Aleisha and Judd are two of the most awesome people I know. They are so perfect for each other, and one big bundle of fun. I was so freaking excited when they asked me to photograph their wedding… But also quietly terrified.
You see, at the time Aleisha and Judd booked me as their photographer, only one other person knew about their upcoming wedding – their celebrant Paul.
The sneaky pair had already set the date, booked the venue, and locked in a celebrant, but hadn’t even told anyone that they were engaged! And I’m still in awe of the fact that Aleisha and Judd managed to keep their wedding a secret (with the exception of telling their best friends Sonya and Brad) right up until the surprise ceremony at their engagement party.
I felt very privileged to be “in” on this massive secret, but I was also in a state of constant fear of blowing their cover to one of our many mutual friends. Brisbane is way too small!
With some careful treading, we all managed to keep it under wraps. So on the day of the engagement party, I joined Aleisha, Judd, Sonya and Brad as they set up the venue. Aleisha and Judd were totally cool, calm and collected, with just a hint of anxiety as they ran through the logistics of the night over and over. Bleeding Heart in Brisbane was the perfect layout – a big deck and cafe where the ‘engagement party’ would be held, and a gallery at the back which would be kept under lock and key until the big ceremony reveal. Paul arrived a few hours before the rest of the guests, so he could hide away in the gallery!
And at last it was party time and the guests started to arrive. Aleisha, Judd and I exchanged a few nervous glances as we tried to read each other’s movements. When the parents and grandparents arrived, Judd and I gathered them together for a ‘photo’, leading them around the back of the venue to the gallery’s secret entrance. Meanwhile, Aleisha snuck away with Sonya to change into her wedding dress which had been stored in a secret room earlier that day.
When we reached the gallery, Judd nervously greeted everyone and asked them to gather round. Right on queue, Paul stepped out from his hiding place, and with one deep breath, Judd announced to his family and future in-laws that they were about to attend a wedding.
The family’s reaction could not have been more wonderful. Everyone was so excited and absolutely blown away.
With no time to spare, as Paul invited the quizzical guests into the gallery to announce the ceremony (and call the surprise bridal party up to the altar!), I whisked Aleisha’s dad away, and lead him upstairs to see his daughter in her wedding dress, before walking her down the aisle… And the rest is history!
After many months of planning and careful secret-keeping, Aleisha and Judd had pulled off the ultimate surprise wedding!
Some serious partying ensued.