Post # 1
I’ve seen people posting on this topic elsewhere on the boards- but, our situation is a bit different and wanted to hear what kind of feedback you all might have.
Our destination wedding is scheduled for February of 2012 in the Caribbean. We picked this date because it was the most likely time that my brother would be able to attend as he’s active duty military. At the time we picked the date back in April of this year he was stationed in Afghanistan. Nothing is ever certain when it comes to scheduling as those of you in military families know, but he was supposed to have come home sometime between September and November with at least a 6 month break before another deployment. February seemed like the safest bet. We were so happy when he came home in October with no plans for deployment until mid to late 2012.
Then….we got the call last night that he is being redeployed to Afghanistan in April with mandatory training January through February…. Which means that as of right now, my brother can’t attend our wedding. We are devastated. I know military families make sacrifices all the time- and this is rather small on the scale of sacrifices compared to other events that our military members miss while serving. But…..he’s my little brother. He was going to be a groomsmen in our wedding and I just can’t imagine getting married without him there. Hence… this post. We are trying to decide if we should have a very small, immediate family only (parents and siblings) ceremony in December so that my brother can attend.
There are several challenges to consider: all of our families are already traveling in February to our destination wedding. Our immediate family members are scattered across the country and there will be a significant expense to get everyone in the same location for a “secret” wedding. It seems unfair to ask them to travel in December just a few weeks before the destination wedding. We are considering trying to pay for everyone’s flights and hotels if they can attend, but this will stretch us pretty thin since we are paying for the “real” wedding ourselves. I’m confident that our families would be able to keep this a secret- I just wouldn’t want guests who have traveled all the way to the Caribbean to feel cheated. And last but not least, there’s no guarantee that my brother’s schedule won’t get changed again at the last minute allowing him to attend the wedding.
So, what do you think Bee’s? Is it too much to ask or take on to have a pre-wedding? If you were a guest and found out we got married before the wedding- how would you feel? Should we just wait and hope that his schedule changes?
Post # 3
Maybe try to organize a really nice dinner or something? Sort of a nice send off for your brother, and see if your family can come in (but not make it mandatory)? I would be really devestated too if my little brother couldn’t be at my wedding, but if it’s going to break you guys financially, just try to scale it back.
Post # 4
I know you’ll probably get a lot of responses from people who would be offended if they found out that you were already married but I’m not one of them. I say do what makes you and your family happy. Now, I wouldn’t lie about it if anyone asks but honestly, I know most people who do destination weddings have to do the courthouse wedding b/c it’s really hard to legalize a marriage done outside the country.
Post # 5
I know some people feel really strongly about the idea that being legally married ahead of time takes away from your wedding being “real,” but I don’t buy that and think you should do what works for you. I see no problem in having a small ceremony for your immediate family before your brother leaves, and knowing your family circumstances I would find it hard to believe that many of your guests wouldn’t understand.
The way I see it, a marriage is not only a legal relationship, but it is a social institution as well. We’ll be getting married at the courthouse the Saturday before our wedding because my father is no longer ordained and it was important for us to have him officiate, and I don’t think it takes away from our formal celebration at all because for us it is important to make our vows in the presence of and with the support of our family and friends. We’re not keeping it a secret, if it comes up we’re telling people, but we also don’t see our formal wedding as a charade or something simply because we’re already legally married.
In short – do what works for you. I think having a small ceremony in order to be able to include your brother would probably be more meaningful to you than necessarily having your destination wedding be the legal bit.
Post # 6
I don’t think, as a guest, I would feel slighted. Honestly, if it weren’t a Destination Wedding I’d feel differently maybe but when I commit to a Destination Wedding I am also looking forward to the vacation (let’s face it).
I think this is sweet and considerate and, if at all possible, you should go for it.
Post # 7
I’d try to make the secret wedding work. Life is short and for those of us in combat boots, it can sometimes be even shorter, and family is important, he’s not just your brother, but you FI’s Future brother aswell. Good luck hun.
Post # 8
I think it sounds like a great idea! Maybe talk to your family members and see how they feel about coming together for a quiet, small ceremony? Maybe just parents and siblings or something? It’s great that you want to do this for your brother. As a guest, I wouldn’t care that you were already married! I think someone posted this above but a lot of people do legalize it here first anyway. Good luck!
Post # 9
Personally, I don’t like the idea of lying to your guests, since they would have taken time off and spent money to be there with you the day of.
Since you are military family though, I’m sure your guests would understand your need to have the ceremony early. In fact would it be possible to record it and perhaps replay it at your Destination Wedding site when you make your promises again so that ALL of your family and friends can see how he was included?
Post # 10
I dont think a secret ceremony is a bad idea. My fiance and I are doing a secret ceremony more than a year before our actual wedding day. Since we are christian we dont want to live together and not be married and since we can not really afford to live seperate and dont have family we can live with we decided to do it that way. THe only people who will know will be our immediate family and then we plan on telling our guests at the reception next year. I was worried that people may see it as being rude but we have to do what works for us and is best for us.