One, Two, Three… SURPRISE!!!

How to pull off a surprise wedding without your guests suspecting a thing.

Who doesn’t like a surprise?  Well, actually, lots of people I guess, especially if it’s a bad surprise.  But surprise weddings?  I, personally, love ’em!

In Australia you cannot surprise your partner with a wedding, as you both need to give at least one months notice (see ‘Notice of Intended Marriage‘ page for more details about this process).  However, you can surprise your family and friends, and, I can help.

Examples of a Surprise Wedding

The ‘Not really a BIRTHDAY party’ Surprise

I did one where the bride was celebrating her 30th birthday with a garden party.  I arrived about an hour before the reveal, and mingled with the guests.  The bride and I had come up with a back-story; I was a colleague from work who happened to live only a couple of streets away and therefore she had casually invited me to drop in.  I had hidden my Marriage Register and other paperwork on arrival, and started chatting to the guests, calling upon my High School Speech and Drama skills to the maximum.

When it came to cutting the 30th birthday cake, the bride made a speech as to how important it was to have those she loved most around her, then she took the ’30’ cake topper and replaced it with a ‘Mr and Mrs’ cake topper.  Some guests understood straight away, some were confused.  She then said ‘Roxy can you come and explain what’s going on?’ and with that I stepped up and announced that I didn’t work in marketing with the bride, I was actually a Commonwealth Registered Celebrant, and I was here to marry the birthday girl and her partner.  There was a big roar of laughter and noise, with the bride’s Uncle pointing at me shouting (through tears of laughter) ‘You LIED to me Roxy!  You LIED!!’

Thank you for your wonderful assistance on our surprise evening… even your commitment to your back story so my family wouldn’t guess you were a celebrant.

My nanna was super suspicious, but you managed to pull it off. Thanks for fitting in with our very simple, kind last minute decision and for for making it super chilled which was just perfect for us.

Kellee and Ben


The couple in this example had recently finished renovating their house, and so were inviting their closest family and friends around to have cocktails in the garden.

My cover-story was that I was the sole bar-staff member (hired via Airtasker, to explain my slightly inept efforts at cocktail making!).  I served drinks for an hour or so before the reveal was made via one of the brides’ daughter, by which stage I’d served at least one drink to every guest and had them all believing I was the bartender.

Everyone was shocked. I had done a fabulous job with my cover story, and had learnt that I have a new skill making cocktails that I can fall upon if I ever find this Celebrant gig dries up.


This wedding took place in the evening, where all the guests had been invited to an engagement party.  My cover story was the that I was the Events Manager for the evening, and once all the guests had arrived, I notified the bride who was hiding up in her room in the hotel next door, supposedly ‘stuck in traffic’.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the reveal was made, and the couple loved the element of surprise involved with it all.

Contact Roxy

If you’re looking to surprise your guests with a wedding, please contact me. My sense of adventure and ability to keep the cover story going means that I love doing these, and am more than happy to work with you to develop a surprise that will really leave your guests speechless. And don’t to read the lovely things said by lovely people about the weddings I’ve conducted for them.


Thinking of eloping? Read my handy top tip guide to get you on track.

Thinking of eloping?  Whether you want to do so to save money, to negate the ‘inviting the masses’ issue, or you just want a really intimate commitment with only you and your witnesses then I’m able to help you with your elopement ceremony, ensuring it meets all your needs.

As a starter, I’ve produced some guidance on how to organise the perfect elopement:

  1.  Submit your completed notice-of-intended-marriage at least one calendar month prior to your elopement date with your celebrant.  Unless there is a reason which falls under the exceptional circumstances (please ask me for more advice on these), you will need to  lodge this at least one calendar month before your chosen date to get married.
  2. Think about what kind of elopement you want.
    • Do you want super-intimate with only two witnesses or something with a small, intimate group of family and/or friends?
    • If you do want to invite guests, do you want them to be aware that you are eloping, or do you want to invite them under a different guise?
    • Do you want to include personalised vows in the ceremony?
    • Do you want any readings included?  Would you like any of your guests to say something during the ceremony?
    • Do you want your elopement to be captured by a professional photographer and/or videographer to then share with others at a later date?
  3. Decide where you would like to hold your elopement ceremony.  I have conducted elopements:
    • at parks (depending on your type of elopement, it’s worth checking first to see if you need any kind of permit for that particular park)
    • on beaches, including those on both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts
    • in a coffee shop (with the bride and groom in shorts and thongs)
    • at the home of a couple, just before they were to fly off for a trip of a lifetime
    • at a small family 30th birthday party which turned into a surprise elopement
  4. How are you going to share the news with your family and friends after the elopement?  It must seem an odd question to ask, but quite often couples elope, and then spend days, weeks, even months, before they share the news because, well… basically they’re not sure how to do so!  It’s worth having a think about this beforehand; are there those whom you want to tell first face to face, or are you happy to make an announcement on social media?

Please do not hesitate to contact me about elopements – I have a real sense of adventure and love surprises, so am more than happy to get fully on board to make your elopement totally right for you.

“Thank you foKellDr your wonderful assistance on our surprise evening… even your commitment to your backstory so my family wouldn’t guess you were a celebrant. Thanks for fitting in with our very simple, kinda last minute decision and making it super chilled with was just perfect for us.” Kellee and Ben (left)



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