Sarah & Nelson planned (and pulled off) the most elegant and beautiful surprise wedding. My heart still bursts thinking about it!
They knew they wanted a surprise wedding all along. So they planned and conspired for 9 months – long before they even announced their engagement!! They actually got engaged over the winter, but didn’t tell anyone! They secretly started planning their dream surprise wedding, hired a planner and every single detail was thought out.
Asides from their vendors, the only other person on the planet who knew of their plans was Sarah’s best friend and maid-of-honour Candice. (They told Nelson’s best man, Parker, just a week before the wedding). After months of planning, they finally announced their engagement in the summer! So it made perfect sense to have an engagement party a few weeks later.
They invited their closest family and friends to a gorgeous engagement party. And let me tell you, this was no backyard bbq, this was stunning. The florals, and tablewear, and the setting, everything was absolutely beautiful. I mean, the cutlery was rose gold. Like come on! Oh, and the place settings were polaroid photos of each person. Every detail was just exquisite.
After mingling for a bit, Sarah snuck inside for a minute (to change into her wedding dress) and guests grabbed their seats for dinner. As everyone was seated, Nelson took the mic to thank everyone for attending their engagement party. Since getting engaged they had talked about having a destination wedding (you know, to throw people off lol). So with the mic in hand, Nelson told everyone that he was happy they were all looking forward to their destination wedding, but he and Sarah felt their was “no better destination than right here, right now”!!!!! Oh my gosh, my heart. Some gasps from family members, and some confused looks. And then Nelson asked Sarah’s dad to get up and walk around the corner of the patio where Sarah was waiting for him, so he could walk her in. Annnd cue the tears. Her dad walked around the corner to find Sarah waiting for him in that stunning gown.
The reaction from family and friends when they saw Sarah walk around the corner in that dress was so perfect. I could cry just looking at the photos. It was such a special moment. And if all that wasn’t enough of a surprise, the officiant was a family friend and she walked in behind Sarah & her dad. The whole thing was like a dream, honestly. It just got better and better.
After a beautiful ceremony on the patio, Sarah & Nelson were pronounced husband and wife and off they want to enjoy a glass of wine together. All of the guests cried and hugged as they processed what had just happened. Eee, so much fun.
Sarah & Nelson really wanted to spend the evening hanging out and having fun with their family, so after a quick 10 minutes of photos, it was time to sit down and (actually) eat dinner! They enjoyed a most amazing family-style meal catered by Meatings (surf and turf, what’s up). The “Welcome to our Engagement Party” sign was changed out for a “Surprise! Welcome to our Wedding Reception” sign for the guests that were arriving for the evening party. Oh! And Sarah’s honorary bridesmaids were given flower crowns, and Nelson’s unknowing groomsmen boutonnieres. You guys. This was just too much. I thought my heart would explode lol.
More surprised reactions, hugs, tears, and lots of dancing as the rest of their friends and extended families arrived for the party. It was a night to remember! These two high school sweethearts stole my heart. I remember bouncing around and photographing everyone’s reaction and all of the hugs and the tears afterwards, and thinking to myself “if this is the last wedding I ever photograph, I will be okay with it.” It honestly felt like a dream. I don’t know how it gets any better than this.
Nothing short of a dream, honestly. Thank you Sarah & Nelson for allowing me to capture these once-in-a-lifetime moments for you. xo