(Closed) Getting Married Before the Wedding.

posted 12 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
221 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

I want to do that buy my fiance says NO and that we have to wait.

What kind of documents are you worried about your parents seeing?

Post # 5
2022 posts
Buzzing bee

My only input is from a friend who did this before his wedding.  It was a huge secret they kept from their family and for some reason, he thinks that this was a bad way to start his marriage (which ultimately ended in divorce).  I don’t mean to be a downer, but I am against it!

Post # 6
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

We did this.  I had quit my job and we didn’t want to pay the outrageous COBRA costs, so we did the courthouse thing secretly last summer.  Our wedding will take place this fall. His father and brother know -it’s a family business, so they were bound to find out when the paperwork went through- but everyone else, including my whole family, is in the dark.  It has been surprisingly easy keeping the secret (the first few times you talk to them afterward are the hardest).  My biggest fear was that the wedding wouldn’t feel "special," but honestly it’s been fine.  Neither one of us remember the date of the courthouse, we didn’t exchange rings then, so it didn’t really feel different.  I’m just holding off on adding his name to mine until after our REAL wedding. 

Post # 7
221 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

My mom would never see my passport or drivers license or bank statements, so it seems like it could work. I think the secret part is the hardest thing to deal with, emotionally.

Post # 8
813 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2021

I think you need to weigh the pro’s and con’s for your situation. I think you need to think about the worst case scenario– what if someone in your family did find out? How would they feel, both about the situation, and about your actual wedding a year later? Some families might be devastated, and some might not think its that big of a deal.

Although your wedding day is certainly about you, its also about a lot of other people– your families in particular. So make sure to think about alllll the consequences, including the worst-case scenario, and then do what is right for you.

 Perhaps you might want to tell your immediate family (or parents only) if you do decide to go through with it. That might help eliminate any hurt feelings later. 

Post # 9
124 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

We strongly considered getting married prior to our wedding (mainly more for financial/insurance reasons), but as our situation changed, we chose not to.

Keeping it a secret is definately a difficult situation, but depending on your family relationship, you may want to have them serve as witnesses if you are close and they can keep the secret and also to make sure that feelings are not hurt.

I would check for your state/different entities with regard to name change information. I am waiting a few months before changing my name andhave been told that it shouldn’t be a problem. Also, how often do your family members have access to that information?

Post # 10
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

We have considered doing this for various reasons (mostly relating to each of our employers).  I think for us, keeping the secret will be a big thing.  The things that have held us back so far are knowing how our families would feel if they found out – betrayed at missing the first one, angry about being asked to attend a "show" one.

Post # 11
153 posts
Blushing bee

My parents are actually pushing for us to get married in the courthouse before having a wedding.  FH is coming from abroad, and the sooner we get married, the sooner we can do everything else (work permit, travel permit, insurance, etc.)

However, they were a little bit offended when I told them that they couldn’t come to the courthouse marriage if Future Mother-In-Law wouldn’t be able to come.  I didn’t think it was fair.

We’ve been really open about it; so everyone knows and understands why we have to get married before the wedding.  I would hope that your family would understand if you decide to get married earlier.

Are you in Cook County?  Because you can get married at the Chicago Cultural Center for $10 under one of the Tiffany glass domes!

Post # 12
28 posts

We’re planning on getting paperwork that certifies us as having a "common law marraige." I don’t know what states that is applicable for, but in Texas, if you live together, you can be certified "common law" which gives you the same rights as being married, but it’s not as formal. We’re just doing that now for insurance, and we’ll be formally married in October. I am worried about that taking away from our actual wedding, but it’s going to save us a lot of money in the long run. You might want to look into it.

Post # 13
1048 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2009 - City Hall

I’m considering this too. Question is, what day will you call your "anniversary"? That’s what I’m struggling with. Your marriage day, or your big-wedding day? 😉

Post # 14
79 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2021

We have thought about this idea also.. I do agree with Erindesmar about a big secret like that not being a good start to your mariage or yourself. Although I knew someone who did it and never told their family and it worked out. After reading this blog I think Im going to wait. You want your special day to be special… Think about it and way the pros and cons. Good Luck!

Post # 15
2640 posts
Sugar bee

I’ll throw in that I’m not a fan of lying to your family (even future guests.)  I experienced that once, and felt a little hurt that we were lied to.  Really think about your reasons for doing it.  And why you want to keep it a secret.  The fact that you’re wanting to keep the first wedding a secret kind of says something about what a wedding means to you and/or your family.  People want to be there, and hold a special place for witnessing your union.  Maybe you feel like people won’t be as thrilled to attend a wedding that they figured was just for show and not the real thing.  I’m not sure if I’m hitting the mark at all…

I understand some of the previous posters logistical dilemmas (bringing SO into the country, health insurance) but I didn’t get that sense from you.  I guess I feel, if you want to get married sooner, plan the best wedding you can to do that.  If you want the big wedding and have to wait for that, then wait.  But even if you get married, secretly, you’d still have to pretend that you aren’t.   So I’m not seeing the difference.

Post # 16
35 posts
  • Wedding: June 2009

My fiance and I are planning to get our license and sign it this week. We’ve been planning our wedding for June 2009 since January 2008, but I was laid off in November and my reimbursement for insurance ends this month. Our parents and priest have said it is fine. Our priest said that we were heading towards getting married anyway (we completed pre-Cana and all the pre-marriage counseling). He even suggested that we could celebrate both anniversaries, and why not? He is completely fine with the separation of church and state. Overall, our parents are happy that we aren’t wasting over a thousand dollars for COBRA–plus we’ll get the tax breaks for being legally married starting earlier than if we got legally married in June. We could use the money we’re saving instead to buy a house. Our parents are busy themselves and won’t be around to watch us sign the license. 

I won’t be changing my name until after our wedding in June. I don’t think much will change as far as being engaged and being married either since we’ve been living together for nearly four years now. As far as keeping it a secret, I can’t think of any of my guests that would mind us getting legally wed before June; I bet some of them think that we’re already married. It’s not like I’m going to broadcast it, though it’s not something I plan on hiding. (If I’m wrong about my guests, and they feel that I should have spent money on COBRA to be legally married in June instead to spare their feelings, then that scene wil probably not play out very prettily.) Everyone is really happy about getting the wedding they want and planned for in June.

illinoisbride, I’d say that you should get legally married and have the wedding of your dreams when you’re ready–even if they’re not at the same time. If you need to keep it a secret, I’d hold off on the name changing. I think that you should be able to talk to your families about why you want to get legally married this summer though.

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