A Surprise Gather Wedding....

When I first met Tom and Michelle in July of 2010, they had been engaged for what seemed to be an eternity and they were ready to get the planning underway. We discussed their wants and wishes for their grand affair over dinner and great wine (Tom always served great wine...boy do I miss our meetings). After a two hour a dinner I had somehow convinced the couple to have a surprise wedding. Yes, you heard me...A surprise wedding. I don't really remember why I thought it was so perfect for them, but for some reason I did.
I immediately began planning what some people thought was going to be an over the top engagement party when in reality, I was planning the surprise of the year! Given that the flowers, food, music and photography were all amazing, I have decided to break this post up and tell you about the surprise now and the details later.
So this is how it went.....
I knew I had to send out invitations that made guests think . . .
"Wow, what a nice invitation for an engagement party. I am not going to want to miss this!" My friends at Please Reply introduced me to a invitation line called Bella and I could not have been happier with the way it turned out! This terrible iphone photo does not do it justice!

After months of planning and keeping secrets, January 29th finally arrived!
Arden and I opted to take the pre-wedding photos at Botanical Gardens given the amazing gift of warm, sunny weather. Michelle slipped into her wedding dress, we took a few shots and she changed right back in to her cocktail dress. This is when the nerves set in for me....WHAT WAS I DOING?? I could not believe I was trying to pull this off and all I could think was....

After the quick photo shoot we arrived at Park Lane where the party was being held. We hid the wedding dress in a back room and surrounded it with coat racks just in case a guest decided to get nosy. Michelle and Tom greeted their guests with open arms and acted like nothing in the world was about to take place. They were as cool as cucumbers!

(Michelle is on the left in her black cocktail dress)
One of the ladies in the photo above even said.."I had hoped we would get here tonight only to find out that you got married early today." Michelle responded with a simple..."no, not yet."

I thought the "man in the collar," Joe Warren, was a sure give away, but thankfully no one seemed to notice.
Forty five minutes into the cocktail hour, Michelle and I slipped off into the back room to change her into her wedding gown. The emotions were high and it was a moment I will never forget.

While we were in the back....Tom tapped his glass to get everyone's attention. He started by thanking everyone for coming and then began to explain his relationship with Michelle.

".....you see, we both have been single for so long and thankfully, we won't be single after tonight!" - tom

With this, the crowd screamed and the tears began to flow. There wasn't a dry eye in the room including my own. The crowd turned their heads to the back of the room where Tom was looking and there stood the most beautiful bride anyone had seen.

Michelle made her way to Joe and Tom and the ceremony began. It was hard to hear the vows over all the weeping and sniffling from the crowd. It was one of the most intimate weddings I had ever been to (except for mine of course) and it was one of the greatest aspects of the whole evening.

I don't think I have ever been as happy with an outcome as I was at this very moment.

I guess the couple was feeling the same way!!
After the ceremony guests were invited to an amazing seated dinner prepared by Kathy G. & Co. The room was filled with excitement and energy. Everyone was now experiencing the adrenalin we had been feeling all day!

The cake was cute and fun went on and on. As a matter of fact, we had not planned on having a grand exit for the couple, but it was the only way to put an end to an incredible day. I pulled apart a rose arrangement, lined the guests up and sent the happy couple off into night! I am actually so happy we did this. It was a perfect ending to an incredible night!

It would not have been so perfect without the help of all the vendors and of course my better half, Tom!

Check in on Monday for details on the decor, food, music and photography!
Happy Planning!
Design DetailsDan Gavin