Post # 1
I’m completely new to this board…just registered! This is a pretty long post, but I could use some advice/suggestions. Thanks in advance for those of you who decide to read the whole thing!
My SO and I have been talking about getting married for a few months now. I know he’s going to propose in the next few months, but our situation is a bit different…
Here’s a little background…we have known each other for 6 years but didn’t start dating until 2 years ago. We have been in a LDR ever since we started dating because at the time, he went to school at west point and I went to school in PA. Since we’ve graduated, we’ve been living in separate states due to our jobs. Literally all his other friends who are in the military and were in relationships are married now but we didn’t because he really encouraged me to have my own career until things are more settled. He’s done with his various forms of training and is finally in a set location so we decided now is a good time to finally get married and be able to be together.
Then…we found out a month or so ago that he will be deployed to Afghanistan mid-August this year. So that means at least another year of being apart. At the same time, we want to be able to get married before he leaves. We want our friends and family to celebrate with us but there is just not enough time to plan out a decent wedding right now. The only solution we could come up with is to get a civil marriage at city hall this summer before he gets deployed and have the whole big wedding and reception a few months after he gets back(1 year deployment).
And i’m not even sure how to classify myself after the civil ceremony – I know I would be married legally on paper, but I feel like we should keep it on the down-low until he gets back and we have an actual wedding ceremony and reception.
so my question is…..has anyone else been in a similar situation(civil marriage first, wedding/reception later)? What did you do?
How would we tell our friends/family? Both of our parents know and fully support us and we’ve told a few of our closest friends, but we still have to tell other relatives and other friends. We want the city hall ceremony to just be us and our parents and siblings, but friends have said they want to be there too… We just don’t really want to turn this into a big deal since we will have a real wedding later on…
Would it even be called a wedding if we have a religious ceremony later on? Or would it be called renewing vows?
We haven’t started thinking of details yet and i’m already starting to feel a bit overwhelmed…any type of help would be greatly appreciated.
Post # 3
My questions is why are you getting married before he leaves? Do you need his spousal benefits while he is gone? Are you losing your job and won’t have any income? If not, I don’t really see what the rush is to get married now and then have another ceremony later.
I’m just worried that you are going to move to the base where he is and then will be alone while he is deployed with no job and nothing to do. I understand wanting to be a family unit though. If people know that you got married before he left, you probably shouldn’t call it a wedding when you get married later. But there are people on the Bee that have gotten married at the courthouse and then planned a wedding later for different reasons.
Post # 4
OOoo honey i went through this situation a few years ago. We didn’t get married because we weren’t living together. We decided to wait, “do it right” (our opinions for our personal relationship–we felt like we wouldn’t bother with the shebang afterwards and no way could we have kept it secret) and go all out. We waited, but MANY of my friends get married before hand. Most do a secret wedding, then have the big thing later. One got married in a catholic church.
My advice is that you definitely DO NOT want to end up on base all alone if you already have a “family” (friends, job, life, etc) where you live right now. I’m 100% sure that the fact I wasn’t in Georgia with all the other military wives, but was in Missouri, kept me more sane than most. I was able to handle the deployment really really well and “forget” about it.
Post # 5
I have a stable job with good income right now so we don’t really need the spousal benefits. One of the most important factor in getting married is that if anything happens to him over there, I would be one of the first to know. And in addition, I would be eligible to join a group called FRG which is a family readiness group that offers support and information about deployment.
I don’t live on base. I’m in NYC actually and have a really great support system of great friends and family. I don’t plan on moving anywhere until he gets back from deployment.
Post # 6
ejs: What did you do while he was deployed? Did you plan most of the wedding yourself without him?
Post # 7
For the reasons you have stated…I dont think you should do a civil ceremony. Maybe its best to get enagaged and then get married when he arrives back?
I myself got married in a civil ceremony first and then we have a family/friends ceremony this may. We got married because his visa was expiring and he wouldnt be able to come back into the united states if we didnt get married. but if there is no urgency or NEED to get married RIGHT NOW, I really recommend waiting. 🙂
Thats just my opinion, but do whatever your heart tells you!
Post # 8
Do you have a poor relationship with his family that you think they wouldn’t tell you right away if they were notified if something happened to him?
I’ve heard of people doing secret civil ceremonies and then having a wedding and pretending like they were getting married then, although they were already married.
Post # 9
Hugs to you and Fiance. And thank him for his service to our country.
