(Closed) Already married and having a "wedding"? Please weigh in…

posted 6 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 4
520 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - Italiano's Humble

I’m gonna come off as an ugly person. but the reasons you’ve listed for getting married at city hall(especially mentioning the pics for INS!) would raise PLENTY of eyebrows, especially since you want to do all the showers and parties.

I think you need to call this a vow renewal and not a wedding. if someone volunteers to throw you a shower, accept it, but don’t be too surprised if it ends up more like a getting to know you kind of deal. you can still have a bridal party.  personally I don’t think registering is a great idea. my Fiance and I have only lived together for 2 months, and the only thing I’ve been lazy about getting is an actual silverware set. I’ve got forks and spoons, and that’s all we need right now.

we weren’t planning to register bc we’ll have lived together a year. but a friend suggested basic items that might need replacement by then, ie towels for the kitchen and baths, an extra set of our dishes for company. my registry looks like about $300 right now, and I’ll probably purchase most of that in the next couple months.

Post # 6
1 posts
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m not really sure why your reasoning for getting married at city hall would raise eyebrows either… especially since everyone knows already? 

I think you should do whatever makes you happy! I don’t know what religion you are, if any, but I’m Catholic and I had to do a legal ceremony ahead of time for my own reasons and I talked to my priest and he said that our actual wedding with the Church will be a vow confirmation, not a vow renewal. You’re too young for a vow renewal! haha and so you do everything you would in a regular ceremony. We are confriming our vows with our God, which my husband and I are religious and we really wanted to celebrate with all of our family and friends, which is the point of a wedding ceremony anyways.

I would put the idea out there to your family and friends and see their take on it and if they would be up to throwing you the typical parties (ie bridal shower and so on) and talk to them about their feelings on a registry. Plenty of people live together before getting married and they still get to have a registry for their celebration, so I don’t know why you couldn’t do that too. If people want to buy you gifts they will and if not they won’t, but there’s no harm in putting it out there. I really don’t think there is a right and wrong way to do this. Your family clearly supports you, so they will most likely support you in this too. So, non support you receive from the internet really doesn’t matter. I wish you luck!!

Post # 7
418 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I think the notion of you already being married, but wanting to get married again so you can collect gifts is extremely tacky. If you need something for your house, then between you and your husband, go buy it.

Post # 8
11418 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I’ll ask that you please read to the end of my response to your question and not be put off by how I begin, because I think you’ll ultimately like where it lands. 

Technically, people who ARE married cannot still GET married.  Because of this, the ceremony that you would now have would indeed BE a vow renewal, even if you don’t want to consider it to be such. 

The good news is that there is nothing at all to prevent you and your husband from having a vow renewal with almost of the trimmings of a traditional wedding — including bridesmaids, a flower girl and ring bearer, a beautiful gown, a full-fledged ceremony with readings, music, etc., a big reception, and lots of guests with whom to celebrate. However, instead of actually performing your marriage (which has already taken place), your officiant would simply lead you through a confirmation of the vows you have already taken. At the end, although he or she cannot “pronounce” you husband and wife, he or she certainly can present you as a couple, because you are.

The best thing about your scenario is that your loved ones already know that you’re married, and you’re not considering trying to deceive people into thinking that they will be witnessing a wedding, when the actual wedding has already occurred. The only time people really seem to become upset about these types of situtions is when there is deception involved.

Regarding showers and registries, I will offer this opinion:  I think it is fine for you to register, but I would NOT proactively tell people — through any means — that you have, or where.  If someone chooses to take the initiative to ask you or a family member or close friend if and/or where you are registered or proactively looks for your registries online, then, clearly the person wants to give you a gift, and you will have provided a convenience by taking the time to register.  Other than that, however, I would not mention having a registry.  As for showers and other pre-wedding parties, brides and grooms are not really supposed to be involved with planning these events. So, I would not make plans for any of them.  If one or more of your family and friends chooses to host a suprise event in your honor, and guests decide to attend, that is not something for which you will have been responsible for orchestrating. Once there, you certainly should feel free to have fun and to express your deep gratitude to those who have taken time to honor you.  If no one chooses to take the initiative to plan such events and parties on your behalf, you’re no worse off than you are right now — happily married to your Darling Husband. 🙂

I hope this is helpful.

Post # 9
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

We did the same (but for other reasons); we had our civil ceremony some time before we did our “big” wedding. For our civil ceremony, only my parents were there but our friends & family knew. For our “big” wedding, we had our ceremony in a Catholic Church (a full mass) and had a reception afterwards. I wore a big white dress, and we had a big wedding party (moh, best man, groomsmen and bridesmaids, flower girls, bearers, etc). Friends & family still threw showers for me, and a number of them kept asking where we were registered so we went ahead and created a registry. However, I put in our website that we didn’t want any gifts except for their love and prayers. Out of about 350 invited guests and almost 300 attending, we only got 16 gifts (2 from the registry, 14 were not) and the rest were cash/checks. (Just including this to give you an idea of what happened with our registry).

