courtney & joe | the engagement party turned surprise wedding!! | oxford exchange wedding

courntey and joe invited all of their family and friends to a lovely “engagement party” … and then shocked them all when, about an hour into the party, it became a surprise wedding!!

courtney’s brother proposed a toast to the happy couple and then let all the guests in on the big secret. he then ran up stairs to escort his sister, now in her gorgeous wedding dress, down to meet her groom on the stairs where they exchanged vows in front of their friends and family, all with their jaws still dropped open and eyes wide in surprise and joy.

courtney had asked her closest friends to wear gold dresses to the party so they could “stand out” and maybe all take a picture together … not knowing they’d actually be bridesmaids of sorts on this secret wedding day.

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… how it all came together …

ceremony | Oxford Exchange
cake artist | A La Carte Event Pavilion
florist | bloom florist
ceremony music | merrideth Coffman
reception music | Grant Hemond & Associates, Inc.
wedding dress boutique | CC’s Boutique

… insight from courtney …

what was your favorite moment, or favorite part, of your wedding day?
My favorite moment was walking down the stairs to Joe. I had waited eight months for that moment and it was everything I expected it to be.
is there anything you wish you had done differently when planning your wedding?
Looking back I would not have done anything different. We had the most amazing time and Oxford Exchange was absolutely wonderful. I would recommend them to anyone who is looking for a venue. Their staff was absolutely incredible to work with and there was not one detail left untouched.
which three vendors were most important to you when planning your wedding?
Of course your venue is going to be extremely important when planning your wedding. Additionally, the photographer was another important component as we decided not to have a videographer and relied heavily on the photographer for the memories that would last a lifetime. And lastly the entertainment was crucial to the flow of the evening.
what was your biggest wedding day savings? (and was it worth it?)
We were able to stay within budget on almost everything. Since we did not have a traditional wedding I did not need Marissa’s photography services for the whole day, leading up to the wedding and was able to pick an a la carte option which was cost effective. Additionally, my cake which was done by A La Carte Pavilion was amazing and was extremely cost effective.
what was your biggest wedding day splurge? (and was it worth it?)
The venue, which included the food and beverage portion of the night and of course the dress. Both of which I am so happy we splurged on. It was definitely worth it.
what was the best advice you received when planning your wedding? (and did you listen?)
My best advice is to not listen to anyone else except for you and your fiancé. This day is all about you and him and all the other details are minor compared to the two of you. Joe and I kept this top of mind as we did not have the traditional weddings our family wanted. In the end it was so worth it and our families loved every minute however getting them on board with a “surprise wedding” was not the easiest.
was there anything encountered during wedding planning that was unexpected?
Nothing. It was smooth sailing from the beginning.
when you look back on your wedding day in 50 years, what do you think you’ll remember most?
Walking down the stairs to Joe and saying our vow. It will forever be my favorite part of the entire day.