Post # 1
I have seen a lot of posts on these boards about couples in the military getting legally married and then having a big wedding later on, but my question is a bit different.
I was emancipated a few years ago, right in the middle of dealing with early stages of cervical cancer. It was stage 0, but persistent. I had a few treatments that were supposed to basically make it disappear, and it didn’t. Doctors told me I needed to stay on top of it so that it did not get worse. Well, when I was emancipated (it was the only way to help my dad out of a messy divorce settlement requiring him to pay child support even though I was 21), I was no longer allowed to stay on my dad’s insurance policy, and so I have not been able to afford my own insurance and “stay on top of it.”
I’ve done my best to basically push it all from my mind, but my fiance made a plea to me last night to consider getting legally married now verrrrry quietly, and having our wedding later. He is very concerned about me not having insurance, and honestly it’s just not something we can afford right now. We’re paying for our wedding ourselves and that already is a huge struggle. I’m still finishing college and he is a teacher.
So the major problem we are running into is that he is Catholic. I’m not, so all along our ceremony was going to simply be a Catholic nuptial service, not a mass. However, if we’re legally married, it’s considered a convalidation ceremony (essentially a marriage blessing). We don’t have a problem with that, per se, because the services are very similar, but I’ve been reading that many priests won’t allow music, a dress, bridesmaids, etc., and no real formal reception.
So my question is, of those of you who have done the whole “legally married now, having our wedding later,” were any of you Catholic? And how did you manage it?
Post # 3
I did this, military wife, he is Catholic and we had anticipated doing a ceremony in a catholic church. When we were ready to plan the wedding and knew he was going to be home, we went to that Church to see their policies, they pretty much told us that since we were already married outside of the Catholic church that we could no longer get married in the Church. I am not sure if all Catholic churches stand by this, but this was our dream church, since then we have decided to use my denomination and my Youth Pastor from hometown, he was very understanding to our situation and made it a little less stressful on the two of us!!!
Post # 4
I wish we could go ahead with that, but I’m non-denominational, and he is very set on having the spiritual wedding in a Catholic church. His family alone would throw a huge fit (not that we’ll end up making our decisions for them, but their feelings are a factor.) It’s just a really tough situation. I thought about speaking to his priest before doing it, because he’s a very understanding guy. We also live together and as I’ve said, I’m not Catholic, and he still didn’t bat an eye about marrying us. So, I was thinking maybe we would explain it to him, and explain that personally, we don’t consider a marriage license to be our profession of love for each other before God. Who knows, maybe he’ll understand. If he doesn’t we wouldn’t be upset with him, just disappointed and facing some really hard choices.
Post # 5
There are definitely priests out there that will let you have the whole traditional wedding ceremony, including dress, bridesmaids, etc in a convalidation ceremony. Try talking to different priests. If you’re having trouble, try more liberal parishes. Good luck, and don’t worry – you will find someone.
edit: I guess I mean progressive parishes, not liberal parishes. Also, I didn’t really answer your question. I haven’t done this, but my parents did it, and my aunt and uncle did it. From what I heard, the convalidation was exactly the same as a “regular” Catholic church wedding. I even saw my aunt and uncle’s video and there was no difference.
Post # 6
@berkie: Thank you! You’re the first actual person to definitively say they’ve seen or heard of it done! I think his priest will be more liberal, but with the actual faith he is pretty traditional, so it is a huge toss-up. I’m afraid to ask him! But the church we had already booked for our wedding is a very liberal area (Princeton, NJ) and when we met their Monsignor, he was very funny. We were supposed to have a meeting with him before signing up for Pre-Cana (which we are still going to do no matter what!) and so when we introduced ourselves and said we’d love to schedule a meeting, he said “Well, you’ve met me!” Very great guy.
Hopefully it can all work out! Like I said, I had come to terms with the situation being rough for me, but it’s so much harder when my fiance is tearfully saying that he’s not OK with me not having health insurance. Not only because of my personal medical issues, but he said every time I get in a car he gets a bit of fear. He has diabetes, and I HOUND him to take care of himself, so I understand that feeling of needing to know the love of your life is safe and well.
Post # 7
By the way, I just want to say to everyone who sees this what a pleasure it is to post on the weddingbee boards. I posted the same question at theknot and got nothing but nastiness. It seems EVERY time I post ANY question on theknot I get just really rude condescending people, when all I was asking for was information and thoughts. It’s nice to know that there IS a forum out there with honest but nice people who are not interested in shaming others, but more in helping each other. So thank you all!
Post # 8
Ew, the knot. I’ve heard nothing but bad things about that place! 🙂
I just wanted to mention that I edited my previous post. Also, check out this thread:
Convalidation questions about dress, bridesmaid, and groomsmen.