Our priest’s take on it was that the 2nd was our ACTUAL wedding because in the eyes of the Church, we weren’t married until it was done their way. He didn’t call it a vow renewal or vow confirmation, but I’ve noticed that this differs with many priests/officiants. Our Church and the diocese had no problem with us already being married civilly; as far as they were concerned, it was just as if we had applied for a marriage license at city hall prior to having the ceremony. We went through the whole mass (with all the readings, hymns, etc), did the whole nuptial rites, said the standard vows & our personal vows, and were pronounced husband and wife at the end of it. It was no different from any other Catholic wedding I’ve ever been to.

I think it would depend on YOUR family and friends. I’ve noticed some bees here saying they wouldn’t be receptive to such a situation, but we had a very positive experience. None of our friends & family reacted negatively and were even very very excited for us. No one called it a vow renewal or anything else other than a wedding. At the end of the day, YOU know your guests and I guess would best know how they’d feel about this whole thing.

Post # 10
9116 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

My husband and I got married in December after he got home from a deployment. We had a quick civil ceremony in our living room with our parents, cat and dog, It was awesome.

We’re having our “formal” wedding in June. It isn’t to collect presents, it’s because we didn’t have an opportunity to celebrate with our friends and family. I don’t think of it as a vow renewal because it isn’t. We’re not having an officiant (Just a family friend to keep things going) and we are going to say our vows, but we’re not renewing them. It’s just going to be a beautiful party where I get to wear a pretty dress and my husband gets to look all handsome gussied up.

I have no qualms with anyone having a second wedding, third, fourth, fifth, whatever. If you want to do it, go for it. I see no problems with the reasons why you had a civil ceremony. If people are saying it’s because of immigration issues… becoming a citizen (At least for the US) is a mega pain in the ass. Getting married is the easiest legal pathway and I have no qualms with it.


Edit: We are registered for gifts. My husband is having a bachelor party (I have no idea if I am having a bachelorette party… I could care less, tbh). We are having our formal wedding  so we can both have the experience, to have the photos, to share our love with our friends and family. We’re not doing it for gifts or parties or whatnot. Don’t feel bad registering. If there is something you want or need, slap it on a registry. Yeah, you’re already married, but who says you can’t have a full blown wedding? I was unable due to time constraints.. my husband is in the Navy and we don’t have time for a formal wedding. We will in June, though!

Post # 11
8422 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

Well technically you are already married…… I agree with others that this should be called a vow renewal regardless of how long you have been married that’s still what it is. 

This topic has come up quite a bit on the bee before….. Nothing wrong with u wanting to have a ceremony but it would be considered a ceremony of recommitment or renewing your vows since you are already married.

I personally might question the registering for gifts if I were attending…. I’m sure most will bring you gifts anyway. I personally would skip any kind of registering for gifts

Post # 12
3580 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@dmk90716:  Surely you can find a less abrasive way to say what you want to say?

OP, I say ask your family what they think. They will be a better temperature check on how acceptable it would be. And most folks will want to get you something, even if its cash. I think ‘recommitting’ to your vows is a lovely idea and I hope your planning goes smoothly. 🙂

Post # 13
642 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

I say do whatever you want. People always get really negative about this on the boards. If you want to have a wedding ceremony because you didn’t get one the first time around go right ahead. People that feel offended by it, I doubt there will be many, can stay home and not attend. If people don’t want to give you gifts they won’t. 

It’s your life. If you want to celebrate it with a formal wedding, please do!

Post # 14
942 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

We eloped and then had a reception later. I would skip calling it a vow renewal (regardless of others opinions, I’m just voicing my own idea on the subject) and would refer to your celebration as a reception and host it as such.

We had pre-dinner drinks and group photos where i wore my wedding dress, then a sit down meal with the family where i changed. there were speeches, father daughter dance, cake cutting etc. but we did not do a second ceremony, just the celebration/family get together.

I would not encourage a shower of ANY sorts as these are usually done before the wedding (which you’ve technically already had) but people who will want to bring gifts to the reception can do so if they choose. I just think showers are altogether gift grabbing affairs, as the whole purpose is to shower with gifts

Post # 15
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

@cheetah2b:  The pics for INS are, unfortunately, legally necessary.  If you get a fiance(e) visa, you have to show both that a) you actually got married within 90 days after receiving the visa, and b) you honestly live together as husband and wife rather than just having a sham marriage to get the person a visa.  The first part means that weddings to an immigrant are typically hurried, and often have to be at city hall to meet the time deadline.  Wedding photos are part of the evidence to establish the latter.  So what they did was not “ugly,” but an attempt on their part to comply with the law.

It doesn’t sound to me like they want a second celebration to collect gifts (although I would avoid a shower under these circumstances).  What they want is a chance to celebrate with family and friends–something they would have had in the absence of the INS requirements.  I agree with KellyLouise that a reception rather than a whole new ceremony would be most appropriate (unless a second ceremony is required by their religion), but I see no reason to shame them for wanting to include friends and family in a way they couldn’t originally due to the INS requirements.

Post # 16
520 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - Italiano's Humble

@2dBride:  hey 2dbride! I wasn’t saying it as tho it were an ugly thing. I guess it seemed weird to me for OP to point out the INS photos. the registry I think isn’t a good idea, bc in my circle, we’re honest and upfront enough to say “wait, ya’ll been together almost 2 years and you ain’t got stuff for the house, but you’re gonna throw cash at a wedding/vow renewal?” might sound hateful, but that’s how I pretty much read her post regarding the registry and showers.

I think multiple celebrations are awesome. but I think older people might go wth?

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