Courthouse wedding a few months before the BIG day…

posted 2 years ago in Military
Member
5270 posts
Bee Keeper

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.

 

Member
7878 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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.

Member
444 posts
Helper bee

@sweettealove:  

 

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. 

 

Member
176 posts
Blushing bee

@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.

Member
80 posts
Worker bee

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!

Member
351 posts
Helper bee

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!

 

Member
80 posts
Worker bee

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..

Member
221 posts
Helper bee

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!

Member
1376 posts
Bumble bee

@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.

Member
80 posts
Worker bee

@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.

 

Member
1 posts
Wannabee

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.

 

Good luck!

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