For women who are already married

posted 1 year ago in Elopement
Post # 16
1415 posts
Bumble bee

anon678910 :  I very recently got married. My husband and I are also in the process of moving (3 weeks after our wedding!). So we were worried about all the paperwork being done fast enough if we were to fill it out at or immediately after our ceremony. What we did was a visit to the courthouse with my parents to do all the legal stuff in June. Then in mid July we had our ceremony where we said our personalized vows, exchanged rings, and signed a ketubah (jewish vow art basically). This was all done in front of family and friends and is what we consider our real wedding. The courthouse was just a legal formality.

At the courthouse, you have to bring an application that you fill out beforehand (you can find it online). Then you bring some sort of identification (passport, birth certificate, etc). You go through the application with the clerk there and you sign it there with the clerk. Then your witnesses sign (you can ‘hire’ them from the courthouse too). Afterwards you go to a back room and the clerk goes through the vows. These are generic vows that you say in the repeat-after-me style. None of it is personalized other than having your names put into the ‘name’ spot of the vows. It then takes 2 weeks for your application and license to be approved and go through. After 2 weeks you go back to the courthouse to pick up your certificate.

You can definitely wear a dress to the courthouse! I wore this dress:
main image
I definitely saw other women in more fancy dresses, others in short dresses, some with flowers. It’s entirely up to you!

For us, the courthouse was an emotional moment because we were making this whole process legal and it was a sort of sign that it was all happening. But it wasn’t very personal for us and we had our own vows written out that we planned to say at our ceremony that meant much more to us.

Post # 17
484 posts
Helper bee

We struggled with the whole wedding thing at first.  Neither of us wanted a big wedding, and if we included my whole family, it would have had to have been a big wedding.  We did want to have our immediate family there, and a few friends that had become like family over the years.  We also had an issue where one of the people we wanted as our officiant, well, she was battling cancer and unfortunately was losing that fight so wouldn’t be with us much longer, and couldn’t travel.

We ended up having two small weddings.  The first was more of an elopement, and was our legal wedding.  That was in Colorado where it’s very easy to get married.  We were at his godson’s wedding, and after the breakfast on the last day of the weekend, we surprised (most) everyone who was still there and had an impromptu ceremony right in the hotel restaurant, officiated by our friend with cancer, who was the groom’s/godson’s mom.  That was beautiful and I’m so glad we did that because our officiant lost her cancer battle a week later and it meant so much to my husband and her and her family that she was able to do that for us.  Through the miracle of technology, we Facetimed my parents and sister so they could be a part of the ceremony.

The second wedding was two weeks later, in my parents’ backyard which turned out to be a beautiful backdrop with all the lush plants and flowers.  We had about a dozen people there, immediate family only, plus our officiant (my best friend) and his partner.  We had food catered from a favorite Italian restaurant, I ordered a delicious cake from the best bakery nearby, put together a few playlists and used the ipod for music and dancing.  My sister and her husband decorated my parents house, and honestly, we had a lovely time.

I admit, the families didn’t understand at first WTF we were doing.  People have very strong ideas on what wedding are “supposed to be” like.  And my sister was very upset that we “didn’t want her” at our “real” wedding (the legal one).  Once they calmed down enough to listen, we explained why we were doing the first wedding, and why both ceremonies mattered and were important to us, they got into it. 

We did everything very quickly.  Within one month of, “Maybe we should get married now,” we went from plan to having two weddings.  Thank you, Nordstrom, for having a selection of fun white dresses and fast shipping!  We do plan to have a big party at some point in the future, probably after we move into our new house, but it will be more like an anniversary party than wedding reception.

Do what matters and is meaningful to YOU, big or small.

Post # 18
2477 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2017


Here’s  a few. I tried to send through PM but I guess I can’t from my phone. I don’t like sharing on public forum so I will delete after you see. 

Post # 19
307 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

Honestly, if I could do it again I would elope. I love being married and I love my husband, but the stress and family drama was not worth it. 

