Our Wonderful Surprise Wedding – in pictures!

by Amy on 29 July 2011

Tomorrow marks three months from the day my now-husband + i pulled off our surprise wedding, i thought it was a perfect time to (finally) share some pictures with you from that amazing day!

The ‘engagement party’ started at 6 PM + we planned the surprise ceremony to begin at 6:45. This was minutes before we separated to change into our wedding clothes, taking a quiet moment together.

About 45 minutes into cocktail hour, almost-husband (now in a jacket + tie) gathered everyone’s attention. He thanked them for coming + told them we had a surprise before dinner was served. The bluegrass quartet changed to classical music (canon in d) + the minister strolled out from the wings.

My father + i emerged from behind the carriage house + (truly) an audible gasp rose from the crowd. I joined my soon-to-be husband + minister under the gorgeous gazebo for our vows. After the ceremony, my now-husband + i snuck back into the carriage house for a glass of champagne.

Thanks, mom, for holding my bouquet!

We emerged, to everyone’s awesome well wishes + words of surprise. but first, i hugged my mom.

We took some pictures, just the two of us, before the sun started setting.

Then we took some pictures with our parents + family, too.

As the sun started setting, i had just enough time to take a little bridal swing.

We re-joined our nearly 100 guests for a wonderful southern dinner, dessert, drinks + champagne.

Our meal was accompanied by the amazing blueglass stylings of Craig Duncan’s bluegrass quartet.

I had my first dance with my husband under the stars.

With the sun long set, our surprise revealed, + everyone happy, we headed out + left our guests to continue the party.

It was a perfect day. friends + family had come in from all across the country + world (my brother flying in all the way from india), The weather had been sunny + warm, + our surprise had gone off seamlessly. If i had to do it again, i wouldn’t change a thing!

Update: our surprise wedding was featured in a magazine – so cool!

venue: the mulberry house (owned by our lovely family friends, catherine + doug)
photography: gregory byerline photography
musicians: craig duncan’s bluegrass quartet
lighting: nashville event lighting
flowers: megan mcdugald (email me if you’d like her contact information)
catering: clean plate club
hair: sarah behnke at studio green

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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Caroline @ chocolate and carrots July 29, 2011 at 9:22 am

What a beautiful day! You made a gorgeous bride! I love everything about your wedding. Plus, it helps that I love surprises. 😉 Perfection. Aww, happy day! Happy 3rd Monthiversary to you and the hubby! :-)

2 amy July 29, 2011 at 9:24 am

aww, thank you! i love surprises, too (+ am good at keeping them), so this was perfect for us! we barely told anyone – almost none of our friends, siblings, etc. knew. it was pretty crazy in retrospect, but absolutely awesome!

3 Lesley July 29, 2011 at 9:29 am

Oh Amy! How beautiful! You made a stunning bride! I love this concept of the surprise wedding. I actually gasp myself as I was reading this post! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day :-)

4 amy July 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

this is silly, but i *still* get goosebumps when i describe that day. i even have them now, ha! that you so much for your sweet words — i’m so happy that, through my little ol’ blog, i can share stories + events like this with friends, family, + readers alike.

5 amy July 29, 2011 at 9:31 am

You guys are just too cute! I still <3 the swing picture :)

6 amy July 29, 2011 at 9:39 am

that was such a fun moment! husband was actually going to push me in swing, but i decided to just start pumping my legs like crazy + swing myself. just as silly on my wedding day as i am on any other day!

7 Leah | So, How's It Taste? July 29, 2011 at 10:02 am

What a fantastic wedding! I love how you surprised your guests. You look stunning and you both look so incredibly happy. Everything was just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing with us!

8 amy July 29, 2011 at 10:05 am

you are so welcome – i love being able to share things like this through the blog. it was truly an amazing night + we really were as happy as we look. =)

9 Kira July 29, 2011 at 10:06 am

Love it! Sounds like an ideal evening. Besides, I totally love bluegrass!

10 amy July 29, 2011 at 10:09 am

kira, if you haven’t heard craig duncan + ‘friends’ play live before, you have to check them out. i’m so happy we went with them — they were fabulous! it was so cool to have our first dance to bluegrass music, since my husband was born + raised here, i’ve been here for 10 years, + nashville is what brought us together!

