The original plan was to surprise her mother on top of the helicopter pad at the venue right before the wedding. When Nisan arrived at the hotel, she was on the verge of tears. I normally don’t tell my brides not to cry because sometimes that’s all they need to do in order to calm their nerves but Nisan looked like she was going to have a break down. Her bridesmaids were sitting in the lobby waiting for the room to become available for them, another lie. I said to Nisan, “Do you want to go ahead and surprise your mom right now?” Her eyes welled with tears and with her voice shaking, she said, “Yes, please.” She called her mom up to her room and told her that she needed to get her makeup touched up. When she walked in the door, Nisan was standing there in her wedding gown looking like the most beautiful bride.
Her mother’s reaction was very intense. She gasped and froze in place. Tears began streaming down her face immediately and the same went for Nisan. It was a good 20 seconds before her mother spoke one word. When Nisan said “surprise” she sounded like a little child. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Nisan explained that the wedding was happening that day and not later in the year. Her mom hugged her then went to the bathroom. She was worried that her mother was upset and honestly, I was too. Her reaction was hard to read. After she collected herself, she explained that she wasn’t upset at all. She was just in a little bit of shock.
During my initial consultation with the bride, I learned that she had always wanted to elope. “Since the 4th grade” is what she said multiple times. Her fiancé, Hanz, wanted a wedding. It didn’t have to be big but he wanted something. As Nisan was talking, I kept thinking how cool it was if they decided to have a surprise wedding. I suggested it and Nisan’s eyes lit up. I told her that they needed to pick a real date for me to work with and a fake date to give everyone else. She had already asked seven of her closest friends to be bridesmaids but I wanted her to keep the secret from them as well. I know, it sounds crazy but maximizing the surprise was the focus.
The first step was coming up with the story. Having one story and sticking to it was key. Nisan and Hanz had a ton of questions: “How are we going to get our bridal party to order their dresses/suits in time? What if someone we really want to be at the wedding can’t make it to both and declines? What’s the story we’re telling everyone again?” I told them to tell their bridal party that it takes close to eight months to get everything in so they should start immediately. Most of Hanz’s groomsmen were coming in from Miami so he told them to order their suits from a store that was in town and schedule to pick them up when they came into town for the wedding. Everyone was onboard, even Nisan’s mother who lives in New York.
As the day grew nearer, the lies were mounting and the stress was building. The decision not to tell anyone that the engagement party was actually a wedding added stress because of all of the lies but thankfully, no one asked the right questions. Honestly, none of the answers really made sense but they worked. I told the bride to tell her bridesmaids that they decided to have a photoshoot with the bridal party and use those pictures for the program for the wedding. Basically, I didn’t want anyone showing up without their hair and nails done because we wouldn’t have time that day. Days before the wedding, my house was full of bridesmaid’s dresses and shoes which I transported to the hotel for the big reveal.
Securing the vendors was easy. A surprise wedding is exciting and not many couples are open to doing something like this. The videographer suggested that we tape each of the vendor meetings to use as the trailer rather than using footage from the actual wedding, which is how the majority of wedding trailers are done. He joked that it would be more proof that this was the plan all along rather than a semi-elopement.