Today’s real wedding is a little bit different from the ones we normally feature.
Because, well, none of the guests knew they were at a wedding!
Crafty couple (in more ways than one!), Ben & Kelly planned their Brooklyn big day under the rouse of an engagement party.
Their big reveal, and the celebrations that followed, were photographed beautifully by Bri Johnson.
I’ve always loved the idea of a surprise wedding (though our friends are kind of prone to arriving late to parties, so we didn’t think it would work for us!), it’s such a great way to save on numbers and costs, and means your guests have none of the worry and expense of what to wear or where to stay.
Plus of course, it totally adds to the excitement of your wedding (sharing such a massive, happy secret is sooo fun!), and you won’t get tired of being asked questions or talking about your big day in the lead up.
Ben & Kelly pulled off their covert operation to perfection, with a charming and intimate setting at The Farm on Adderley, sweet DIY decor, and a vintage-inspired wedding dress that the bride made herself (um, wow!).
And despite the shock outfit changes and impromptu ceremony, the look on Ben & Kelly’s friends and family’s faces says it all…
This wedding is all kinds of awesome!
Wedding Day Snapshot
Our Love Story
We met by a mutual friend, Chris, Ben went to college with him, and Kelly had gone to high school with him.
Chris had a work party, and Kelly and Ben connected and have been together ever since.
Our wedding in three words? Surprise, cozy, and inclusive.
The wedding theme was loosely based on the idea of “Love is in the Air” We folded tons of printed paper airplanes to string around the backyard and scatter on top of the table.
The color palette was a mix of muted colors with a couple of brighter pops, but no set color ’scheme.’
The Decor & Details
Almost everything was a DIY project! The venue was beautiful to begin with- the back yard has all of this lush green covering the walls, and there are flower boxes and plants everywhere.
I had found this photo of these heart decorations that were woven out of branches and couldn’t find them anywhere online.
So I called around to a florist to get a huge bunch of willow and made my own – it took just about an entire weekend and was my new found motivation to stay off of Pinterest!
Our mothers, Ben, and I folded all the paper airplanes and we strung them on copper wire, and I had scrap fabric from work that I turned into pillows for the banquets.
For favors, we bought a wildflower seed mix and created seed packets.
Our venue, The Farm on Adderley is a cozy Brooklyn backyard with delicious farm-to-table fare.
The staff was very accommodating, even excited to share in the excitement of our big reveal!
Our Favourite Moments
From all the feedback we’ve received, the idea of it being a ‘surprise’ was apparently “so us.” It certainly makes for a great story.
Our favorite part and the biggest perk of keeping it so small was that we were within 20 feet of our guests and made several rounds talking to everyone throughout the night.
The bride made her own dress based off a vintage dress. She designed the embroidery and beading, and drafted the pattern.
The bodice was in a six ply silk crepe, and the skirt layered with satin faced silk chiffon, organza, and stretch silk charmeuse lining.
The groom wore a gray linen blend suit from Suit Supply, bridesmaid wore a floral cocktail dress from ASOS.
We really wanted to have both of our brother’s perform the ceremony- but logistically that was going to be difficult.
For starters, neither of them knew we were going to get married that day until hours before!
So Ben and I wrote up the ceremony as well as a letter explaining our crazy ‘surprise’ idea, and handed it to them in an envelope.
Due to the surprise nature of this event and the limit on our location, we didn’t have much choice in the music, there was a light background music of the venue, and that was it!
Ben is a photographer, so this was really important to him, Bri is amazing, she made me feel so comfortable- and even caught my dad smiling! She managed to capture everything!
The flowers in my bouquet were peach peonies, pieris, dusty miller, lisianthus and ranunculus.
The centerpieces were mixed shade of pink peonies from our local greenmarket.
Advice for Other Couples
I didn’t look at a single bridal magazine, and I tried to avoid Pinterest for most things – we are a very hands on kind of couple, so mostly we just relied on our own tastes and what we thought looked good.
About $7,500, we definitely made sure that we absolutely loved everything that we were spending more money on – that made it much easier to justify the expenses.
The largest budget items was the food/drinks, photographer, and my wedding dress.
The signature cocktail was a HUGE hit. It was a cucumber lemonade with vodka.
The food was fantastic, there was a shared course of olives and focaccia, followed by spring pea fritters, a choice between crostini and fried green tomatoes for an appetizer, and the main course was Corvina, a rib eye steak, or their delicious farm burger.
They were super accommodating for our vegetarian/celiac friends, which made it less stressful. The cake had to travel from the bride’s hometown- so we were lucky it made it there in mostly one piece.
We had a choice between a toffee candy crunch cake and a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream.
We haven’t been on honeymoon yet!
That will come after the second reception (for our extended family and friends) in Rhode Island in November. We’ll be spending a couple of weeks in Hawaii on the islands of Oahu and Maui.
So cool! Ben & Kelly relaxed with their guests on their wedding day, then joined their photographer Bri in their wedding outfits for a photo session in Prospect Park the next day – such a great idea, don’t you think?
So tell us, would you consider a surprise wedding?
Thanks so much to Bri Johnson, and of course, our wily newlyweds Ben & Kelly for sharing their Brooklyn big day.
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