Advice/thoughts about getting married before the "real" wedding?

posted 2 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 2
Member
8018 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

if you want your CA wedding to feel like a “real wedding” I would just make it one. Is it really neccessary to jump the gun at city hall?

If you HAVE to get married I would do no rings, no vows and not celebrate, then wait for the CA ceremony. Unfortunately I don’t think you can really have your wedding cake and eat it 4 times too!

Post # 3
Member
6597 posts
Bee Keeper

We’re also planning a mini ceremony with our officiant followed by a celebration a few months later, though not for visa reasons. I think it will still be exciting to do the mini ceremony and then also a different kind of excitement when we have more people with us! Really all you need to get married, people wise, is bride, groom, officiant, witnesses. Maybe you could have a photographer at the city hall event and do a small photo shoot. That’s what we’re doing.

Post # 4
Member
772 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

There’s not a limited amount of joy or celebration in the world. You can enjoy both city hall and a wedding as much as you like, and they won’t take away from each other. 

Post # 5
Member
634 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

MrsBuesleBee:  +1 ….If you’re legally married, then have a wedding then a vow renewal, then ANOTHER party then what are you going to count as your anniversary? to me this all just sounds exhausting!

I’d make sure that there was no way that you can’t just wait till April to officially get married before going to city hall. I think that getting legally married before your wedding takes a bit of the magic out of the day. But if you must, then I would treat it as paperwork, and not do anything until your CA wedding. 

OR if you really want to add another party, you could elope to city hall, get a cute white dress and a photographer etc. and make your legal wedding your actual wedding and all the others are just celebrations. I’m totally biased here because I got married at San Francisco City Hall, but it’s gorgeous!!!!

Post # 6
Member
2642 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

First of all, how early would you plan to get legally married?  One week in advanced?  One month? Three months?  Six months?  Honestly, I think it’s pretty crappy when people try to game the system and get legally married earlier to get all the benefits associated with being legally married but still pretend they aren’t married so they get all the benefits of not being married.  

However, if you’re legally married within one month of your other wedding, then I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal.  Otherwise, you’ll still have a couple of months to get everything sorted.

But if you want to get married 1+ months in advance then go ahead, but just be honest about it.  YOu don’t have to send anouncments, but definitely tell your close friends and family and maybe word your invitations such that it says you were legally married but now you want to celebrate with everyone (or, you know, something to that effect but doesn’t suck).  The point is not to lie to your guests that you’re already married.  If they love and care about you they’ll understand why you did what you did.

Post # 8
Member
634 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

LoveMyBrit:  To me it sounds like you already know what you want to do… Im hearing you say that the city hall ceremony is only for paperwork reasons and the CA wedding is the real deal in your mind. So I would treat it that way. I would go to city hall, but not call each other husband and wife, or have a photographer or anything. If you want, treat it like any other date night, go for a nice dinner, drink wine etc. Then treat your CA wedding as you normally would.

The only annoying part with that (assuming you’re changing your name) is that for a while you may not know what you name is haha! this happened to me, and even a year later, I till find things that are under my maiden name.

Post # 9
Member
17 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: April 2015

First of all – I firmly believe there are no rules and you should feel good about whatever you decide to do! In several cultures it is absolutely normal to celebrate weddings on two different days, several months apart even. 

 

We had a civil ceremony before our actual wedding. It was going to be a tiny event, but our family insisted on coming and ended up being a 30 person affair. We celebrated with lunch after the ceremony. It was absolutely lovely and a chance to celebrate our love in an intimate setting with those we love most. Nobody minds that we will have a bigger wedding in a few months. As for telling people, we weren’t planning on it but it ended up on facebook and we were overwhelmed with love and support. We call each other husband and wife half the time.. fiance the other half, and joke that we are kinda married. I just see it as a 2 step process.

 

I understand this might be unacceptable to some people, and I read several posts where bees thought this was tricking your guests into thinking they were attending a real wedding when they are not. I honestly don’t think any of my guests mind (and they all know we are legally married), but if you think this is a problem, then maybe call your CA wedding a “celebration of marriage” instead. But more likely, people will just be happy to celebrate with you, no matter what the legal significance of the affair is.

 

Good luck!

Post # 11
Member
6866 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Count me among those who don’t get it. The day you are legally married, is, by definition, a wedding, small and intimate as it may be. It comes with all the significance, rights, benefits, responsibilities and obligations as any marriage, anytime,  anywhere.  Why not just call the California event your reception?  If there are additional blessings or religious aspects you’d like to incorporate, that’s fine.   Just call it what it is, a celebration of your marriage. 

Post # 12
Member
1040 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I have friends who are both Asian (she’s Malaysian, he’s Japanese) who both live in Australia. They got married last year and for legal reasons it was much easier to get married in Australia. They did a small civil ceremony with close friends and family in the registry office. She wore an inexpensive white dress and had her hair and make up done. A friend of theirs took photos. Afterwards we all went out for dinner in a nice restaurant. A few months later they did a big wedding in Kuala Lumpur. The fact that they were already legally married didn’t make the second day any less special. 

 

 

I find it funny that some people on here get so indignant at the idea of someone having two weddings. When you marry someone from a different country and culture then often it’s the most practical thing to do. I myself got married in Ireland, then 6 days later had a traditional Indian ceremony in Bangalore. Most of our friends and immediate family on both sides live in Ireland but my husband is originally from India and it was really important to my FIL that we have a hindu ceremony. And I don’t really care what anyone else thinks, it was absolutely the right thing for us to do. 

Post # 13
Member
2642 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

LoveMyBrit:  Eh, 2 months isn’t so bad.  And I know it’s for logistica purposes (definitely need to be able to start work on time!).  I think as long as you’re honest with people it’s not a big deal.  I think people would be upset if you lied to them more so than the fact that you got legally married early.

Post # 14
Member
865 posts
Busy bee

LoveMyBrit:  We went out to dinner with a couple of close friends and then went away for the weekend.  No where extravagant, just a nice quiet weekend at the beach about an hour from where we lived.  I would definitely do *something* to celebrate – it’s exciting even if it is just paperwork!!  We lucked out with timing and were legally married on Valentine’s day, so rather than have 2 anniversaries we just celebrate v-day and it has an extra special meaning for us 🙂

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