(Closed) Having a wedding when we are already legally married?

posted 9 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
260 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I’m in the same situation…I’m quite curious to see the replies you get. 

Post # 4
7225 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Hi! I’m in the relatively same boat!

My husband is an Aircrewman in the Navy and we got married in December via Justice of the Peace. Our home, family & friends is in California, but we’re currently in Oklahoma! My husband had just come home from deployment and he was scheduled to leave immediately before our JoP date. One guy from his squadron was an angel and stepped in for my husband, but my husband deployed just a few short days after we were married.

Our parents flew out for our wedding. We went to go see the Trans Siberian Orchestra, had a great time, had a beautiful, short, JoP wedding in our living room next to our christmas tree, it was awesome.

We’re planning our “formal wedding” in June so we have a chance to celebrate with our friends and family that couldn’t attend in December.

We’re calling it our wedding. That’s what it is, right? Weddings are where two people come together in unity and celebrate with friends and family! Sure, we’re already married, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a pretty wedding, too. I’m pretty adament against calling it a vow renewal, but that’s just my own personal taste. We’re not renewing our vows, we’re having a wedding. I know that’s a touchy subject with some people on this website, but it’s all a matter of personal taste. If you want to call it a wedding, call it a wedding. If you want to call it something else, do that, then! Don’t feel pressured to call it something you don’t want to because someone said you had to.


People will absolutely come! Those who couldn’t come to the courthouse wedding will definitely want to come be with you guys — Good food, good music, good friends and dancing. What’s not to like?


My husband is for sure having a bachelor party, but I don’t know if I’ll have a bachelorette party. Just doesn’t seem like something I’d want to do. One of my bridesmaids is my husband’s 11 year old cousin, and the other three are broke parents! I don’t need anything fancy, so I suggested maybe we girls can go out to a movie or something. That would be fun. You can have bachelor/ette parties if you want. No one says you can’t! Do whatever feels best for you.


My husband and I are only celebrating the anniversary that we actually got married. We got married on December 9th, but the 9th of june wouldn’t have worked for a lot of people attending, so the 15th it is! It’s just a date we’re throwing a party. Our anniversary will be on the 9th.

Congrats to you & yours. Don’t let anybody make you feel bad that you’re having a wedding after being married. Don’t let anybody guilt you into thinking you’re “decieving” your guests if you don’t tell people you’re already married (Whether you do or don’t is your business and no one else’s!) and don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve a beautiful wedding.

You’re definitely not alone. One military wife to another!

Post # 5
6375 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

People have posted on here before about this. The best advice I can offer you is as follows:

– Think about what marriage really means to you. Is it primarily a religious, a legal, or a social institution? If you believe that marriage is a legal institution, then you have a problem, because that means that legal marriage IS marriage to you. If you believe that it is a religious or social institution then you have less of an issue.

– How about your friends and family? Do they believe that marriage is social/legal/religious? If they beliebve that marriage is legal, then you might want to control what you tell them about your marriage… sometimes then ignorance is bliss, and it prevents objections. If  they already know then your job is harder… just tell your parents to tell nobody else, and to explain your views on marriage, if applicable.

Personally, I would come. For me, marriage is primarily religious. No ceremony = no marriage, regardless of what the paper says (that’s not to say that atheist bees on here “aren’t really married”, or anytthing like that… it’s just that I think that, in an ideal world, a ceremony of some sort is necessary, even if it’s a secular ceremony).

But then… who cares what I think? At the end of the day, if you put “free bar” on the invite then I wouldn’t care whether it’s a marriage, or a vow renewal, or whatever… I’m practical/shallow like that…

Post # 7
6375 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

@kaysee712:  So it’s social for you, and that’s OK! Tell your guests that you feel it is social. Explain how you feel. Break your feelings down logically and then tell the parents to spread the word to the guests (the least they can do, seeing as they ****** up in the first place by telling everyone about your legal marriage).

PS Yeah, not changing my name either, if I have my way. And yeah, Fiance is not at all happy… and nor are several of my relatives, oddly enough. Some of the ones who didn’t approve of my having a religious ceremony don’t approve of my keeping my name and not being given away, either. It’s like… seriously… WTF, guys?

