Pulling off a surprise wedding is no easy feat, but doing it under the guise of a really, ridiculously good, not-to-be-missed New Year's Eve party is one great approach. One of the biggest hurdles of planning a surprise wedding is getting everyone to attend and you have to give them a really good reason, so planning the party of the year is probably one of the best approaches. Here are a few tips for planning a New Year's Eve surprise wedding that'll have all your friends and family not only in attendance, but will keep them enjoying the big day.
Keep it a secret
This is a given of course, because nothing will be a surprise if the word gets out. It only takes a couple of loose lips to spoil the element of surprise. As a couple, you'll need to decide on a plan for how to get through conversations with friends and family who can't attend the "party". The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you'll want to be on the same page as a couple, and you'll need to keep your story straight. You might say something like, "this is the biggest party we've ever thrown and it wouldn't be the same without you," or have a go-to statement that's equally emphatic about the importance of your friend's presence at this event. You may end up deciding that you have to tell your parents or siblings, which is fine of course. But if you absolutely have to tell a person or two to get them on deck, be sure to swear them to secrecy by emphasizing the importance of the surprise to you.
Get kitschy with it
If you're having a surprise New Year's Eve wedding, odds are you aren't going to be hosting the most traditional affair. Getting kitschy with the décor, the way you approach your vows, and thinking outside the box about the traditional ceremony format are all ways you can infuse a little extra personality that's unique to you two as a couple. So, walk down the aisle to Katy Perry's "Fireworks," rap your vows to each other, perform your first dance with backup dancers, or incorporate a balloon drop as you kiss at midnight. Go with what works for you and have fun in the party atmosphere you've created for your loved ones to enjoy.
Make a grand entrance
No matter how you plan it, you'll be a flashing surprise when you show up to your New Year's Eve "party" looking gorgeous in your wedding gown. This is one of those moments that'll require a bit of planning though, so you might consider a grand entrance to the party. Maybe you arrive on bicycles, or maybe you hire a brass band to second line you into the crowd. Maybe you do a costume change just before midnight and reappear in time to say your vows right before the countdown. Either way, you may want to get a pro involved with the planning and come up with an entrance that wows.
As with any wedding or huge party, it's important to keep guests in the logistical loop. Make sure it's clear that this is a party with a lot of entertainment and guests should arrive by a certain time in order to enjoy it all, that transportation will be provided, where hotel blocks are booked, etc. There likely won't be as much correspondence as you'd have with a traditional wedding, so you may opt to send paperless reminders like emails and texts for those you haven't heard from.
Coach the staff
Since you'll probably have the wedding kick off after the majority of guests arrive at your New Year's Eve bash, it's important to inform the staff that mum's the word about the ceremony that'll be taking place. Surely this seems an obvious task, but a few vendors may forget to tell their staff about the element of surprise if you don't give them a head's up.
Avoid hurt feelings
It's inevitable that a friend or two may be upset that they didn't know you were planning your wedding without consulting them or filling them in. It's a tough thing to navigate these conversations after the wedding, especially if anyone wasn't able to make it to the big day. A great way to handle this is to schedule some one-on-one time with your closest friends right after the wedding. Maybe you can do a post-wedding girls getaway to reconnect with your friends and make them feel like they're still at the top of your priority list. Plus, a girls' getaway is an awesome way to start the new year anyway!