A Marvelous Moxie Marriage: The Element of Surprise!

Hey y’all, Sorry for my brief blog hiatus. I have been busy growing my wedding planning biz, Moxie Bright Events! More on that to come. I’ll be back around these parts now, because I’ve missed you guys! And I have so much to talk about! Let’s get right to it.


One of the easiest ways to make your wedding an event to remember is to plan to embrace the element of surprise!

I know some people are not cool with surprises, and I myself on this very blog have said, “Your wedding should not be a surprise party for your groom!”

I take it all back. Well, part of it. A big GROUP wedding surprise? I’m all for it!

The element of surprise is especially effective at weddings, because, well, we all sort of know what to expect, right? Especially at the reception. Bride and Groom are announced, they dance, they sit, we eat, people give toasts, we dance, they cut the cake, and the night is over.

I am telling you it doesn’t have to be that way! Don’t get me wrong, you probably still have to hit all the benchmarks of a reception, but you can do them in an unusual way.

Let’s talk about the two ways in which we surprised our guests.


You see, back in the day when planning our wedding was brand-new, Bob the Builder expressed his desire to shoot air cannons at the conclusion of our ceremony. Yes, you read that correctly. Bob the Builder works in reality TV, and for many years worked on the show where they played practical jokes on celebrities. You know, the one that was hosted by Mila Kunis’ baby daddy? So, not only does he know how to construct and pull off a practical joke, he’s kind of famous in certain circles for it. People expect it from him.

I shot down the idea of air cannons pretty quickly, after all, I didn’t think our historic venue would allow such a thing. Turns out, I was (kind of) wrong. Our venue, Cescaphe at The Down Town Club, did offer something “air-cannon-like” – a petal cannon. As soon as I found out about it, I booked it. And I never said a word about it to anyone. Well, I told my wedding planner. But other than Erin? Not one word.

Bob the Builder had NO IDEA there were going to be rose petals falling all around his head after we were announced into the reception. You can kind of see it on the video below, but here’s some more photographic evidence.

Photo by Redfield Photography

Photo by Redfield Photography

And, a moment later. You can clearly see me pointing at Bob the Builder. I’m saying, “I GOT YOU!”, because I indeed managed to pull off a surprise for him!


Guest photo. Also, probably the least flattering photo of me in the history of all photos. :-)


Really early on (before we were even engaged), Bob the Builder told me he wanted our first dance to be a choreographed tango, like Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman”. Here it is, for the unfamiliar:


However, the tango and a ball gown are not natural friends. In fact, you may even call them enemies. You cannot successfully tango in a ball gown. So, we came up with a solution. Our first dance would be choreographed – half traditional, half tango – and in the middle, a practical joke. Because we are performers, and natural hams, and we cannot help ourselves.

Our good friend Angela, (who just happens to be a Broadway dancer) choreographed our dance, and taught it to us in our living room. We did our best not to butcher it too much.

Here’s the whole shebang. I spared you the first few minutes of the video where our family and bridal party entered. You’re welcome.


In the middle of the dance, when the music cuts out, you can hear my Uncle John yell, “You’ve gotta be f&%*&n’ kidding me!”. I love my East Coast family. Always keeping it real!

In case you are wondering, the songs we used are “Grow Old With Me” By Jason Robert Brown, and “Por Una Cabeza” by Gardel.

If you’d like to add the element of surprise to your Big Day, I have some tips. (Of course, I do!)

Here’s how to do it:

1. Make sure it’s a FUN surprise, not a MEAN surprise. Bob the Builder and I talked about many different scenarios for his “final prank as a single man”, as it came to be called. One early idea was to (fake) his arrest by a Philly police officer right before the ceremony began. This idea was nixed once we realized how truly upset that would have made our guests.

2. If you are planning to surprise your partner, make sure it’s something they actually WANT, and not something that only you want. You’re in this thing together, peeps.

3. Don’t talk about it. That seems simple, but you and I both know that when you’re planning a wedding, pretty much all you want to talk about is your wedding. My mom asked me “What song are you using for your first dance?” I said, “It’s a surprise.” She seemed annoyed by that answer, so I followed up with, “You wouldn’t know the song anyway!” She had to wait to experience it with everyone else. It’s much better that way!

So, In summary: Be Nice, Be Generous, and Shut Your Mouth.


Anyone planning any wedding day surprises? Let me hear about ’em! No. Wait. Don’t tell me. Tell me afterwards.


3 Comments on A Marvelous Moxie Marriage: The Element of Surprise!

  1. Lindsay
    September 16, 2014 at 9:17 am (2 years ago)

    This is a great idea! I think a “surprise” at the wedding is something that all of the guests would remember!

  2. Claire | WeddingMix
    August 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm (2 years ago)

    Renee this is an AWESOME article!! I had no idea that you were the mastermind behind the petal canon!

    Totally sharing this on the WeddingMix Facebook later today, you rock!
    Claire | WeddingMix recently posted…Hello world!My Profile


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