Another Perspective: Surprises

Here comes a surprise in 5…4…3…2…1

From the time people even start talking about getting married there seem to be a lot of surprises in store. It starts with the ring, then the proposal, the announcement, the dress and so on. Of course, there are also the surprises that no one plans for: rain, cancellations, illness, etc. Those may be out of our control but there are some GOOD surprises that we actually WANT to plan.

I can’t speak for everyone but I think people see a bit of romance in surprising their partner. Surprises are typically seen as a very thoughtful way of showing someone how you feel. It is often a sign that you know your partner or loved one well and can predict what they would like and how they would react. This is where my disclaimer comes in: SURPRISES ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE.

If you’re getting married or maybe your sister, brother, best friend, son or daughter is getting married and you have thought of the perfect way to surprise them on the wedding day, I beg of you to please read these five simple steps below.

  1. The WHO. You love surprises! They are fun and exciting and such a blast to put together. BUT, does the person you’re planning to surprise love them? Before you go any further, think about that long and hard. This is coming from a person who doesn’t really love being on the receiving end of a big surprise. I think (hope) that my fiancé has learned that about me in the past few years and has realized surprising me is not as fun as he once thought. I’m one of those people who likes to plan and be prepared for every situation imaginable. I need to know what to expect next, pretty much all the time. I don’t mind being the center of attention, but it needs to be on my own terms and I certainly need to be expecting it. Otherwise it tends to make me anxious. If any of this sounds like your loved one, STOP. Do not surprise them. If not, continue reading.*
  2. The WHAT. Let’s think about this surprise of yours. I’m sure it is a fantastic idea, super creative and would be much appreciated by your loved one (otherwise you would have stopped reading by now, right?). Is it wedding day appropriate? When I ask this, I mean is it a thing or a moment that you’re comfortable sharing in front of a crowd or a camera? If not, that is ok too. Believe it or not, it can be arranged for you and your partner to have a private moment on the big day. Here is an idea I’ve heard: “I want our dog to walk me down the aisle!” I’m obsessed with my dog and would have her at our wedding if we could. Think about a couple things first. Are dogs allowed where you’re getting married? Who is going to watch the dog leading up to the big walk and then again after? These simple logistical questions should be asked about any surprise you plan. Remember too that kids, dogs and even some adults may act very differently in front of a big crowd than they do at home with you. *
  3. The WHEN. I know you have had months (or years) to imagine your wedding day and plan every detail but in reality your wedding day will go by very quickly. Will this surprise fit into the timeline of the day? Try to imagine what the day will be like and ask yourself if you’ll want to stop at a certain moment to execute this surprise. If the answer is yes, that’s great! It is clearly a top priority for you so let’s make it happen WHEN it should. Talk to your family, coordinator, photographer or musician (whoever needs to be in the know to execute) and figure out the most reasonable and perhaps impactful time to bring this surprise to life. Trust me that you won’t want to try to pull it off yourself and these professionals are there to help make that happen. There is sometimes a lot of maneuvering that needs to happen behind the scenes to make a surprise seem flawless so be sure to give your vendors plenty of notice to make it happen.*
  4. The WHERE. Again, this could go back to whether you would like this surprise to be private rather than under a spotlight. Let’s say you want your surprise to happen on the dance floor. Depending on the layout of your venue, you will want to keep in mind where your guests will be at the time of the surprise so they don’t miss it…or so they do. Additionally, you’ll want to think about the overall location of your wedding and think about whether your surprise can be well executed. A firework send-off would be absolutely stunning and an incredibly memory in the right location. A special entrance or exit at a smaller venue or one located in a busy metropolitan area may also require some extra planning.*
  5. The WHY. What is the meaning of this surprise both to you and to the person you’re surprising? Will your surprise help enhance part of the day or bring additional joy to an already happy occasion? If you know that busting out your own version of Ice Ice Baby during your best man speech will have them rolling in the aisles then go for it! On the contrary, I’ve seen people decide to surprise someone with a special dance or speech to pay tribute to a special someone’s absence from the wedding. This is incredibly sweet but may not be as thoughtful as one might think. This also goes back to the WHO. Depending on the situation, bringing up an emotional topic in an unexpected way may be better off done in a private setting. After all, no one likes ugly crying on their wedding day, right?*

*So you noticed there is an asterisk after each of the W’s? Yes, because this is just that important. I encourage you to incorporate surprises into the big day. Like I said earlier, they are thoughtful and so special. If you choose to do so, PLEASE plan ahead. I cannot stress enough, the importance of communicating this plan with the necessary people. Your planner and photographer are hugely important in anything that you want to happen at a certain time or in a certain place. They are asked to help with surprises all the time and they’re usually great secret-keepers. Lastly, know that if things don’t go perfectly it will all be ok!

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