(Closed) Civil ceremony first, large wedding later.

posted 8 years ago in Military
Post # 3
2373 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Welcome to military life!

This is my opinion- I don’t think you should send out an announcement for your civil ceremony letting people know gifts are okay now. When you have a larger wedding and these people are formally invited they will likely bring gifts on their own.

  Things change- you may not be able to have a larger wedding due to work schedules, deployments, unexpected pregnancies, the world ends etc.. It’s in bad form to request gifts before an event when there are so many uncertainties (especially now you’re military- schedules change on a drop of a dime)

  If you’re interested in the benefits of a larger wedding/showers now- plan a normal wedding instead of a civil ceremony. It’s possible 🙂

  As for moving right after the civil ceremony, if your fiance is below an E-5 and not already living off base (or if married housing has a wait) it may take more time than you think. You’ll get used to the saying “Hurry up and wait.” Hopefully this doesn’t happen to you and the transition goes smoothly. Good luck!

Post # 4
2907 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@maureen9004:I totally agree.



For us, we are not going to send out announcements, and just wait until the “real” (religious, big family affair) wedding. I don’t want the legal ceremony to be the real thing.


If you want to just do one–just elope, and then send out marriage announcements. If you want the big party, wait for the big gifts that come then. 🙂

Post # 5
129 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

This is what we did…private ceremony in 2008 and now we are having our big wedding in 2012. Such is military life!! I would not ask for gifts now, wait until the big ceremony. I hate to sound rude, but I think people feel better about gift giving if they are invited to the wedding!

Post # 6
671 posts
Busy bee

This is what we did…. We got married so my hubby could get extra BAH and live on base if we wanted to. I am currently planning our 2012 wedding. To this day only my (and his) very close friends know. If gifts are that important, consider sending out save the dates with a wedding website (you can get a free one easily) which will have your registry information on it. You could also include a page about your civil ceremony if you would like. I think any other way of asking for gifts would be rude and come across pretentious. It would also confuse your guests as to if they have to bring gifts to both ceremonies.

Post # 7
296 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

We got married in 06, and are having our day with friends and family in June 2011. I know it was a while, but he did 2 back to back deployments, now we are on  SHORE tour and can officially plan our big day.

I would def wait till register for gifts until the actual wedding celebration. As others have said if you want the gifts since this will be the first time living together, then I would make an ELOPEMENT out of the ceremony, then send out Announcements, maybe add your wedding website on the announcement, explaining why you eloped and where you are registered at. If you decide you still want your DAY of the magical wedding, then plan a vow renewal 5 years down the road. This is pretty much how we are doing it, my sister likes to say we TEST drove the marriage for 4 years and now we are ready TO PURCHASE the full thing. It kinda makes me giggle, but I knew I wanted my military man from day ONE!

Good Luck and Welcome to Military Life!

Post # 8
923 posts
Busy bee

We got engaged and then 2 months later got the news of the deployment. We went and eloped in Jamaica and have been planning our big wedding for April of next year. We’re registering for gifts for that one only.  We spent the whole 12 months he was deployed saving money for the wedding for the specific reasons a previous bee mentioned which is life…life happens and people get busy. Anyway, that’s what I think you guys should do. Have your civil ceremony, but when you have your big wedding or vow renewal then you can register. Sure you ight have to wait a while for some things, but in the end you’ll have all the necesities you need right away and some of the bigger more expensive stuff you’ll just get later.

Once again…welcome to military life! It really is great though, I love it!!


Post # 9
565 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

i don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a civil ceremony first!  my husband and i got married feburary 1st, 2010 so taht we could be stationed together first (we were on different bases) and we’re having the REAL wedding on janurary 29, 2011!  I wouldn’t say anything about gifts in the invites, it seems kind of rude to me.  🙁  but if people ask if you’re registered somewhere, then i don’t see anything wrong with telling them where, but i wouldn’t bring it up, either.

Post # 10
65 posts
Worker bee


We are Army and this is what we did, we were having a wedding as planned until my husband got the orders to report to Seoul South Korea then we decided to go to the courthouse and plan a wedding later, we both are in Korea and have been married a year but just had our wedding ceremony last weekend. We only invited our parents and we didn’t even have a party afterwards. We did not ask for gifts or register for the civil ceremony. I would wait if I were you, I got great gifts and a lot of money, We sure could use it after paying for flights from Korea to the states. Have fun and I hope you love the military life, it is an adventure. Toodles

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