(Closed) Civil Marriage Before the wedding?.. Do I dare!?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
3525 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I think if you’re old enough to marry, you’re old enough to do what you want without your parents’ blessing, to be honest.

Post # 5
4803 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@tringo335: Honestly…it would be less ‘real’. That doesn’t mean you can’t still do it and have a lovely ceremony and reception, but your real wedding would be the first one, since a wedding is a legal matter and obviously that’s when you would get the legal benefits.

I’m confused by point 2 – why would getting married make your Fiance qualify for in-state tuition? Living in the state should be what does that, regardless of whether you’re married or not. I’m assuming it goes back to point 1 about how he can’t move without being married or his parents will disapprove.

Basically you two will have to decide which is the most important to you – do you want to only have one wedding, and have your guests at the ceremony and reception be witnessing you two actually legally getting married? Or is it more important to not disappoint his parents? I think you two should have the wedding ou want, if they’re not paying his bills (and it sounds like they’re not) then they really shouldn’t have a say over his living situation. Maybe he could sleep in a different room than you as a compromise.

Post # 6
375 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I won’t go into why because you can read it on other posts of mine, but I did this and don’t regret it for a single second! While I worried about it at first, I respectfully disagree that it makes it less “real” – I treated them as two very different, distinct events, and I am still getting butterflies and an adrenaline rush when I think about our wedding in October – I may have filed the paperwork in March, but I am getting MARRIED in October!

People may disagree, but frankly, I couldn’t care less how real strangers think my wedding is. All of our guests are aware of our situation and understanding of our circumstances, and it’s just as real to them as well – they just want to celebrate our marriage with us, and it will be the first time we have ever done that!

Anyway, it’s an individual choice. I won’t say what was right for me is right for you – you have to be comfortable with your choice. No one else (besides your fiance, of course) matters!


Post # 7
177 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I know several people that have done this! And just because you have the ability to do something without your parents blessing does not mean you want to! I hate conflict and my family is very dear to me. I would not want to muddy something up when their is an option everyone is comfortable with.

Post # 8
7421 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@baliahi1029: 100% I agree with you.

First of all OP its so common these days.  You & your FH have to be comfortable with it and its not up to anyone else to tell you if those are good reasons or not, so there is no need to plead your case. We are getting married at city hall first and then next year will have a larger celebration. Both are unique in their own way and deserved to recognized as such. If people have a problem with it, guess what, don’t tell me about it and defintely don’t come. Do what you have to do.

Post # 9
241 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

My husband and I did just that. We’re planning to have a formal ceremony on our one year anniversary. We’re doing the whole she bang.

Post # 10
3624 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Honestly, I think it’s fine.

One of my good friends got “married” the day before her wedding, because they wanted one of their good friends to marry them (and where I’m from, you can’d do that legally), so they signed all the papers the day before, and had their friend “marry” them, the day of.

Did anyone notice? Not a soul.

Post # 11
142 posts
Blushing bee

I’m in a similar situation. I live abroad and Fiance is coming here to live with me. For him to have residency and working papers we need to be married. And we can’t ask everyone to come all the way over here for what will be a JOP wedding. So we’re being legally married here with two witnesses only and the ceremony proper back in the States. I’m a little confused in my own head as to which ceremony is “real” true. When will I consider myself his wife? I’m not sure. I know though that it’s the vows I’ll be exchanging in front of kith and kin in the ceremony that really seal it for me, when I publicly declare those vows, asking for the witnessiing and support of all our community present.

I adore Miss Manners, I really do, but sometimes…

Post # 12
23 posts
  • Wedding: April 2012

I think that in this case, if your parents are ok with it, I would go ahead and do it. 10,000 + is a lot of money that could go to something else. And in the long run its a smaller loan that you have to deal with.

My parents asked if FH and I would go this route, and our decision was no. We will not get any real benefit from doing it now vs. waiting, but if there was a benefit like saving a ton of money then yes we would have done it earlier.

Post # 13
3264 posts
Sugar bee

As another poster said it will be less real because it won’t be a “real” wedding because you are already wed. 

From an etiquette perspective, you are ok, so long as you don’t hold the 2nd celebration as a wedding, but rather a vow renewal or anniversary party, or even church blessing of a marriage. You only run into etiquette trouble when you start to decieve your guests and lie to them about what they are attending.  But you can celebrate anything you like, and anytime. 

Post # 14
37 posts
  • Wedding: June 2012

This is exactly what we did. 🙂 

Our civil marriage was just paperwork, and our wedding next June will be the “real” thing. It’s not going to be any less special because we got things taken care of legally beforehand.

IMO, a large part of the wedding is the community aspect – your families come together to celebrate you starting a new family. Just because you’re already legally married doesn’t take away from that.

Post # 15
2263 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@baliahi1029: Agreed! 🙂 I and I LOVE that article… I hate how people can flippanty say how a wedding is ‘real’ or ‘not real’…. one is legal, the other is celebrational. I agree that for some people the actual event may be ruined, but for others… it’s just as exciting and even a good decision to do it this way. 

 FH and I are doing this for similar reasons. I need to be legally married before our end of December wedding to apply for more financial aid that will help us in the long-run. Are we telling people…. no, not unless they ask. 

 It’s an option! Def. talk about it with your fiancee and see if he’s with you on the idea. 

Post # 16
3142 posts
Sugar bee

IMO.. there is a difference between a wedding and a civil marriage.

I don’t think you should have to just do a vow renewal or whatever.  You should be married in front of all your friends and family at your wedding. Despite whether you went the the courthouse a year before and signed a piece of paper.

Make the courthouse ceremony as simplified as possible and bring aquaintances as your witnesses.  Seriously, wear jeans and don’t do a ring exchange.


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