(Closed) How To Elope

posted 10 years ago in Elopement
Post # 3
Member
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

This all depends on where you elope. If you run off to Vegas or another city then you would do everything over again the second time as if you never did it the first. Marriage varies from county to county, so you should google your county’s info page on marriage and just read what it says.

Post # 4
Member
35 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2008

I assume you will be telling your guests that you are already married and that you are renewing your vows? 

Post # 5
Member
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

AHPP, a lot of people have a small and private marriage ceremony and then do a "big" wedding later on without telling their guests. They see one as a formality and the other as the celebration. Since they know their family and friends best, I think it’s up to them whether they tell people or not.

Bride2010, I know zero about Jewish ceremonies, but you might consult with your rabbi beforehand and see what he or she advises as far as formalities within the religion go. It probably won’t matter since you seem to be talking about a civil elopement, but you want to be sure you don’t upset the officiant by hiding the fact you were already married. As far as licenses are concerned, I’d check with your county as well as the county where you intend to elope, as a pp said. 

Post # 7
Member
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Caliocteach, I’m confused by your post.  A marriage in any state, as long as you actually were legally married (got a marriage license, and filed it after the ceremony) is recognized in any other state in which there isn’t a specific legal prohibition on that marriage.  It’s not like your Las Vegas marriage wouldn’t be recognized in California, or New Jersey. You would have trouble if your state had different legal restrictions (say, on the age of consent) than the state in which you were married. 

If you are legally married, you do have to file your taxes as such.  Trust me, the IRS will check – your marriage license, once filed with the county, is available to them.

If you just want a ceremony, and you don’t bother to either obtain the license or file it afterwards, you’re not really legally married.  In that case, you would still file your taxes as single persons, you wouldn’t get to take advantage of each others’ benefits (medical insurance, etc), and you would have to go ahead and get a marriage license and such for your formal wedding next year.

Post # 8
Member
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Suzanno — sorry for the confusion,  my point was that every county has their own guidlines and rules.  For example, when we filled out our marriage application there was no place to mark if we were already married to eachother, and you only had to mark if you were divorced if it was within one year.  Basically, we could have gotten married in Orange County and then gone over to LA and repeated the complete process. Also, I have friends that have had civil ceremonies right away and then their religious ceremony a year later — most were Mormon marrying converts.  They wanted to be married right away, but their significant other had not yet earned a temple recommend.  So, they had a civil ceremony and then waited until the other had completed all requirements so they could be sealed in the temple.

Post # 9
Member
37 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: December 2008

My 2 cents – Some people won’t like being ‘lied to’ by you being secretly married already but holding the second wedding as a wedding, not a vow renewal, or ceremony.  It’s totally up to you of course, but personally, I wouldn’t want to have to keep my friend’s secret if I was the witness –  and if you want a private ceremony then a larger celebration what is the reason to keep the private ceremony a secret? If keeping it a secret is to spare someone’s feelings, I think that is the wrong path to take, because the truth always comes out SOMEHOW and honesty is (almost always) the best policy.

 

A compromise could be to have the private ceremony exactly the way you want it, then afterward, come clean to your family, friends and rabbi.  Especially with some sticky issues, it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.  This will prevent the larger later ceremony from being perceived as a ‘fake wedding’ or ‘just a way to get gifts’  – these are not my opinions, but I ahve read many heated threads on brides.com and the knot over exactly what you’er describing, and some people feel very strongly that tehy should know the truth if they are being invited to witness a wedding or a vow renewal (or a religious ceremony following a civil marriage)

 

Good Luck! and some more info on why you’re considering this option would help the hive give you better advice!

Post # 10
Member
18 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I am in a similar situation to Bride2010 but have an extenuating circumstance behind it.  My fiancé and I have planned a wedding next September – ceremony and reception at a local art museum. I recently took a new position and moved to NJ for my career but my fiancé had to remain behind in CT because he is from the UK (yes, he has a really sexy accent) and doesn’t have work authorization to work for a different company.  He is currently in the process of getting a green card, but his company is moving VERY slowly.  We were thinking about getting married in secret this December so that we could file for his green card through marriage and not through work, but really didn’t want to tell any of our family and friends. I am looking forward to a ‘ceremony’ in September.  If we called it ‘renewing of our vows’ I think that I would feel that it is less important somehow.

What I am hearing from you on this board is that if you were our guests – you would feel like we had “lied” to you.  I certainly don’t want people to feel that way or to feel like we were only holding the ceremony and reception to receive gifts.  My mom has been telling my whole family not to get us anything because we are in our 30’s, have decent salaries, and already have everything we need (thanks Mom- I’m looking forward to eating off of Ikea plates for the rest of my life :-).  But I am really looking forward to celebrating our commitment to one another surrounded by family and friends!
 

Post # 11
Member
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I suppose you can get as many marriage licenses as you like (and file as many) although I’m sure it will confuse the records issue.  And you’ll have to pay for each one, so I’m not sure why you would do that.

