(Closed) Having a wedding but not legally getting married..

posted 8 years ago in Logistics
Post # 92
4654 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

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@aliavenue: +1. 

You are married when you decide you are married, not when the state decides. If you commit to each other in front of everyone, and you feel married, you are. It’s not a deception. (As long as you don’t expect tax benefits lol.)  

Money should not have to stand in the way of two people who want to commit, and that includes stuff like losing aid and whatnot. You should be able to do what’s best for you both financially AND romantically and they should not have to conflict. If someone in my life looked down on me for that I’d question if they really cared for me. 

😀 Enjoy, OP! Go forth and do whatever makes sense to you and gives you joy, and don’t waste any time on those who want to say there’s only one right way to live. You’re not hurting anyone. 

Post # 93
894 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

we got legally married first and will be having a wedding later, and it’s really nobody’s business but ours. do what’s best for you! I don’t think you’re under any obligation to share. for convenience’s sake, and since some close-minded people may tend to judge you. it’s not like you’re getting a fake marriage or anything, so don’t feel bad!

Post # 94
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Then have a commitment ceremony and celebration. Don’t call it a wedding.

Imagine these scenarios then tell me if you think it is still ethical to host a fake wedding  or explain how it is different to the OP’s financial aid situation:

-A couple hosts a “wedding” but does not actually legally marry because one partner or both are drawing welfare, Section 8 or some similar government benefit, which would be lost once incomes are legally combined 

-A couple hosts a “wedding” but does not legally marry because one partner or both is recieving alimony which will stop once they become legally married (note: alimony is different to child support; child support levels should not be contingent on marital status)

I know in that second scenario, if it were your SO’s ex that were the fake bride in the fake wedding, and your SO who would still be on the hook for alimony without the ex’s marriage being legal, a whole lot of people on this board would be hiding in the bushes with a telephoto lens and a lawyer on speed-dial, or pushing our SO’s to do the same.

I’m a hard-core liberal. I fully believe in welfare, financial aid for students, and government-subsidized health care, among other things. So it’s not about me being a tea partier who hates government spending. Rather, I hate abuse and fraud against the systems that are in place.  While the cases of fraud are likely quite small compared to the number of people who actually need these safety nets, the fact that so many think “it’s okay” or “it’s nobody’s business but mine” makes me really sad, on many levels.

OP I sincerely hope that, if you still intend to go through with this, you donate all gifts to a worthy charity.

Post # 95
9950 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012


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@moriah:  you said,

My employer won’t insure him unless we’re legally married, but he has IRS debt  that I am not willing to take on.  Thus, when we were in a car wreck, he  got his medical care covered as a low income case, because he doesn’t work at  all, while I support him.

I have to say I am confused by this reason for not marrying…

Are things different in the USA than they are in Canada… because in Canada when you marry both debts & assets that you bring into the marriage from your single life… are JUST YOURS.

(so you’d have no responsibility for that IRS Debt of his)

Only assets & debts accummulated WHILE you are married are jointly held.


Post # 96
13889 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@fishbone:  I agree with this.

Also to add, OP, I would feel lied to and deceived if you had a show of a wedding but didn’t actually get married.  It sounds so sneaky and backhanded. 

Post # 97
1090 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

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@fishbone:  I agree with all of this. I especially agree that there is a difference between having a commitment ceremony because you can’t get married, and having a commitment ceremony because you choose not to for your own legal benefit.

I still find it hard to believe that you got “swept up” in wedding planning without time to think about the legal and financial ramifications of getting married.


Post # 98
4369 posts
Honey bee

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@fishbone:  Rather, I hate abuse and fraud against the systems that are in place.  

This, this, this. 

Post # 99
2081 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 1993

IMO, you’re either legally married or you’re not.

(The ONLY exception in my view is regarding same-sex unions where they are not legally recognised; I fully support the right of couples to regard themselves as married where the law prevents it).


