(Closed) Legal Wedding Before the “Real” Wedding – opinions?

posted 9 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
Member
458 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I was a witness to a secret wedding two years ago for my fiance’s best friend and his wife.  J & K needed to be wed so that she could live with him in Navy housing and so that she could be allowed to obtain information regarding him, his health, the Navy while he was at sea.  There was no way she could give up her great job and benefits to move to Florida with him if she was not entitled to the benefits. 

Long story short, they were wed May 31, 2007 in the courthouse and May 31, 2008 in a fantastic public wedding.  While it may not have been my ideal situation, it was what worked best for them.  Their parents did know, so it is a little different from your situation, but no one other than the two sets of parents and my fiance and I knew. 

Post # 4
Member
165 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

Honestly I say do it. Cobra is so expensive and why put another dream on hold. No one has to know but your witness and beleive me your actuall wedding will feel special too. I had 2 friends madly in love who were going to get married but for some reason her student visa was denied and she was going to be deported back to her home country. While her now husband traveled back and forth it was hard for them and she was developing a life here in the states. They had a wedding planned for the following year but ended up doing a courthouse wedding so that she could stay. It was private and yet I saw the pictures beautiful too. A year later they had their planned wedding and no one cared. It was beautiful and so much fun and it did not matter to them they were already married. This was in a church for their families and a celebration with those of us who loved them. Plus it can be something special and unique for the 2 of you and maybe celebrate having 2 anniversarys!

Post # 5
Member
10 posts
Newbee

I think you should definitely go for it.  I just learned last week that my coworker had a courthouse marriage months before her wedding for health insurance reasons, and wouldn’t have done it any other way if she had to do it over.  She said that having the legal part taken care of already (months and months ahead of time, no less) made a huge difference on her stress level on her wedding day.  Taking away that one huge element meant that she could focus on the party aspects! She only told her sister (whom she is very close to and was a witness), but kept the secret from her parents and other siblings.

Post # 6
Member
908 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I have friends who did this for immigration reasons and didn’t tell anybody (except the witnesses).  I’m not sure if this is everywhere, but in PA, when you have a coutrhouse marriage it appears in the newspaper.  One of the Bride’s friend’s Dad saw it in the paper but he kept it to himself.  You might want to consider that your parents might see it in the newspaper. 

Also, remember that COBRA isn’t your only option.  I was unemployeed for a few months last year and I got health insurance with a really high deductable and coverage for only major issues for just a few hundred dollars.  If you are healthy and don’t need any prescription medications, this might be a good plan for you.  I don’t remember what company I used but most insurance companies also provide individual health insurance.  I’d also recommend looking more closely at your fiance’s health insurance policy, some companies offer insurance for live-in partners.

Post # 8
Member
908 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

The plan I got was a short term medical insurance plan (3 months) from United Health Care.  The deductible was $500, then I would have to pay 20% of any medical costs after that up to a max of $1500.  It cost about $45/month.  I was just covering myself in case I had an emergency.  I think COBRA for me would have been ~$211/month so this was a better deal.I searched http://www.ehealthinsurance.com and found a plan that I liked, then I went to United’s website to apply for the plan so that I "could cut out the middle man".

Post # 10
Member
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I did this exact thing for the health insurance.  I don’t even know my courthouse wedding date (I will have to look it up eventually for legal documents).  I quit teaching last year and was hanging without a net.  I have done the catastrophic insurance route in the past (similar to DaisyBride), but it is VERY risky- there really is little to no coverage on those plans and COBRA is a rip-off.  I am a healthy marathon runner.  I grow my own organic vegetables, don’t smoke and do yoga, and two years ago I had to have emergency surgery.  Healthy is great, but no one ever expects to get hit with a medical emergency. (My best friend, another runner, non-smoker and a vegetarian to boot, died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism the weekend of her wedding at age 30). 

We decided it wasn’t worth the risk and, about a year ago, decided to secretly do the courthouse thing.  We didn’t bring anyone with us, they have legal witnesses there for that very reason.  We didn’t tell anyone and still haven’t (his immediate family knows because he works at the family business and they ARE the HR department).  I was very conflicted about it (more sowhen it turns out he didn’t do his homework and I could have just gotten domestic partnership coverage).  Our minister put the whole thing in perspective, though.  He pointed out that the state documents are just that- documents for the state.  Our ceremony and reception will be our  WED-ding- the coming together of two people to create a life together in front of family, friends and (in our case) God (you can take or leave the God bit).  

I don’t feel married and am still looking forward to and planning for the day like everyone else.  The nice thing is that there won’t be cold feet- we’re already legally in it!

Post # 11
Member
262 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

My partner and I are currently considering the same thing as I’m looking to transition to part time work and trying to promote my business.  Insurance is an issue and my FI has great insurance which I’d go on after we’d marry no matter where I work.  THey don’t give insurance for domestic partnerships so we are considering marrying at the courthouse so that I can be covered.  Whiel I am really healthy, I don’t want to risk it. 

 I think it is an interesting thing to consider politically, given the current debates about marriage rights in this country.  Additionally, the fact that so many of us are doing this says a lot about the current healthcare situation in this country.  However,  on a more personal level, I think the legal marriage is a piece of paper and a formality, while the wedding ceremony itself is our loved ones blessing our union- that is the big deal to us.  Plus, we’re doing a destination wedding so it will be a relief to not have to fuss over the paperwork. 

Post # 13
Member
2820 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

So I’m planning on getting the paperwork done beforehand for totally different reasons — I live in a province where there are very strict rules about who you can have mary you (either a religious clergy member, or a secular marriage commissioner) and what needs to be said in a non-religious ceremony (two very unromantic lines that cannot be camoflauged in any way).

My fiance and I are planning on going to city hall (courthouse) the morning of the wedding (the ceremony is in the evening) with our MOH and BM. And I’m guessing that our ceremony will still feel "real". =)  When everyone’s there gathered there just for you, to witness your love for each other…. It’s definately different than a courtroom environment. (Not to suggest that that’s not a good way to do it — if the people you love are there and you’re getting to say the vows YOU want to say, it’s real.)

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