Post # 1
My FI and I decided we want to get married before our "real" wedding in November. We are actually getting married this week at the courthouse, just the two of us. I sort of see it as having two weddings, a private one (we are private people), and a public one to share, and both are special. In Nov. we will exchange rings (not now), say our vows to everyone, and have a reception with everyone. Our anniversary date can be the Nov. date, i don’t really care.
Two questions for the hive: 1. What do you think of this? I have gotten mixed reactions from our close friends and families that we have told. Most people are fine with it, some love it and a few think it will make the November wedding "fake". Has anyone else done this? (We are going through with it no matter what, it is what we want.)
Also, 2. What are your ideas to make our private ceremony special? We are going to dress up (not in wedding gowns or tuxes, but nice clothes we already have), I might buy a bouquet or corsage. I am also thinking of planning a picnic with champagne and going to a park near our house that we love. We can take our dog (who we love to an extreme amount) and have a nice day. We can’t afford any mini-honeymoon or anything right now. Any thoughts on what else we can do?
Post # 3
I’m a bridesmaid for a friend who’s (2nd) wedding is next month. They got married last June at the courthouse but didn’t tell anyone. I found out by mistake and was a little pissed, however they didn’t tell their parents until 5 months later. I think that was pretty wrong. They got married because he’s in the military and she needed the benefits, not a shameful reason AT ALL! She says it was his idea to not tell anyone (also his second marriage). I don’t know, the whole thing was weird to not tell anyone. But I don’t fault them for getting married at all. My friend wore a short white dress, and he wore khakis and a button down shirt, I think. Then they went out to their favorite restaurant for dinner. Now they’re having a full ceremony and reception next month. It’ll be the day before their 1 year anniversary. I don’t think it will make the November wedding "fake" as some have noted. But are you having a ceremony then? As with my friend, I think it’s more of a vow renewal ceremony, because I don’t see how you can be married twice. I don’t really see how it’s any different than getting married either at a destination wedding, eloping, Vegas, whatever, and then later on having a reception for all of your family and friends. Whatever the reason you want to have your ceremony, I think it’s special to you, and that’s what is important. A marriage is about two people and their love for each other anyway. Enjoy it and congratulations!! And I love the fact that you’re including your puppy!!
Post # 4
My best friend/MOH and her fiance got married for legal/immigration reasons months before their public wedding, and told only their parents. While I understand that they really *had* to so that he could work in the US, I was *quite* annoyed when I (the MOH) found out the truth the night before the wedding. It is your day, and your choice, but know that some people are liable to be unhappy (and hurt!) that they weren’t in on the ‘secret.’
Post # 5
It sounds like a very romantic idea to get married with a private ceremony. But to me, it seems a bit odd to have 2 wedding ceremonies. I think it would be fine to have a private courthouse wedding now and just a reception for everyone in November, it’s what most people do when they have a destintation wedding. In my oppinion if I was a guest invited to the November wedding, I wouldn’t see the point in attending the ceremony part if you were already married, it would just seem a bit fake. I guess it depends on how it is done.
In the end, who cares what anyone else thinks, just do what you want to do for the ceremony.
Post # 6
In November we are doing a ceremony, which I could honestly skip (it’s all about the party for me). But the groom and some of our parents want to do some sort of ceremony that says "Hey, we are marrying each other and this is why." Kind of a public declaration. We are not having an officiant because we do not want a religious ceremony, and we don’t want to pay a stranger to do it for us. We are going to have a friend lead the ceremony and we will have a few people do readings, we will exchange our rings, and say our vows as a way to express our feelings to our friends and family. It will be short, but sweet. We are also not keeping it a secret that we signed our marriage license early. One friend of mine said she sees it as getting the paperwork in order, but that the November wedding will still be "real". We wanted to have our dog in our ceremony in November, but 1) she is so poorly behaved (which is our fault) and 2) the venue doesn’t allow dogs, and 3) it would be really obnoxious in general.
Post # 7
I guess I should add that our reasons for the early ceremony now are mostly financial because we are buying a house together and feel that it will just be better legally to be married. Also I will be able to get really good health insurance for a lot less money, and the money we save will help with the house. (I currently pay a shocking amount of money for really really bad health care coverage because as a postdoc, i am considered self-employed. i also pay a boat load in taxes.) I would hate to think what would happen if we buy our house and then I got hit by a car and my bad health insurance put us into major debt.
