Secret family only wedding then party later ...

Hello! 

OH and I are planning a secret wedding for later this year. This will be a very small affair with only immediate family, so around 10-12 folk - including us. We're going to do the thing then have brunch + bubbles and it'll all be low key. We're going hold a party to celebrate with friends and family around six/eight weeks later and we will send the invites out as a 'Surprise! They tied the knot - come celebrate!' type invite as soon after the ceremony so as to give as much notice as possible. 

We're doing it this way for a variety of reasons: we don't really want to buy into the wedding industry and the traditions/sense of expectations that comes with it (the irony of my posting on here doesn't escape me!) I won't have a hen, I'm not wearing white, and I won't have bridesmaids. Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting that but it's just not for us. Additionally, planning a wedding for eighteen months (or more!) would bring out the worst in me - I'd obsess and I think it would be like opening Pandora's Box so I genuinely don't think it would be good for my mental health. I can have anxiety flare ups, I don't think I'd be able to enjoy a 'big' day. My job also entails a heck of a lot of event organising so I'd almost like to not have to think about it.

The party will just be a party. I know's there's etiquette about not styling it as a wedding reception if it's happening after the fact but, regardless of etiquette, we won't be doing a first dance or cake cutting or anything too 'weddingy'. We'll decorate the venue, maybe have some sparklers (because I love fireworks) and hopefully have a grand old time.

Now, I suppose what I'm looking for is any thoughts or observations: is this a truly terrible idea? Would you be irreparably hurt if your friend/family member did it this way? I guess as much as I'd like to do it this/our way, there's still a part of me that is a people pleaser! 

Posts

  • MrsRendall2BMrsRendall2B Posts: 714 New bride
    I've gotta be honest with you... whilst I completely understand your reasoning behind doing it in secret, I'd be a little upset if a close/good friend of mine got married in secret and I found out afterward. Like, I know that's completely irrational because it should be up to you to dictate what type of wedding you want and I should be happy for you but yeah, I'd still be a bit upset.

    I wouldn't say irreparably so but I guess I'd prefer if you were just straight and said "Look, we're getting married in X month, it's just a small close family only occasion but we'll be holding a party to celebrate in the weeks following, would love if you could make it". I don't think anyone could really argue with that...
  • SalmonSalmon Posts: 6 New bride
    edited 23 March
    Thanks for your input, @MrsRendall2B - I totally understand where you're coming from, it's funny how weddings can bring a little (or lot?) of irrationality!

    What you've suggested though - the 'Look, we're getting married in X month...' is a similar to something I've been toying with - EDIT: I was thinking of keeping it quiet for a wee while then letting folk know maybe one or two months before - I think I could handle a month or two of wedding chat plus hopefully it help with any potential hurt feelings and it would increase the notice for the party, which can only be a good thing! It could be a compromise of sorts!

    It might also mean OH could have a stag of sorts (nothing huge, a pub + a curry type affair!) as this was one thing he was a bit disappointed about with a completely secret affair. Personally,  I have mixed feelings on this because his pals aren't invited to the actual wedding but I like to think they'd be more 'Yay! This is an opportunity for pals to have fun' rather than being bogged down in tradition but who knows?! 

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,601 New bride
    It all sounds fab to me and I wouldn't mind at all....however one of my stepsisters did something similar with only parents at the ceremony, and her sister has only just started speaking to her again after 7 years. Only you know how yiur friends and family would react, if I got married without my dad there he'd be fine with it, but our mums would never forgive us!
  • SalmonSalmon Posts: 6 New bride
    Thanks @MrsCToBee! We'd have both sets of parents, our brothers with their respective partners, and potentially his grandparents at the ceremony so I think that's the 'key players' satisfied, as it were. I like to think the remaining family + friends would be alright with being kept in the dark/partying afterward - but I'm sure we'll probably find out otherwise!  :D

  • MrsRendall2BMrsRendall2B Posts: 714 New bride
    I think your compromise of sorts sounds like a good option :) Usually when people get excited about joining in with weddings it's not necessarily the specific day they're interested in, just an opportunity to celebrate (in whatever capacity that may be) with their friend/relative.

