Communication and a game plan for the surprise wedding ceremony is now the most important.
During our prior meetings we discuss what the night will look like. We also plan the point where I will reveal the secret. This can be a certain time, a coded signal from a helper, me physically seeing you or having someone play a music track.
The best method for me to conduct a surprise wedding is by utilising my comedy skills. My two main options are doing a stand-up comedy set or a mix of stand-up comedy with a “comedy roast” of the bridal party from answers you have prepared in the questionnaire (see part 2). I walk in with my PA system and set up then announce that I have been hired to do some stand-up comedy. See the 19 second mark of the video.
When I have everyone’s attention it’s now time to slip off to get changed into your dress. Have this planned out prior with whoever you need to be in on the secret with you. In the video Justin the groom was already ready so he was out watching the comedy with us. If the groom needs to get ready then he can leave at this point as well. It is less suspicious if the groom is there however.
When I know you are ready then it’s time for the secret to be revealed. I let the audience know that I am also a qualified marriage celebrant and this has all been a distraction for the surprise wedding! Cue gasps and applause.
Click here for a glimpse into what your surprise wedding could look like!
Can you plan a surprise wedding without the comedy?
Yes! No problems!
The other option is setting up a section that has been secretly set up somewhere else in the venue where I am standing waiting. The challenge is to bring the audience to that spot but this is easily done by saying we have a ‘speech”, “entertainment’ or “surprise” set up.
Here are some ideas to make this happen:
You may be waiting with me and have your helper bring the audience to us
The couple brings everyone to that section
The groom may be waiting with me, the crowd is brought in and music plays to bring in the bride
STEP 5. THE WEDDING EXIT
Once the ceremony of your surprise wedding has finished and I have announced you as officially married, I will slink off into the distance and let you enjoy all the excitement and elation with your guests.
You will then get a follow-up email from me two days after letting you know that I have posted your documents and instructions on how to obtain your marriage certificate.
READY TO PULL OFF THE PERFECT SURPRISE WEDDING?
Now that you know how to pull off the perfect surprise wedding, are you ready to get planning?
No matter what kind of couple you are, where you want to get married or how you’re planning on surprising all your guests, I’m here to help you make it extra special.