Post # 1
I was wondering whether anyone knows the logistics of having a civil ceremony and then a ‘wedding’ later.
My fiance is in the Navy, and we want to get married before he goes, so we are going to have a civil ceremony next weekend.
All our friends and family know that we are engaged, but we want to have a secret civil ceremony and then a ‘proper wedding next year.
Neither of us are religious, so that isn’t an issue. Anyone have any ideas on the logistics of all of this – whether we need to get additional paperwork or anything?
I’d really appreciate any help!
Thanks so much 🙂
Post # 3
There are a few issues with this, but the biggest one is the deceit. Imagine if you found out that someone in your family “staged” a wedding? Imagine you joined them to celebrate their wedding, gave them a gift, and then learned that it was all for show? If you get married in the courthouse, you’ll be legally married and it’s doubtful that a priest will go along with a second fake wedding.
Post # 4
I agree with PP. You can do a courthouse wedding now but tell your family. Lying to people about being married isn’t cool and is very hurtful. And if you get married now you can still have a celebration later! You just can’t call it a wedding – it’d either be a post-wedding celebration or a vow renewal.
By The Way, a courthouse wedding is just as proper of a wedding as one in a church with a big white dress and all the trimmings.
Post # 5
Tell your family. You don’t want to NOT tell your family. You’ll probably be surprised by how supportive they are of it.
That being said – we did a civil ceremony in February and we’re having a religious ceremony in September for family. I thought I’d catch a $hitstorm from my parents as they are EXTREMELY religious, conservative, unbending, closeminded (though absolutely lovely people, I promise ). But they were so happy and supportive. TOTAL shocker.
But to get to your question – you won’t need additional legal paperwork as you’d already be married by the time the 2nd event came around. Now, depending on your religion your faith may require something on their side but that isn’t legal and your officiant would let you know about that. Other than that it’s super easy. Check the marriage requirements for your state, make an appointment if need be, pay the fees, get hitched then plan the 2nd event as usual. Pretty simple. Congrats!
Post # 6
Do not keep it a secret. The US Navy will need to know about it and the military is a big reason for wanting to be married, right? You can’t have it both ways ie: married in the eyes of the government but not in the eyes of your family. That would be wiggedy whack, yo.
Post # 7
@claireos: Agreed. Our families know and they are all still really excited for our ceremony. We got legally married here (no ceremony though in CO you walk in file papers and you are married, if you check the self marriage box.)
We are having the religious ceremony next year because we didnt have one yet. We are legally married, the officiant, my grandmother, knows and understands what we want it to be blessed and have that be witnessed by family. We will exchange vows as we haven’t yet and then a great reception/ party afterward. We are calling it a ceremony or a wedding ceremony because well we didnt have one. But we are by no means telling people that we are getting married on that date because we are already married.
Go ahead and have the civil ceremony but make sure you do tell your family. I don’t care what you call your second one and no one else should either, as long as you disclose to family that you are already legally married, its really not okay to lie and if there no problem on for either of you theres no reason to lie about it.
Post # 8
My husband is not in the milatary and we still chose to do a civil ceremony May 2011 and are having our WEDDDING August 2012. Yes, I still call it a wedding because it is no matter what anyone else tells you. Your wedding is how you define it. No one else.
We come from different faiths but our August wedding is not religious (nor are we). We’re actually having a lot of fun making up whatever we want for it. We never did personal vows at the civil one and haven’t even exchanged rings yet. We specifically decided to save that for August with our loved ones present. His father is going to “officiate” for us (no actual certification required for this).
Our Save the Dates very clearly told everyone invited about our civial ceremony and asked our guests to join us in continuing on our “marriage journey.” Our friends and family are just as excited for August as they would have been if we weren’t “legally” married yet. They may actually be more excited.
I’ve found that making decisions for the August wedding has been a breeze because we already committed to each other back in May (and well before that). Now we get to really create something special and tailor it to who we are and to our loved ones.
If you go down this route send me a message to let me know! And you won’t need any extra paperwork for the “second” wedding. Good luck!
Post # 9
And to clarify – we have called each other husband and wife since the civil ceremony. When we talk about planning for our wedding with people who don’t know what we’re doing, we kindly and briefly explain we’re already married and planning for a ceremony and reception with our friends and family.