(Closed) Getting Legally Married Now, having Wedding later

posted 7 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
296 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I did this, military wife, he is Catholic and we had anticipated doing a ceremony in a catholic church. When we were ready to plan the wedding and knew he was going to be home, we went to that Church to see their policies, they pretty much told us that since we were already married outside of the Catholic church that we could no longer get married in the Church. I am not sure if all Catholic churches stand by this, but this was our dream church, since then we have decided to use my denomination and my Youth Pastor from hometown, he was very understanding to our situation and made it a little less stressful on the two of us!!!

Post # 5
916 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

There are definitely priests out there that will let you have the whole traditional wedding ceremony, including dress, bridesmaids, etc in a convalidation ceremony.  Try talking to different priests.  If you’re having trouble, try more liberal parishes.  Good luck, and don’t worry – you will find someone.

edit: I guess I mean progressive parishes, not liberal parishes.  Also, I didn’t really answer your question.  I haven’t done this, but my parents did it, and my aunt and uncle did it.  From what I heard, the convalidation was exactly the same as a “regular” Catholic church wedding.  I even saw my aunt and uncle’s video and there was no difference.

Post # 9
3314 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Wish I could help you with the Catholic part of your question, but my hubby and I aren’t Catholic.  However due to immigration, my Darling Husband and I were married in April in a civil ceremony.  Because of the timing required by immigration, my in-laws couldn’t afford to fly here (from Europe) to be at a wedding in that time period, so we planned on a formal/religious/family ceremony in October.  

I know how you feel about the Knot.  I found that only in the months sections did the ladies become not so deliberately hurtful, and even then it depended.   It was nice to find boards like this where others have gone through/ are going through the same thing or a similar thing to what I did and were accepting without judgement of my reasons for having 2 ceremonies, or simply were accepting even if they weren’t going through the same situation!

I hope your priest turns out to be one of the lenient ones and that you can have the convalidation ceremony that you want.  🙂

Post # 11
484 posts
Helper bee

My FH and I are probably getting legally married well before the ceremony because of visas and immigration, we’ll be able to stay together a lot easier if we’re married. The wedding date is booked 2,5 years from now, as we need to save up for even a small reception, and our chaplain has been very understanding and flexible about it and agrees that there is the ‘paperwork round’ in some lawyer’s office and the ‘wedding’ which will be in the chapel. Though I should perhaps mention that this is an Anglican rather than a Catholic ceremony.

Bottom line, don’t give up until you get a firm ‘no’ and even then just look elsewhere. People are often a lot more understanding than you think, even if one particular person doesn’t seen too helpful. Sometimes circumstances just force you into one direction and any compassionate and intelligent pastor should be able to understand that!

Post # 12
1556 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I’m Catholic and got married last summer in a JOP ceremony.  We purposely made it as un-weddinglike and as businesslike as possible to distinguish it from what will be our real wedding.  Like you, we needed to be legally married for insurance reasons.  We can’t do a church wedding right now because we are waiting for an annulment to be (hopefully!) granted.  I’d much have preferred to wait and have a regular church wedding…but real life intervened.

Our priest knows our situation.  We have not yet discussed with him all the details of our wedding (bridemaids, white dress. etc) yet.  I’m not too worried about all that because I really don’t care if we have all that.  If he tells us we can’t have it, then I will just wear a cream/champagne dressy dress and my husband will wear a suit.  I do know that what is considered appropriate at a convalidation varies from parish to parish.  I have heard of convalidations that were indistinguishable from regular first-time weddings. 

One thing I did see in your post…a convalidation is not a marriage blessing.  In the eyes of the church it is a marriage ceremony – not a blessing or a vow renewal.  The rite of marriage is exactly the same whether it is a marriage between two people who are not legally married or a convalidation.  So (at least to me!) that’s an argument that you should be able to have everything as close to a “normal” wedding as possible.

But you should talk to your priest.  My priest has been wonderfully helpful and not at all judgmental.  He has told us, however, that since we are not married yet, that we must either continue to live separately or live as brother and sister until we are married.  We are trying to do that….trying anyway. 🙂

Post # 13
77 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I also had a civil ceremony and plan to have a wedding in the Catholic Church later this year.  We have not discussed the details with the priest, but many people do this and they should not have a problem with you having a full wedding after the civil ceremony.  If your priest does – find another priest!

Post # 14
1 posts

HI Cassandra


Just wanted to say this is what i am doing with my fiance. In fact, we are getting legally married this weekend in a civil marriage in France. He is french and we live in france, and in france you have to have a civil ceremony for the marriage to be legal (many couples do it the morning of the church wedding or the day before, but sometimes it can be several weeks before because of trying to get one of the few time slots at the mayor’s office). This ceremony will last about 30 minuts long. Our close family and witnesses are attending, as well as some members of his family that won’t be able to attend the church wedding.


the church wedding is in about 3 months and is in New Orleans. we are both Catholic and I have a great priest who understands the situation and why we have to have the civil ceremony (he has done it before). in fact, after the civl ceremony we will have the catholic marriage preparation course here in France, so we are still preparing ourself for our catholic marriage before God


This weekend I am wearing an ivory suit and some nice pumps, but in April it will be a big white wedding dress and flowers, bridesmaids, groomsmen, reception, band, the works


I see it as having both of our traditions, for him the civil ceremony is very important to be married before the French Republic, for me its the marriage before God


So I think it is totally fine. but we have been honest about it (although we did not send invitations for the civil ceremony to everyone invited to the religious – didn’t want to over do it)


I hope this helps! I am wondering how i will feel when we will be legally married for these 3months. but we are not exchaning rings and i told him he can only call me his wife in french, that way i still have the “wife” in English to count for the religious ceremony!

Post # 15
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I am doing it!


My husband is Catholic and I am Buddhist.  The first church we found said that we aren’t married in the eyes of God and the Church, so this convalidation could/would be treated as our wedding day. The only thing missing – unless we wish to include it, is the exchanging of rings. 


Have fun!


Post # 16
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

By The Way, I got the same grief from The Knot and Yahoo answers.  The idea of not being married in the church first and foremost was just appalling to them.

So strange… It’s not your life dangit. It’s mine.

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