Whos done this…legally married first then, white wedding(vow renewal)later?

posted 3 years ago in Vow Renewals
Post # 3
8387 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@AndysCraftsNmore:  I think quite a few bees have done this for health insurance, immigration, military, etc.  If you plan on getting the paperwork done first, then having your wedding and reception later, you’ll probably want to keep the paperwork part low key.  If you have 2 weddings a year apart, it might seem gift grabby.

Post # 4
3268 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@AndysCraftsNmore:  My cousin did that, but it wasn’t well-communicated what was going on, so there were some weird feelings about “2 weddings for the same couple” in the family since many of us didn’t really know that the “wedding” was a vow renewal until afterwards, and some people got torqued out about it (not that it was necessarily any of their business. . .).

My SO’s brother also did this– his wife is religious, he is not, so they were legally married in her church but had the big outdoor family wedding celebrating their cultural backgrounds (Scottish and Japanese– made for some wonderful wedding clothing!) later. 

It can work I think, but I also think it helps to avoid weird feelings in the family if you make it clear what you are doing (i.e. making sure people are aware that the white wedding is a vow renewal) because people’s emotions can be so weird around weddings and related matters!

I don’t have any detailed advice, but I know there are a number of bees who have done this. Hopefully they will show up and give you some practical advice!

Post # 5
4576 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I can think of 10 people we know who did this and maybe 2 where anyone gave them shit for it.

Post # 6
1340 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I know of one couple who did this because the woman was suddenly diagnosed with MS right after being laid off and losing her health insurance. No one batted an eyelash about it.

Post # 7
746 posts
Busy bee

This is very common for a number of reasons-school, military assignment, health insurance, too many cocktails in Vegas. 🙂 There’s no reason why you can’t do a ceremony anytime! 

Post # 8
712 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015


I would wait for at least five years of marriage to do a vow renewal but that is just me. If you are doing the official ceremony a year before, make sure that you let your family know that you are having a vow renewal. Nobody will appreciate being lied to.

Discuss this idea with the people you care about the most and see what they think. You will want your family and friends to enjoy themselves so let them know what your idea is.

When you are ready to start planning, give yourself at least a year to book all of your vendors. Decide what kind of celebration you want.  We will be using a small chapel which has packages, so everything we need is included such as cake, officiant, flowers, food etc. 

http://www.idostill.com/ This is an excellent website. 

Post # 9
155 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Whatever you do, tell everyone the truth.  Otherwise it will seem as if you are ashamed of being already married and want to deceive people into thinking what they’re watching is the first time ever and live instead of pre-recorded.

Post # 10
4 posts
  • Wedding: August 2013

It’s what I am doing. Been with my FI over 5 years, engaged for that last year+ and had planning put on hold because we were unemployed (went to college to be music teachers…bad idea). Well I finally got a job 11 hrs away from our hometown and our extremely religious family will not allow us to move together unmarried (not without burning major bridges that I would rather remain intact). Since we have 2 weeks until we have to move we are having a ceremony with just immediate family, a cake and punch reception so family/friends can congratulate/see us off and away we go. Next summer on our 1 year anniversary we are doing an elaborate vow renewal with everything I missed this time.

It was this or long distance for a year and people are going to gossip about us but I really don’t care, it is our decision to make. We aren’t asking for gifts or anything this first time. Not how i dreamed it would happen but I finally get to live with my best friend and I’ll get my big day down the road. 

Good luck with everything!

Post # 11
5160 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

I did this because my “wedding” was in mexico and it’s impractical to get legally married there.

The legal ceremony – just a JOP thing – was really low key, only atteneded by our two witness, and only a few others even knew that we did it.  We intentionally kept it very quiet, but didn’t make it a secret per-say.  For example, a lot of people know that it’s unusal to actually get legally married in Mexico, so if they asked if it was our legal wedding we’d say that we signed the paperwork before, but that this was the “real” wedding.  

Post # 12
22 posts
  • Wedding: April 2012

I did this, my DH and I were married in a c ourthouse because after he got deployment orders we had to postpone our wedding. It was just him and I. No family no friends no gifts. One year later we continued with our white wedding. It was a “wedding celebration” we had a ceremony in church and a reception. We kept family and friends informed and no one seemed weird about it.

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