Lindsay & John disguised their surprise Wizard of Oz wedding as a birthday party

Updated Oct 3 2016
 
Photos by: Lauryn Conti
Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride
Photos by Lauryn Conti, friend of the couple

The Offbeat Bride: Lindsay, Lawyer

Her offbeat partner: John, Electrical Engineer

Date and location of wedding: Awesomely rustic little carriage house in Deep River, CT — May 16, 2015

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

Our Wizard of Oz-themed wedding was a total surprise to our friends and families, who thought they were there for my 30th birthday celebration.

Our "ceremony" was a comedy show. In lieu of vows, we signed a hilarious joint resolution that I drafted. One particularly funny moment: a yellow brick road fight broke out during group photos.

We catered the party with one of our favorite taco trucks, Taco Loco. One of the staff members was particularly amazing and ended up doing The Worm out on the dance floor later.

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Tell us about the ceremony:

I am a former musical theater performer, and John does stage tech work in his spare time, so we decided to put on a show! We called it "[Working Title]," and it was billed as a comedy act with a "special guest performer." John gave me a great introduction as my Hype Man, and after warming up the crowd with some jokes for about three minutes, I announced that I had some surprises in store for everyone. The first surprise would be revealing the actual title of the show. My lovely assistant (a.k.a., John) opened up a large sign which bore the words "Our Wedding."

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

We went into the audience to see our parents, who were completely shocked and completely thrilled (phew!), then returned to the stage to actually get married.

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Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

The second surprise was introducing our officiant, Matt, who had been mingling with our other guests while wearing a ruby slipper costume that exposed his robust array of tattoos. He took it from there and did an awesome job of keeping the ceremony lighthearted and fun. Instead of writing vows, I drafted a hilarious Joint Resolution that we both signed. We exchanged rings, kissed, and got back to the party.

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Tell us about your reception:

The tables had small sections of yellow brick road on them (we spray-painted foam florist bricks) and all of the fake poppies that I could find at a craft store. Our friends first built a robot out of some of the bricks, then some of them heckled and pelted us with them as we took group photos.

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Our brothers gave impromptu toasts, which were funny, heartfelt, and totally unexpected.

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

What was your most important lesson learned?

I have absolutely zero regrets about how we did this, and it totally worked for us and our wonderful, eclectic families. The only challenge we had was that the microphone cable shorted out during our tech rehearsal so I just had to project into the room a bit more than usual.

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Surprise Wizard of Oz wedding from @offbeatbride

Vendors

    • Lol, well, it was still an unexpected hiccup! But as they say, the show must go on, and on it went– live and unplugged!

  1. I LOVE surprise weddings!! The pictures of your parents made me tear up. How wonderful. Congratulations!

    • Thank you! Even with the big sign that said "Our Wedding", it still took people a little while to figure out that we were getting hitched right then and there. That photo of my dad is of the *instant* when he figured out it wasn't just another joke, or an engagement party. I will never forget that moment!

  2. I haven't even read the article yet – I just HAD to say:

    SWEET JESUS THAT DRESS. It's utterly amazing! You look so beautiful! 😀

  3. We are planning just that-a surise wedding disguised as a joint 30th. I would love to hear any tips, what worked?? I'm very nervous about the "reveal". How did you get people to turn up on time?! I also love the idea of both signing an agreement instead of vows! Well done!!!

    • Hi! A few things helped in terms of getting people there, and on time:

      1) Threats. The advantage of passing it off as a comedy show was that the performance could legitimately have a set start time. About a week beforehand, I sent out Facebook blasts to the event page letting everyone know that if they were late, they might be subjected to forced audience participation. 90% of people showed up at the appointed time, which is pretty close to the percentage of people who show up on time to most traditional weddings I've been to!

      2) Lies. In my case, my dad was coming straight from playing a performance and I knew from the beginning that he would be arriving later than the stated start time. I told everyone else that the show was starting at 5:00, and he knew he had to get there ASAP because we were holding "Curtain" until he got there. It built in a cushion, and a few stragglers did arrive in that intervening time.

      3) Flexibility. The easiest way to make sure that people show up on time is to have the kind of event where the exact time of the reveal doesn't really matter. Find an officiant who doesn't mind hanging around for a while, maybe go with a catering option that doesn't involve a set meal time (in our case, for example, we just provided lots of snacks, and the taco truck did unlimited food for 3 hours).

      Good luck! You can do it!

  4. My mom would KILL me if I did that (because far fewer family members would come to my birthday than my wedding, and for her, my wedding is an excuse for a family reunion). But it looks like it went off without a hitch! And by the faces of the bride and groom, they had an absolute blast. I love it! This is exactly what my fiancé and I are looking to do- host a fun party that makes people (and ourselves) laugh and enjoy the party. Well done, guys!

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