11 Lyssa July 29, 2011 at 10:10 am

Of course it was absolutely stunning and perfect, I wouldn’t expect any less.
How was the food? I drive by the clean plate club nearly every day, I’ve always been curious how their food fared.
Congratulations again, you are a stunning couple. Lucky guy!

12 amy July 29, 2011 at 10:11 am

thank you! ahh, the food. we went for an ‘upscale southern’ theme + it was AMAZING! here was the lineup:
cocktail hour: mini country ham biscuits with apple butter, white bean soup + celery barquette with pimento cheese
iceberg lettuce wedge with pickled red onion, tomato, bacon + blue cheese dressing
Slow Roasted Pulled Pork + chicken with North Carolina BBQ Sauce, Apple Butter BBQ Sauce & Hot Sauce
3 Cheese Mac + cheese, Black Eyed Peas with Collard greens + Roasted Red Pepper, Fried Green Tomatoes + Okra, Squash Casserole, Succotash Salad
dessert: Mini Banana Puddings, Mini Strawberry Shortcakes, Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes, + Mini Whoopie Pies
booze: Vodka Thyme Lemonade, Tennessee Bourbon Iced Tea, Yazoo beer, wine + prosecco

13 amanda July 29, 2011 at 10:14 am

oh, amy. this is simply lovely. everything about it. you, my dear, were radiant. and i must know who was responsible for that beautiful hair style.

14 amy July 29, 2011 at 10:26 am

i so appreciate your sweet words! the hairstyle (which i shall add to the credits now — good idea) was by Sarah at studio green in east nashville. absolutely *love* her + the salon is 100% organic — pretty awesome.

15 Amber @ Caleigh's Kitchen July 29, 2011 at 10:39 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE the pictures! So glad you shared! You looked beautiful and your hubby is handsome. What a wonderful treat for everyone involved! So sweet!

16 amy July 29, 2011 at 10:49 am

i’m glad that i shared ’em, too — everyone’s comments are so sweet. and my husband is going to love that you called him handsome! =)

17 Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) July 29, 2011 at 10:50 am

Awww…what a gorgeous wedding! You were such a lovely bride…love that you and hubby pulled a fast one on the guests. Sounds like a perfect evening…

18 amy July 29, 2011 at 10:59 am

i still can’t believe we pulled it off! luckily, very few people knew + he + i are both great at keeping secrets. it was hard at times, but the awesome surprise made it well worth it!

19 natalie (the sweets life) July 29, 2011 at 11:34 am

AMAZING! beautiful pictures and such a fun story :)

20 amy July 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

thank you natalie! i think it’s a fun story, too, but i might be a little biased. =)

21 BreAna {Sugar and Spice and All Things Iced} July 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

Wow! That is such an awesome story! I can’t imagine planning something like that and keeping it a secret! Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing with us!! :)

22 amy July 29, 2011 at 11:53 am

thanks, BreAna! the secret-keeping was a little hard, but it was so worth it. my husband + i both love surprising people, + this was the greatest surprise we could’ve given everyone!

23 Heather July 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I just got chills reading this! So sweet, romantic & lovely!

24 amy July 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm

thank you so much, heather! i’m so happy that you were able to be part of our special day + experience it in person!

25 Tabitha July 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm

It was such a fun day, so glad to be included and I love the recap – Gregory did an awesome job! I especially love the picture of you on the swing.

26 amy July 29, 2011 at 12:33 pm

i am sooo thankful you were part of the day. thank you x 1000 for getting me changed into that wedding dress in record speed (less than 5 minutes, if i remember correctly) + helping calm my nerves!

27 Shannon July 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Beautiful pictures Amy!!!! What a wonderful day! Your menu sounds awesome and those desserts gave me the goosebumps!!LOL!!

28 amy July 29, 2011 at 12:44 pm

thanks, shannon!! the menu was absolutely amazing — the clean plate club does a wonderful job with catering + they have southern cookin’ down pat. everything was truly delicious!

29 Ellen July 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Your blog is great, Amy! If people RSVP’d no, did you try to nudge them into coming?? We actually had a ‘surprise engagement party,’ which was supposedly just a family party, but that was when we announced our engagement. A couple of relatives didn’t make it, but I feel like they would have, if I’d let them in on the secret! That was tricky.

