Have you ever considered a secret wedding? Are you stressed out with wedding planning and just want to be married already? Today, we're talking all about secret weddings, the pros and cons of getting married in secret, and how to plan a secret wedding. If you're thinking about it, you're on the fence or your ready to go "all in" on a secret wedding, you're in the right spot and we're going to talk about it all!
Different from a small wedding, mico wedding or even an announced wedding elopement, we're talking when couples secretly wed and then spill the beans later! (Cue, JLo and Ben Affleck in Vegas!)
There's something so special about a secret wedding, because a secret wedding is all about you and your partner marrying. Secret weddings have so many positives, but that doesn't mean it's all easy, so be sure to take the time necessary to make this decision and make the decision together as a couple.
Not sure if a secret wedding is right for you? Intrigued by the idea of a secret wedding? We're here to provide you with our top wedding planning advice for planning a secret wedding. Actually, we're here with advice for considering a secret wedding, deciding on a secret wedding and planning a secret wedding!
You might be wondering is a secret wedding. Is that even a thing!? We get it! Between mini weddings, micro wedding, small weddings, intimate weddings and elopements, that's a lot of different wedding types. It can be confusing as to all of the different definitions in the wedding world, especially when it comes to the size of wedding.
A secret wedding is, well, secret and no one knows about it before it happens. A secret wedding is when two people are married without any of their friends or family knowing about their wedding prior to them being married. There might be outside people who know about a couple's secret wedding in advance of it happening, such as an officiant, photographer or even a wedding planner to help with logistics, but when it comes to a secret wedding it usually means that no one in in the couple's immediate circle knows about the wedding until after their are officially married.
Maybe the couples went to the courthouse, to a restaurant or to their backyard, it doesn't necessarily matter where or when it happens, a secret is all about how it happens and who knows about it, or not, in advance.
Are you thinking abut a secret wedding? Here are some things to consider that might help you make your decision and stay turned because after this, we're going to give you lots of ideas and even more advice if you've decided to get married in secret...
There are many reasons why a couple would choose to get married in secret. Those reasons to get married on the down low are, obviously, so personal and vary from couple to couple. If you're thinking about it, be sure to take some time to think about why a secret wedding would be important to you and what you are hoping to gain.
Do you just want to be married already? Do you not have the time or mental space to deal with all of the wedding planning drama? Do you not want to spend the money or energy on planning a bigger wedding?
When you get married in secret, it's the ultimate in getting married on your own terms. You're free from outside influence, distractions and opinions. The only opinion that matters with a secret wedding is yours and your partner's.
With a secret wedding the focus is on the act of getting married and nothing else. No flowers, no cake, no guests, no nothing distracting you and your partner from doing what you came to do and that is get married.
If you're worried that getting married in secret you might miss out on somethings. And, you're not wrong to give what you'll miss out on by not having a bigger wedding some thought and consideration.
There's something to be said for taking a vow or marriage in front of your friends and family and quite literally feeling their support behind you. When you get married in secret, you miss out on looking around and having a visual representation of all of the people who love and support you and your partner's journey together.
If getting married in secret is something you're thinking about, be sure to all what you'll miss out on to your pro/con list. It's important to give attention to both sides of the secret wedding.
Many couples thing that planning a wedding secret is so simple and so easy. After all, the idea of no drama and the ease of planning might be a huge factor in your decision to have a secret wedding in the first place. In many ways, you'll find a secret wedding to be easier in terms of less things to take care of...but don't be misled, there's still work to be done even with a secret wedding!
Even with a secret wedding, effort is still required on your part and, yes, sometimes there is drama.
There is a certain level of work that you'll have to put in to make whatever arrangements need to be made, to find something to wear and to book whatever vendors you want. Maybe you want to go to a location to get married and you'll need an officiant and a marriage license to make it official - and all of this will require planning. You might need some time off of work, which will require planning ahead. You might want a photographer to be present and a place to go to dinner or a celebratory drink afterwards. The details of a secret wedding can be less dramatic because you don't have to deal with the outside opinions of others like family or friends, but it still requires work on your part to make arrangements.
And then, yes, you might face some drama after it's done from those that wanted to be there with you to support you. You might have to explain to your family and friends that you got married in secret and be ready to answer all the questions and you might have to defend your choice.
You aren't exempt from work and from drama just because you got married in secret.
Are you worried that is you get married in secret you might regret your choice or you'll be unhappy in the long run?
When it comes to a secret wedding, you'll always wonder 'what if' so even if you make a choice to get married in secret, there's always a wedding anniversary party or time later, after the fact to have a larger wedding celebration. The good part about weddings is that aren't once and done anymore, between anniversaries and larger wedding receptions after a secret wedding, you can keep the celebration going for as long as you want.
