What’s Your Wedding Day Surprise Policy?
Surprises Can Truly Enhance and Personalize Your Wedding
Before we get into what a wedding day surprise policy is, let’s talk about surprises. While each wedding is unique, many tend to be full of meticulously planned details, specifically timed events and rehearsed actions. Whether you’re more of the detail-heavy-type couple or self-described minimalists, a wedding-day surprise can be a fun and creative way to tastefully add spontaneity to an otherwise structured day. We’ve seen lots of fun ideas, from secretly engraving the wedding ring to a planning surprise firework show during the send-off. We even DJed a wedding where the bride secretly snuck in the groom’s very impressive ugly Christmas sweater collection from out of state. It wasn’t a random surprise, but rather a very personal tribute to the groom, because the bride and groom had actually met at an ugly sweater Christmas party years ago. How freaking cool, right?
For some other fun ideas for wedding-day surprises, you can check out these articles:
In fact, there are endless articles online about fun ways to surprise your partner on her/his wedding day, but here’s the tricky question no article has set out to answer until now: What if it’s a surprise you don’t actually want? 😲
What If You Don’t Like Surprises Or Only Like Some Surprises?
This is an absolutely legitimate question, because sometimes, like the examples above, it’s the couple surprising each other, which is totally fine. But what if a guest wants to surprise the bride? The father of the groom wants to surprise the groom? A college roommate wants to give a secret toast? Furthermore, what if the bride or groom feels very anxious about surprises — especially wedding-day surprises? Their partner would know better, but who else at their wedding would know better? As wedding DJs, we’ve delicately, but firmly, shot down requests from wedding guests to kidnap the groom (with our help), to request a song they knew the bride absolutely hated (because “wouldn’t it be funny?!,” they said) and more. We even heard a crazy story from a couple who hired us to DJ their wedding. They told us about a wedding they attended where a groomsman actually convinced the DJ to lead a surprise coordinated toilet-papering of the bride and groom during their first dance. For some crazy reason, the DJ went along with the ill-thought idea to the utter horror of the bride and groom. Surprise! 😩
Another Real-Life Example
These difficult questions came to a front for us once when a mother of the bride asked us to do something as a surprise for the bride and it just so happened to be something that the bride had told us in her meeting with us that she absolutely did not want. Furthermore, she clarified, she didn’t like surprises, especially those that put her in the spotlight. The mother of the bride’s plan was to do something embarrassing to her daughter in the spotlight, but she insisted that “she’ll love it.” And here’s where things get even more tricky: By the very nature of the fact that this was a surprise, we weren’t allowed to clear it with the bride. This felt like a lose-lose situation to us, because either way, someone might be upset. Fortunately, we were able to work it out with the mother of the bride and she was very understanding once we told her what her daughter had shared with us about surprises on her wedding day. But it led us to think: Is there a way to solve these awkward situations in the future? And fortunately, the answer is a firm “yes.” Our solution? Something we’re dubbing the Wedding Day Surprise Policy. As of today, we’re rolling this out to all of our clients! But first, a paradox.
The Wedding Day Surprise Paradox
Here’s the thing: Surprises aren’t fun anymore if they aren’t surprises. Even if you don’t know exactly what the surprise will be, it’s not as much of a surprise if you’re anticipating it. So a good solution wouldn’t be to ask the couple if they’re okay with a surprise when the potential surprised is pitched by a friend or family member. It’s equally not okay to assume that the couple will be okay with the surprise.
The key to both getting permission and keeping a surprise a surprise is to have a specific pre-defined wedding day surprise policy in place before the wedding or any pitches even come our way. Just because you created a surprise policy and given it to your DJ/MC, that doesn’t mean there’s necessarily a surprise coming, so you’re not anticipating a surprise. And yet, you’re still putting limits on it. That’s the secret!
What’s Your Wedding Day Surprise Policy?
To be effective, the wedding day surprise policy should be specific and non-negotiable with third-parties (including us, your wedding DJs!). It should clearly define who is and isn’t allowed to surprise you on your wedding day, including the following:
- Your partner/spouse
- Your parents (it’s okay if you allow some and not others)
- Your wedding party (again, it’s okay to allow some and not others)
- An immediate family member
- A wedding vendor(s)
- Anyone else by specific name
- Any invited guest or person in attendance
Then you should define which of the following best fits your policy:
- My policy is 100% firm and non-negotiable.
- My policy is important, but my DJ and/or planner may consult with the following to get approval for an exception (e.g. maid of honor, best man, mother of the bride, etc.) and I’m cool with their decision.
- My policy is important, but I also give my DJ and/or planner authority to use their best judgement to shut down or allow any given surprise and I’m cool with their decision.
- Honestly, anything goes!
How would you describe your reaction to surprises?
- I totally love them and always welcome them!
- It depends on the surprise. Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.
- I get super anxious about surprises, especially those that put me in the spotlight.
We strongly recommend giving your surprise policy to at a bare minimum your DJ and your wedding planner, but you may see fit to go ahead and give it to the wedding party, parents, etc. as you see fit.
Obviously, just because we have a surprise policy in place doesn’t mean your DJ and/or wedding planner have the full power to prevent any and all surprises. But because your DJ is also your MC, it will help stop any coordinated efforts that involve the DJ getting everyone’s attention. And those are sometimes the ones you should be most worried about. Good luck, and hopefully this is one item you can rest easier by knowing that everyone is one the page.