Post # 9
Wish I could help you with the Catholic part of your question, but my hubby and I aren’t Catholic. However due to immigration, my Darling Husband and I were married in April in a civil ceremony. Because of the timing required by immigration, my in-laws couldn’t afford to fly here (from Europe) to be at a wedding in that time period, so we planned on a formal/religious/family ceremony in October.
I know how you feel about the Knot. I found that only in the months sections did the ladies become not so deliberately hurtful, and even then it depended. It was nice to find boards like this where others have gone through/ are going through the same thing or a similar thing to what I did and were accepting without judgement of my reasons for having 2 ceremonies, or simply were accepting even if they weren’t going through the same situation!
I hope your priest turns out to be one of the lenient ones and that you can have the convalidation ceremony that you want. 🙂
Post # 11
My FH and I are probably getting legally married well before the ceremony because of visas and immigration, we’ll be able to stay together a lot easier if we’re married. The wedding date is booked 2,5 years from now, as we need to save up for even a small reception, and our chaplain has been very understanding and flexible about it and agrees that there is the ‘paperwork round’ in some lawyer’s office and the ‘wedding’ which will be in the chapel. Though I should perhaps mention that this is an Anglican rather than a Catholic ceremony.
Bottom line, don’t give up until you get a firm ‘no’ and even then just look elsewhere. People are often a lot more understanding than you think, even if one particular person doesn’t seen too helpful. Sometimes circumstances just force you into one direction and any compassionate and intelligent pastor should be able to understand that!
Post # 12
I’m Catholic and got married last summer in a JOP ceremony. We purposely made it as un-weddinglike and as businesslike as possible to distinguish it from what will be our real wedding. Like you, we needed to be legally married for insurance reasons. We can’t do a church wedding right now because we are waiting for an annulment to be (hopefully!) granted. I’d much have preferred to wait and have a regular church wedding…but real life intervened.
Our priest knows our situation. We have not yet discussed with him all the details of our wedding (bridemaids, white dress. etc) yet. I’m not too worried about all that because I really don’t care if we have all that. If he tells us we can’t have it, then I will just wear a cream/champagne dressy dress and my husband will wear a suit. I do know that what is considered appropriate at a convalidation varies from parish to parish. I have heard of convalidations that were indistinguishable from regular first-time weddings.
One thing I did see in your post…a convalidation is not a marriage blessing. In the eyes of the church it is a marriage ceremony – not a blessing or a vow renewal. The rite of marriage is exactly the same whether it is a marriage between two people who are not legally married or a convalidation. So (at least to me!) that’s an argument that you should be able to have everything as close to a “normal” wedding as possible.
But you should talk to your priest. My priest has been wonderfully helpful and not at all judgmental. He has told us, however, that since we are not married yet, that we must either continue to live separately or live as brother and sister until we are married. We are trying to do that….trying anyway. 🙂
Post # 13
I also had a civil ceremony and plan to have a wedding in the Catholic Church later this year. We have not discussed the details with the priest, but many people do this and they should not have a problem with you having a full wedding after the civil ceremony. If your priest does – find another priest!
Post # 14
Just wanted to say this is what i am doing with my fiance. In fact, we are getting legally married this weekend in a civil marriage in France. He is french and we live in france, and in france you have to have a civil ceremony for the marriage to be legal (many couples do it the morning of the church wedding or the day before, but sometimes it can be several weeks before because of trying to get one of the few time slots at the mayor’s office). This ceremony will last about 30 minuts long. Our close family and witnesses are attending, as well as some members of his family that won’t be able to attend the church wedding.
the church wedding is in about 3 months and is in New Orleans. we are both Catholic and I have a great priest who understands the situation and why we have to have the civil ceremony (he has done it before). in fact, after the civl ceremony we will have the catholic marriage preparation course here in France, so we are still preparing ourself for our catholic marriage before God
This weekend I am wearing an ivory suit and some nice pumps, but in April it will be a big white wedding dress and flowers, bridesmaids, groomsmen, reception, band, the works
I see it as having both of our traditions, for him the civil ceremony is very important to be married before the French Republic, for me its the marriage before God
So I think it is totally fine. but we have been honest about it (although we did not send invitations for the civil ceremony to everyone invited to the religious – didn’t want to over do it)
I hope this helps! I am wondering how i will feel when we will be legally married for these 3months. but we are not exchaning rings and i told him he can only call me his wife in french, that way i still have the “wife” in English to count for the religious ceremony!
Post # 15
I am doing it!
My husband is Catholic and I am Buddhist. The first church we found said that we aren’t married in the eyes of God and the Church, so this convalidation could/would be treated as our wedding day. The only thing missing – unless we wish to include it, is the exchanging of rings.
Post # 16
By The Way, I got the same grief from The Knot and Yahoo answers. The idea of not being married in the church first and foremost was just appalling to them.
So strange… It’s not your life dangit. It’s mine.