(Closed) Civil before Ceremony? Officiant help? Fiance Future Airmen. Dilemma

posted 8 years ago in Military
Post # 3
640 posts
Busy bee

I have had friends in the military do the same thing (civil ceremony first then religious ceremony). I would speak with the priest you would like to marry you and explain the situation. If you were still going to live as if you were not married (separate houses, no sex, etc) before the religious ceremony, I don’t know why the priest would have a problem. 

Post # 4
5823 posts
Bee Keeper

Some thoughts:

  • Your Fiance will not automatically get BAH.  E-3 and below must request BAH.  It is assumed they will be living in the barracks.
  • Is your Fiance enlisting?  If he has a degree why doesn’t he consider an officer program?
  • Priests generally don’t care if the ceremonies they perform are legal, only if the church considers them sound.  But your first wedding would have to be legalized for the military AND performed in the Catholic church.  So I guess you’re asking about your second priest??  I’m sure no priests would mind performing a second ceremony, especially if the first was within the church.  But a Catholic priest will NOT perform the sacraments again.  So it would be a basic ceremony that you could have performed by any denomination or non-denominational officiant.

Post # 6
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Going offer versus enlisted is a whole other ballgame. In fact, I’d look into the Army’s Officer program if he can’t get into the Air Force.

The pay is like, seriously, twice as much. Lieutenants start in the mid-40’s and captains do upwards of 60’s. An E1 makes like…25K or something. The respect is a whole other thing, too, when you’re new. In the enlisted sector, you earn your respect when you move up the ranks. When you’re an L2, it’s just there and hopefully you aren’t a douche about it, haha. I’ve met a few to say the least. But, you get a lot more perks as an officer that makes me wonder why people go enlisted if they have a college degree! And if you get deployed–you do the same crap, no matter what branch you’re a part of. My husband’s a captain in the army–he worked with naval guys, marines, air force, etc. He said everybody plays nice when you’re deployed. Although I hear the Air Force has some nicer  bases. The BAH is something he only gets if he doesn’t live on base. And, hazard pay and spouse pay is there, too. Spouse pay for an officer is $500/month and hazard pay is $1000/month. It wasn’t enough for us to get married before he left and got deployed, though, because I wasn’t dependent on him. I was finishing up my last year of school and had my own job so I was ok on my own. Whether or not i’d get married early would heavily depend on if we were living together and how our lives were entwined. The FRG (family readiness group) had ME listed down as first point of contact (even tho i was a Fiance, not a wife) and I never once felt like I “didn’t count” although legally, I know I didn’t. But nobody made me feel like less because of it. They were all very nice and understanding and kept me in the loop. We weren’t married when he was doing training (BOLC) but the officers are allowed visitors on base. I stayed overnight all the time. I just had to go through some rigorous checks at the gate, show my ID, they bomb checked my car, etc.

I’m not sure how it goes church-wise, but you could probably get married in a church by a priest before you go–i’ve known a few people who do that. Or by the military chaplain on base. I had a friend of mine do that in Korea where her Fiance was stationed….and then they got ‘married’ in a catholic church back home a year later.

In my experience, everybody is very accomodating with military couples.

Post # 7
434 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

I would go ahead and do the legal ceremony before he signs up for basic.  My brother was dating my SIL while he was in basic and during his first two assignments (one of which was in Iraq).  For them, it worked because she was still in college.  But as soon as she graduated, they went ahead and got married (like a month after graduation) so that they would get all of the benefits of being a military couple.  She’s a kindergarten teacher, which helps, because she’s certified in quite a few states.  He’s in the Coast Guard, and is a Petty Officer now (he’s been in for nine years).  He STILL makes less than she does, even though she’s only on her fourth year of teaching and doesn’t have a masters degree.  If your husband has a shot at being an officer, he should go for it.