30 amy July 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm

we were surprised because almost no one RSVP’ed no. our friends/family knew that this was their chance to celebrate with us prior to the wedding (which they thought was the following monday). we figured that that would coax people in + it did! it would definitely have been trickier to get people in for a party that was actually a surprise engagement party, for sure. congrats on your recent nuptials, by the way – the pictures on facebook were gorgeous!

31 stacey July 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm


32 amy July 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm

thank you so much! i know i’ve been telling you that these would be up soon for the last, oh, 2.5 months so i’m glad i finally got ’em posted. =)

33 Renee July 29, 2011 at 2:39 pm

So wonderful! I was wondering when you would be sharing the wedding photos. They are great and you and your husband make a fine looking couple. So cool that you pulled off a surprise wedding. Many best wishes on years and years of happiness!

34 amy July 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm

thank you for your kind words + best wishes! it took me a little while to get the pics posted, but i finally did. i figured after i was more than a month late in posting them, i should wait for a somewhat memorable day to share ’em. =) glad you enjoyed looking through them!

35 Ally Garner July 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Oh Amy. Those pictures are simply stunning. No doubt about it, you are gorgeous and so creatively talented to pull off such a spectacular surprise without a hitch. I’m just swooning over the details :) Congratulations to you & your sweet, handsome husband for 3 months of wedded bliss and i wish you both a lifetime of splendor like that fantastic day! Thanks so much for sharing that sweetness with us, doll. Much love & many blessings always!

36 amy July 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm

you are so kind, ally. comments like yours make me doubly happy i shared the story + pictures. i wasn’t sure if it was going to be too ‘personal’ for my readers, so it makes me just thrilled that y’all enjoy seeing them + hearing the story. if we can remain even half as happy in our lifetime as we were that day, we’ll still be incredibly lucky!

37 Maris (In Good Taste) July 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm

What a wonderful idea and gorgeous wedding! You looked so beautiful!

38 amy July 29, 2011 at 7:04 pm

thank you so much, maris. it was a wonderful, memorable day + one i love re-living through pictures!

39 Simply Life July 30, 2011 at 10:29 am

CONGRATS! What gorgeous pictures!

40 amy July 30, 2011 at 11:31 am

thank you so much — i’m so happy you stopped by to check ’em out!

41 Rachael July 30, 2011 at 11:39 am

What a fun wedding idea! Your day was beautiful, as were you! I looove wedding posts! It’s so fun. Congratulations on your big day and keeping it a suprise! Hope being married is blissful! :)

42 amy July 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm

so glad you liked the post! so far, being married is pretty darn fun + that day was blissful for sure!

43 Cait's Plate July 30, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Amazing! You looked so beautiful :)

44 amy July 30, 2011 at 4:02 pm

thank so much, cait. i think that the happier you are, the more radiant you look, which is why everyone looks so wonderful on their wedding day!

45 Mari July 31, 2011 at 11:50 am

You looked absolutely stunning. Thanks for sharing your pictures with us!

46 amy July 31, 2011 at 12:41 pm

you are too sweet, mari! =) it’s been so awesome to be able to share the story + pictures with everyone. =)

47 Kristen @ notsodomesticated July 31, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Absolutely gorgeous!!!! I love that it was a surprise. Thanks for sharing!! :)

48 amy July 31, 2011 at 5:33 pm

aww, thanks for stopping by to check ’em out – glad you liked ’em!

49 Cooks_Books July 31, 2011 at 6:47 pm

The dress + you in the dress = stunning! I love the story of your surprise. Maybe if my husband and I ever get around to renewing our vows (again) with a larger ceremony, we’ll steal your idea. Thanks for sharing your wedding through the photos and your blog. And congratulations on 3 months!

50 amy August 1, 2011 at 7:34 am

steal away! this was the biggest surprise we’ve ever pulled off + it was amazing. if my husband + i renew our vows in 10 years, we’ll probably skip the surprise so we can experience sharing it with people. =) i did tell him that i’ll try to fit in my wedding gown for the occasion – now *that* would be a surprise if i can pull it off! =)

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