Post # 1
So FI and I were discussing the uncertainties of life this morning, as he recently added onto his life insurance policy. Furthermore, FI has a medical procedure this month which I am concerned about. We were also discussing the benefits of being married as far as insurance, taxes, etc. I wondered out loud if eloping in secret and still hosting a reception next June would be an option. We wouldn’t want to tell our family or friends, though. This would merely be a legal formality and a precaution in case anything should happen. He recently learned a coworker of his did that before her wedding, as her husband was being deployed for 9 months and her very Catholic family was adamant on a religious ceremony. They eloped in secret for medical and financial reasons.
To be clear, we are in our 30’s, not particularly close with anyone in our families, planning a very small (less than 40 people) but rather expensive wedding. I am most likely not having a bridal shower. We don’t care about gifts or a wedding with all the trimmings. I’m wearing a preowned dress, DIYing everything, and we don’t have a bridal party. We are taking our entire budget and putting it to food and wine- we want our guests to celebrate our relationship while wanting for nothing at our expense. This is exactly what I want and will not change it, but it also means saving for a wedding in June 2015. I know that some of our older family members would poke fun or disapprove. Since I don’t care to hear criticism on our unorthodox wedding, if we eloped I would keep it private. His parents would also be disappointed, and I don’t want to upset his mother. Though lovely, they are deeply religious. I’m of the sentiment that what they don’t know won’t hurt them, as it isn’t their marriage.
I’m only interested in hearing from people who either considered it or people who followed through with it and their reasons as to why/why not. I don’t care to hear from people who feel passionately against secret elopements, nor do I care for any lectures on etiquette, tradition, etc.
Post # 2
My husband and I thought about it doing it on Leap Day February 29, 2012 just because we felt really overwhelmed with the wedding plans and thought it would be nice to do something with just the two of us. Ultimately we decided against it and I’m glad we were able to have our ceremony and celebrate in front of all of our friends and family.
I know this is not the case with everyone, but I remember thinking on my wedding that I would have felt a bit silly having a ceremony and having my father give me away if I were already married. Like it was all for show.
Post # 3
coffeedrinker: my husband and I definitely considered doing this! Especially when we got to the last few months before the wedding when I was considering running just so I wouldn’t have to deal with any more details!
I asked if we could just go to Vegas for a week, have a simple but elegant (and cheap) ceremony there, by ourselves, and then come back and celebrate with family and friends. Then my husband said that if we were going to do that, we should just keep it secret for a few months and go through with the actual planned “wedding” but by then the pressure would be off and we could focus more on the reception than the “wedding”.
In the end we didn’t go through with it. I personally didn’t feel comfortable omitting the truth from my mom. But if this is the best decision for you and your FI, and you want to keep your marriage secret for the next year till you can celebrate with friends and family, do it! There are days that I wish I had!
Post # 4
ren89: louisianablue: That’s the thing…. My mom passed away ten years ago and my father isn’t really a presence in my life, so much so that he isn’t part of the wedding. I’m not being given away by anyone. And my mother was such a romantic pragmatist, that she loved when my sister eloped. She could always see the romance in any practical decision.
Post # 5
coffeedrinker: My step daughter did this and then let everyone know on facebook.
Post # 6
Do it if you think it is the best option for you guys. But, and it’s a big but, don’t lie about it. Since you are only inviting your nearest and dearest, they will presumably understand and support you. However if they found out later you “tricked” them they could be displeased.
I would also caution you that many officiants will not perform a “real” marriage ceremony if you are already married. Many will not allow for the traditional vows (though some may) or “by the power vested in my by….I now pronounce you man and wife” So it is likely that any guest who is actually paying attention will catch on, and then not understand why you would lie to them.
Why would you want to lie? Think it won’t be as special? Think you won’t get as many gifts? That people won’t be as excited about a renewal or a reception? I think you need to figure out what the reason you would want to lie to your closest family friends, and then determine if it’s worth it.
Post # 7
andielovesj: OH MY GOSH NO!!!