Post # 8
Well two experiences for you:
1)my collegue, she did a simple courthouse ceremony the morning of her wedding because the ceremony she was going to have at the "real" wedding is not recognize by our state since it was her brother doing it. No problem whatsever with family, they understood.
An other couple I know will do exactly the same thing, except a couple of weeks before for the same reasons.
2)We got married at the courthouse in July 07. Why? Well for immigration because it was the only way for me to stay here legally and for us to be able to be happy. We had already done enough long distance as it was. His family made the day very special, we had 20-30 people coming. About 10 at the super short ceremony and then 20 or so at the party organized afterward.
My parents couln’t make it, neither could his mom and some of our friends. So we are having a more formal ceremony, and yes it will be the full wedding in November. It’s not a renewal in my mind. It’s a way to celebrate our love in front of our family and friends and use our own vows. Everyone understands and has no problem with it.
So I guess it all depends on how you present it to family and how you explain the reasons for it.
If your goal is just for practical reasons, I would make t very simple. Do tell everyone though so they don’t find out by accident and get offended.
You will likely also need witnesses. For the rest it depends if you want it to be special just for the two of you and have your own way to celebrate it or if you plan to invite people to celebrate it as well. But given what you say, I think I’d just keep it simple.
Post # 9
My "husband" and I did this. I think it is actually kind of hurtful for people to say that THEY were hurt by the personal choice of the bride and groom, as it is their wedding and they can do what they wish. The reason we were married at a courthouse about two months ago is also because he is in the military and I am still in school – there would be all kinds of problems with university housing/finances/etc if we had waited until our August ceremony to be legally married. However, for us, this ceremony was kind of unimportant – we took time off work/went in between classes and wore jeans and it was pouring rain. It was nice – the man who performed the ceremony was very sweet and it was private, but we were doing it for insurance and housing. We still feel as though we are engaged and so have kept the fact that we had this ceremony as private as possible (parents and a few friends know). In our eyes, our commitment will be in the ceremony we hold in front of our friends and family in August, even though neither of us are religious and aren’t even sure who will officiate! But for you, I think it is entirely possible for someone to want the privacy of that ceremony as your personal to commitment and still have your ceremony with friends and family as your witnesses. And it would be wonderful to celebrate you private ceremony in your own way by having your picnic, it sounds like fun! I believe the purpose of the large ceremony is to have friends and family as witness, to support you two through your marriage, and to celebrate the two of you. Tell your friends and family that that is how you feel, if you do, and they should understand. And if they don’t, don’t worry. It’s your wedding, so you should do what is best for you!
Post # 10
my bf and i are planning on doing this ourselves and while we’ve talked about it with our friends already [who all thought it was a great idea] we’re waiting to tell our parents until after we’re formally engaged. i don’t see second ceremony as being fake and honestly, its sad that some people would think that in the first place but i guess to each their own. how could anyone be mad about someone’s personal decision? don’t worry about anyone else’s thoughts; the most important thing is to do what you feel is the best for your situation. i think as long as you let the important people in your life know [i.e. family and maybe close friends]you’re fine.
i think your plans sound wonderful. is there a nice hotel or bed and breakfast you can stay the night at? while not a full on mini-moon, it’d be a nice place to just enjoy yourself afterwards.
Post # 11
Actually buying the house doesn’t make any difference, unless what you mean is that one of you is buying a house. If you buy it together, you jointly own the equity and the debt regardless of your marital status, whether you buy it as two single people or a married couple. The only possible difference comes into play if you split up – where in a community property state you would equally own the debt and equity regardless of the actual amount of your contributions to the mortgate, and in a non-community property state you would own equity proportional to what you actually paid.