I haven’t been in this situation, so I don’t have any advice, except follow your heart and do what is right for you. Good luck!
Post # 10
I’m not really sure what my heart’s telling me at this point. I feel like it’s the logical choice to just wait, but we also just want to be married already for the sense of security it offers. We’re impatient :/
Post # 11
We did a civil ceremony because my Fiance needed my health insurance after suffering a back injury. We are having a big wedding this May. Maybe it’s just us, and I know it’s not for everyone, but we have loved being married while planning a wedding, it has really helped us keep the focus on the marriage, not the party. Not many people know we are legally wed and we don’t think that the fact we are makes our upcoming wedding any less special or meaningful. We’re still really looking forward to standing in front of our friends and family and declaring, once again, that we are in this for life.
Do what feels right for you and makes you the most comfortable as you send your man overseas. Best of luck to you!
Post # 12
I’m on the “get married now” side, and not because of the benefits. I know I’ve mentioned it before in other posts (so sorry if i’m being redundant) but the biggest thing is the Army will not recognize a girlfriend or fiance’. To them, you are nothing unless you are a wife. And I don’t mean that in a complaining sort of way, but just a fact. When my Darling Husband (was my Boyfriend or Best Friend at the time) was deployed in Iraq and it was time to come home, they sent all the married guys home first. And some of those guys came home up to a month early! And when you haven’t seen your honey in a long time, a month or even a few days is HUGE!
And just because you get married doesn’t mean you have to live on post or where he is stationed while he is gone. When you’re married, the Army does a very good job on keeping tabs where the wives live. My Darling Husband is in Lousiana and I’m in Colorado and trust me, they know where I am.
Like you Etre, I had known my Darling Husband a long time before we finally started dating, so we “really knew” eachother by the time we took the next step. We actually decided we wanted to get married while he was still in Iraq (the official engagement obviously didn’t happen until he got back lol). If you have known eachother for that long and intend to get married when he gets back, why wait? A good friend of mine is in the same situation; her Fiance is deploying and they are having a small ceremony before he leaves and then having the big party when he gets back.
Now, for the materialistic side of things…if you do get married, he is going to make quite a bit more. Obviously there is the hazard/combat pay, but there is also the family separation and hardship pay…not to mention you’ll be on his insurance, etc. The list could really go on and on. The extra money that he would make, plus the insurance premiums you wouldn’t have to pay, could easily cover a honeymoon…just another way to look at it.
Post # 13
Thanks for the advice JSDragonfly. I was aware that girlfriends and fiances mean nothing in the military’s eyes (which is one of the biggest reasons why we want to get married before he deploys)…sucks doesn’t it?! And I had no idea about the married men being sent home first. That would be so awesome!
Post # 14
my friend was in a similar situation. they got engaged a few months before his deployment and already had wedding plans in motion for after he returned. they decided to go to the courthouse before he left and get married because of the benefits and the fact that you are (legally) nothing unless you are the wife in the military. only their army friends knew…not even the brides sister or the rest of us bridesmaids knew about it! they had their wedding as planned after that, including the catholic ceremony. they “came out” a couple of years later. i totally understood, but some of their friends were upset that they didnt tell them. if it were me, i would keep it a secret too though! they celebrate both their anniversaries now and dont regret having a civil ceremony.
Post # 15
We are just having a civil ceremony, followed by a reception for 75 people at one of our favorite restaurants. By the time we marry, we will have planned it all in only 4 monhts and it will be lovely! If you don’t have a huge guest list and are ok with a private room at a restaurant, I think it is definitely possible for you to plan a wedding before your love leaves.
Post # 16
My first marriage was situated when the ex was about to deployed to Iraq. We eloped, and planned for a religious wedding/revowal afterwards.
People will have their own opinions and unfortunately, many people will have a negative opinion about it. I don’t know why this is the case, but maybe they just aren’t familar with that sort of situation?
I wouldn’t have changed, or regret marrying that man. Although he was not the right one for me (since we’ve divorced), I don’t regret the timing at all, or the feelings that were attached to it. I did benefit just as much as he from the marriage, in fact I believe he benefited more from it than I did.
I’d rather have married him and know that we shared that commitment even for an hour than regret it if he had passed during deployment. Not to say that I married him for fear of regret, because I don’t regret it even when the marriage turned out poorly in the end. We didn’t get to do a revowal.