We recently had the pleasure of chatting to highly sort-after Wedding Photographer Zoe Morley about her 2019 surprise wedding and as I am sure you can imagine; Zoe’s wedding was everything a surprise wedding dream is made of. Zoe and her husband Jewel were married in an old chapel that was also Zoe’s family home. She pulled off the perfect surprise and shared the best moments from her big day with us.
Happy reading xx
Zoe, what made you decide a surprise wedding was right for you?
Being a Wedding Photographer, Zoe attends hundreds of beautiful weddings every year. She isn’t a traditional bride and wanted to do something a little bit different for her big day.
‘I knew in some way it would be different but didn’t know exactly how…I have always wanted to do something like a surprise engagement wedding. It’s definitely been on the cards and I think a lot of people were suspect of me because of that.’
‘I just like the vibe, I photographed a few surprise weddings before, and I’ve just really enjoyed the whole atmosphere and the reactions of guests.’
Did you find planning a surprise wedding easier, or possibly more difficult than expected?
‘The whole thing was a lot of work. We did everything ourselves…I did all of the styling and was hand dyeing all of the cloth that I was hanging [in the chapel], I just did too much’.
Zoe was lucky enough to have her friend who is also an experienced event planner there to help her on the day. She also suggests anyone planning a surprise wedding enlists the help of a Wedding Planner to help coordinate the day.
‘I definitely could not have done it without her’.
‘If you’re going to do a surprise wedding or any wedding, I definitely recommend having an event coordinator or a wedding planner, just somebody to help with that extra stress a Wedding brings’.
What about keeping the day a secret, while making sure all of your loved ones were in attendance?
Zoe invited 120 guests to her surprise wedding and managed to keep 100 of them in the dark about the big surprise. Although she would have loved to have kept it a surprise for everyone, she did have to tell a few close guests to ensure they were able to make it on the day.
‘I would have loved to have been able to not tell anybody and just kept it like a massive surprise for all…but it was hard because we have really close friends that live internationally and family live in two states, so we kind of felt like we had to tell them that it was going to be a wedding because otherwise they would have been really upset if they didn’t make it.’
How did you manage the big reveal on the day?
‘The way we did it is that we told everyone that it was an engagement party and everyone needed to be there in late afternoon around 4:30 for sunset drinks…when everyone arrived, I was wearing just a normal engagement dress, I was just greeting people as usual. Jewel and I were hanging out having cocktails with everyone and I was acting like nothing was amiss… we had hidden the actual church part of our house, so that the ceremony area wasn’t visible.’
As Zoe snuck off to get changed in the back of the house, her MC asked everyone to move inside for speeches. As they entered the hidden ceremony space her guests knew instantly this was no longer just an engagement party, but a surprise wedding as well.
‘I couldn’t see their reactions, but I could hear people screaming … Jewel was at the front of the Church as all of our friends were walking in and said that moment was the best bit, seeing everybody’s reactions as they came in.’
Zoe’s top 3 tips on pulling off the ultimate surprise wedding:
- ‘Have vendors that you really can rely on who really know what you want’
- ‘Tell a few people, just so that they can help with the stress’
- ‘Being very organised is key’
And ‘just enjoy the day as it is and enjoy people’s reactions’.
Interesting in planning a surprise wedding?
Here are our top tips on planning the ultimate surprise wedding!
We loved talking with Zoe Morley about her surprise wedding and would love to hear about your surprise wedding too. Tag @wedbooker in your wedding photos on Instagram to share your special day with us.