I think that people primarily get upset about a second ceremony when the first ceremony is some kind of secret – and then they get upset because they feel deceived (and rightly so). I have several friends who got married before their actual ceremony and reception – a few because their "wedding" was outside the country, and they didn’t want to deal with a foreign marriage license; a few because they just wanted to be married for whatever reason (insurance? maybe) but didn’t have the time to plan and throw a big party until a few months later; and one because her mother was dying of cancer, and really wanted to see her married before she passed away. All of them were perfectly up front about the situation. There are really nice ways to incorporate this into your ceremony – you can have the officiant talk about the importance of expressing your commitment in front of family and friends, as opposed to using the word "marriage." It’s a subtle difference, but one that will be important to some people. Because frankly you will already be married, and for some time. So there are two reasons to have a second ceremony – either because it’s important to you to validate your commitment before your family and friends, or because you’re trolling for presents. People who don’t feel like you somehow deceived them are much more likely to understand that you felt it was important, even if already married, to express your commitment in their presence, and to feel flattered by that.
Post # 12
I would go ahead and be happy and content with you and your fiance’s decision to marry early. It is entirely your decision, and honestly, I don’t understand why other people get offended, especially when it’s for reasons like being in the military or immigration purposes. People who have never experienced those types of situations, don’t understand what it’s like, which is why it is so easy for them to take the selfish route and be ‘hurt’ or ‘offended’ that they were not in on the secret. There are plans for a bigger celebration with friends and famiy and that’s all that matters. Even more so , you and your fiance will be together. It makes you question why some other people can’t see the bigger picture and just be happy for you…
Post # 13
In response to suzanno’s comments, I know you weren’t implying that WE are trolling for presents, but rather that some people might do that. I wanted to make a comment that even if people were getting married for "the gifts", that doesn’t make a lot of financial sense. We are spending more money on the reception than we could possibly ever get in gifts. We are only inviting very close friends and family, who are not wealthy. We are doing it because we want to, it will be fun to get everyone together since we all live all over the place, it will be probably be the only time our families will meet each other en mass, and I don’t actually care if we get any gifts from anyone.
Post # 14
My fiance and I are sort of doing this. His parents were very adamant about us having a religious ceremony, in a church. Our big wedding will be on a Saturday, and our friend who introduced us to each other will be our officiant at our civil ceremony. However, the week before we will have a very small church ceremony with only our immediate family and our best man and MOH, so that my fiance’s parents will feel like we took care of the religious element. Because of the rules of the church, our marriage license will be for that day, however, our anniversary will be the day of our big wedding, since that is the ceremony that means the most to us.
Post # 15
I totally didn’t mean to imply that was your motivation. Just that people who are likely to be upset are likely to make that kind of judgement. I don’t see how anyone can reasonably be upset that you wanted to throw a big celebration in order to have them support (emotionally and morally) your commitment.
And certainly, most of us are never going to get out of a wedding in presents what we put into it in cost. However, there have been several posts about brides (generally Asian, where giving money is the norm) who have MADE money on their weddings. And I was actually told by a bride (very young daughter of some friends) the other day that she originally wanted a small wedding, but had concluded that she "might as well invite everyone, since mom and dad are paying, and its just that many more presents." Can’t wait to get an invitation from her parents. So in fact, some people do, and I think we all know it.
Post # 16
We were married in November in a private "just the two of us" ceremony at the courthouse and we will have our large wedding in August. We are really happy that we did it this way, i think it makes the stress level go down just a bit. We have only told a few friends about this, we are not hiding it, but it was private, so we are not broadcasting it either.
I dont think it makes our August wedding fake at all. Our private ceremony was just that, something for just the two of us. The big wedding in August will be real, we will be emarking on a new journey with our family and friends involved. It is our day, so we figured we could do what ever we wanted, and if the traditionalists have a problem with it well tough, its not their day or marriage. In addition, we just used the traditional vows at our courthouse ceremony, on the big day we pplan on restating the traditional vows as well as adding our own personal vows.
As far as a special way to celebrate the private ceromony, we hade a really nice lunch and bought 3 very nice bottles of wine, one from the year we first met, one for 2007 (year of private ceremony), and 1 realllly nice bottle to share as our first day as Mr. & Mrs. MC (i haven’t changed my name yet, will in September). We figure we can drink these on our anniversaries as we so choose. We also gave eachother small presents.
I hope you two enjoy your special day, as well as the big special day. Do what you want, its your life, everyone else is just a spectator.