Make your choice for a secret wedding (or not) and don't second guess yourself. When you're calm and not frustrated or overwhelmed, write your reasons for a secret wedding down so that when you doubt yourself, you can always refer back to your written reasons to remind yourself fo why you're doing what you're doing.
And our top tip when planning a secret wedding...make the choice for a secret wedding (or not) together, as a team. You have to both be on board with whatever decisions you make, otherwise that's how resentment starts.
You and your partner need to make the choice together. You can make your pro/con lists separately, of course, but it is important that you come together and make the choice for the size and type of wedding that you'll have as a unit.
When one partner starts compromising too much and giving up or feeling left out of the decisions, then resentment and hurt feelings can settle it. A secret wedding is a big deal and it does come with drama and work, as we've discussed, so it is important that both partners are 100 percent on board.
Consider this a good prep for married life together!
So, after you've spent time considering a secret wedding...and now you've made the decision together to have your own secret wedding...let's get planning! This is the fun part, if we don't mind saying so ourselves!
Just because you're getting married in secret doesn't mean that you get to skip out on all the fun of the wedding planning. When a secret wedding, you just get to miss out on other people's outside opinions....and that's a good thing!
Yes, a secret wedding means less of the traditional wedding planning tasks like bridal showers, bachelorette parties, bridesmaids, etc. but that doesn't mean there aren't important planning to do to make your secret wedding a reality.
(Remember, what we said earlier - just because you decide to get married in secret and not tell anyone, it doesn't mean you get out of doing some work!)
Now, remember we're talking about planning a secret wedding where no one in your immediate circle knows about it until after its done, not a surprise wedding. (Although, a surprise wedding sounds like fun...we'll write a post about those another time! Stay tuned)
What are the essentials for a secret wedding? First, the two of you! That's the most important part. Then, simply move on from there. Are you both free and available? Do you need to take off from work? You'll have to plan ahead for these logistics. You'll have to pick a date that works for both of you. Some of picking the date to get married might have to do with the venue or location, which we'll discuss next....
Where do you want to exchange vows? If you're having a secret wedding, or any size wedding for that matter, it's all about the venue or the location. You'll have to find a location to get married.
Will it be at the courthouse? Your backyard? Does your location require travel or is it close to home?
When it comes to a secret wedding, there are no rules to a wedding venue and you only need to find a venue that is big enough for two!
There is the act of getting married, like saying your vows or exchanging rings, that is performative, meaning it doesn't matter legally and it can be different for each couple depending on what is meaningful to them. But, there is the legal aspect of getting married and becoming a union in the eyes of the law that probably the most important part of getting married. Between the dress and the reception and the flowers, the legal part of getting married often gets overlooked.
Before you can be officially married, you'll need to look into the rules and regulations in your area. Many areas require a married license that you'll have to apply for and in some cases, pay for. Some areas require health screenings and/or waiting periods before issuing the marriage license.
Be sure to check into the steps and fees to officially get married in your location to make sure that you and your partner are legally married when you want to be married.
After your pick a venue and secure the steps of a marriage license you'll need something to wear, of course!
Consider your attire for your secret wedding - maybe opt for a white mini dress and a short veil for a fun look that's still says "bride." A custom look for the groom that expresses your style is essential.
And, don't forget a bridal bouquet and a boutonnière, those help make this wedding a wedding and separate from other special occasions or just another date night.
A secret wedding is the perfect opportunity to work on some really special personal vows to say to your partner. Be sure to document them as a wonderful keepsake from your secret wedding with vow books, a keepsake garter or pocket square and more.
Just because you're getting married in secret doesn't mean you need to not remember it. Put some thought into the keepsakes that you want to show your family and friends in the future about your special day. Remember, they weren't there, so they will want to experience it all over again with you and a keepsake can help tell your wedding story.
If you decide to get married and not tell or invite anyone that is a wonderful thing. But the next question is how do you want to tell people? When do you want to tell people? Or do you not want to tell anyone?
The choice of who to tell and when is, obviously, yours, but you'll both need to give some thought in advance of your secret day as to how you'll let others know of your marriage.
There is not right or wrong when it comes to tell people about your secret weddings, just be sure that you plan it out so that you aren't blurting it out or "spilling the beans" which can lead to hurt feelings.
If you decided that a secret wedding is for you, we have some fun ideas for you.
Let us share with you some of our favorite secret wedding essentials in a visual format to help you feel inspired and picture your own secret wedding day with this collection of secret wedding must-haves from Etsy...
So, what do you think? Is a secret wedding for you? If you're not looking forward to all of the decisions that come along with a traditional wedding reception and planning (or those outside opinions on your wedding choices), or you're looking to plan an intimate exchange of vows with your partner, then a secret wedding might be just the right wedding for you.
Looking for more inspiration for your wedding planning process? Check out the Garter Girl Loves series of blog posts or find all of my wedding planning advice here on my blog.
With love, The Garter Girl
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