I wish we would have saved the money to put towards our marriage instead of spending a ton on one day. 

Post # 20
61 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

When my husband proposed, he said he didn’t want a big wedding. I replied that I didn’t want a wedding at all, but didn’t want a Justice of the Peace either. I started looking up islands in the Caribbean, and discovered that many vacation destinations have Elopement Packages. It was the best decision and not only do I have no regrets, I wouldn’t change a thing, well… except I would have booked a longer honeymoon. 

Post # 21
823 posts
Busy bee

anon678910 :  we got our marriage license at the courthouse and then had our city mayor perform the ceremony at City Hall. Nothing at all like the DMV. We had lovely vows. And yes, I wore a dress. My husband and I both dressed for the occasion. Some may side-eye it and call it cold and business-like, but it worked for us and we were happy with it. Having our ceremony performed at City Hall didn’t make the day any less sentimental to us. 

Post # 22
4035 posts
Honey bee

Why not a small wedding with immediate family? This can be done for reasonable amounts of $, it doesn’t have to break the bank. Unless you’re in the military I don’t think that getting married at city hall and then staging another ceremony is very cool. I’d feel weird if I did that. 

Post # 23
2117 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

We went with an elopement package. We had no guests. I wore a wedding dress, we had the ceremony in a meaningful place, and we had a professional photographer. We have no regrets.


Post # 24
1392 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

lulubelle2017 :  we did exactly the same thing! No regrets. 

OP, you could always plan a reception style party on the day/month/year of your choosing. That way it takes the pressure off having a fancy party and can pace your savings out. We plan to have an “I-do” relaxed bbq at our new house once we get one (still house hunting-9months in-nightmare; another story for another day lol) I say have the wedding/elopement you can afford and just enjoy being married and have your big party later (if that’s what you guys really wanted), just be honest with everyone after-if you decide to elope. Good luck in deciding 🙂

Post # 25
1556 posts
Bumble bee

We planned a small wedding with just parents and siblings. We didn’t tell anyone else we were getting married. It wasn’t strictly an elopement, but it was close! Because our ceremony was overseas we had to do the actual marriage a few months before, just with our two witnesses. 

Our wedding was perfect. Wouldn’t change a thing!

Post # 26
949 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

anon678910 :  We had a normal sized wedding (97 people). We briefly toyed with the idea of eloping but it just wasn’t for us.  Our wedding was very laid back and we cut out a lot of traditional wedding stuff but still wanted a wedding with friends and family.   I definitely don’t regret it as it is still one of the best days of my life. We also could afford it.  I might feel differently if having a wedding meant we couldn’t afford a house, or would have to put off buying,  but we bought our house 4 months after we were married.   

Post # 27
2503 posts
Sugar bee

We were debating between eloping and having a more traditional wedding, and compromised on a small wedding (50 guests, just close friends and family). We’re really happy we did — we had a wonderful time and created lifelong memories with our families and friends. The wedding also gave our families the chance to meet and get to know each other a bit, as they live on opposite sides of the country and wouldn’t otherwise have had a convenient opportunity to meet. 

I *loved* the idea of eloping just the two of us, which has always seemed so much more romantic than a wedding to me. But dh knew his mom would be disappointed if she couldn’t be there, and once we thought about how to elope and include at least our immediate families it became logistically difficult.

We are closer to some of our best friends than we are to certain members of our immediate families anyway, so it seemed silly to invite, say, a brother you rarely talk to to your elopement but not your best friend, and once we expanded the circle out slightly it seemed like we may as well just make it a small wedding vs an elopement. Budget wise, we would have splurged for good photography and beautiful clothes even if we had eloped, so at that point we thought, “well if we’re already spending a few thousand, may as well add some catering and make it a party too.” 

Obviously that isn’t the right choice for everyone, but I can say we splurged on a beautiful, small wedding and don’t regret it. 

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