Post # 1
My wonderful boyfriend (who is not a US Citizen) and I are currently living in his country, but due to work reasons, I will need to come back to the US in March. We are looking at various immigration options for him, and the most feasible option appears to be getting married.
However, we both agreed that we would ideally like to have more than six months to plan and save for the wedding of our dreams. In order for him to be able to legally work and do all that other good stuff in the US, we would need to be legally married as soon as he enters the country. We are considering getting legally married in March, but not having the actual wedding for at least a year after that. Our idea is to only tell immediate family that we are really married & let everyone else think we are still just engaged until the actual ceremony
However, I’m a litle afraid that our real wedding ceremony won’t feel as special – or, that everyone and their brother will find out (which I could feasibly see happening – at the office, among other family members..) and that people would think our wedding ceremony was a “fraud” since we are already technically “married”.
However, we want to wait to have the special wedding but for immigration purposes need to get legally hitched much sooner. We don’t want to do long distance again! I would love feedback from others who have done this and how others reacted or how the real ceremony felt….or how you would feel if you found out about this if it were a friend’s situation.
To those of you who have done it – what do you consider your anniversary date? the legal date, or the ceremony date?
Post # 3
My FI and I are getting married before our ceremony, but for different reasons. We’ll be getting married in Mexico, so in order to avoid the headache of translating paperwork and meeting foreign marriage standards we’re getting legally married in our home country (Canada) and saving the ceremony for our actual wedding celebration in Mexico. Although we’re not waiting a year in between we’ll still have about 1-2 months of being married before the actual wedding.
I don’t think people are going to look at your ceremony as a “fraud.” In doing some research about this I’ve heard of a lot of couple who are legally married before they can have a ceremony with friends and family. You just have to remember that it’s your life together and therefore your decision.
Your reasons for wanting to be legally married sooner are really legitimate. You obviously don’t want to have to be away from the man you love for longer than you need to so I think that what you are suggesting seems really reasonable and acceptable. No one can blame you if you aren’t ready for the big houpla of a grand wedding, but still want to tie the knot so you and your FI can start your life together.
Just remember to do what makes you happy. This is your life together and whether or not you have a big celebration to make the “official” start of it shouldn’t be the focal point. Your wedding ceremony when you eventually do decide to have it will be much more special anyway. You’ll have a beautiful gown and friends and family happy to see you on that special day so how could it not be a memorable occasion?
Go with your gut, but as a fellow bride being legally married before the “actual” wedding day I can say that no one is going to think any less of you. You need to do what you must so just make the most of everything and stay positive!
Post # 4
My FH and will have been married for a year when we have our wedding. we are both considering our “wedding” to be the big one next year. Being legally married has taken none of the luster out of being a bride or having our wedding. It is what the two of you make of it. My FH is as excited as the day he asked me as am I.
There are a lot of bees who have done this.
Post # 5
We decided to get legally married one year before our wedding date so that we can both be covered under my insurance and other benefits that he isn’t getting now through his work. We’re doing the courthouse thing so only a handful of people will know about..it makes financial sense to us to do it this way. Our wedding/reception is just to celebrate with our friends and families and we need to save for that.
Post # 6
My husband and I were married in May, but we haven’t even started planning our wedding. We had some legal reasons why it made more sense to be married sooner rather than later, so we had a simple city hall ceremony with only his mom there.
Don’t think that your “wedding” will mean less because you already legally married. I know that our wedding will mean far more to me than the actual legal ceremony, because it will be in our church and we will have all of our friends and family there. And I’d also not worry that your friends and family will be less excited about it. We get comments all the time from people who are very excited about the upcoming wedding and tell us they can’t wait for it…even though they know we are already married.
Post # 7
We’re probably doing this too, as the state laws where we are having our wedding require us to take too much time off before the wedding and we just don’t have that kind of vacation time on our plates. It seems like a stupid reason, but we would rather spend our time on our honeymoon than waiting around for a week for the states permission. I do want to do it close to the ceremony though, so we’re going to get married maybe 1-2 weeks before the wedding. I also see it as an opportunity to do the short white dress!
Post # 8
Thanks! It seems to be a lot more common than I thought. I feel better now 🙂
Post # 9
Same here – we legally married (common law) in Sept 2009 because FI was ill and needed my benefits (and it would save us $600/mo that he was paying for himself as an adjunct professor!); he asked me to formally marry him on Oct 31, 2009. We are celebrating our wedding 10/10/10 and that will be our anniversary. We consider the first one really an administrative thing. Unlike JOP, there were no vows exchanged. It was 10 minutes in the clerk’s office filling out a form.
Careful with immigration, though. Ex-husband was an immigrant from Guatemala and they wanted wedding pics and a bunch of other stuff. We JOP’d it but my family was there – we just couldn’t afford a big wedding back then (early 20s).
Post # 10
We did this too! My fiance and I just moved across the country for his grad school program, and it just made everything easier – insurance, couples housing through the school, membership at the gym, etc. We’re keeping it a secret and will consider our anniversary to be the date of our “big splash” ceremony next year.
Still, we definitely had a day or two of “googly eyes” after the legal ceremony… and he calls me wife sometimes now… It’s fun!
Post # 11
We got married of December 09, and our wedding isnt until October ’10. So almost a year. We kept it a secret from nearly everyone, so we still feel like our wedding is our actual wedding and not an after thought. 🙂
Post # 12
Hi! I believe one of the bees, Mrs. Pudding, just posted on this the other day. She and her husband had to do this for the same reasons. You should read the post. . . it was very good, and I think it will reassure you that both of your ceremonies will still be special to you for different reasons. My husband and I got married by a judge at the courthouse a few hours before our outdoor ceremony in front of family and friends and both ceremonies were lovely.
Post # 13
I am brand new to the bee – when I saw your posting I thought FH stands for First Husband! LOL – must tell you something about me… 🙂