I love to surprise people and one of the top priorities on my Vision Board in 2019 was to successfully surprise my husband with a wedding. I did it! On our 2nd year anniversary we renewed our vows surrounded by 140-ish family and friends in New York. It was incredible.... And don't worry I told him the night before so he could get his emotions together lol.
Why the surprise?
If you're new to the blog here's a run down on Moo Moo (Me) and Goose (Darryl)...
Boy and Girl meet on Tinder..
Fall in love...
Have a baby...
Argue and roll eyes at each other for a year...
Get it together...
Live happily in love...
That's about it. However, between the get engaged and have a baby section, we had some decisions to make. What was more important? A wedding or a home? We chose the home and for a year we were both resentful. I wanted to wait until after we had Oakley to get married (Serena Williams style). He felt rushed into buying a house but didn't want to have a baby out of wedlock. I get it- I was raised the same way. But in my mind I was like the kid is not going to be an idiot, "so I'm 5 and you and Daddy have been married for 5 years?"
The first year was pretty tough.
Our first ceremony was small, intimate, beautiful, very emotional and I was able to share it with my parents in the south– but his parents were still in New York. We originally planned to renew our vows in 2018 for our first year anniversary and have the wedding so our families could meet and celebrate our union. Well... remember the resentment part, yep.. it wasn't going to happen. Plus money was always a HOT topic of discussion... but we'll save that story for another time.
All that to say... I wanted to show him my appreciation for the sacrafices that he had made for our family, and to make a sacrifice of my own by paying for our special day. It was like my own investment in our marriage.
This Is the blue print of how I pulled off a surprise wedding..
In New York..
So um let's talk about money. In order to surprise him I needed to maintain my responsibilities (BILLS) without error. I knew I had to plan early to find a place that was in my budget for the amount of family and friends that we both have. I created a goal amount to set aside each month that I absolutely could not touch. Once I chose a vendor, it was easier to just send the money to them, that way I wouldn't be tempted to move it from my account.
Luckily, our dream venue Jericho Terrace was in my budget and available. The great thing about the venue is that so many things are already included such as (tables, chairs, basic decorations, catering, top shelf beverages, wedding cake, staff, parking etc.) All I had to focus on were the personal details such as flowers, dj, other decorations etc. Because I inquired early I was able to negotiate my price and because our anniversary date was on a Thursday that dropped the price significantly lower than a Saturday or Sunday date.
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
I have to admit I lied a tad bit to keep the surprise secure. I told him that my friend Katie needed to update her portfolio for her website (save the date photos). I also contacted a friend and Darryl's coworker Dante to do our photography for the wedding. Hint: (Click on their names and you can see their websites!)
SECRET SAVE THE DATES/INVITES
How annoying are those tiny response cards? Besides the fact that they can be difficult to keep up with, it would have been a dead giveaway if Darryl found one in the mail! I opted to have post card style save the dates with a message to keep the secret safe! I later sent out formal invitations reminding our guest that Darryl still did not know about the wedding. Zazzle is the website I used for both.
They have tons of cute and affordable options. Plus there's always a promo code that you can enter for a discount.
Surprise or not, I most likely would have taken the website route to organize my RSVP list. For relatives and friends that aren't so tech savvy you can just enter in their info yourself. I used
theknot.com and it was so helpful! I created our own website that gave guest access to the details and info for the wedding day. Another plus about theknot.com is the checklist of tasks and countdown the site provides before the big day. Our Website
Keep it simple stupid? NO! Keep It Super Special! We were already married, but it was important to make the day a celebration not just for us, but for our families as well and to highlight the fact that going into the second year we finally understood that two are indeed better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9). I chose not to have 27 bridesmaids lol, Instead I had two maids of honor, one matron of honor and eight special guardians.
The eight ladies that would have originally been bridesmaids/hostesses
I asked to hold frames of the family members that had passed away so their spirits would be honored on our day. Darryl absolutely lost it when he
saw the pictures of his
Uncle and Grandma. It was
a beautiful moment for the both of us.
HAVE THE BEST TIME
You're already married but it's STILL YOUR BIG DAY! Plus, you don't have to worry about getting left at the alter (hopefully)! You both know what lies after the wedding day because you've already committed to each other and surpassed the mini honeymoon phase. We showed out. I did a whole dance routine to of course pay homage to BEYONCÉ (Click Here). We had an amazing 2nd line with the Black Tie Brass Band- to continue the Louisiana traditions of my family and an open
premium bar that my coworkers are still talking about. Don't cheat yourself out of the special things like getting your makeup professionally done or wearing a Kleinfeld dress or two. Get the robe and the champagne and live your best life. A bride is a bride no matter if you've signed the marriage certificate a week prior or years prior.
Cause hey, if you love 'em... why not marry 'em twice.
Happy Wedding Planning!