Post # 8
5823 posts
Bee Keeper

A Catholic priest will definitely still marry you if you abide by all the Catholic rules.  You just need to meet all the requirements like any other couple:

  • You must both be baptized, have received first communion, and be confirmed in the Catholic church
  • You must attend pre-cana
  • You may be required extra counseling

It would be as if you were converting from another religion (like you had both been married as Lutherans).  So yes, they will still marry you.  🙂

For the military part: My advice is for him to try as hard as he can to be an supply officer in the Air Force.  The USAF has the best bases and the most money, so their support programs are pretty posh.  Supply officers also get some nice duty stations.  And yes, getting married BEFORE will be an enormous help for him.  There is a LOT of paperwork to do if you wait until after, and it takes MONTHS for it all to go through.  Having a simple legal ceremony before will curb all that, plus you’ll get healthcare benies and commisary priveleges.  I’ve known several people who have done that, and it worked out really well for them!  Their second weddings were really nice, and no one knew the difference.

Good luck!

Post # 9
29 posts
  • Wedding: June 2010

I would suggest getting married before he even joins. Paperwork is much more difficult after the process has started (even while in the delayed entry program, it can delay him going to basic training even longer). If you are married before, depending on how long his tech school is, you may be able to go with him. If you wait to get married and he receives his orders, you can still be put on them after, it may take a little while though. my husband and i were going to wait til after he graduated from tech (AF as well) to get married but his first duty assignment is to germany so we did the court house thing so i can get on his orders. its not too complicated as far as paperwork on your end, a few hrs here and there going to different offices. im not sure how long it will take on the military end (hopefully not too long). the pay is better too. if you cant be with him in tech, i believe youll get seperation pay. i would suggest trying to go in as an officer. if this is something he really wants to do, he should probably get on the ball with it cause itll roughly be 6 months before he leaves for basic (at least thats how it was/is for the ppl i know going in)

anyways, hope this helps

Post # 10
231 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I am actually marrying an airman next month who has been enlisted since Nov. 2008. From our experience, it hasn’t been that difficult to get married after he was stationed and finished BMT and tech school.  It’s just a matter of knowing what you need to get done and giving them time to do it.  We set our wedding date about 7 months ago and everything is working out just fine.  We are all set up for base housing when I get there, and all we have to do is show our marriage liscense when we arrive back on base.  It is definitely a possibility if you want to wait for your wedding like I did. Just remember, basic training is 2 months, and then he leaves straight for tech school (if he is enlisted) and that usually is at least 6 months.  If you decide to get married after tech school he is guaranteed to come home and it would give you time to plan your wedding.  I hope this helps a little bit!

ETA: Our pastor that is marrying us is very accomodating so we can get married in our church.  We are doing our premarital counseling over skype :).  It is completely possible!

Post # 11
44 posts
  • Wedding: April 2011

Woah, you and I are in very similar situations!  My Fiance and I got engaged last September, and began planning a wedding for 2011 because I wanted a long engagment AND wanted to be married in the spring (demanding, I know!).  My Fiance then decided to join the AF Reserves, so he officially enlisted.  His recruiter and I were talking, and he was like, “When are you getting married?  You know he gets extra living allowance by a significant amount if you’re married while he’s in basic and Tech School?”  I also need some medical insurance soooo we decided to have a civil ceremony this summer before he leaves for basic and use that extra money for an awesome honeymoon.  We are also Catholic, and I talked to the priest about it.  He said that getting married legally have very little to do with having marriage recognized by the Catholic church.  He’s 100% ok with us having a civil ceremony this summer and then marrying us next spring.  Of course, we’ll still have to do wedding counseling and such.  I hope this helps!  Good luck! 

*since he just joined the reserves, I know nothing yet about abbrievations and such.  I do know he’s joining as an E3 or E4 due to his college.

Post # 12
99 posts
Worker bee

My bf and I are having this issue right now.  He’s enlisting in the navy in the nuke program.


While everyone here has said go ahead and get married before you go, I’d just like to throw a word of caution in.


If your fiance is going into a program that requires a high security clearance, it may be easier for him to get that clearance if he’s single than if he’s married, especially if you have debt.


I have quite a bit of debt from school, and my boyfriend’s recruiter told us it would be better to wait to get married until after he has his clearance, simply because debt is considered a liability, and it’ll slow down the process of him getting to his A school if they have to check me out too.


So, our plan as of right now is to get married after he gets his security clearance (which according to the recruiter can take anywhere from 4 months to a year once he starts boot camp).  We may just have a quick justice of the peace marriage then and have a big ceremony once we figure out when he can get leave and whatnot.


Just thought I’d throw this out there!

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