1. You have a committment ceremony to avoid losing financial aid. Fine. You’re not married, it’s not a wedding, so why pretend differently? Answer? Because you want the celebration without the consequences. This seems massively ill-though out and I can’t belive you spent thousands on deposits without realising it.

2. You get legally married and deal with the consequences.

3. You delay getting legally married until you are able.

In short, you can’t have your (wedding) cake and eat it.

Post # 100
53 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I have to agree that if you choose to not tell people it is deceptive.  I’ve never been invited to a Pre-wedding wedding or Post-wedding wedding but I don’t think I would have a problem as long as the couple was honest.  I completely understand that life gets in the way and sometimes you need to get married sooner (insurance, deployment) or wish to post-pone (taxes, etc).  I also understand not wanting to lose all the deposit money, that’s a lot of money!

Having said that I also don’t agree when people abuse government assistance.  I understand that people fall on hardtimes and often need help but its not fair to those who truly need the assistance, when others abuse it.

You said that your fiance will graduate in 2 years, so I am assuming that after this year of schooling ends he will have 2 more years.  Financial aid is always based on the previous years taxes and you apply each year in the fall.  So in the fall your fiance would still be able to get aid based on 2012’s taxes when he was single.  So only his last year of schooling would it consider the combined incomes.

I know considerate amount about financial aid because the year I started college (2004) my mom had been unemployed most of the year and my dad was due to have back surgery and go on workerman’s comp, meaning their income for 2004 was going to be way less than what they made in 2003 (the taxes I was to use for financial aid).  Because of this I was able to get special circumstances and use their projected 2004 income for my first year and then those were the same taxes that I got to use my second year.  Also my mom got a new job and my dad wasn’t off as long as originally anticipated so my last two years of college I had a lot less financial aid and it sucked.  I paid for my own schooling so it was extremely frustrating to me that I had to use my parents income vs my own (I worked a lot while in school).

All that being said I think that having one year of higher schooling is better than being deceptive to my guests.  If you cut back now you might be able to save enough money to cover the extra costs of schooling.  If you do decide to have the wedding but wait to get married, I certainly hope you decide to be honest with your guests.  While I don’t necessarily think you have to go into a lot of detail about what’s going on, I think its important to be honest and your guests deserve to know that you won’t be legally married for another 2 years.  Remember these are people that you love and love you so I’m sure they would be understanding.  Good Luck in whatever you decide to do.

Post # 101
2334 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

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@fishbone:  +1 to all of your responses


Fiance has significant debt from student loans, I have none.  When we are married, his minimum payments will increase- that’s part of the deal.  I am marrying him, school loans and all.  I would never consider holding a wedding and not actually getting married to just to pay less money.

Post # 102
2334 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

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@moriah:  Historically, for a LONG LONG TIME, weddings had nothing to do with the government.  You could marry someone, in some societies, just by having sex with them.

Okay…but this is 2013 and she lives in Long Island, not Jerusalem in biblical times.  If they decided to be married/committed to one another in their hearts and never get legally married, that’s fine.  But OP is suggesting they postpone the modern-day legality and then get legally married in 2 years.  They’re not supporting some higher ideal of what marriage really is, they’re just trying to cook the books until it benefits them the most.

Post # 103
281 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I think I’ve finally worked out why I feel so icky about these “we want to have a wedding but not get married” scenarios.  

If you want to have a party to celebrate your commitment to each other.  Go ahead.  Enjoy.  Party away.  Unless that is your only option, please don’t call it a wedding.

A wedding celebrates a marriage.  When we get married, we celebrate our comitment to each other, of course, but there is also a legal side to that commitment.  It’s not just I promise to love you forever.  It’s I also promise to accept the rights and responsibilities bestowed on me by the institution of marriage.  We don’t get to cherry pick the bits and pieces that we want.  

If you have a wedding and people think you are getting married, that you are being joined in the closest legal and social way that our society offers to us, but you still (in secret) maintain a legal wall between you separating the two halves of a couple, I find that very deceptive.

Post # 105
1497 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

If it was 6 months, maybe. But 2 years is really stretching it. I say take out the loan.

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