1. a friend of ours will be performing the ceremony for free. We LITERALLY are taking every penny we save and putting it to food and beverages. If there is 500$ to spend on an officiant, then that means that 500$ gets spent on even better food or open bar and we get a friend to happily do it for free.
2. This has nothing to do with gifts. We are grownups with our own lives. We don’t care about gifts. I wouldn’t even think about registering somewhere until my sister reminded me it would be more convenient for guests, should they want to give a gift. I wouldn’t care if all we got on our wedding day was a bunch of cards. We have everything we need and aren’t looking at people attending like they are any return on our investment.
The real reason to keep it a secret is this- people look at your ceremony differently when they think it is simply a formality. We still want to commit ourselves to everyone we love the most, publicly, solemnly, and without hesitation. What we don’t want is to do this with a big asterick in our older family member’s minds. We know our friends would understand, but the old people won’t. If I thought I could get away with letting the people who “get it” know without a fallout from anyone else, then we would. But that isn’t realistic. I have absolutely no problem keeping my relationship private and keeping secrets from them. Maybe that makes me a weirdo, but I only feel like the person I have to justify my relationship to is my man. No one else is entitled to know the juicy, sordid, or mundane details of my lovelife.
On the other hand, I don’t want to cheat myself from the giddiness of knowing that officially, and forever, I will be married in front of everyone else I love.
Post # 8
nycsa: I think that’s a little extreme. I’m fairly certain announcing my secret elopement on social media isn’t a route I would take.
Post # 9
I’m a younger bride and seriously considering it. FI’s family and my family are just so different and I know once they meet they won’t get along and may try to break us apart. If we’re already married they won’t be able to do that. I wouldn’t want to tell family or friends either for the same reason as you. To me a marriage isn’t complete until the ceremony is finished so legal marriage is just a formality and I know family and friends won’t take our ceremony as seriously if they know we were previously married.
I also figure since we don’t have a mortgage, major bills in our name, passports, etc, this will be easier than getting my name changed on everything in the future.
I’m still on the fence regarding the repercussions in case anyone finds out but if I’m strong enough to go through with this it’ll be at the end of the summer.
Post # 10
coffeedrinker: If you think older family members will not agree or be as supportive as you would like, then think about how huge that asterisk is going to be when they found out you lied to them about what they were attending.
Your relationship is solely your business, until you invite people into it. Inviting them to a “wedding” if it is not a wedding (which will be the opinon of some) gives them some level of it becoming their business.
People will look at your ceremony differently at a renewal or blessing or comittment ceremony because it is different. Different isn’t good or bad, it’s just different. I’m also not sure why dressing up and saying vows in front of loved ones when they are not really valid (except on a personal level, but that could be achieved in your living room) is less of a formality.
People think these things will stay secrets, but unless you both are 100% perfect about never mentioning it to anyone, people will find out. People will blab because they won’t understand why you would need to lie. Because if you need to lie about it, then you are telling them that you didn’t trust they would support you, or be happy enough, or not think differently of the ceremony. So you tricked them to get the reaction you hoped they’d get through deceiving them.
If you go ahead do so knowing that when (not if, when) people find out, that you are ready for the fall out and hurt feelings.
I am putting these things out there for you to consider, not because it matters to me. Ultimately it doesn’t matter to me what you do.
Post # 11
- Wedding: October 2014 - Cape May
I would recommend it. We are eloping but everyone knows, so it’s not a secret for us. Originally we had planned a bigger reception in which all of our money and some would be affording just the venue alone. We finally decided to cancel the reception and elope on the beach in a simple ceremony. You have to do what’s important to you- at the end of the day it’s about you and your FI.
Post # 12
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
Thought about this for health insurance purposes and then didn’t need to, and I’m really glad we didn’t. I would have had a hard time keeping a secret like that from everybody in the midst of the wedding week preparations, and it was pretty great to *actually* get married on our wedding day.
Gotta do what you gotta do though. I personally wouldnt risk dealing with it unless you reallllly had to. IMO getting on health insurance for an expensive and necessary procedure is a good reason, being married a few months early for tax purposes isn’t.