Getting married months before the ceremony- advice please

posted 1 year ago in Elopement
Post # 31
1386 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

In the US, you have two years to change your name from date of marriage (before it gets harder to do so at least), so you can wait to do that until the big wedding.

My husband and I got married 2.5 years before our big wedding, for FAFSA and tax purposes. No regrets. We were honest about it with our friends, family, etc., and no one cares. They are still excited to celebrate with us day of, and there’s no hurt feelings because there’s no secrets.

Post # 32
763 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

I have a friend who got married almost a year in advance of her ceremony and reception. It was so her husband could be on her health insurance and so that they could be married before their baby came. she intended to try to keep it secret at first but her aunt saw the marriage license published in the newspaper. So then she just decided to let everyone know. She did change her name right away and definitely did feel married. And she was actually really glad the cat got let out of the bag right away, said it was a relief from the original plan of keeping it secret. Her wedding ceremony and reception were still well attended, the same as if they hadn’t been married already. People still want to celebrate them. It really is just the whole “secret” thing that irks some people. 

Post # 33
13722 posts
Honey Beekeeper

“ I will be honest about it however, not sure if I should call everyone or announce it on social media though, or what would really be effective.”

You should call or tell your VIPs, of course. A simple announcement on social media or personal correspondence with those who would like to know is appropriate. The invitations should invite people to a “celebration in honor of your marriage.” That tells people you are already married.

You can absolutely wear a white dress, have speeches, a DJ or band, dances and a cake. No matter how you perceive this, as long as people are not being mislead to believe that what they are invited to witness is, in fact, a wedding ceremony, you are fine. 

Post # 34
19 posts
  • Wedding: June 2020

Hi there! My husband and I got married a couple months back… mainly because I was going back to school and needed financial aid so if I was married it meant I was no longer under my parents. We were planning our wedding anyways and we’re like whatever what does a year really matter? We told our close family, but no one else really. We are going to do a “renewal of vows” next year and do a very small ceremony anyways. On the invitations we are going to put “… we will be married in a small ceremony, please join us in the celebration of our marriage” kind of word it like that since a lot of people will just be invited to the reception. Hope that helps! 

Post # 35
2770 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

View original reply
mollykate92 :  A lot of people who have issues with this type of thing, have an issue with lying. 

You don’t need to send out announcements that you’re married or do anything else. Just when you send out invites for your party, the wording can help. “You’re invited to celebrate the marriage of ___ and mollykate92.”

You might get questions about it still though. You can also just tell your families about getting married, and word of mouth will take care of the rest.

I know a couple who got married quickly to ensure they were legally married before the birth of their child. They then had a huge celebration 1 year later. I attended both ceremonies, we gave a gift, we had a blast, and there was no side-eye. The reason it went off that way was because they were honest and never tried to mislead anyone. They exchanged rings, which they then wore, she changed her name (legally and on social media), with their legal marriage, and we all still went to her second ceremony, watched them exchange vows with her in her beautiful, white dress, and ate delicious cake. 

I think it’s a little crazy to say you won’t consider yourself married, when you are married. That’s like saying you don’t consider yourself pregnant, when you actually are pregnant. Some things just are. And it’s not a bad thing or something to hide, and people are more accepting of honesty then pretend.

Of course, at the end of the day, it’s your life. However, I’ve seen this work beautifully, with full support, and large attendance at the delayed reception/celebration, and when I’ve seen it work was when it was done with complete openness and honesty. You don’t have to tell people why you’re getting married now and celebrating later. But be honest once you are married, that you are, indeed, married. 

Post # 36
649 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

Hello, bee.  First of all, take care of yourself.  As a bee with my own chronic illness, I know the value of insurance.  One of my co-workers actually secretly married because at the time she had a live-in job on a university campus and the only way her SO could live with her was for them to be married.  They had a civil ceremony and he moved on campus.  The following spring, they had the wedding they had originally planned.  No one was the wiser.  People still don’t know.

I am not saying you should lie, I am just saying that you don’t have to share this information if you don’t want to.  Your anniversary will be both dates, but honestly, usually only the people having the anniversary actually care about that.

Be gentle with yourself.


Post # 37
1618 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019 - City, State

 I think it’s a real bummer to lie to your family and friends about this. You could cancel your May wedding and just throw together a celebration in the next few weeks. Just have a party at your house. Or you could have a vow renewal in May. But (unless you divorce this spring), you cannot get married in May if you get married in the next few weeks.

Post # 38
115 posts
Blushing bee

I consider the religious ceremony and pledging commitment to each other in front of family, friends, and pastor to be the “real” wedding and the earlier court house by yourselves one to be just getting paperwork out of the way or taken care of.

Like how self centered do you have to be to get mad at them and complain about being lied to because they signed a sheet of paper with a judge in private for personal or private reasons before you watched them exchange vows instead of after? It’s not about you! it’s not your wedding, relationship, or beliefs. You are a simply a guest to what they consider to be true marriage, act like it. Just because you consider real marriage to be just the piece of paper don’t shit on other people for considering a real marriage to be the religious ceremony or public exchange of vows. 

It’s not even anything that has to shared. If they are the type to throw a tantrum over it or think they should have Been told all those details before the wedding because they would have not given a gift or acted differently or talked shit because “it’s not a REALLY a wedding” it says more about them than you. 

Post # 39
480 posts
Helper bee

I think you should do what feels best. It’s important to remember that commenters on the bee are people who self-select as more concerned about/interested in weddings, wedding etiquette, etc. than the average person. So I wouldn’t let threads here get you too worked up about this. I think it’s why you see such powerful opinions here, when in reality your friends and family probably don’t care too much. 

I think PPs suggestion of altering the wording to something akin to “celebrate the marriage of __” is an appropriate and fair compromise. I don’t really think it’s necessary in this case to make public social media posts airing your personal business (illness and losing your job) and justifying your decision to get legally married sooner – particularly in your case where you were already engaged and planning to wed. I’d tell my parents and best friends the details, sure, but not my FMIL’s second cousin Sally.

Post # 40
5409 posts
Bee Keeper

Take care of your health first. As your guest, I honestly don’t care if you secretly got married months or a year ahead and had a second ceremony with me present.

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mollykate92 :  

Post # 41
10214 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

View original reply
kristin36890 :  

“Isn’t allowed to have her wedding ceremony…. ” don’t be silly, all she is being enjoined to do is be honest about its nature . 
Nobody at all ever minds or cares about people getting legally married and then having a wedding celebration later. The issue is and always has been that , like it or not, the marriage has taken place and would-be guests like to know that in case they would prefer not to go to a party that doesn’t actually include the marriage. 
For cultures where the religious ceremony is pretty much always preceded by a civil ceremony disclosure is not necessary as everyone knows about it, of course . 

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