    You could definitely leave it until a month before the wedding if that suits best and it's still plenty of notice for people to keep an evening free for the party (especially if that's 6-8 weeks after the ceremony). 

    Weddings certainly do bring the out the irrational in some people! I think the reason I'd be upset is because of the secrecy and because it's genuinely something I'd like to share the excitement of if it were my friend so not entirely selfish reasons hahah (or maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better?!) :lol:
  • Now Mrs PNow Mrs P Posts: 29 New bride
    We did similar .We told people we were getting married in the summer, but not the date. We sent invitations to the party about 6 months before (we live in a seaside town and the party was last weekend of school holidays so people needed to book hotels etc, especially as most of our guests weren't local) .in the invitations we just said as you know we are getting married this year, we are having a small ceremony but a big party to celebrate and we would love for you to be there to celebrate with us!
  • SalmonSalmon Posts: 6 New bride
    edited 30 March
    NowNow Mrs P said:
    We did similar .We told people we were getting married in the summer, but not the date. We sent invitations to the party about 6 months before (we live in a seaside town and the party was last weekend of school holidays so people needed to book hotels etc, especially as most of our guests weren't local) .in the invitations we just said as you know we are getting married this year, we are having a small ceremony but a big party to celebrate and we would love for you to be there to celebrate with us!

    That sounds lovely! Out of curiosity, how did you avoid telling people the date? 
  • Salmon said:
    Hello! 

    OH and I are planning a secret wedding for later this year. This will be a very small affair with only immediate family, so around 10-12 folk - including us. We're going to do the thing then have brunch + bubbles and it'll all be low key. We're going hold a party to celebrate with friends and family around six/eight weeks later and we will send the invites out as a 'Surprise! They tied the knot - come celebrate!' type invite as soon after the ceremony so as to give as much notice as possible. 

    We're doing it this way for a variety of reasons: we don't really want to buy into the wedding industry and the traditions/sense of expectations that comes with it (the irony of my posting on here doesn't escape me!) I won't have a hen, I'm not wearing white, and I won't have bridesmaids. Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting that but it's just not for us. Additionally, planning a wedding for eighteen months (or more!) would bring out the worst in me - I'd obsess and I think it would be like opening Pandora's Box so I genuinely don't think it would be good for my mental health. I can have anxiety flare ups, I don't think I'd be able to enjoy a 'big' day. My job also entails a heck of a lot of event organising so I'd almost like to not have to think about it.

    The party will just be a party. I know's there's etiquette about not styling it as a wedding reception if it's happening after the fact but, regardless of etiquette, we won't be doing a first dance or cake cutting or anything too 'weddingy'. We'll decorate the venue, maybe have some sparklers (because I love fireworks) and hopefully have a grand old time.

    Now, I suppose what I'm looking for is any thoughts or observations: is this a truly terrible idea? Would you be irreparably hurt if your friend/family member did it this way? I guess as much as I'd like to do it this/our way, there's still a part of me that is a people pleaser! 
    This is exactly how I wanted to get married! I wanted to do the ceremony completely in secret and then celebrate with everyone later. H2B wanted a 'proper' wedding so that is what we are going with but still keeping it small. If you read my planning thread you will see the issues we are having over our guest list and now I envy you being able to do it the way you are!
    Don't let your worries over pleasing everyone sway you! Do it in the way that works for you and your H2B and hopefully your family and friends will understand and still want to come and celebrate with you (and the ruthless part of me just thinks if they don't then they were probably not worth celebrating with anyway, but I know it is not that simple!).
  • Now Mrs PNow Mrs P Posts: 29 New bride
    Salmon said:
    NowNow Mrs P said:
    We did similar .We told people we were getting married in the summer, but not the date. We sent invitations to the party about 6 months before (we live in a seaside town and the party was last weekend of school holidays so people needed to book hotels etc, especially as most of our guests weren't local) .in the invitations we just said as you know we are getting married this year, we are having a small ceremony but a big party to celebrate and we would love for you to be there to celebrate with us!

    That sounds lovely! Out of curiosity, how did you avoid telling people the date? 
    We just told them we weren't telling anyone! We said we were looking forward to the surprise of telling them rather than the build up. And we gave them that it was in the school summer holidays. 
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