Avoid Your Paparazzi With a Private Wedding

Avoid Your Paparazzi With a Private Wedding

It’s easy to get swept up in the pomp and circumstance when planning a wedding—going overboard is almost expected these days. Between the pre-wedding showers, parties and rehearsals, and the Facebook planning status updates, your special day may as well be in the pages of People.

Now that everyone has a smartphone in their hands, we gain our own personal paparazzi. Is it still possible to have a truly private wedding? If Jay Z and Beyonce, two of the world’s most recognizable celebrities, were able to pull it off, there’s hope for us all.

Celebrities have it rough these days—they’re frequently photographed while grocery shopping, getting a speeding ticket, or going for a run. Imagine planning an intimate celebration to be shared with your closest friends and family, only to have every action, before and after the event (no matter how sloppy), photographed by strangers. And no—they’re not taking pictures for you!

When celebrities plan a wedding, they have to take the atmosphere into account and be sure the bride won’t be seen walking to the aisle. One slight misstep could put her into Halle Berry’s shoes (which is normally a pair any girl would kill to wear!).

Berry, who married Olivier Martinez on July 13, was photographed in a white station wagon on her way to the ceremony, giving a sneak peak of her wedding dress. The photos hit the internet before the couple had their first dance. (Berry has a history of speaking out against the paparazzi, and supposedly chose Martinez’s native France to wed to avoid the cameras.)

If Berry wanted to keep her presence more hidden, she could have easily done so. A simple fix would have been to make sure the windows were tinted on the bridemobile. The happy couple wed at Chateau de Vallery, which has an entrance near enough to public grounds that a photographer was able to snap her picture.

If you’re hoping to avoid any pre-ceremony publicity, choose a private, enclosed location. Estates or chateaus (if you make the kind of money Halle Berry makes) offer multiple settings for each event, with enough space for the bride to get ready on site. For a more affordable option, consider secluded resorts and private residences with enough space to designate separate quarters for the bride and groom. (If you’re entertaining the idea of using a friend’s home, it’s important to know what’s involved.) Shortening the trip between the dressing room and the aisle also lessens your chances of being seen.

To increase your odds of privacy, avoid public, open-air locations such as a beach or a park. Jimmy Kimmel recently married Molly McNearny at the Ojai Valley Inn, and guests were photographed mingling outside in the gardens during the reception.

If you don’t have a particular place in mind, choose an unfamiliar spot to throw off anyone who might be on your trail. You’re more likely to be discovered throwing a party at a friend’s house than you are tucking away at a bed and breakfast upstate. Jay Z and Beyonce were married at his New York City penthouse, and though the celebration was top secret, the dolled-up guests streaming in from the sidewalk tipped the media off days before the power couple even confirmed the union.

If you have a guest or two who would gleefully blow your cover, take it one step further and don’t disclose the location. If the guest list is small enough and your budget big enough, send cars or shuttles to pick guests up and transport them.

A more economical option might be to prearrange carpools led by a few of the guests you trust the most to keep their lips sealed. If you want to keep the location a secret until the guests are inside, provide blindfolds for the ride over. (Sleep masks make for easy, cheap options.)

Whether you’re paranoid about your partner catching a glimpse before the ceremony or you’re just hiding out from your own personal paparazzi, you deserve your privacy—and if you work for it, you can have it. If you spill the beans with anyone, talk to your wedding planner about a secret celebration.

Work together to make sure all windows are covered and communications are confidential. If Will Smith, Ben Affleck, and even social media mogul Mark Zuckerberg (who sprung the surprise wedding on his guests) can keep their intimate day to themselves, surely you can too. 


Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.