Post # 1
So I was never set on a huge wedding, I have not dreamt of my wedding since childhood or anything like that. In fact I first tried to talk my FH into a small backyard ceremony with parties in the places we are from. (While we currently live in CT I am from the west coast and he is from the Midwest so none of our family is around here). The FH however wanted a wedding with everyone in one place, saying it would be easier to plan one big event than three small things. I got on board with this idea and have started getting ideas together for a summer 2013 wedding.
We have been together for 5 years, engaged for 2 years, lived together for 3 years, and already own a house together (the house was more important to us than a wedding so it was first). We already feel like we are married, we make huge decisions together and in reality getting out of a mortgage is harder than getting out of a marriage these days (so sad). Anyways, my FH was recently laid off work and has yet to find a job. He turned 26 this month and can no longer stay on his parents insurance. Now we are contemplating doing a courthouse wedding this month so that he can have insurance. Neither of us are particularly religious, we were planning on getting a friend/family member to marry us anyway.
Now getting married this month is the smart decision for us, if something happened and he didn’t have insurance it really would negatively affect both of us. My parents are totally cool with it and agree it’s the smart decision while his are also on board though not quite as happy as my parents. We wouldn’t keep it secret from anyone but I am not sure if I want to really exchange rings and personal vows (heard you can’t do personal vows at the courthouse anyway).
While I didn’t originally want a big wedding I have started dreaming about it and looking forward to it. I already have a ton of ideas. So maybe we will also do the wedding but call it something a little different than wedding (remember, everyone who knows us will already know we are legally married). It’s a little strange to me to think we will be married without any of our family and friends there to witness it though. I am confused as to when I would want to celebrate my anniversary and when I would change my name. Has anyone else gone through this where you were legally married but still did a wedding (remember, non-religious)? What did you do about name changes, etc? So conflicted about all of this! Help please!! Thanks!
Post # 3
@swimcat14: I haven’t done the legally married then another ceremony thing, but I know that you can wait to change your name to when you are more comfortable. In my first marriage, we were married before I finalized my master’s degree. For personal reasons, I wanted to have my maiden name on the diploma but didn’t trust my school to keep that straight if I changed my name right away. I waited five months to do so, and there was no problem or hangup with the process whatsoever.
If it makes you feel more comfortable with the big ceremony in the summer, you can call it a vow renewal. Regardless, even though you will legally married already, your family and friends will still love seeing you two say your personal vows to each other and celebrate with you. As for your anniversary, congratulations bc you can have two if you wanted! If not, then you have the luxury of picking the more meaningful date for the two of you and celebrating that day each year.
The bottom line is I agree with your parents that it’s a smart move to get legally married now in order to protect yourselves against something potentially catastrophic. That being said, I don’t think you need to give up on the idea of the big ceremony at all!
Post # 5
@HisMoon: Thank you so much. Your insight is very helpful!
Post # 6
I’m from Europe. Over there, religious weddings don’t legally count. So everyone has to go to the courthouse anyway before the religious wedding in order to make it legal. Some people go the day before, other people go a few months before. My parents went 6 months before, since my mom needed a more substantial proof in order to obtain a job in her city. I’ve heard it’s the same way in Asia. So my parents don’t consider that as their real wedding. They joke around that they’ve been really married for longer than they celebrate it, but they celebrate their religious wedding as their anniversary.
I’m in a similar situation as you are. I already managed to get my fiance insurance through my company because he’s been living with me so he counts as a domestic partner, but it’s more expensive than it would be if he were my husband. I also don’t have residency in the US, even though I can legally work for my company on a work visa. So we have decided to just make life easier on ourselves and get married now at the courthouse. We don’t have rings, we won’t exchange vows, and I won’t change my name legally until the full wedding happens. We’re going to tell everyone who asks, and are going to tell them also that we don’t consider ourselves fully married. We have not really declared our vows publicly in front of our friends and family, we will have just signed a document that allows us more legal freedom. Our parents won’t even be there, only the minimum number of witnesses legally required.
So there are multiple ways of looking at it. I don’t think anyone will be mad at you, and I also don’t think you need to call it anything else if you don’t want to. Perhaps you can call it something like a vow ceremony instead of a wedding, if it makes you feel better. We’ll still be calling it a wedding. In the end, all that matters is that you find peace with your decision yourself.
Post # 7
- Wedding: March 2014 - Brazil Room
A lot of people call a wedding ceremony after you’re already married a “vow renewal”. Some people do it like a year later when they have the money, some people think it’s fun to do it again every 5 years to feel romantic about each other again… and in your case it just plain practical and best for everyone. Do it just like you planned. Say “hey folks… we’re getting legally married now… vow renewal later. Look forward to seeing you then!”
Edit: I didn’t read the other comment right after your initial post… looks like it was already answered 🙂