Post # 8
1835 posts
Buzzing bee

My best friend and her husband did this – they got married in 2006 before his big deployment. The same thing happened to them: originally, they planned on going to the courthouse and inviting just her parents, grandmother and aunt to witness. But her mom started telling people and eventually it turned into a backyard Halloween costume party/wedding. I ended up getting flown there to be in the “wedding” which was really fun – I as Maid/Matron of Honor was a witch and the Best Man dressed as a cowboy with an inflatable horse haha.

Anyway, they had their “real” wedding with a full-blown ceremony, reception, etc. two years later in 2008. The groom’s parents were the only ones that didn’t know, but they found out when the preacher called it a “vow renewal” despite being asked not to mention that fact :/

But it wasn’t a big deal. Nobody thought it was weird because we all know the circumstances that required the marriage to happen before a wedding could. Both were beautiful, unique events in their own right. They celebrate the October 2006 date as their anniversary (the later wedding was on her birthday, so it still gets celebrated as well.)

Post # 9
422 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@kaysee712:  we did this. 

We were legally married in June 2012 and having our ceremony/reception in April 2013. After the court house, we had a small party and started planning for our wedding. 

People will come. People want to celebrate with you. 

Also remember that there is no law or a rule book regarding how or when or why to plan your wedding a certain way. I know that there are a lot of people (i have experienced this) that will bring down the law of some kind of wedding etiquette but that does not exist. 

Go for it and have fun ! 

Post # 11
663 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

I think that having a big white dress ceremony however many years down the line sounds like a good idea for you. Call it whatever you want, and embrace the day as a way to share your love with the world. 


I just posted something of this sentiment in another thread: I would be there! Your friends and family will come. As long as you’re open with them about the whole situation I feel like you can do whatever feels right. One friend of mine legally married in London and months later had a white wedding in Italy. I couldn’t afford to cross the Atlantic twice, so I attended the big Italian shindig, despite the fact that they were legally married months before. I regret nothing and am thrilled that I got to share the day with them and celebrate their union. Best of luck!

Post # 13
547 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

My husband and I got married so we could start on the immigration paperwork so I can move to where he lives. We have kept it a secret from a lot of people but are still having a big wedding ceremony in fall of this year.

To be honest I wouldn’t care if people knew or not becaue they’d still come to the big one becase it’s a wedding and they’d be mad if they missed it. If you have the money now and want to do it I say go for it. Call it a wedding or a celebration, whatever you want to do. Like I said before people are still going to show up. 

As far as anniversay dates go use the date from your first wedding. Unless you want to cut off however many years you’ve been married. We’re using our first date and don’t care what anyone has to say about it. It’s our lives and our marriage just like this is your life and your marriage. People do what they have to do. You shouldn’t be punished for that. People will understand, and if they don’t well then don’t invite them to the celebration.

Post # 14
239 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

As someone who is in the middle of this, I can say people WILL WANT TO COME to the wedding celebration. 
We were legally married 7 months ago. Did not exchange rings, I did not wear a white dress, etc. It was a 5 minute thing and then we signed the paperwork. 
We call that our civil ceremony day. Our parents were aware but were not there with us.
Our wedding day will be 12/7/13, and 99% of our friends/family are SO excited to be there. 

Post # 15
339 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

@Rachel631:  You made me laugh so hard. i love your post. well put.


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@karineh:  Congrats and thank you for posting that 


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@rdownie1:  Still in the fight I see! how are you dear:) 


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@kaysee712:  Have your wedding your way the way you see fit. ITS YOUR DAY bump all the etiquette only sticks really adhere to it anyway. If that’s a person’t thing so be it. But I have a problem when people make you adhere to what they follow. So what I say is LET THEM EAT CAKE AND ENJOY !!!!


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@wisher558:  WELL PUT!


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@ArtDecoDC:  Beautiful! I liked your posts thanks for posting that:)

Post # 16
1074 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

We’re in this same situation.  Got married at the end of March for immigration reasons (I’m a Canadian, he’s a New Zealander and we live in the U.S.)

We are having a reception in Sept. and have asked quite a few friends (150+) to join us in NYC.  I cannot believe the positive responses we are getting.  Both sets of parents are coming back (they came to our City Hall ceremony).  Currently, my DH is beaming with happiness since one of his best mates just called to say that he’s likely to come – all the way from New Zealand. 

I’ve also had friends be very supportive friends and family who are planning to come which has just been awesome.  Feeling very blessed.  So yes, I think people will come.  On our STD’s we called it ‘celebration of our marriage.’ 

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