Will and I were introduced through the online dating app, OKCupid. We first met at Gaslight Coffee Roasters in Chicago and got to know one another for the first time over a cup of coffee. On our first dinner date, he took me to dinner at Homestead on the Roof, the same venue we booked for our surprise wedding 5 years later!
We don’t have a traditional “engagement story”. We had always talked about getting married as the next step in our relationship, and one day we were shopping and he suggested we go browsing for rings—we both knew this was the next natural progression for us. When I found the ring I fell in love with, he bought right then and there! After that, we started talking about what we would envision for our wedding, and the idea of throwing a “surprise wedding” came up. We both agreed as surprise wedding was exactly how we wanted to tie the knot!! Because it was a surprise for our guests, I wasn’t able to show off my engagement ring in public! Unbeknownst to our guests, I had a ring and was engaged the whole time!!
The Surprise Wedding
Will and I envisioned something nontraditional… a small and intimate “surprise” wedding surrounded by close family and friends. We knew we wanted to lure our guests in by inviting them to our “engagement party”, so we started brainstorming how we could pull-off a surprise wedding. Because we needed help brainstorming, we decided to let only our immediate family in on our surprise and search for a wedding planner that could help us see our vision through! Will and I wanted a venue with either a garden or rooftop so we could be outdoors in the summer. Our wedding planner, Katie of Jayne Weddings & Events, sent us a few options, and Homestead on the Roof was one of them! This venue was meaningful for us because it was the place we had our fist dinner date, and it was on this date that I knew something just felt right about this guy… so it was a no brainer which venue was meant for us!
Memories & Advice
The anticipation of the reveal and seeing all the emotional faces on our guests as I walked down the aisle was absolutely amazing!! Everyone was so surprised, happy, and stunned!! We had pulled off our “surprise” wedding!! Our wedding guests were so elated and so surprised, and it was a truly memorable experience for them, too!! This was all Will and I could hope for in a wedding day!
Planning a surprise wedding gave us the freedom to make decisions that were special and unique to us! Our wedding details represented both our likes and personalities. We did not have anyone’s advice nor suggestions sway our own, and it made our wedding details that much more special! My advice to couples would be to plan all the details of your wedding around what makes you, the wedding couple, happy!! Do not spend any time stressing about what you “should” include to make your guests happy or to include elements just for tradition’s sake… unless these things truly mean something to you, and makes you feel joyful and completes your vision…do it!
We wanted to add some personal touches to our wedding, and that’s where Katie and her team at Jayne Weddings came in! From the donut wall to the cake toppers, to the napkins on the table, and our Stumptown Coffee wedding favors, all the finishing touches were exactly our style.