Plenty of couples still take this adage into consideration, it may be the only tradition they’ll adopt from their grandparents’ day. As weddings evolve and expectations shift, more and more couples are planning experiences unique and meaningful to them. Throughout the entire process – from the proposal to the honeymoon – they’re tearing up the rule book and redefining what it means to tie the knot.
In many cases, your friends have travelled from all over the country – or the world – only to spend five minutes with you at the reception before you jet off on honeymoon. What better solution to this age-old problem than to take your best mates along for the ride? A buddymoon could be just the ticket!
Emma and her husband Yoni had a destination wedding in Israel and, since their nearest and dearest had travelled halfway around the world to be there, took the opportunity to enjoy a short holiday with their loved ones.
'About 80-90 friends came across from Australia and other places around the world,’ Emma explains. ‘Everyone was in Israel for around a week and then a group of six or so decided to sail along the Turquoise Coast. Yoni and I decided it was too good an opportunity to miss and jumped on board for a pre-honeymoon “buddymoon”.’ And she says the best part was spending quality time with close friends and family whom they would otherwise have barely spoken to.
‘I think it was nice to relax and hang out with everyone with no real agenda – all we did was eat, swim, drink and sleep,’ says Emma. ‘We were blown away by how many people travelled to Israel for the wedding [but we] didn’t get a huge amount of time to spend with everyone. The “buddymoon” was the perfect way to debrief.’
Would she make the same decision if she had her time over? ‘It was the best thing we ever did! We also ended up with two and a half weeks on our own, so it was a win-win. I would do it over and over and over again. It really exceeded expectation. I feel really lucky to have the friends I have!’
If you do take the buddymoon route, it’s important to choose the attendees wisely. Don’t ask someone to come if there is a chance they’ll create drama, as you don’t want to spend your honeymoon putting out fires and defusing tension.
Try and have alone time with your husband, before or afterwards; a bit of both is great.
Make sure your buddymoon is with people that you both love. It isn’t going to be fun if they are only true friends with one of you!
The Pop-Up Wedding
After the thrill of the proposal, most brides can’t wait to start planning their big day. But if you’re feeling pressure from interfering family members, or are struggling to make a small budget stretch to a fairytale wedding, the process can quickly become more stressful than exciting. If this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to ditch tradition in favour of a surprise ceremony.
Jessica and her husband Scott did just that: on the pretence of hosting a birthday get-together, they invited their closest friends and family to a party in a local venue, asking everyone to dress up for the special occasion. ‘We were the last of all of our friends to get married, so we’d been to dozens of weddings in the past couple of years,’ Jess explains. ‘They were all amazing, but it starts to get a bit the same and I felt, by the time we did it, we would think, “another wedding, sigh.” I’d heard about someone else doing it and thought it sounded like a blast, so that’s where the idea came from.’
Even better, Jess and Scott weren’t ‘officially’ engaged before the party, giving them the chance to spring a double surprise when Scott got down on one knee in front of their guests. ‘First we said we were doing speeches and Scott proposed,’ says Jess. ‘A few people said they figured something was up and knew that was going to happen... But everyone was pretty blown away when we then got up to finally do the speeches and told them that after waiting the longest possible time to get engaged – we’d been together over 10 years – we were going to have the world’s shortest engagement and get married in 15 minutes.’
‘I remember there was a moment of silence while everyone stared at us, and then we told them to hang tight while we put on a wedding dress and suit.’
As they’d decided to include a small bridal party in their plans, there were a handful of people in attendance who were in on the secret. ‘We told our parents – we didn’t think it was fair to surprise them in that way – we were worried they’d find it all a bit much,’ Jess explains. ‘We also told a few friends – our best man and bridesmaid, and a few other people who helped out with setting up and getting people there. I think in the end, around 15-20 of the 80-or-so people [in attendance] knew.’
There is an element of risk involved with any surprise party – namely that the people you love and care for will miss the event – and the same applies to a pop-up wedding. Happily, Jess and Scott were relieved to find there was little in the way of negative fallout after their surprise nuptials. Thanks to some clever strategising, everyone they’d invited was able to make it.
