For Sean and Danielle, who wed in September, the romance was a whirlwind. In late March 2014, they met through a mutual friend who was sure Sean was Danielle's future husband. A week after they met, they went on their first date; a month later, she moved in with him, and a month after that they began talking marriage.
We asked Danielle (and Sean) to talk a little about their surprise wedding:
"We never actually made a conscious decision to have a very short engagement. We both just wanted to be together. I know it seems fast in reality, but we knew we wanted to spend our lives together. We were driving one day talking about wedding ideas, what he would want, what I would want, just a casual conversation. We were not even engaged at the time. We start talking about how big or little our wedding would be, and Sean said, 'You know what would be great? If we just had a party and surprised everyone and got married!' And I agreed. It took off from there."
I would say that 70% of the guests were completely surprised. We had to try and throw people off, so there were some lies and storytelling, but it was completely worth it. If we had it to do over again, we would."
Even though the wedding was a surprise, the couple managed to celebrate the day with the most important people to them in attendance. About six out-of-town guests were clued in ahead of time so they could attend, but for everyone else not in the wedding party, the wedding remained a secret. By way of the surprise, Sean and Danielle's guest list managed itself in terms of keeping it intimate.
When Sean and Danielle started to reveal their plans at the initial meeting, they didn't have a venue in mind. Nicole listed to their ideas and suggested the Palace Theatre.
"We wanted to have an "engagement party" and then mid-way through, play a video the guests would focus on, and we could potentially be standing behind the screen where the video was, the screen would lift and we would be standing behind it. We pitched that idea to Nicole and she suggested the Palace Theatre. We knew when we saw it that it was going to be the place to pull it off. "
"We wanted everyone to have a good time. Good food and lots of fun. That's why we decided to nix a lot of the usual wedding formalities: No dollar dance, no garter toss or bouquet toss (though they kept a few of the traditional elements, such as the first, father-daughter, and mother-son dances, and the cake cutting).
We really just wanted to have a huge party where we could all just have a great time."
"Mashed potato bar! Best idea ever! It was a favorite of the guests also. I'm sure the open bar was also a highlight, haha, but mashed potato bar. It. Was. Awesome."
The white and sweet mashed potatoes were served with toppings in martini glasses.
"We actually had chosen a square cake. A few days before the wedding we were told that square Styrofoam, which one of the layers was to be, was on back order. So our cake was round. It wasn't quite what I wanted, but in the end, we put a wedding together in 10 weeks from beginning to end. There were other battles to worry about."
"I don't know if I could pinpoint the best part of that day. One of my favorite things about the whole thing is the after. And yes, I mean being married to the love of my life, but also the reaction of all the guests. That we did something so different and unique. Sean told me that when he visited another branch of his company weeks after our wedding, people were still raving about it. We could have gone the traditional route, but it's just not us. And since this has been mostly my point of view I can also say, my husband is a larger-than-life kind of guy. A traditional sit-down formal dinner just didn't fit. Doing something outside the norm just felt more us. And that's a pretty amazing feeling too."
Event planning and design: The Events Company
Venue: Palace Theatre
Bouquets: Backyard Garden Florist
Cake and desserts: Sweet Indulgence
Photography: Photoessence Photography
Music: Marty the One Man Party