Surprise Wedding in New Jersey by Jaye Kogut Photography
Surprise Wedding in New Jersey
The winter has been a time to play “catch up” and let me tell you I’m still not even caught up! Today’s wedding is brought to you by Bo and Dana — the ultimate surprisers! Dana and Bo decided to throw a ‘surprise’ birthday party for Bo (hint: he knew all along)… Little did the guests know…the birthday surprise was really a twisted surprise on them! Bo and Dana managed to pull it off and surprised their guests by getting married, right in their beautiful backyard!
A lot of thought and planning went into the event and I was so happy when the guests were totally surprised. Check out some highlights below!
Wedding Gown Designer: Adrianna Papell // Shoe Designer: Betsy Johnson// Floral Designer: Jardiniere Fine Flowers // Hair and Make Up Artist: Amy Jones Baskin Beauty on Location // Men’s Attire Designer and website Black by Vera Wang // Cake Designer: Cocoluxe // Entertainment: Primetime Events (PTE)// Caterer: QCrew Catering
How did you two meet and fall in love?
Bo works for a builder in town and we originally met in 2005 while I was building my house. After the house was finished, we lost touch for a while and re-acquainted after running into each other while dining with friends at a local restaurant. When he asked me out to dinner we went out on what may go down in history as the worst first date ever. I wanted to meet him at the restaurant (read control freak) but the weather was torrential rain with localized flooding, down trees, etc. and he said that we could either 1. reschedule the date; or 2. I have to let him pick me up because he didn’t want me driving in such terrible conditions. So, of course, I let him pick me up because he was so sweet. So he picks me up we had already agreed to go to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on Route 10 in Whippany. After practically swimming to get there, the entire restaurant and hotel had lost power, so we had to drive up and down Route 10 looking for another restaurant that was open. We found one and had a nice meal and on the way home, we hit so many detours that I wasn’t sure he could even get back to my house! Then we are driving down a side road and a tree falls right across the road in front of us and takes out a transformer. Boy, by then we were thinking maybe we weren’t supposed to go out but it went so great we had to go out again. And the rest, shall we say, is history.
What was most important to you when planning your wedding?
We had been engaged for almost 2 years and at our age (I’m 48 and Bo is 49) we just couldn’t decided how to get married, where, who to invite, etc. Every time we talked about it or suggested something we both were like, nah. It wasn’t until a day in August when we started talking about the possibility of planning a surprise wedding that we really started getting excited. And I love the number 11-11 and once I saw that it was a Saturday I said that’s it. That’s the date. Initially, it was just Bo and I and my son and daughter that were involved in the planning and it was so fun for the four of us!! I’ve helped some friends pull off some surprise parties in the past and the main thing is that you can’t let the cat out of the bag under any circumstances or the whole plan in blown. The kids did a great job keeping the secret! Aside from keeping the secret, we wanted our family and friends to be there – just as they are – comfortable, with none of the usual wedding pressure like what to wear, gifts to get, etc.
What was the inspiration behind your wedding theme or colors?
In the last 3 months I’ve become a Pinterest junkie. I love the look of rustic elegance and that was my overall theme. Thick mahogany farm tables, tables with wine barrels for bases, and a pallet wall that we built were the major decor items. I knew that I didn’t want the typical fall color scheme – yellow, orange, burgandy – but rather was inspired by a single photo with succulents, white and lavenders, mauves and grays. And candles. I knew I wanted a LOT of candles. I just love the ambiance they give with their soft romantic light.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding?
Because people thought they were coming to a surprise 50th party, I loved seeing their suspicions that it was a wedding (because the tent was pretty decked out), but then at every turn, the were forced to say “nope, I guess it’s just a birthday party.” Although I wasn’t in the tent when Bo thanked everyone for coming and then revealed that it was our wedding (including the mic drop), I think people in the next town could hear the roar from the tent! We really got ‘em!! Then when I walked in escorted by both of my children so many of our guests were just overcome with emotion the tears just started flowing.
Another great moment was when my ex-husband gave the toast. Even after we divorced, we remained close friends for the benefit of our children. When Bo and I got engaged he said right away that he wanted to give the toast at our wedding. It was very special because we are always together for holidays, college move-in’s, and all life events, and this was no different.
How will you describe the feeling you had on your wedding day to your children one day?
Since my twins from my previous marriage are 18, they know exactly how I felt at this wedding. Sheer joy! Joy to be marrying my best friend and joy to watch family and friends having THE BEST TIME.
What piece of advice would you give to future couples planning their big day?
Part of the reason we liked the idea of a surprise wedding is that we didn’t want the typical fanfare that goes along with it. We didn’t want bachelor/bachelorette parties (we’re too old for that!) and as much as people don’t mean to (or do) they just can’t help but interject their thoughts, ideas, etc. Because no one knew, we got to do exactly what we wanted. Exactly. Now, obviously most people can’t do that, but I’d say stick to your guns and make sure that you do want you want. It’s your day after all. But don’t get bogged down in the itty-bitty details (we actually forgot our bouquets and boutonnieres in the house!) and don’t forget to have fun!!
What was one thing about your venue that made you know it was the one?
Because I really wanted the date 11/11 and it was already august, we didn’t even bother looking into venues because we knew they’d all be booked. The tent in the backyard forced me to do lots of investigating on vendors but I couldn’t be happier with each and every one of them.
Which 3 details from your wedding were your favorites?
The surprise reveal/mic drop, the overall look of the tent/decor and the actual wedding ceremony. I found the script online and personalized it a bit, but overall the words really spoke to me and it was very modern rather than overly religious or old fashioned. Oh and one of my good friends happens to be the mayor of Basking Ridge and I was honored that she officiated the ceremony for us!
Surprise Wedding in New Jersey by Jaye Kogut Photography