As far as the rabbi, I would think that you would want to be honest with him.  I don’t know why he would have any issues with doing a public ceremony at some time after the initial (private, legal) ceremony.  All kinds of people do that, for all kinds of reasons.  And IMO, it’s sort of bad karma to lie to a rabbi or priest.  (Well, to lie to anybody, but particularly to a rabbi or priest.)  And I’m not sure what you would gain by not "coming clean" with him.

And on the issue of your guests – frankly, there are parts of your life that are just none of their business, but you don’t really have to deceive them.  There are all kinds of ways to conduct a ceremony that don’t specifically call it a "vow renewal" but don’t pretend that you’re not already married.  I have been to several ceremonies where the officiant simply called it "the public celebration" or "celebration with family and friends" of the couple’s commitment to each other.  Both wordings imply that there has been a previous, private commitment, although you have to listen carefully to understand that.

 

Post # 12
Member
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Pie – I would have a word with you mom if I was you!  I was 43, and my husband was 50 when we were married this summer.  Being a little older and better established doesn’t mean that your guests don’t want to get you something in recognition of your marriage.  It does mean that you have probably already given a lot of wedding gifts, shower gifts, baby gifts… and so your friends may be looking forward to the chance for some payback.  In our case, we certainly had everything we needed.  But we registered at Lowe’s (for some home improvement things) and also for some nice small appliances we didn’t have, and for flatware and dishes that we picked out together.  I know that moms just want to be involved, but for your mom to tell people not to get you presents is stepping way out of line.

Post # 13
Member
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

People get legally married all the time before they have their big wedding. Some do it a day before some do it months before for different reasons, health benefits, married in their church since the church doesn’t do the service outside of the church and their venue is outside etc. I would just go to city hall and you can bring a few folks with you etc. But yeah be honest with your rabbi and family, friends whoever but you do not have to say vow renewal on your wedding invitation or anything, that is your choice. Don’t feel you need to be secretive about it though.

Post # 14
Member
53 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

I honestly don’t understand the point.  Why would you not enjoy your wedding if you aren’t already married?  That doesn’t make any sense to me.  I also don’t get why people would spend all that money on a big wedding for show, when they are already married.  Seems like a total waste of money IMO.   

Post # 16
Member
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

Elope!!!! 

I highly recommend eloping before the wedding, but I would strongly advise you to not keep it a secret.  Doing so will lead to many hurt feelings and unnecessary complications.  We went to the court house 6 months before our big formal wedding and just did the ceremony with a judge (witnesses are not required where we live).  We liked having the day to ourselves, without our families (who we love) ruin things the way they ruin everything else with lots of bickering and other things that I probably will need therapy for.  Another big reason for doing this was because I wanted to be on his health care plan, which is so better than my own.  From that standpoint, our families viewed it as us just taking care of some practical considerations, and not us wanting to leave them out of anything.  We told our parents and friends before hand so that they would know and not be hurt later.  We did not keep it a secret, but we didn’t tell every guest at our wedding, we figured our parents and friends would tell people anyway. 

Eloping does allow you to separate the wedding day craziness and family BS that will accompany it, from the actual event of getting married.  We were so relaxed the day of the second wedding, because we had been married for 6 months already (but we lived togther, so it was like we were married long before that).  I will say that while the private ceremony was very special, saying our vows again in front of everyone was so great, and it really made things feel official.  Being married already did not detract from the excitement or enjoyment we felt at the big wedding.

We had a non-religious ceremony at the second wedding that we wrote ourselves and the Groom’s father performed.  He is not ordained or anything, so it was not a legal ceremony, which we didn’t need because we already had our legal ceremony.  This was great for us because we didn’t have to hire an officiant, and having a family member read it was very special.  If you are having a Rabbi for your ceremony, I would talk to him or her first to make sure they know you are getting married before hand.  Do not lie about it.  I suspect that it will not be a problem, and it they prefer, you can say you are renewing your vows or something.  Keep in mind, you will be legally married the day you sign the marriage liscence, and therefore the Rabbi cannot file for a second liscence.  You can’t be legally married twice. So many people end up signing their marriage liscenses on a different day than the actual wedding anyway, who cares?

As you have seen, people have very strong reactions to this sort of thing.  I posted about our elopement on weddingbee before we did it, and some commentors felt free to tell me how horrible I was for doing this.  People will tell you it will ruin your big day, or some people will insist on telling you that your second wedding is not a wedding, but is a vow renewal, and the calling it a wedding is a lie.  Ignore these people.  We referred to our second wedding (with all the family) as our "fake wedding", and to us it didn’t actually mater what people called it. 

 Since you will be married on the same day but a different year, you don’t have to worry about your anniversary date.  In terms of deciding which day we want to celebrate as our anniversary, we decided that we have two choices and we can decided on a year by year basis.  Our legal anniversary is in May, which is great for us since our other weddin is in November, which is full of birthdays and holidays.  We don’t have anything going on in May, so it helps us spread out our celebrations for the year.  Also, if my husband forgets our anniversary in May, Ipromised him he gets a do-over in November, and he really likes that.

Good Luck and Congratulations!

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