How to Pull Off a Surprise Wedding


I always knew I was going to blog about this wedding, after all, it's not every day you photograph a wedding where you are one of the only ones who knows it's going to happen! Not only did I want to display the story of the day through images, I asked Ellie & Nick to answer some questions so just maybe whoever is reading this either gets inspiration or even some help to plan their own surprise wedding. Be sure to scroll through the whole blog to see what advice Ellie & Nick have.


WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DO A SURPRISE WEDDING?

We’d been inspired by the idea of a surprise wedding stumbling across a blog about a couple who had surprised their guests on what they thought was their engagement party & it turned out to be their wedding day. We related to how amazing that moment must have been with their guests and we loved the idea of planning it totally ourselves exactly the way we wanted. We planned ours without anyone even knowing we were engaged, and everyone thinking it was just a birthday weekend away for Nick. It turned out to be a really amazing way to do with the pandemic situation as it totally took the pressure off - if we couldn’t pull it off no one knew anyway (and we’d still have a great time for Nick’s birthday) but it also gave us something amazing to focus on when we were all in lockdown!


BEST PART OF THE WHOLE IDEA?

The moment we told our guests was absolutely unforgettable, it was a moment so special for us but everyone that was there to be a part of it too. While the pictures of our wedding day by Pat are absolutely incredible, we treasure so much the reaction pictures Pat took the night before of the reveal moment.. they really take us back to that moment. It was also amazing telling people who weren’t there too (as of course, it was a total surprise to them as well).. everyone loved it, was so happy for us and that really made us so happy about the way we did it. The difficulties of planning this type of wedding were worth it for how it just made everything so simple and easy for all our guests too - turn up, bring the dog/kids, enjoy the wedding, stay the night & PARTAAAY!


HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK HIRING A PLANNER HELPED?

One of the best things we sorted early on for sure! We hired Georgina Rose Events as our venue was also not typically used for weddings we knew we’d need a planner and on the day co-ordinator to make sure that everything ran smoothly (also combined with the surprise wedding during a pandemic element meant we needed more than just us in on it). Georgie became a real friend to us, particularly when no one knew what was going on she really helped to keep us focused, motivated and was so bought into the wedding that it encouraged us when we would worry or question different things we were planning. She really was one of the biggest reasons we ended up having the most amazing day (more than we could have ever dreamed of )!



WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART OF PLANNING/SURPRISE?

Definitely not telling the people closest to us... At times this was really difficult as it is such a huge moment in your life and also at times we were so excited about what we were doing that we knew they would have loved to have been involved in that too. It helped that most of the planning was during the lockdown so we weren’t able to see many people then anyway. But overall it was worth keeping the secret for the amazing moment we shared with everyone when we revealed the surprise!! Also, that given covid restrictions, and the size of our venue (which was originally planned for Nick’s birthday not a wedding), we had to accept we couldn’t include everyone that we would have wanted to.





ANY ADVICE FOR COUPLES WHO FEEL INSPIRED?

First, you have to be completely, totally, 100% invested in the idea and concept for it to work! You have to accept that as people don’t know it’s a wedding there is a risk that they may not prioritise the event they think they are invited to.. for us everyone thought it was Nick’s birthday weekend celebrations, and while this is special this isn't always something people can prioritise like they would if they knew it’s your wedding day. So accepting that the way you want to do your wedding day with your partner is the most important thing above all else to accept those risks and make it all worth it.


Second, and something you will get better at, you need to be a good actor/actress and able to quickly think on your feet to answer questions about what you’re planning/up to .. for example, to make sure everyone was in smart clothes we told everyone it was a horse racing themed birthday party so they had nice day clothes...you need to think about all the details and questions people may ask in order to make sure you don’t slip up!



HERES WHAT ELSE THESE LEGENDS HAD TO SAY


"Wow wow WOW!!! Where do I start?! In one word.. Pat is absolutely INCREDIBLE! We booked Pat for our wedding day in June 2021.. we had not the most usual wedding in that it was planned in secret and we surprised our guests the night before with the news that they were all invited to our wedding the next day. We knew we wanted a photographer to capture the reactions to this huge news, and also capture the special moments of our wedding day too. We booked Pat as soon as we first met with him - he's warm, friendly, creative, professional, responsive and so much FUN! Pat didn't just feel like a supplier at our wedding, he was an extra guest/friend there on the day making everyone feel comfortable and having top-quality laughs and banter with! Pat sent us our sneak peek pictures really quickly too which was amazing to share our news so quickly to our other friends & family that weren't with us on the day. We can't thank Pat enough for everything he contributed. I can't recommend Pat enough if you are looking for a photographer - if we could do it again we'd chose pat every time! Thank you Pat"



THE VENDORS INVOLVED Venue: Fairoaks Barn Hair: Individual Glamore Make-up: Poppy Mae Planning: Georgina Rose Celebrant: Pippa Ward Videographer: Mitchell Clulow Florist: Blooms By Charlotte Band: The Parklife Catering: Your Plate or Mine Harpist: Jessica Louise


Patrick Partridge