(Closed) Getting married before your wedding

posted 11 years ago in Logistics
Post # 31
Member
12 posts
Newbee

I feel like there is the paperwork side of a wedding, and the celebration side of wedding. The paperwork is stuff the government cares about, and I understand that the paperwork makes us legally married – but for me, the ceremony where we gather in front of our family and friends and pledge our love and listen to some nice words by our officiant is when I will feel truly married. Going to a courthouse before hand seems like taking care of the paperwork. I wouldn’t feel like anyone missed out on any part of our wedding if they were not at a courthouse ceremony prior to wedding.  we may or may not do the pre-wedding courthouse option. It all depends on if my officiant truly can perform weddings in my state – I keep reading conflicting info. If we do, I doubt I would tell anyone about it (except my officiant, I guess). the celebration with my family and friends is the important event for me. If someone found out and was offended or snarky with me because they felt like my wedding was a fraud – then they can check the "regretfully decline" line on the rsvp. we are asking our guests to celebrate with us, not witness the signing of the paperwork.

Post # 32
Member
12 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: December 2008

We’re sort of doing something like this. Since we’re paying for the whole thing ourselves, we opted to have a small, family only wedding and a dinner at a nice resturant afterwards. We’re then planning on having a big party – no new ceremony, though – a few months later for our friends.

The idea was poo-pooed by some friends, saying they were hurt by the fact they weren’t invited and that we were leaving them out. We’ve stood by the fact that we want our wedding to be intimate, but I am concerned that the second reception looks like we’re trolling for presents.

Post # 33
Member
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I don’t think anyone should feel like they’re trolling for presents. If anyone does feel like that, then we should all get married privately and nobody should have a big wedding. I think having a reception is merely a great time to celebrate with all of your family and friends, and they are giving you items/money to start your new life together.

Post # 34
Member
1 posts
Wannabee

My Boyfriend or Best Friend and I are going to do this, but this is what we are going to do:

We are going to get married very near Chrstmas Day as 1) that’s our favorite holiday and time of year 2) That would be the best time to celerbrate our wedding aniversary every year (our ultamite dream special occation ~our wedding day~)(this also making it ‘our special day between the two of us, and our children.)

We plan to do our wedding in the spring time so that we can save money to share our wedding/ recption with our friends and family. Having it as a special time/ special gathering ceramony. It will be that time as well, where our friends and family wish us well and wisk us off on our hunnymoon

I’m thinking as well that this takes alot of the stress off, and nervousness from the two of us as we’ve already done our vows together on our "special Day"

When we do this we can add something special we want to say to each other in front of our friends/ and family and we can also have our own special saying on our day to each other on our day between the two of us making it more meaningful. Both days would be special and all our friends and family are all for it, as they all know how stressfull and overwelming it is just alone for the Bride and Groom just to do all this over one weekend (or 1-2 days) and planning it for a year (or less) 

Post # 35
Member
461 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

Personally I see the civil ceremony as simply a legal matter. I think it’s lovely that you want to make it special . A picnic sounds great! maybe see if your favorite restaurant can help put something together. Maybe go to a doggie bakery and snag something for the dog too! However it works out congrats to both of you! 

Post # 36
Member
9 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2009

Hey!  We are in the same boat.    Fiance and I just went to the courthouse to sign the license and make an appt at the courthouse for next month.  We will be having a reception later in June for extended family and friends to come and celebrate (and no, trolling for presents was not our intention for the reception; the reception is more of just a big, fun party for people to come out and celebrate).  We have told some people about our plans and we did get some backlash about having this "private" ceremony.  But in the end, both of our immediate families have committed to being there at the civil ceremony and that is what matters to us. 

You cannot please everyone.  It is just you and your fiance getting married by the judge with a witness nearby.  It isn’t you and your fiance and Auntie Jo’s second cousin’s husband’s sister getting married.  You know what I mean.  Unless it is in your culture to do so, you have no obligation to consult with them for when you can and cannot have your ceremonies.  For our civil ceremony, the room only holds up to 15 people so really, we can’t just invite anyone and everyone to attend.  Just because you are having a civil ceremony doesn’t mean that it would have any less meaning than would than say, an elaborate church wedding either.  So don’t feel guilted for having something "private" like you originally wanted.  And there is nothing fake about having a wedding ceremony later either.  The second wedding ceremony is simply another celebration in a different manner.  If you decide to keep the civil ceremony a secret, that is up to you and people should respect it no matter how they may feel otherwise.

In regards to your second question, make it special with a small birdcage veil, nice shoes (a special occasion makes the best excuse).  Make reservations to go to a nice dinner afterwards and even pick up a small cake from your favorite bakery ready at the restaurant (that’s what we are doing).  Oh, and have someone handy to take a lot of photos.  It’s not all bells and whistles but you can look back at your pictures and remember what made that day special to you.

Post # 37
Member
9 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2009

Oops sorry.  I just read above that the civil marriage won’t be a secret.  Even better!  You have nothing to hide.  Just be excited that you have not one but now TWO days to celebrate and look forward to.  Good luck with the rest of your planning.

Post # 38
Member
78 posts
Worker bee

As a guest I would not be offended at all that the legal marriage happened beforehand, but honestly, I would kind of feel like the second ceremony was a little fake. Unlesss the first one was earlier the same day or something.

Post # 39
Member
2889 posts
Sugar bee

Thanks for bringing up this topic. I actually just went to a wedding which was very small/casual. The bride and groom were married at city hall with their immediate families and had a backyard reception the next day for about 30 close friends and family. They plan to have a formal wedding in about a year. I should also note that I’m currently living in germany and that is not considered odd at all. One piece of advice I have is to get someone to take photos. I know another couple who were married privately and then went on a honeymoon and had a celebration with family later but they hired a photographer for the non-ceremoney marriage and have some amazing photos which truely captured how happy they were. This somehow made it easier for family and friends to relate to and provided them with something to look back on as there were no guests to take photos. So, find a friend who likes to take photos or hire someone but be sure to document your day for yourselves 🙂 I don’t think it’s rude to want to have a private wedding and take more time to plan out a reception. Good Luck!

Post # 40
Member
1 posts
Wannabee

katze:  I just want to say thank you for your comment! You made me feel way better about my decision. See I’m the one who is in the military, my fiancé is not. But I will be deploying befor Our “wedding” and financially we need the extra money being married gives us. Not to mention the benifits he could receive while I’m gone. I was feeling bad because I didn’t know if the wedding that we already planed and payed for, would still feel special. But after reading your comment you made me realize that it will still be special for sure!! All of our parents and siblings approve of our elopement as long as we still have the actual ceremony and reception. But thank you for making me feel 100% about our decision.  😊

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