Hi All, I am just a little curious... My boyfriend (who is active dute Navy) mentioned us getting married at the beginning of the year, several months prior to our actual wedding, which we are planning for in the spring. I never expected to do it this way and I'm a little lost when it comes to courthouse weddings. Is there a "reception" afterward or a party? Do we invite anyone? Do I buy a dress for the occasion?
The reason he wants to do it this way is because we will moving to our new duty station immediately after our big wedding and by getting legally married prior to the actual wedding will give us time to do all the military paperwork and make sure that the Navy will pay for our move, make sure we are getting our housing allowance, etc. so we are all set when we move after the wedding. It's a little confusing, but hey, that's military life.
Any suggestions or input would be appreciated!
I think this is ok as long as you are upfront with your friends & family. Is it possible for your parents to come and maybe do a small, quiet dinner after? Then you can have your marriage celebration or even renew your vows (or if it's in a church it is a marriage blessing or convalidation). I can see the advantage of having all of the legal paperwork in order ahead of time. The only thing I see that could be a problem is when people try to hide the fact that they're married then it comes out eventually and feelings get hurt. Other times, people try to have a "do-over" because for whatever reason they don't feel like a JOP or courthouse wedding is good enough, which is kind of rude (IMO) to those who got married that way and didn't have the big do-over later.
Welcome! My DH is USAF. :)
This kind of thing is VERY common in the military. I think, typically, the couple goes to the courthouse and then invites a few close family and friends for a small celebration afterward. Most of the time, that's dinner/lunch at a nice restaurant or something. I would say order a bouquet, get a cute dress, get your hair done... it's still your wedding day.
He is correct that getting married beforehand will be very, very helpful with the move. There is a lot of paperwork involved.
We did this yesterday, in preparation for our destination wedding which is in another country. We had to do one here in California to make it legal. We made an appt and went to the civic center, got a marriage license and then went into a room, did the civil ceremony and were back in our cars 20 min later. He was wearing his scrubs because he had to go back to the hospital and work, I was wearing a basic black dress.
We have a lot of friends who have done this due to DW weddings and we didn't tell anyone about it, we want everyone to consider our "big wedding" as the day we get married, this is just a legal errand that we have to run beforehand to get things in order, so to answer your question no we didn't have any sort of party but we DID go out to dinner and celebrate as a couple privately.
@sweettealove: Hey girl! My FI is Navy too. We will be having our courthouse wedding this Friday! I am so excited! Anyways, there is no real reception afterwards. You could go out to a nice dinner with your new husband afterwards and family. Usually, you need to have two witnesses. This can be friends or family members. I would not recommend buying an actual wedding dress for this event. However, you may certainly wear a nice dress that is not a wedding dress.
Thanks for all the feedback so far!
I'm debating on whether or not we should tell everyone after the fact. I do agree that some people's feelings may get hurt if they don't know, but I do want everyone to look at our BIG day as THE day and not think about the fact that we are already legally married in the back of their minds...
Hi! I actually just went through this on Monday! My husband is Army and will be leaving for training in a month--most of the time, we will not be able to communicate. He may deploy at the start of the new year, and although that doesn't look likely, it's still a small possibility. So, on Monday, he came home in the afernoon, picked me up, and we went to the Recorder. In Colorado, you don't have to go to the courthouse nor do you need witnesses. You can self-solemnize which basically means you leave the room, sign the certificate, and then bring it back to the recoder within a matter of minutes.
He was in his ACUs and I was in jeans, a hoodie, and sandals. We don't have rings yet. That evening, we stopped at the grocery store to get a ring out of one of those $.25 machines, went out to dinner (nowhere fancy--I mean, he had a western cheeseburger and I had Hungarian goulash), and then took $6 worth of "wedding" pictures at the penny arcade nearby which really amounted to us making funny faces in most of them. After that, we headed to a wine bar, had a glass of sangria and shared a chocolate tart which was our cake. I was still in my "wedding" attire and he had changed into jeans and a hoodie.
For us, it worked and was so much fun. We had already been planning a July wedding, and we're still going to have that. For us, it was something that needed to be done, so we did it and left out the bells and whistles since we're doing all that later. I didn't miss wearing a dress, having flowers, exchanging rings, etc. I know I'm getting that later so saw no point. Plus, looking back, it was great to just be able to enjoy each other and appreciate the fact that we were now married...no stress, no interruptions, no worrying about things not being right.
We didn't tell anyone before and have only told our immediate family and a few close friends since. I would have done it differently if that was my only wedding, but knowing we're having the big event in July made it work how we did it.
I think it's up to you if you want a dress, people there, or a party afterwards. Have fun and enjoy the day and each other!
We are doing this in 10 days. Even though he isn't active duty anymore, we want to buy a house together and want to use the VA Loan. Our wedding isn't till February and it will be in FL. His dad and stepmom won't be able to make it down so we are actually having his dad officiate the "legal" ceremony. I told my mom and sisters and best friend. All of them were nothing but supportive and said "you do whatever you want, this is about you two, no one else". Even my mom, who is very traditional was all for it.
