Post # 1
Hey guys, I’m new here but have read a few of the boards and they seem pretty helpful. I’m at a loss for what to do. My fiance and I got engaged in 2009 and were planning on getting married after graduating college (2013ish, I know LONG engagement). He is in the National Guard and getting deployed in July and now we are considering having a civil ceremony before he leaves and a big wedding later. I’m not sure what I want to do. Financially I think it would be better to get married before he leaves (separation pay, housing, being the first to know stuff… not his mom). I just don’t know if being married already will take away from the “real wedding” experience and feelings, not only for me but for my guests too. For some reason I am worried that our friends and families will think our wedding is less important since we are already married. He is dead set on getting married before he leaves and thinks everyone will understand why we are. I love him and am so excited to get married, I’m just worried that my “real wedding” will suffer too much if we have a civil ceremony… Please help!
Any opinions from people that have gone through this?
Post # 3
@thornhaa: The civil ceremony is the real wedding. You can get married before he goes and just have the party later, but you will have already had the wedding.
I can definitely understand your reasons for wanting a civil ceremony before he leaves.
Post # 4
I did it. We got married in October and are having our celebration here in a few weeks. I don’t regret it at all. It might have been a practical way to look at it, but it helped us so much in the long run. I am sure there are family/friends that might think we are silly for having a celebration later, but I could care less. I can’t wait!!!
Post # 5
We had a civil ceremony.. the benefits outweigh any doubts we could have had. We only told very close friends that we got married and they are excited to be a part of the wedding. We are having our ceremony at the USAFA chapel and don’t cound the civil ceremony as anything more than paperwork.. all the special stuff will be during the wedding. I am actually happy we wont have to deal with paperwork during the ceremony 🙂
Post # 6
A good friend of mine from high school did this last year. Their wedding was set for the fall but they found out he was getting deployed in late summer. While she was sad to have to cancel the wedding she had been planning, she told me the benefits have been worth it.
Based on her experience, she said she would rather be married than have had the wedding. They are still working on planning a reception for when he gets back, though I’m sure it will be more low-key than the original wedding they had planned.
Post # 7
I am not sure about the differences between the rules for this between the US Military and the CF but all that aside, I think being married would give you markable ‘peace of mind’. That alone I think is worth doing the civil ceramony. (I don’t think it would take away from the actual one at all)
Maybe you could even do a trip down south for a destination wedding. Depending on your timeline. But that way your trip could double as a pre-deployment vacation. If you stick to bare-bones, you could get your wedding and honeymoon package thrown in with the price of your room 🙂
Post # 8
Thanks for everyones opinions! We talked about it and made a list of pros and cons, the pros HEAVILY outweighed the cons, we’re getting married!!!
Post # 9
Congrats on making the decision! I know it’s a difficult one.
Before I left for Iraq I wanted to have a civil ceremony. I just left the Army and FI is still in, I’m currently a civilian for DOD, but I still wanted to get married before the deployment because if something happened DOD would only notify my next of kin (my parents) and he’d have no rights.
My FI didn’t agree w/having the civil ceremony first and the wedding when I redeployed. He said it would take away from the day, especially if we had the catholic ceremony after I got back, and he didn’t think it was worth going through all of the planning if we would already be married.
I ended up giving in on the subject and we didn’t get married before my deployment; however, I’ve been very uneasy about the “what if’s”. What if I get hurt and DOD doesn’t call him, what if I die and we have all of this joint bills that he’ll have to go to court to get compensation for from my estate, etc. etc. It really would have given me piece of mind if we’d gotten married.
Post # 10
There was discussion of this on another board I’m on at one point–and it’s a board with a very strong aversion to “fake weddings” after you are legally married. Nevertheless, almost everyone on the board agreed that a military deployment was an exception to that aversion. Thus, I believe that at least the large majority of guests will understand the situation. The only real question is how you will feel about it yourself.
Post # 11
@SamanthaSadlier: I like what you said.
We did something similar, and … I feel fake married and my husband gets really upset whenever I say anything like that. It’s frustrating, but this “in between legal marriage and religious marriage” period has been like an engagement period for us. I’m glad we did it because of the deployment and PCSing, but it is stressful and you will catch a lot of flak here (and WAAAAY more on the knot).
But, if you’re honest and upfront with your family, it will all be great.
All the notification reasons are really important.
Don’t get married too close to the deployment–give yourself more than a week to get all the paperwork filed–you need to change SGLI, check in to TriCare if you prefer TriCare Prime (which is better for some people and not automatic), getting housing with a lease in his name, power of attorney, your military dependent ID (you need the marriage certificate to get this, and it may take a while to process), etc.
You can do all the name change stuff without him, when he’s deployed, but a lot of the other stuff is just so much easier with you there. Definitely discuss power of attorney with him.
Post # 12
we were legally married and it is not taking away from the planning part for the wedding
Post # 13
I am going through the same sort of decision right now. FH will be sent for schooling and a permanent station sometime this summer. We are not having our wedding until march 2012. He has been telling me that in order for me to be able to move to wherever he is stationed right after the wedding, we will have to be legally married before he gets stationed because otherwise they will place him in other type of housing. I really don’t feel like I want to do this at all but I do want to be able to live with him right after the wedding. That is sort of a big part of us getting married, so we can be together right? I am at a loss because I don’t want to make him mad by refusing to do a civil ceremony first, but I can’t help how I feel. It is hard to make something so special into a practical paperwork process….
Post # 14
I think planning a small wedding prior to his leaving and a large reception following his return sounds like a good plan. If you really want a church wedding, I think you should contact your minister to explain and see if it might be possible to have a small wedding. I know that I have had friends who have made arrangements for small events and I have a feeling that it might be possible to make arrangements to have a little private event…(your parents, siblings, grandparents) without a large fee. (My grandparents were married in the church parsonage during WWII.)
Post # 15
This is not uncommon AT ALL for the military and definitely does not take away from a wedding later. I saw go for it, do you civil ceremony before he leaves and have your wedding with all your family and friends later. I’m actually going to wedding, or rather vow renewal, in May for friends of ours that did that and it was perfect for them.
And please don’t think that the civil ceremony won’t mean anything or won’t be special because it will. You’re still marrying him and that alone is a wonderful moment and I promise you won’t regret it. It does sound a lot more like a contract than a marriage when you spout out all the benefits and things but this is the military, a whole nother ballgame and sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. It doesn’t mean you love him any less or it’s not still special. Your family and friends will understand and support yall. While he’s gone, plan the wedding of your dreams.
Do what makes yall happy, what works best for yall, and what will give you peace of mind while he’s away. Congrats to both of you 🙂