Serena Williams, Alexis Ohanian, Wedding

Mel Barlow & Co. / Allan Zepeda /

Celebrity weddings are always lavish affairs. They have more money, more friends and more expectations than any average person, so naturally the biggest day of their lives would go over-the-top. 

That's a fact that's pretty much always true: No matter the year or the celebrity, the luxuries of celebrity weddings never fails. But in 2017 another trend emerged among A-list brides and grooms: Secrecy. There were far more under-the-radar nuptials than usual this year and we're left facing down a year in which we know way less about our favorite stars' big days than we'd like to. 

There are some things to learned, though. These covert marriage operations offer lessons for the rest of us in how to pull off a top-secret party. All you need is a first-class wedding planner and a giant pile of cash. 

Pick an off-the-beaten-path locale. Celebs who want a big, blown-out and traditional affair yet don't want the entire party spoiled by photos and leaks often turn to secluded venues and resorts. Many have gone to Big Sur, like Anne Hathaway and Natalie Portman, and this year Michael Fassbenderand Alicia Vikander opted to say "I do" in Ibiza at the La Granja farmstead resort. 

Jessica Chastain chose to marry Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo in his home country of Italy, which was a natural decision, but they held the nuptials at a his family's estate in a small town outside of Venice. The villa even produces its own line of champagne, so it was a total win-win.

A celebrity wedding that wasn't so much off-the-beaten-path as it was just plain secluded is that of Miranda Kerrand Evan Spiegel. They got married at their home in Brentwood, opting for a small guest list of around 50 people in order to accommodate the event at their paparazzi-proof abode. 

Use private jets and cars. Most weddings simply let guests arrive on site when they please but 2017's stars weren't taking any chances. If you fly guests in and out, or at the very least shuttle them around between all of the wedding events, it means that you can have control over much more of the wedding. Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian did that for their New Orleans nuptials, because you can't just have A-listers going rogue around the Big Easy. 

Set a strict no-phone policy. Or, if you want to have less of an iron hand, go for a no-social-media policy. Serena and Alexis asked all of their guests to keep their cell phones at bay so that news (and more importantly photos) of the ceremony and reception wouldn't get out before the big Vogue story. Kate Maraand Jamie Bell asked the same of their friends, which allowed the couple to announce the new marriage to the world with their own original Instagram posts.

The same goes for Alison Brieand Dave Franco, who not only ensured that none of their friends leaked photos to the press or on Instagram, they managed to keep the fact that the wedding event went down secret. To this day no one knows when they got married. 

Just elope. If you decide on a whim to have a spur-of-the-moment wedding then it will quite literally the most secret wedding possible. Jordin Sparks and new husband Dana Isaiah did this—they were in the middle of a Hawaiian vacation and realized that one of their friends on the trip was an ordained minister. One thing led to another and pouf...married. 

Julia Stiles also decided to elope—she married Preston J. Cook while pregnant with the couple's first child in front of only two friends on the beach in Seattle—as did Amanda Seyfried, who took off for the country with only an officiant and her now-husband, Thomas Sadoski, last spring before they welcomed their first child. 

Pick a date that the press will never expect. Kate Uptonand Justin Verlander got married in Tuscany on November 4, but on November 2 the Houston Astros star was still in Los Angeles competing in the final game of the World Series. There were rumblings among the press that the couple was set to wed that weekend but with the biggest game in baseball looming it didn't seem possible. That allowed them to pull off a wedding that they wouldn't have otherwise. 

Of course, it almost worked too well: The final game of the World Series cut things so close that the couple was still in the States while the rest of their guests were off in Italy enjoying the first couple parties of the weekend. 

Make everyone think you're already married. Remember how for, like, a decade it was widely assumed that Lisa Bonet and Jason Momoa were official? (As in "man and wife" official, that is.) Well they weren't, but it turns out they just let everyone think they tied the knot back in 2007 presumably because they knew it would let them go through the actual ceremony in secret one day, which they did this fall.

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