So keep that in mind...its about you two. I am excited to do the ceremony in Florida and share it with everyone else.
Good luck lady!
@aleeblueeyes I like how you said that you left all the bells and whistles out until your big day in July. It makes sense that you left out all the little bells and whistles because now you will be able to celebrate all those little things with friends and family :)
I also felt the same way about wanting people to look forward to our BIG day in July and not be all funny about things because we are already married. That's why we've only told immediate family and a few close friends. And, we told those people AFTER the fact..
My hubby and I did this but our courthouse wedding was almost a year before. Makes things a little easier, insurance kicks in faster, and you can do whatever you want since your married in the eyes of the lord and state! We're having a close friend do our ceremony that I wrote. Everyone knows we're married but no one was able to be here for it so we're reenacting it for them. The BIG day can be more fun less stress!
@aleeblueeyes Yah, I'm starting to think that I will only tell our immediately family (mom, dad, brothers). I couldn't imagine not telling my mom that I went off and got married lol. I know they all won't judge us or have a problem with having the big day later and no one else will even know the difference :)
@sweettealove: It's one of those things you just don't want Grandma to find out at drunken family Christmas 5 years down the line, ya know?
You'll always be sort of tip toeing around it if you lie to extended family and anyone who knows anything about the military could be on to the scheme anyways. They may be aware that you would need to be married to get the benefits you're using.
Personally, I would tell everyone, or tell a few people and let it get out naturally through the grapevine. I doubt anyone will judge too harshly. I would also carefully avoid the line "I now pronounce you husband and wife" in the ceremony, just because it's not true.
I wholeheartedly support those who have to do a JOP wedding for legal reasons, it just doesn't make any sense to lie about it.
@sweettealove--aside from family, we've told a few very close friends and he told like two people at work. We just asked that they not tell anyone. It's not because we're trying to be sneaky about it nor are we going to deny it if anyone asks, we just would rather keep our day in July as special as we can because we decided that will be our "official" wedding date.
Hi there :)
My now husband and I did this. He's a navy depper and to ensure I was listed as his dependent in time we got legally married at a recorder's office a month prior to our actual wedding date, which is this Sunday. We dressed up a little, but nothing too extravagant. I wore a red lace fit and flare dress that hit me at the knee. He wore a button up shirt and nice pants. The only people there were our parents and my sister. We just went out to eat afterward. I don't really see that day as my wedding, just the day we were legally married. Don't let anyone lead you to believe this spoils your wedding day. What's a wedding besides an opportunity for your friends and family to witness and celebrate you and your FH declare your commitment to one another? You're just getting the legal part taken care of a little early. We even took the opportunity to choose a catchy wedding date, 10/11/12, because why not? Like zippylef said, this is a common thing with military couples and shouldn't be an issue. The benefits really outweigh any cons about it.
I'm a little late to this but I feel like posting anyway! :) I haven't gotten married yet, (paperwork or otherwise) but we are thinking about doing the same thing. My fiance and I also want to get the VA loan to buy a house, so we just thought that getting married would make things easier. I have the same mentality as JenBo. Getting married on paper changes your legal rights, but in our opinions shouldn't change how we FEEL or anything like that. The wedding ceremony with your friends and family as witnesses will still mean a lot, and you are still committed to each other as always. My dad actually suggested the courthouse wedding idea, and another friend independently suggested the same thing, so we didn't think anything weird about it.
However, I do have to warn you that some people might think it is rude. I first went looking on theknot.com about this issue... big mistake! People on there will absolutely tear you apart, telling you that its rude to lie to everyone, you can't be a bride twice, you are entitled... seriously, tear you apart. I don't agree with this mentality at all, just wanted to warn you that some people think that. In my opinion, if you consider your audience you will be fine. Like I said, my family and friends suggested it to me, so I know they would be OK with it. Just beware that some more conservative family friends or relatives might not think as highly of it!
I'm in a similar situation. My FI is entering into the Air Force and we recently got engaged. We also found out that he is leaving for training much sooner than anticipated (Jan 2013!). Since we don't want to miss out on things like benefits and living on base together in the future, we need to be legally married before he starts training (...so in a few weeks....eeep). This means that we can get housing allowance, which even though we own a house together he wouldn't receive unless we were married.
I guess it's very common in military relationships (Career Day, I believe it's called). I'm already committed to him and want to marry him, so I see no difference in doing it in the next month legally and then having our big celebration for our wedding later. We've decided to keep it secret though and not let anybody except for two close friends know, just so there isn't any friction as a result...
My fiance is in the AF so we are eloping this NYE in Santa Fe since he is stationed in ABQ then planning a celebration next NYE with our friends and family in Dallas. I know alot of our military friends have done the courthouse before the family celebration for assignment reasons. Since he is on year TWO of pilot training and this is our 5th move in 2 years, its just easier to do the courthouse when you dont know where you will be living in 4 months..
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