Legal ceremony+Private DW – how to make both special?

posted 2 years ago in Elopement
Post # 2
6073 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I feel like family should still get a ceremony so I’m trying to work out how to make both special without diluting the second part, different dress, when should we do the ring exchange, two first looks…help!

Hello there and welcome!  I think if they want to see a legal ceremony, then let them see it.  It’s not the most exciting to watch honestly.  And you know back in the day that is what the weddings were really (I’m thinking pioneer era). 

I had a legal ceremony at the court house right at the county clerk’s desk (this was my first marriage), and all you had to say was I DO.  It was like 2 minutes long.  We applied for the wedding license just moment before which took longer.  No rings, no dress. Then we went to lunch with the witnesses.  I personally would not add more to it.  Maybe where a nice dress if you want, but no need to make it look like the ceremonial day just for their sake!  Hey, but that is just me.

Then go have your meaningful ceremonial wedding in Italy.


If you actually want to put work into the legal US wedding and make it more “fancy” for the sake of your guests, then I guess it’s really just an internal mind decision for you to feel special about both of them.  Perhaps save your personal vows for Italy?

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by  sienna76.
Post # 4
1072 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

IntrovertedIsOk:  Hi, and welcome!!

I think it is fine to do whatever you feel comfortable with. It’s your wedding, after all, and it is not like you are telling any untruths. 🙂

It’s very normal for people to have a small legal ceremony before a DW, just because the legalities of getting married in another country can be quite tricky. If you want to do a ring exchange at the legal ceremony, you can always just use your engagement ring and a stand-in for your husband, and use the actual wedding rings at your symbolic ceremony. You can also use the traditional vows at the legal ceremony and write personalised vows for your symbolic ceremony.

I’d look at it as an opportunity rather than a burden. Everyone always wonders things like ‘should I have my hair up or down, dress long or short, mermaid or ballgown, what colors for the bouquet?’, etc. You have two chances to do exactly what you feel like with no regrets!

Post # 5
1192 posts
Bumble bee

This is exactly what my partner and I talked about doing! I think it’s fine. Your family will feel included but you’ll still get the special, private ceremony that matters to you. You can have your cake and eat it too 🙂

I would probably pick a nice, white cocktail dress so it still feels wedding-ish and go out somewhere special for lunch after. The dress could double up if you plan on having a reception party when you get home. 

Our biggest concern was which date do you pick as your anniversary! And surely that’s only a minor issue!

I say go for it!!

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