TO @Jabberwocky: …
Personally I see doing legal paperwork a bit differently from actually getting married. One is required in some Jurisdictions by the Authorities / Government, and happens prior to a couple taking / saying vows.
So that the Government recognizes the union between the two individuals (intent to marry).
Altho those people are “technically” married on paper… they never really vowed anything out-loud to one another… which to me anyhow is what I think most people recognize as a Wedding Ceremony.
In Canada, and much of North America the Government Required Paperwork, isn’t actually signed into effect until after one takes those vows.
So to me at least that makes it different.
I think that you say your vows once… and that is the Wedding Ceremony. If you say them again… then that is a Vow Renewal.
Pretty straight forward at least in my mind’s eye.
I also think this is the way that most North Americans look at the difference between being Legally Married and having a Wedding. One is recognized by the State, one is recognized by the community (friends, family, society) etc.
They aren’t the same thing… but they do go hand in hand.
Hope this helps,
EDIT TO ADD – When I was married the first time, it was here in Canada (Province of Quebec). Right after the Ceremony you sign the Church Registry that legally registers the marriage… and also the Wedding Certificate… which is now yours to keep. So the whole process Vows / Ceremony & Legal Marriage was completed in one action.
When I married this time round… we did so in Florida. We signed the Marriage License BEFORE we were married… it giving us “permission to marry” in the State of Florida. Then we had a Wedding Ceremony. And altho we were “married” in our sense of the word, I honestly didn’t feel the cycle was completed until I received my Wedding Certificate back in the mail from the Courthouse about 1 month later. The interim was sort of strange for me… I felt like there had been a Wedding… but I was truly unsure of our “legal” status until that piece of paper showed up.
I imagine that if I signed the Paperwork, without a Wedding Ceremony… exchange of Vows / Words… I wouldn’t feel much married either.
This scenario tho is completely different from the one the OP has described as I understand it. They plan to have a Wedding Ceremony at the Courthouse and then another one a few days later for their friends & family. So ya, they want to get married 2x in my mind… saying their vows to one another twice… some how pretending that the first one didn’t happen ???