I love surprises… and I happen to consider myself a master at keeping said surprises secret. But, a surprise wedding? That’s a whole new level of secret keeping. One that these two Jacksonville sweeties managed to pull off with flying colors, and the help of some behind-the-scenes friends and family. The result? A day that was chock-full of pretty (see: beautiful blooms from Shea Hopely Flowers + a plethora of gorgeous images from Alex Michele Photography) and one shocked face after another. Oh, and did I mention that even their engagement was a secret? Awesome. Join me in the gallery for more.
From the Bride… My inspiration for our wedding came from our relationship – we have always been a very romantic “lovey-dovey,” but yet private couple and I wanted our wedding to reflect that. So, we decided to have a “surprise” wedding. The only people who knew were my mom and Adam’s brother (who officiated), so unlike most brides I didn’t have a lot of people to rely on. But since our wedding was also very small, it was actually really easy to plan. The hardest part was choosing the details because there are so many options since the invention of Pinterest. Our small group of (behind the scenes) helpers and vendors were amazing though. The night before the wedding we were all working on the final details together, and it was so much fun seeing it come together with them. Although having a surprise wedding is unconventional to most, we ended up doing it because we didn’t want the fuss and stress that usually comes along with planning a traditional wedding. And we got just that!
We decided to get married in our brand new home we just purchased together. The front yard was absolutely perfect! It has this GORGEOUS, classic Florida old oak tree with sweeping branches. How much more romantic could you be? We even incorporated that into our “thumb print guest book” as the artist painted our tree exactly how it was. The flowers were my favorite expression of that romantic feeling. Shea Hopely Florals has amazing taste and made the most beautiful arrangements I’ve ever seen. She really understood the “modern romantic” feeling that I wanted to convey and she executed it perfectly. We also decided to include our precious puppies in the pictures. They are like our kids and we knew we wanted them to be as much a part of the day as our guests were! Adam and I opted for doing a first look, so that all of our pictures were finished before our special guests arrive. The ceremony set-up was in our home so when our “guests” arrived they really had no idea until they actually saw us! In fact, no one even knew we were engaged! I hadn’t worn my ring this entire time. When our “guests” arrived, they thought they were coming for a housewarming party and to witness Adam’s proposal to me. Everyone was so happy though when they opened the door seeing us in our bridal gear – they all knew we would do something unique and totally unconventional like this. It ended up working out great! Our photographer was on point capturing all the candid moments, as that was so important to us, since after all it was so different that a usual wedding.
My favorite part of our wedding was getting to marry the love of my life! As far as the details are concerned, having only 20 guests who were our closest family was very warm and intimate, and it made the whole day so enjoyable and fun. I couldn’t imagine any other way to get married – it was perfect for us. And the best part was that it was executed perfectly without stress and strict timelines.
My advice for brides is to do what makes you happy. Your wedding day is not about pleasing your guests or throwing the best party in the world – it’s about celebrating your relationship and the love you have for each other. If your wedding is a reflection of that then it will be perfect.
Wedding Photography: Alex Michele Photography | Wedding Venue: Family Home in Jacksonville, Florida | Floral Design: Shea Hopely Flowers | Officiant: Groom’s Brother | Catering: Catering by Liz | Wedding Cake + Dessert: Publix | Wedding Dress: Modern Trousseau via The White Magnolia | Bride’s Shoes: Nine West | Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic | Groom’s Shoes: Rockport | Hair: Hair by Christian