Surprise wedding – Kim & Matt, St Kilda VIC
Surprise wedding – Kim & Matt, St Kilda VIC
Surprise wedding – Kim & Matt, St Kilda VIC
Surprise wedding – Kim & Matt, St Kilda VIC

Surprise wedding – Kim & Matt, St Kilda VIC

Kim and Matt wanted to keep things simple, and found the sweet spot between a big, traditional celebration and eloping at the registry office – they surprised their guests with an engagement-turned-wedding!

We love a cheeky surprise wedding, it creates a buzz among the crowd and the art of pulling it off is always intriguing.

Kim and Matt did it perfectly, and had the support of their wonderful photographer, Nikki McCrone every step of the way.

We asked them to dish the dirt on how it all came to be, and to share some words of wisdom for those of you who might look to do something similar.

The meeting.

We first met at a house party when I (Kim) was 17 and Matt was 18 and we dated briefly. We re-connected (10 years later) at a mutual friend’s birthday drinks in 2015 and here we are!

What was the motivation behind having a surprise wedding?

We love travelling and for the cost of your average wedding day, we could travel overseas for a few months.
We didn’t like the idea of eloping, having a big traditional wedding or going to the registers office so we thought we’d get creative and have fun with it and surprise everyone at our ‘engagement drinks’.

Was it cheaper to have a surprise wedding and are you happy to share with us your budget?

Yes, much cheaper as it was technically an ‘engagement party’. Having it at the St Kilda Botanical Gardens meant we saved on venue hire and having less than 50 people meant we didn’t need a permit. We didn’t have a budget in mind but we spent $6,000 in total, which even included the cost of our Airbnb apartment for 3 nights.

How did you plan the surprise wedding and how did you keep it a surprise?

We planned it all ourselves and on the day we set it up ourselves which was slightly stressful but everything ran smoothly because we were so organised. The only people who knew was our friend (who was also our celebrant) and her husband and Nikki our photographer.

It was easy keeping it a surprise, we just told people we getting married at the registers office in May with our family only. Although, we’re both bad liars so our friends were probably suspicious! Haha

What were everyone’s reactions like and how did it feel?

It was incredible! Our guest’s reactions were a mix of shock, tears and belly laughs. Our parents had absolutely no idea and any friends who suspected it was going to be a surprise wedding were still in shock. Nikki (our photographer) captured the emotions and the moment perfectly.

Favourite moments.

The ceremony. Our celebrant asked us to answer her questionnaire separately and once she created the ceremony we had the option to listen to it prior to our special day or have it as a surprise. We both chose to wait until the ceremony to hear it – which is weird because we both (believe it or not) hate surprises! Safe to say we have never laughed and cried so much in one afternoon.
Also having Harry (our dog) apart of the day too!

Meaning of marriage.

Kim: Being a great team, a best friend, a lover and always sharing meals when we eat out.

Matt: Calling my best friend, my wife!

Words of wisdom.

Do it! On a day that is already so special, seeing everyone’s reactions and emotions when they realised it was a wedding was priceless. It was honestly the best day of our lives. Even if a surprise wedding isn’t your style, we highly recommend an intimate low key wedding.

You don’t need to break the bank to have an amazing and memorable wedding day. By having a surprise wedding we didn’t have the added pressure and expectations from our parents and friends. The day was exactly how we wanted it, surrounded by our parents and closest friends with good food and wine.

Surprise weddings are a bunch of fun but do take some precision and planning – read our guide to pulling it all off and sweeping your guests off their feet, by clicking here.


Ceremony: St Kilda Botanical Gardens

Reception: No ‘reception’. We walked down to The Village Belle to continue the party.

Photography: Nikki McCrone – Nikki was fantastic from start to finish. She was so excited about our surprise wedding concept and including our dog Harry and was such a great help providing heaps of advice and suggestions throughout the planning process (even helped with where to get the groom’s shoes!) For two camera shy people, Nikki made us feel super comfortable in front of the camera and has a great eye for scouting some awesome photo locations. Nikki was very stealth and we barely noticed her throughout the day, she captured very natural, candid photos of us and our guests and this is exactly what we wanted. We hired her as our photographer but by the end of the day she left as our friend.

Florist: Flowers in Hand, St Kilda – I wanted to support a local business, I popped in the day before and ordered a bunch of flowers, they were ready for collection the next morning and the florist did a great job. Only cost $50 for the bouquet which I used for pre-party photos and doubled as a centre piece on our drinks table.

Hair: The Blow

Make-up: Mecca – Albert Park

The Dress: Glassons (Yep, my wedding dress was $24!!!) I wanted to splurge on my dress but I found this one on sale online and thought I’d buy it as a backup, but when I tried it on I thought it fitted well and looked nice… and I love that I can wear my wedding dress again.

Shoes: Seed

Rings: JMS Diamonds – Matt decided the day after he wanted a wedding band – face palm!

Groom’s outfit: Uniqlo (Shirt), Calibre (Shorts) and Staple Superior (Shoes)

Catering: Plentiful Catering

Bar: Lets Unwine (Wine) and Dan Murphy’s (Beer)

Cake: We had a platter of cannoli from Cannoleria (South Melb Market) These were DELICIOUS! We love cannoli as they remind us of our travels through Sicily together.

Entertainment: Megaboom 3 speaker and a playlist on Matt’s phone

Décor: We borrowed items from friends, used things we already owned and bought things that we could re-use to have minimal waste.

Honeymoon: Meant to be going to France in June 2020 which has been cancelled due to COVID19.

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