‘We invited everyone to Scott’s 40th birthday party. He doesn’t celebrate himself a lot, so I knew people would make the effort for him,’ Jess explains. ‘Plus, we said because it was his 40th and we were finally ‘grown ups’ we would put on all the food and drink – instead of the usual “come to the pub and pay for yourself” birthday celebrations – and that because we were putting it all on, and doing it at a venue, everyone should get dressed up.’
Given the chance, Jess says she would do it all again. ‘Best way to get married, absolutely – hands down. I got to have an amazing celebration with all my best friends and family that I will never forget.
I think all up it cost around seven thousand dollars so in the grand scheme of weddings, pretty cheap, and yet I don’t think we missed out on anything doing it that way.’
Anna Musson, etiquette expert and author of Etiquette Secrets, is all for pop-up weddings – with a couple of caveats. ‘Weddings are full of emotion and it’s important to carefully consider the feelings of parents involved to avoid, for example, your mother feeling left out.’ Regardless, if you’re gun-shy about having a big, extravagant wedding, Anna says a surprise event is preferable to an elopement.
‘A pop-up wedding is better etiquette than eloping because your friends and family still have the option of attending and being there for the ceremony and celebrations,’ she explains. ‘It’s important to note here that weddings are about two families coming together, not just two people, so planning the wedding is often part of this process.’
Plan the wedding around a significant event that you are sure people will attend, such as a major birthday or engagement party. Not only will this increase attendance but it will also explain why your family is there... and make it easier to hide your celebrant, who can be passed off as a family friend or neighbour.
Try to arrange the surprise for as early in the evening as possible, or even during the day, so you can maximise your celebration time.
Have a wedding dress and suit to change into. It adds to the theatre — you only get married once, so go for it!
Imagine celebrating at your reception, the centre of attention, with your new husband by your side. Then picture this: in the middle of the dance floor, in front of your friends and family, a marriage proposal takes place and all eyes turn to the newly-betrothed love birds. A recent viral video (see it at bridetobe.com.au) showed a couple in the USA looking on as this very event took place. Though it reads like a wedding worst-nightmare, the husband and wife in question were, thankfully, part of the plan. When the bride was eventually tracked down for her side of the story, she revealed they’d been in on the secret the entire time – and even helped orchestrate the proposal. What’s even more surprising? This spotlight-stealing proposal wasn’t a one-off.
Natalie was stunned when her boyfriend Nathan popped the question during the celebrations for his brother’s wedding. ‘Nathan and I were in the wedding party. We had just bought a house together and we knew we’d one day get engaged. I just didn’t know it would be this night,’ Natalie explains.
‘We had a great time at the wedding. Everything went as normal. Ceremony, photos and then the reception. After the wedding, a large group of us continued on at my now in-law’s place. They lived on the back of a golf course and Nathan asked me to take a walk with him on the 8th hole. We sat down on the green. Things got a little hot and steamy and then he looked at me and asked me to be his wife!’ Unfortunately, in this case the spontaneous proposal didn’t go down well with the bride and groom.
‘They did not congratulate us at all,’ Natalie admits. ‘Nathan made sure it was after midnight so technically it wasn’t their wedding day… however, looking back, I don’t think it should have been done and I don’t recommend it.’
Anna agrees. ‘Never propose at another person’s wedding,’ is her unequivocal reaction. ‘This is the ultimate faux pas and a shameful display of one-upmanship that will take attention away from the couple who are actually married that day.’
Reception Proposal Tips:
If your partner does propose at a wedding, then by all means celebrate, just do it in a subtle manner. It’s not your day — yet.
Ensure your new fiancé knows how much it could hurt the newlyweds if you steal their thunder.
"It’s important to note here that weddings are about two families coming together, not just two people, so planning the wedding is often part of this process."
Who really needs an excuse for an extra holiday?! Book it up, get your buddys on the buddymoon wagon and treat yourself! It might just be the perfect lead into the big day!