Ceremony after marriage…tacky?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
442 posts
Helper bee

If you want a big wedding, you can still have a big wedding! Some people on here get really upset about this sort of thing, but this is a very legitimate reason. I don’t have strong feelings about if you should tell others outside of those closest to you, so I’ll let other bees hash that out. If you wanted to be upfront with everyone, you could call it a marriage celebration or a vow renewal or whatnot. If there’s anyone who wouldn’t want to come celebrate your marriage because it’s not a “real wedding” (given that this would be the first actualy celebration) then that’s their loss, and I’m sure you won’t miss them.

Post # 4
342 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I personally think it’s a bit rude (not tacky!) to mislead people and not tell them you’re already married.  I’ve had two friends do a small intimate ceremony – one at the courthouse, another in the Cayman Islands with just family – with a reception to folllow months later.  The friend who was married in the Caymans had a “blessing” ceremony in a church a few months later so more people could attend – walked down the aisle in her dress and everything.  I mean, do whatever works best for you – if you think it would be accepted in your social circle then go for it!

Post # 5
4540 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Royalton White Sands

IMO, not tacky at all! Signing the papers is just signing the papers. You still deserve the big ceremony you want, even if you’re *technically* already married. 

Post # 6
3016 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Prague

I know people are going to call you “deceitful.” I don’t understand it myself; to me, having a big wedding with your family and friends is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate with you and support you. I personally wouldn’t think it was ANY of my business if you had actually signed the certificate before OR ten years afterwards. To me, that’s not the point of my being there.  But for the same reason, i dont’ see any reason to keep it an actual secret.

Post # 7
4961 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@summer1216:  I would get married now before you have to deal with any of those issues. You don’t even have to tell anyone. Honestly, it may be kind of fun – to have a secret like that and just have your first ceremony between the two of you! 

My friend did that with her husband (though it wasn’t an immigration issue). She needed health insurance and the easiest (and cheapest) way to do it was to just get married. I think they married 6 months before their actual wedding.

I see no problem with it.

Post # 8
1103 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I see no issue!!  I’d never be upset to be at a wedding of someone I am close enough to be invited to and find out they had already signed the papers. I’d still love to be able to celebrate with them!  I say do it, get legally married before he has to return. 

Post # 9
114 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I would do it but be open about it. I mean, you don’t have to go around telling everyone who will listen, but it is the deceit part that would kind of bother me if I were one of your friends or family members. Truths get out, whether they are anybody’s business or not, and I feel like this is just setting up for trouble (by lying, not by doing a paperwork marriage before the big ceremony/reception). 

Post # 10
3217 posts
Sugar bee

Do it and don’t lie.

Why lie if there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

What do you hope to gain by omitting the truth?


Post # 11
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

A Marriage and “A Wedding” are not necessarily the same thing…

Unfortunately a lot of people take these words to mean the same thing… they are not.

A Marriage is a legally binding state of being… “A Wedding” is for many a fancy Ceremony that recognizes that… either at the same time, or afterwards.

“Technically” you are Married when you sign the paperwork to say it is so… be it at the Courthouse or a Church.  Ceremony or not.

It isn’t “tacky” to have a Wedding Celebration… be that a Ceremony or a Reception

It is however DECEITFUL to pretend NOT TO BE MARRIED WHEN YOU ARE to people / Guests etc


And things will go better in my experience overall

In many instances you cannot get married twice… not even to the same person… be that because of LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OR RELIGIOUS ONES

A Do-Over is called a Vow Renewal…

How it looks is dependent on what is allowed by your Legal Jurisdiction and if you plan to have it as a Religious Ceremony

Many Churches (such as the Catholic Church) won’t preform FAKE Wedding Ceremonies… but they will do Convalidations… which are low key (not like a Wedding)… or a Vow Renewal (more like a Wedding)

You need to check with the Authorities where you plan to have “the Wedding” to determine what your options are.

Hope this helps,


Post # 12
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@summer1216:  I think it’s the lying to everyone part that’s bothersome. Why lie?

Post # 13
6 posts
  • Wedding: February 2015

whether it’s tacky or not, it shouldn’t matter how and when you two want to celebrate your special day, IMO. To me, a paper is just that–a legal formality. The rest is about celebrating your love and commitment to each other with your loved ones. 

Thats what my husband and I are doing. We got married at the courthouse because he’s military and was about to deploy, and with me graduating college, I was going to be left with no health insurance (along with other reasons). We told our parents and need-to-knows about it and that’s it. Now that he is back from deployment we’re finally getting to plan a religious ceremony followed by a reception. By the time it happens, we’ll have been married for 2 years (it’ll actually be on the weekend of our anniversary, lol).

Obviously I’m biased, but I don’t see it as deceitful. Everyone doesn’t need to know your personal business as a couple. My husband and I wear our bands, if we’re asked about it we don’t lie, but we’re not announcing it to the world either. 

Post # 14
156 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Technically we got married AFTER our ceremony, at some point during the reception, though it was post-time stamped at 5:00, so that means we got married at 5:00, but we didn’t say our vows until 5:20ish, so technically backtracking we were already married according to the paperwork signed during the reception.

And if you had a hard time following that, good. It was to show that saying vows and getting “married” in a ceremony is NOT legal, at all. It is only legal once the paperwork is signed! So technically at that point in time we weren’t married, it only became official once we signed the paperwork a few hours later.


I don’t think it is tacky, but I wouldn’t pretend to not be married. A wedding is, after all, a ceremony honoring marriage.  I mean, people don’t go complaining that you can’t have a funeral after you’re already dead, because a funeral is a CEREMONY honoring a dead person. You don’t have a funeral the MOMENT people die. It just so happens that most of the time ceremonies honoring marriage happen at the same time of the marriage. You can have ceremonies after which the event you’re honoring has already occured. Just don’t pretend you’re not married, and everything will be okay in my books.

Post # 15
51 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2015



I really don’t understand why people get so bent out of shape and start crying “liar” and “deceit” on this issue. 

My good friends got married early for the EXACT same immigration issue and didn’t tell anyone except their parents/siblings. Their reasons included: not wanting to offend their more traditional grandparents by not “inviting” them to the legal wedding, not wanting people to think they ONLY got married for the visa, and not wanting a legal technicality to diminish or take anything away from the big wedding they had been dreaming of. 

They got married in a beautiful public ceremony several months later. The bride later confided the truth to me, though most of the other guests still don’t (and may never) know. She told me she didn’t really “feel” married until the public ceremony anyway, since that served as a more personal and meangingful acknowledgment of the marriage than just signing a piece of paper. 

I wasn’t offended when I found out the truth. Why should I be? It had NOTHING to do with me. I was actually happy my friends didn’t have to go through a legal headache to say in the same country. 

Your wedding is about you and your fiancee. I wish you guys good luck in your decision! Bottom line: Do what you need to do to stay together 🙂


Post # 16
3196 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011 - Bartram's Garden

We got legally married about 4 months before our actual wedding. We did it because I’d just accepted a new job that had a 3-month waiting period for health insurance. So yes, we got married early for the very romantic reason that I needed to jump onto his health plan. 

I told my mom only because she plain out asked me what I was going to do about health insurance, and I didn’t want to lie. We never told my in-laws, mostly because it never came up, but partially because they are more traditional than my family and they might have been hurt to find out they weren’t invited to the official legal wedding. But it was never intended to be a big secret or deceit, it was just a legal detail that we needed to take care of. I still consider our “real” wedding to be the day that we stood up in front of our family and friends and said our vows.

So, I don’t think it’s tacky or rude at all!


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