Not all surprises are good ones. If you suddenly return from vacay as man and wife, your family and friends may feel left out in the cold. The best (although not easiest) bet is to give them a heads up. We're not suggesting you ask permission, but rather explain your rationale for wanting an intimate ceremony.
Chances are, everyone just wants you to be happy. But don't be surprised if you encounter some doubts about not letting others witness your rite of passage. For many people, the shared memories of attending a wedding ceremony are a way to bond. You may even have mixed feelings about getting married without your father to walk you down the aisle or without a few special moments with your mother or grandmother.
And when vows are said and done, you won't have a bevy of wedding photographs depicting attendants and extended family. Fowler, who skipped professional photographs of her courthouse wedding ceremony altogether, admits her parents (who are wedding photographers) would have preferred a few evidentiary mementos.