Advice please on my unusual (I think!) wedding idea

(39 Posts)

A bit of background: I have been with DP for 16 years and have one DD aged 6. DP would like to get married but I have never been keen. He is becoming keener (!) and I am tempted to agree because it will make him happy and some legal things seem clearer if married. However my major sticking point is the ceremony. I don't want the hassle both practical and family eg with guest lists and I don't want to spend a huge amount of money. But a simple ceremony with one or two guests doesn't seem right either.

So my brainwave today is this: I have a milestone birthday next summer. We could arrange a big party and invite friends and family. Then when everyone is there we could stand up and say something along the lines of 'thank you for coming and we thought we'd get married today as well so could everyone go to the garden/hall/whatever for the ceremony. Then follow with some kind of party. I would have to tell my mum before the day. She wouldn't be happy but would hopefully except. We wouldn't tell any other guests before the day.

What do you think? Is this mad? Or could it work?

getoffthecoffeetable Mon 23-Sep-13 13:44:32

I think it's lovely.
We went to a Christening that turned into a wedding unbeknown to the guests beforehand

crochetkate Mon 23-Sep-13 13:48:24

I think it would be lovely smile

LillyofWinchester Mon 23-Sep-13 13:51:46

I think that sounds lovely, and a really good idea. You might need to have a think about how you can be sure key people will be there, although a big birthday should ensure everyone can make it you might have to be inventive as to how to persuade anyone further afield etc.

Also think about the dress code, perhaps specify on the invite, as I think some people would want to make more of an effort if they knew it was for a wedding. I know it might not matter to you but I think it might to some of your guests.

Are you planning to have it in your home? Is that legal? Or are you thinking of hiring a venue of some kind?

Make sure your mum keeps the secret too!

Yama Mon 23-Sep-13 13:53:35

Great idea. Go for it.

AnitaManeater Mon 23-Sep-13 13:56:43

brilliant idea!!

Catnap26 Mon 23-Sep-13 14:00:31

Oh I love it smile

PoppyWearer Mon 23-Sep-13 14:03:21

It sounds great.

Friends-of-friends had a party that turned into a wedding, and everyone I knew who went said they had a brilliant time.

Thanks everyone!

Lilly I'm thinking of maybe a hotel type venue that does civil ceremonies. Then people will dress up a bit because of the venue. I realise this won't be cheap but its the surrounding bits we won't need to do such as hen and stag dos.

Mum will be the difficulty, she will be upset that it is not traditional. I need to think a lot about the best way to explain to her!

Thurlow Mon 23-Sep-13 14:50:03

That sounds brilliant, definitely do it! I'd love to go to a party that randomly turned into a wedding!

Yes you will need a venue with a licence for civil ceremonies, some of them are extremely pricey but others are surprisingly good deals.

In terms of the idea, yes it would weork and yes it sounds lovely.

Moomoomie Tue 24-Sep-13 17:08:09

That sounds a lovely idea. I would love to go to a party that became a wedding. As people say, it will be expensive, but tbh probably not much more than a big party would cost.

Sounds fab.

BUT - you'd need to work out how to get all the people who are important to you there - or at least all the people who would be really upset to have missed it.

And - how far in advance would you tell your mum, and can you trust her to keep it absolutely secret, rather than telling loads of people and telling them all to keep quiet? Because it would be awful to do a "surprise we're getting married" when half the guests know and half don't.

Maybe you chould tell her a few days before. Invite her to stay, go shopping with her for her outfit. Something special and mother-daughter-weddingy, but too late to change anything.

HotelTangoFoxtrotUniform Tue 24-Sep-13 17:21:59

We did exactly this. There are people who won't turn up for a birthday (but would for a wedding) but as far as I saw it the people who would make a special effort for a special birthday are the ones you want at your wedding anyway.

We told my sister as she lived overseas and is my confidant in everything but that was it. Even our parents didn't know until we dragged everyone into church "on the way to the restaurant".

It was a fantastic day and we're still dining out on the story five years later grin

MikeOxard Tue 24-Sep-13 17:25:37

Lovely in theory, but if you tell anyone - they WILL blab to someone else, and they'll tell someone etc, it'll leak out and you'll be upset.

Just make sure that dd is asked to be bridesmaid - at 6 these things matter!

I love this idea, in fact I'm thinking about pinching it...! I'm engaged to be married, we were going to do it in 2015 but I've got a big birthday next summer... Do it!

FeetUpUntilChristmas Sun 29-Sep-13 20:19:21

Brilliant idea, you can plan everything the way you want it with no outside 'help'
I'd love this idea, just one point about having those who are important there, we missed my DB engagement party as it was during school half term and we'd booked our holiday way before he sent out the invites. With weddings usually all the key people know the date a long time in advance and book holidays or time off work in advance.

Don't let this stop you from the surprise idea, just try to get them invited in plenty of time.

elcranko Mon 30-Sep-13 00:23:48

I love this idea! Agree with the pp who said that those who wouldn't turn up to your birthday party are probably not people who you'd want at your wedding anyway.

SavoyCabbage Mon 30-Sep-13 00:29:00

I would love that!

SleepyPanda Mon 30-Sep-13 00:35:28

Stumbled across this (slightly cheesy but rather nice) video last week

vimeo.com/73748629

Basically, it's a couple from New Zealand who threw an 'engagement party' only to surprise their friends and family by getting married.

I think it's a lovely idea OP smile

Shropshiremummy2B Mon 30-Sep-13 00:42:27

Lovely!

I will assume that you trust your mother not to tell. And that if that were my mother she would nag the important people and make sure they are there.

I would start by telling your mum that you're planning to get married BUT that the reason you haven't done it yet is BECAUSE you don't want the traditional pomp and ceromany. Then, when she's got her head round that, explain your cunning plan. I think she'll love it.

