The Surprise wedding – that surprised the bride.

Toowoomba's beautiful Japanese Gardens.

Toowoomba’s beautiful Japanese Gardens.


I have a group of girlfriends and several of them are celebrating birthdays in the next couple of weeks.  We decided to have a picnic lunch at the Toowoomba’s beautiful Japanese gardens. A week before the lunch one of the friends, Melissa, announced her engagement. The rest of us conspired to throw her a surprise wedding at the lunch. You see we had teased the bride to be,  that when she got married we would all be her bridesmaids and we would dress in rainbow colours.

The Rainbow Bridesmaids

Rainbow Bridesmaids inspiration photo.

Rainbow Bridesmaids inspiration photo.

So the idea was planted and away we went. To say we had immense pleasure  planning the surprise wedding – that surprised the bride, is a gross understatement. Inspirational photos were sent back and forth and before we knew it the wedding had taken on a life of its own.

Finding The Dresses

Liz and I went to a local charity shop to find something fitting for a bridesmaid. (Liz already had an outfit she had for another dress up party). We headed to the formal section (yes they had a  formal and wedding section). We dove through the array of taffeta and satin and  came across a few creations. They were similar to what we had worn a decade or two or three ago. I picked up a few stunners and started trying them on.

We already had pink and lemon taken so I was trying on peach, blue or mauve. Alas they were either too big or too small. As we were debating which way I should go, Sarah arrived to see what was on offer for her. She had a pick through but didn’t find anything that took her fancy. She was going to Brisbane that day and  contacted a charity shop near where she was staying.  They had a lemon dress there that she could try.

Next thing we know Jane D arrived to select her outfit. After an hour of giggling and entertaining the lovely ladies who work there, we ended up with Jane in a Lilac number and I was in a blue size 20 (I’m a 12). But the colour was right and a piece of elastic around my hips would transform it into a fetching drop waist. We informed the ladies that they could expect to have everything donated back again in a weeks time. In the next couple of days Melissa T had chosen lemon and Jane B found a pink dress. This completed our rainbow.  Heads up we have two Melissas and two Janes in the wedding party. (Sorry it’s confusing)

The Big Day

The big day arrived and we were all beside ourselves with anticipation of pulling off the surprise wedding.  We were fairly confident that Melissa hadn’t found out about our cunning plan. We were going to meet 15 minutes earlier to set up the wedding breakfast and be in place before the bride got there. Well the best laid plans don’t always go to script.

You see, the day after the proposal, Melissa’s fiancé  had arranged a hot air balloon ride for her. It was a wonderful experience till the landing. The wind had gotten up and the pilot had to run into a tree to slow the balloon down. (Standard balloon practise apparently). It was a hard landing and Melissa landed hard as well. It wasn’t the end anyone expected. Melissa was taken off to hospital and ended up on crutches.

Jane D rang in a panic the night before the wedding.  Melissa had been back to the doctors and was told she couldn’t drive and asked if Jane could pick her up.  This of course would not normally be a problem but we were going to be dressed for a wedding.

Running Late

It was decided that Jane would come to my place to get dressed. We would hitch up her full length  satin gown and put a full, flowy dress on over the top and hope Melissa wouldn’t notice the unusual bulges. Disguising Jane’s bridesmaid dress made me late as I was meeting Liz to set up. I quickly gathered the bridesmaid bouquets and a bunch of flowers for the wedding table, my savories for lunch, my stupid headpiece (there was no way I was going to drive from one end of town to the other with that on my head), birthday presents, and other bits and pieces I needed for the wedding. I jumped in the car.

What’s that Bing Bing

As soon as I started the car I heard the dreaded ‘bing bing’. You guessed it, low petrol. ARGHHH. No matter what, there was no way I was going to a petrol station looking like I did.  I rang Liz who was already there and told her that if I ran out of petrol she would have to come and get me. So off I went. Running late (I am ever late). The car was binging at me as I took the first corner a little too fast. The flowers I had standing in bottles of water in a basket tipped over. Nooooo! I pulled over and mopped up enough that it didn’t soak into everything. I then continued on my mad dash to the wedding.

The Venue

The view from our wisteria covered pergola.

The view from our wisteria covered pergola.

Liz met me outside the gardens and when we entered snagged a prized position in a wisteria covered pergola. We set the table with fine china tea cups, Champagne and glasses. Melissa T and Sarah arrived,  but where was the other Jane? A quick phone call found she had been delayed, and had her arriving at the same time as Jane D and the bride.  EEEEEK!!!  A cryptic phone call to Jane D to take the long, slow way to the gardens, got our missing bridesmaid Jane B there in time.

The Wedding March

I had Marcha Nupcial (Wedding March) on my phone and plugged into a portable speaker ready to play with a push of a button the minute Melissa arrived. Right, we were all ready and excited. Then my phone rang. I answered but couldn’t hear anyone, I quickly unplugged the speaker and heard Jane D say Melissa was waiting at the garden entrance while she  parked the car.  They would be there in a couple of minutes. OK. I plugged my phone in and we waited. Then they were there. I pushed play and nothing happened. Bugger!!!! After panickingly plugging, unplugging, and pushing buttons, the bracing organ notes of the wedding march finally burst from the pergola.

Here Comes The Bride

Melissa arriving to her surprise wedding on crutches.

Melissa arriving to her surprise wedding on crutches.

A confused look spread across Melissa’s face as she hobbled on her crutches towards the music. Her face soon changed to delight when she saw us all standing in a row. The rainbow bridesmaids looking a  vision holding our baby’s breath bouquets tied in rainbow ribbons. Quick as a flash Jane whipped off her decoy dress I grabbed the bunched up satin and yanked it down to reveal the lilac bridesmaid. Voila!!! After giving Melissa a few minutes to take in our questionable bridesmaid dresses and matching headpieces, it was time to present her with her next surprise.

The Bridal Gown

I didn’t mention earlier, but when we were finding our wedding attire we also found Melissa her own wedding dress!. As she balanced on her crutches we formed a tent out of picnic blankets. She was stripped her of her picnic dress and placed in a frothy concoction.

The Surprised Bride. Photo Credit Jane Degnian.

The Surprised Bride. Photo Credit Jane Degnian.

We removed the barrier to reveal our beautiful bride. But we weren’t quite finished yet. We had also picked out a gorgeous wedding hat.  We finished it off with a big ribbon we could tie pussy cat style under her chin. The final touches was as artificial apricot bouquet and a good luck horse shoe.

The Rainbow Bridesmaids

The Surprise Wedding - that surprised the bride. Photo Credit. Jane Degnian.

The Surprise Wedding – that surprised the bride.
Photo Credit. Jane Degnian.

To say we looked ridiculous is an understatement, but it was so much fun. We had no idea how many people frequent gardens mid week. There was a constant stream of people looking, trying not to look and looking again at this weird all female wedding party. We even had some Asian visitors come up and get a photo with the bride. We don’t know if they thought we were serious or not. I hope not.

The Final Surprise

The Wedding Cake by Sarah. Photo Credit Jane Degnian.

The Wedding Cake by Sarah.
Photo Credit Jane Degnian.

We toasted our bride to be with a couple of special bottles of Champagne and enjoyed our picnic lunch. Melissa rang her Mum and coerced her to come out to have a coffee with her. I don’t think she expected to see her eldest daughter dressed as a Bo Peep bride  surrounded by confetti coloured bridesmaids. For our last surprise Sarah had made a beautiful wedding cake (yes a wedding cake!). She unveiled her masterpiece and we finished the lunch with this delectable desert.

It was such a fun day and so lovely to see how touched our friend was that we had planned her Surprise Wedding.






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