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!