Wedding planning can be intense at the best of times. There’s a guest list to confirm, vendors to lock down, a schedule to coordinate and a seemingly endless to-do list.

So why not ditch the stress of planning a traditional wedding, bend the rules and throw yourselves an epic surprise wedding?

This might just be one of our fave ways to throw a wedding (seriously, who doesn’t love a surprise shindig?). If you decide to go down this path, know that the whole HOORAY! team are cheering you on from afar! Line-breakRC_Weddings_Keira+Todd_021 RC_Weddings_Keira+Todd_001Line-break

Image: Keira + Todd’s Wedding, as featured on HOORAY! Photography by Willow and Co.

1. Shhh! Keep it a secret

Rule one of the surprise wedding is ‘do not talk about the surprise wedding‘.

Obviously, you and your significant other will need to be in the know (you’re the ones getting hitched – duh!), but aside from the two of you, it’s best to keep your plans on the down-low.

It may be tempting to tell a few of your nearest and dearest, but the more people you tell, the more likely the word will spread. We say, avoid any risk of your secret getting out and spoiling the surprise, and keep the list of those in the know as small as possible.

2. Get planning

Get out your notebook and start planning. Preparing for your surprise wedding will be pretty much the same as planning for a regular old wedding—or even slightly easier, as you won’t have to contend with well-meaning, but unwanted suggestions from friends and relatives.

There will also be less pressure to make it a totally over-the-top extravaganza. If you’d prefer a low-key wedding, this is one way to avoid being pressured into splashing out on something much more expensive.

3. Lock down your date and location

To get the ball rolling, you’ll need to decide on the time and a place. Your choice of location will be dictated by the size of your guest list, as well as the general vibe you’re hoping to achieve.

If you’re in need of some venue ideas, take a peek at our favourites in our handpicked vendor guide.

4. Agree on a cover story to get the guests there

Let’s face it; you’re going to need a cover story. This is for two reasons: a) to get guests in attendance and b) to explain evidence of any event planning.

You can’t be too careful when it comes to keeping this secret. The last thing you want is for a friend or family member to stumble over your recent Google searches and discover what you are planning. Luckily, you can cover up your wedding research by taking steps to delete your Google history.

We suggest telling guests they are invited to another type of celebration—for example, a milestone birthday party or an engagement party. Make sure it’s something you’re confident they will actually make an effort to come to.

5. Get the legal stuff sorted

As you approach the day, you’ll need to start thinking about who is going to officiate at your ceremony. After all, a wedding without a celebrant is basically just a big party.

If you’re on the hunt for an awesome human to officiate your surprise wedding, you’ll find a bunch of our top picks listed in our vendor guide.

6. Say surprise!

It’s time for the best bit – the surprise!

You could decide to surprise everyone with the announcement as they arrive, or instead unveil your surprise halfway through the festivities. We think announcing it once all your guests have arrived is the best bet – just think of the collective excitement! And while you’re at it, why not add some confetti cannons in for theatrical effect?!

However you decide to break the big news, your family and friends are going to be SO excited to see you getting hitched.RC_Weddings_Keira+Todd_024

Happy planning! For more surprise wedding inspiration, check out Keira + Todd’s Surprise Backyard Wedding.