My worry would be keeping your daughter either quiet OR if you don't plan to tell her then letting her play a part yet her understanding what the heck is going on.

Good luck x

Thanks for all your comments and some good points which I'm going to bear in mind.

We are going to look at a venue tomorrow! DP thinks its a great idea too - well he probably thinks anything to get a ring on my finger! He phoned the venue and they said they had done something similar before so hopefully they will have some practical ideas on how to plan the day.

Part of the idea started with a friend telling me to provisionally keep her birthday clear next year as she wants to have a big party (she's already married so she's not doing the same thing smile) so I was thinking of doing the same over the next few months, mentioning to people, and hoping that encourages them to keep date free.

DD will be soooo excited to be bridesmaid and so I will have to see how she is doing keeping secrets by next year.

Shropshire - that's a good idea for mum if I can get it in the conversation grin

Thumbwitch Mon 30-Sep-13 15:07:47

Lovely idea!

BAlancing, if your mum is that traditional, she'll probably be more happy that you're just getting married at all and worry less than you think about the how. smile

JedwardScissorhands Mon 30-Sep-13 15:12:05

It is a lovely idea, though you may need to tell a few trustworthy people if you'd really want them there and they would need to make a big effort ( long distance or abroad). Also any very old relatives who might not come to a party if you want them there.

FellatioNelson Mon 30-Sep-13 15:12:59

That sounds like a lovely idea. Or you could do it really quietly earlier in the day with just witnesses, and then do a little speech and say 'guess what we did this morning?!' grin

Trills Mon 30-Sep-13 15:16:37

I think that if it is DP's big birthday, there might be people who are your friends (but not so much his friends) who would want to make the effort to come if they knew it was a wedding (and about both of you) but might not make the same effort if it was just a birthday.

(by effort I mean if it is a tricky weekend for travel or babysitters or cash flow etc)

MissRabbitRules Mon 30-Sep-13 15:20:53

Sounds fab to me.

I had a civil ceremony and had to submit the witnesses details with the application so you might need to consider telling another couple of people? Not sure if that is particular to Scots law so might not be applicable depending on where you are.

Wearegoingtobedlehem Mon 30-Sep-13 15:22:47

Lovely and wonderful idea!

HeirToTheIronThrone Mon 30-Sep-13 15:22:59

I think that's lovely smile If you go with Fellatio's suggestion you could then have the party at home/in a community hall type place which would cost a lot less. You can have a humanist celebrant to do a 'ceremony' wherever you like - at home or whatever - then you can make it really personal too, having done the legal bit earlier.

Oooh, can I come?? grin

Trills Mon 30-Sep-13 15:24:42

the people who would make a special effort for a special birthday are the ones you want at your wedding anyway.

I agree to some extent - but birthdays only have one person in them, and weddings have two. People who are my friends would make an effort for my birthday, and people who are DP's friends would make an effort for his birthday, but those two groups are not exactly the same.

Leopoldina Mon 30-Sep-13 15:26:03

My boss invited 400 of his nearest adn dearest to his 50th birthday party. He got up to do his speech & went through his thanks to the women in his life - his mum, his PA, his good friend then his OH at which point he said sthing along the lines of "I don't like to call her my girlfriend, so I'm very proud to tell you that as of today, I can call her my wife"

the room erupted, I can tell you. Was fantastic. She didn't even know what he was up to until just beforehand - had gone to the dressmaker with her to pick her dress for the party & "strongly suggested" white / cream, & even she didn't know why.

SockQueen Thu 03-Oct-13 00:16:25

I think it's a fab idea, but do make sure that people you want there will come. My dad's friend did this a few years ago, though it was disguised as his DP/DW's gallery opening rather than a birthday party, several hours' drive away from my parents. Dad wasn't very well, and isn't exactly an art connoisseur, so decided on the day not to go. He was a bit miffed when he found out afterwards, as if he'd known it was actually a wedding he would have made the effort to be there, and felt bad that it looked like he had "snubbed" them.

DameFellatioNelson Thu 03-Oct-13 04:07:59

Leo had they got married earlier that day or did they do it there and then in front of everyone?

Leopoldina Thu 03-Oct-13 15:24:55

earlier that day at a registry office

DameFellatioNelson Thu 03-Oct-13 22:19:24

Aw, that's lovely. I wqs worried for a moment that he'd put her on the spot in front of everyone.

WaitMonkey Fri 04-Oct-13 14:39:18

How did it go at the venue ?

ZingWantsGin Sat 09-Nov-13 15:40:15

brilliant idea OP!

video the guests reactions though!wink

M10s Mon 18-Nov-13 21:56:01

I think I've possibly told this story on mumsnet before, balancingfigure but I was the celebrant at a just such a wedding, and it went exactly as planned. One or two people have mentioned that guests might not turn up for a birthday party, or just the 'birthday' person's friends might come.

We found that not to be the case. Like you and your OH, 'my' Bride and Groom had been together for a number of years, had children, and therefore already had a close involvement with each other's friends and family. Add to that they had booked a hotel (supposedly) for a lavish Birthday Party, which was sufficiently important to warrant an RSVP invitation.

It happened as they planned. The Groom led the Bride up to a microphone (things were set up for a band) and started to talk about his partner's birthday, that they had been together for x years and that this was an extra special celebration because ... because ...
He then said he wasn't explaining this very well and beckoned me over (from the doorway) to take the microphone.
I just managed to say ".... a very special celebration and you might guess why if I tell you that I am the local Registrar of Marr......" before the room erupted in cheers!

Their families and friends were so happy and excited and it took quite a wee while for everyone to calm down, before the couple were married right there on the stage, in a ceremony involving their three children. It was lovely!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now