Post # 1
Hello bees! I got engaged a year and a half ago, and was up in the air about having my wedding this summer or waiting until I am done with grad school in April 2014. The main issues were that my parents don’t have the money right now and needed time to save and I am in school. However, my grandfather was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and I don’t think he will make it to 2014 and it is important to me for him to be there. So, I was thinking about having an extremely small wedding near where he lives this summer and then having a big wedding/renewal of vows, etc and reception when my fiance and I are done with school in 2014. Would it be tacky to do that and to expect gifts at the big event? We want a big party but the finances and my grandpa’s health are just not working together.
Post # 3
I think it’s okay to do if you make it clear that the later celebration is a vow renewal. It’s not a wedding, so I wouldn’t use that term at all. Even if you have a small courthouse ceremony, that’s your wedding – not the vow renewal. I would make sure people already know that you’re married, and that this is just a celebration, not a wedding. I have a family member who secretly got married and then had the big wedding a year later – when it came out that they were already married, people were really, really upset for being lied to.
You should never expect gifts from anyone for any event. People may still bring you gifts, but some may not, since you are technically already married. It all depends on how people feel about the situation.
Post # 4
I think your reasoning is good for having a small wedding earlier. But I agree with what @ abbie017 said about making it clear you are already married and the party is just a celebration of that. And again, expecting presents isn’t really what it’s all about so look at it as a bonus if they do bring you something but I wouldn’t expect it. I know a lot of Brides have done bigger parties later, I don’t think I personally would want to spend the money on a party when I had already been married for some time, because I don’t really think it would ever feel like a “wedding” to me but if that’s what important to you then you could totally make it work.
Post # 5
Yes it is inappropriate to expect gifts for a vow renewal, (it will not be a wedding, you’re already married) 2 years later, regardless of how you did it. Showers, gifts, registries etc… are all off the table once you elope.
Post # 6
Agree with PPs. I think you should have your small wedding this summer with your grandfather present, and then in 2014 you can have a big vow renewal or second anniversary party to celebrate with everyone. The 2014 event will not be a wedding because you will already be married.
At your vow renewal/anniversary party, you can be as casual or fancy as you want: you can do anything from a backyard BBQ/pool party to renting out an upscale hotel ballroom and serving a multi-course meal with music and dancing. You can get everyone’s attention for a few minutes to say a few words about each other or to renew your vows.
I gotta be honest with you, though; if you are wanting to wear a wedding gown, have bridesmaids, toss the bouquet, etc. at the 2014 party, as a guest I would think it was extremely weird for you to be play-acting bride and groom two years into your marriage.
As for gifts, my guess is that most people will not show up empty-handed, but nor will they give lavish gifts like they would for a wedding. So you’ll probably get a few nice bottles of wine, maybe some fancy chocolates, and other small gifts.
Post # 7
@twinkletoes2206: My SO and I are also having two weddings; one with just our parents and one with all our family in 2-3 years. Our reason is more finance-related and also that our families and friends are mostly in Europe, so we’d have to plan it out there adding to the cost. But I see nothing wrong with having two weddings and still expecting gifts. At worst, you don’t have to tell all your extended family and friends that you did do a small ceremony if you’re worried about what they will say concerning gifts. It’s a small ceremony just for you guys. In your heart you will know that your granfather will have been there to see you get married, and I almost think that wedding will be more memorable for you. Do it! You may regret not doing it. And who cares what the guests think? It’s for you, and your reason is completely legit.
Post # 8
@amille56: Disagree. As the OP’s wedding will not be completely private, the secret WILL get out (though I did not get the impression she intended to keep her marriage a secret at all). And the idea of hiding your marriage because you think that’s the only way to get gifts is beyond selfish – you are duping your loved ones for material gain. Not cool at all.
Post # 9
I’ve been in this situation. I eloped with my ex 10 years ago and we were wondering how to have a party with guests. Do we redo it all? Which would be our anniversary date? Do we tell people we are married?
In the end we told people and the party never happened for many reasons (financially mainly). It was disappointing to say the least. However, anything that would have been a redo would have been less than exciting. People just don’t have the same energy if you’re already married and even then they didn’t have that much excitement. So something after the fact for us was so blah, maybe you have more emotional family members. I also don’t condone lying either.
I get a another chance though. I found a gem of a guy and we get to put time and thought into how we want our wedding to go. The other wedding was rushed due to insurance reasons (it is what it is, the ex needed surgeries to save his life). I’ve had to deal with my dying father and a previous wedding that was postponed because if his health during this time around, but I want to be in a happy, good state when I do marry.
I feel it’s best to make your one and only wedding day what you want, even if it’s a scaled down version. If you want an awesome party later, that’s fine but I’m not partial to redo weddings. I hope to have an anniversary party at least, otherwise our families will never meet!
However, I did learn that in some European countries, you do have to be civilly married first before you can have a religious wedding. Is that correct? Many Europeans have two ceremonies often. However, 2-3 years later does seem a huge gap.
Post # 10
I eloped. I did not expect pre-parties, gifts and did not have a reception. When I see threads like this it is pretty typical that PPs will tell you not to expect those things and that a 2nd event is a vow renewal.
Why not just have a small garden intimate wedding this summer? You can do it on a budget.
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Post # 11
Thanks for the input everyone! I wasn’t thinking of keeping it a secret that we were already married, I think that would definitely be an awful thing to do. I think we’ll probably just wait, I would love for my grandpa to be there but I am still young and am not in a hurry, especially since some of you alluded to some drama or hurt feelings.
Again, thanks so much 🙂
Post # 12
@twinkletoes2206: If you and your Fiance just spent more time with your grandpa would that somehow make it better?
My father has met my Fiance twice, and he’ll be flying out with me next month as well. My dad does not need to witness a wedding in order to know that I will be happy – especially a wedding that will be understatedly NOT what I envisioned. I have so much hope put into this second wedding after how blah the first one was (we went back to work for Pete’s sake!). I also did not want to rush any more weddings based on poor circumstances. The timing had to be good for us.
So maybe you two can just spend more time with Gpa? I did share a photo of me in my wedding gown to my dad so he could see. It was nice to see him all interested in it.