A Surprise Christmas Eve Wedding: Amanda + James

bride and groom

Today’s story is just the sweetest! James proposed to his girlfriend Amanda over the past Christmas break when he and Amanda were back in British Columbia visiting family. But here’s the kicker, they were married four days later — and Amanda had no idea she was getting married that day.

Here’s the scoop on the day from their lovely photographer, Jamie Delaine:

I got a call from Amanda’s mother the day before asking if I was up for the challenge of shooting a surprise wedding of one of my old friends. Umm, yep! Sure was. So, James + Amanda had talked in the past about eloping — so marriage quite quickly after engagement wasn’t something that intimidated them. James had this brilliant idea of getting married on Christmas eve afternoon, with only Amanda’s immediate family present — and keeping it a surprise from his bride the whole time. Amanda + James were told by Amanda’s mom that she had booked an engagement session with me on Christmas eve day for a gift. Amanda was thrilled & we talked on the phone on December 23rd to plan where to meet.

bride and groom

bride and groom

bride and groom

surprise wedding

I suggested Milner Chapel as a great meeting point; easy to find and a few spots around there I wanted to walk to. Amanda + James were thinking a formal-ish theme; Amanda had bought a great new dress and heels for the season and wanted to wear them. Perfect. We set up a time and the next day, I pulled into the parking lot. Amanda’s mom was with her to help carry things for the shoot, etc. Also, Amanda’s mom had told the couple that Amanda’s family would be coming for a few quick family photos [while everyone was dressed up] before their church Christmas eve service following the session. So when Amanda’s brother and sister-in-law and grandma arrived, she didn’t suspect anything. We spent a half hour taking photos, then we set up “family photos” on the church steps.

surprise christmas eve wedding

surprise christmas eve wedding

It was cold and windy outside, so the family went inside to warm up until i “needed” them for some more poses. Next thing, Amanda’s brother said he’d love one of just the two of them. James decides to go “check on the family” inside the chapel. Amanda and her brother and I are the only ones standing outside of the chapel. We take a few photos and I say, we should go join the family and bring ‘em back out. We three walk into the church, and James is standing at the end of the aisle, with an officiant standing right beside him. Amanda’s family is seated and her brother hands amanda a bouquet, and the music starts, and down the aisle they walk…

surprise christmas eve wedding

candelight ceremony

Amanda was blown away; immediately tearing up and when James met her at the end of the aisle he asked, will you marry me? Today? And she said, yes, of course i will. James had written out wedding vows for himself and then a copy for amanda [in case she was too flustered to speak!] — but the cutest part of the day, Amanda started reading the pre-written vows and stopped. James, I don’t need these, and she grabbed both his hands and winged it. Beautifully. Ah, it was such a fun day…

surprise christmas eve wedding

surprise christmas eve wedding

surprise christmas eve wedding

surprise christmas eve wedding

surprise christmas eve wedding

candelight ceremony

surprise christmas eve wedding

surprise christmas eve wedding

surprise christmas eve wedding

Thanks so much to Jamie Delaine Photography for sharing their sweet story with us today! The chapel is Milner Chapel in British Columbia, Canada and her lovely dress is by BCBG Max Azria. Congrats again to Amanda + James!! Such a perfect surprise wedding!!

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  1. more than amazing. love love this.

  2. i’ve always loved the idea of a surprise wedding and this one – surprising the bride – is sooo priceless and AMAZING.

  3. Incredibly sweet! What a stroke of luck that she wore the perfect dress.

  4. I don’t think I could be flexible enough to go-with-the-flow of a surprise wedding, but what a beautiful story!

  5. Everything about this is beautiful.

  6. Wow! This is so sweet and perfect. LOVE the spontaneity and joy. Just perfect.

  7. This is so beautiful. I cried…

  8. freakin’ love the red hair!!!

  9. oh GWS, you’re too good to me. thank you for this feature!

  10. I’d say about .05% of brides would handle such a “surprise.” But what an amazing story, and of course, great photos!

  11. Jamie, you can do no wrong!! My favorite thing about this wedding are the candles, and her red hair. ;) Love it!

  12. Wow, goosebumps! It’d be impossible here in Australia due to the paperwork both parties have to sign beforehand but this is just gorgeous. I love the thought and time James put into it all.

  13. What a b-e-a-utiful story {and image!} All you need is love ;)

  14. How very special this is! It will be a wonderful story to tell for years to come!!

  15. Oh, Miss Jamie Delaine, you photos are AMAZING as always, but even more amazing is the wonderful wedding story that goes along with them. I loved Amanda and James’ surprises wedding story, and everything about their day looks absolutely beauteous…from the surprise, to telling of how you, Amanda, and her brother walked in to the church, to the bride’s stunning dress, hair, and shoes, to the bride speaking her vows straight from the heart, to their smiles and joy…all so perfectly captured! Thank you for sharing such a special story. <3

  16. i’m not sure if i’d be excited or in total shock. probably both. what a great story. thanks for great story!

  17. OMG; absolutely stunning! the way the chapel is decorated, well it took my breath away! Wonderful. I love the bride’s dress, it is so simple and elegant! Thanks for sharing!

  18. This is such a BEAUTIFUL story. Wow. What a lovely couple. And the photographer did such a fantastic job creating gorgeous images AND keeping it a surprise! Amazing.

  19. wow, what a beautiful surprise! love everything about this, gorgeous pictures – and love her red hair!

  20. Now what girl wouldn’t love just a romantic way to get married? Men, please take note.

  21. This is quite possibly the most romantic thing I’ve ever read. I am in love.

  22. Such a beautiful surprise, everything turned out loveley, and it seems they did a great job maintaining the secret :)

  23. Wow, what a beautiful surprise! I am impressed everyone was able to keep the secret.

  24. what a beautifully romantic story!!

  25. everything about this is perfect! love her red hair too!

  26. Love the story! And I love the her hair! She’s so fierce!

  27. She is very sexy! Nice work bro :)

  28. This is one of the sweetest wedding stories I’ve read! Loved it, thank you so much for sharing.

  29. What an awesome Christmas present!

  30. This is absolutely incredible!

  31. Wow, what a fantastic story – and lovely shots too. So heartwarming!

  32. So adorable and so glad they pulled it off! Love the brides dress and hair colour. Hot to Trot. xxx


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