By Tanita Matthews
THIS BRIDE was so tired of waiting to get married that she organised her wedding in SECRET – before surprising her fiancé with an IMPROMPTU CEREMONY at a New Year’s Day beach party.
Realtor, Nicole Arnett (40) from British Columbia, Canada, said ‘yes’ to business owner, Daniel (39), in 2014 after a low-key and intimate proposal at their home with Daniel’s grandmother’s wedding ring.
Since they agreed to tie the knot, Nicole and Daniel had trouble deciding exactly how they wanted to execute their big day.
After several unsuccessful attempts to secure the details, Nicole came up with an idea to surprise Daniel in December 2019.
Nicole’s plan was to disguise their ceremony as the typical New Year’s Day party she and Daniel hosted every year, which is closely followed by Nicole’s 40th birthday on January 2.
“We talked about so many different ideas and for one reason or another it never felt quite right when we got down to confirming it, or something happened and we pivoted away from the idea,” said Nicole.
“We realized we didn’t actually want a wedding, which is why we put it off; we just wanted to be married to each other which were two very different things in our mind.
“I was out for a run with a girlfriend and I said, ‘I think I’m going to surprise Daniel and get us married because it means a lot to us, and we just keep stalling on it and he knows I like to take the reins on things.’
“I thought it would be a nice surprise and really special, and my girlfriend, who knows him very well, completely agreed and thought it was a great idea.
“We always host a New Year’s Day party, we do the ‘polar bear swim’, It’s my favourite day of the year.
“We just wanted to keep it really simple and unique to us so that was how I came up with: one, the surprise and two, making it a part of our favourite day of the year anyway which felt very special and intimate.”
Thanks to the help from friends and family who would be attending the party, Nicole was able to arrange the ceremony within two weeks and for less $3,000 (£2,295) – all without giving anything away to the unsuspecting groom.
“I never for a second worried that Daniel wouldn’t love this or be up for it,” said Nicole.
“I booked our wedding commissioner, which was necessary, booked a caterer and told Daniel, ‘I don’t want to be the one cooking today. It’s my 40th birthday the next day so I’m just going to do this,’ and I just blamed anything out of the ordinary on that.
“I already had the dress from a friend’s wedding. We had our dear friend’s kids’ friends as the flower kids and our son was the surprise ring bearer and two wonderful pals sang to us and played the guitar before the ceremony.”
On New Year’s Day 2020, with 35 guests gathered on Bonnie Brook beach, Nicole finally revealed to Daniel that their party had a hidden motive behind it.
“I got up and said how happy I was that everyone was there and then I was mentioning that I had a long to-do list this year for resolutions and goals etc. and there was something that Daniel and I had been meaning to do for a long time but we’d never got around to which was get married,” said Nicole.
“He’d been filming me, and he just dropped his phone and he’s just staring at me with his mouth hanging open.
“After the ceremony, the entire party serenaded us with the Beatles ‘When I’m 64’ and then we jumped into the ocean.
“Daniel said it couldn’t have been more perfect or more us, which I agree with and he said he couldn’t have ever planned a better event or dreamt of anything more fun.
“I think the honeymoon will be a collaborative effort – we’ll plan it together this time.”