(Closed) Is the Ceremony Less Special if We're Already Legally Married?

posted 5 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 16
6575 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

As a guest, I probably wouldn’t travel for a “wedding” if I knew you were already married.  Same for a vow renewal unless it were a milestone anniversary (10/20/25 etc). From my point of view, you could have chosen a longer engagement and a big wedding, and you made your choice to marry without all of that, so the delayed wedding is just kind of self-indulgent. I also think a vow renewal sooner than 10 years is not really appropriate because it’s not a huge achievement to stay together for a year or three.  

Post # 17
911 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

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rae718 :  of you are already married… your ceremony/event should be calles vow renewal. 

Post # 18
7555 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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rae718 :  Why do your families have to meet? I mean I get introducing your parents to each other but anyone else? One of my siblings eloped (no party or redo) and I have never met my brother in-laws siblings and have never needed to. And for my other siblings, the only time since their weddings that I have met them is when it is a celebration (like a christening or 1st birthday of a shared niece/nephew). We chat like you would to anyone else at the party but we don’t need a relationship for that.

I mean besides enquiring after my brother/sister in-laws parents/siblings general health/wellbeing, they rarely come up in conversation and why would they. I personally think you are overthinking the families have to meet thing. Families need to be civil/friendly but they don’t need to be friends or have a relationship.

As for parents, well my in-laws live on the other side of the country to us and we just went out to dinner with my parents when the in-laws came to visit us. That was all it took for them to meet and get to know each other. Now they just see each other at our events (milestone birthdays and such). 

Post # 19
845 posts
Busy bee

I think it depends on the person, but for me, it would certainly be different. For me, a big part of the excitement of the wedding is becoming a married couple, husband and wife (wife and wife, or husband and husband). “Wow, I’m married now. I’m a Mrs. That is my husband (or wife).” Obviously, being married would take that bit away, at least for me it would. 

On the other hand, having friends and family present may make it seem more “real” than the first time. 

Which wedding date will you use as your actual wedding date, if people ask when you got married? Just curious.

Post # 20
560 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2017 - France

I don’t think the Ceremony will be less special but I’m getting married in France where you MUST get married in court (mairie) before you can have your religious ceremony for it to be legal. 

My family is flying in for the Wedding and they know we will already be legally wed, naturally having my family here for my Wedding will make it more special for me since I haven’t seen them in almost two years. I come from a very close family as well so these things matter to me a lot. 

Post # 21
13815 posts
Honey Beekeeper

By definition, if you are already married, you had your wedding. A wedding reception is a party that follows immediately. I personally don’t care for vow renewals in most cases because it minimizes the significance of the word “vow” and suggests that couples who elope are somehow less married or committed. 

The common term for what you want to do, if it’s within a year, is a celebration in honor of your marriage. Beyond that, I’d call it an anniversary party. As long as your guests know that you are already married, this reception can be whatever you want. You can have music, dancing, toasts, speeches, a cake and you can wear a beautiful dress, white or any other color. It can be as formal or casual as you like. 

No registries or showers.

Post # 22
558 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

I wouldn’t call it a wedding, I think PPs have given a number of good name suggestions. In my honest opinion, no it isn’t as special since you are already married and I would kind of question the purpose of re-doing it infront of a crowd.

Post # 23
1042 posts
Bumble bee

I don’t think it makes your wedding any less special if it’s going to be for the first time with friends and family. For couples going on destination weddings or marrying someone from a different country, different countries have regulations where you’re supposed to get legally married first before having your religious ceremony. Or if dealing with spousal visas and inter-country marriages where you have to get approval through different embassies, couples may opt to have the wedding after the legal steps are done. That or some couples do it for different reasons such as military deployment and such.

This doesn’t make your wedding any less special because it will be your first formal announcement. If people choose not to come to your wedding because they don’t feel it’s important to them, you know where they stand in this friendship.

Post # 24
2556 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Call it whatever you want. I’d call it a wedding. Celebrate big! You’ll be super special, I guarantee it. Standing up in front of family and friends to say vows… yeah. That’s momentous.


( I see this no different than those people who have lived with their boyfriend for years, purchase the house, and even had kids… and then want to have a wedding. Umm,  If you’re already living a “married” life, I don’t see the point. )

Post # 25
5304 posts
Bee Keeper

I’d cut you a lot of slack on whatever you choose to call it, because of the exception of logistics involving military, so do whatever will make you happy. If you were my friend or relative I’d make just as much a point to come. 

BUT, I do want to say, DH and I have long distance family as well as our respective families not having met before the wedding (different cities) and I do want to say that in my experience at least, people tended to hang out in their own social groups. There was no drama, no animosity etc- but his relatives tended to hang out together, my relatives tended to hang out together, ditto friends groups and teammates etc. Sure everyone met and were able put names to faces and were friendly enough and all that, but honestly it was a bit disappointing there wasn’t more mingling and in hindsight I wonder if we could have done more to fascilitate this. Maybe others have more success in this regard than we did, but if you’re organizing all of this for the families to meet, it may be a bit of a letdown. 

Post # 26
5985 posts
Bee Keeper

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rae718 :  for me it wouldn’t be the same. But that’s me. 

Post # 27
170 posts
Blushing bee

It’s all in how you handle it, and the fact that you’re being sensitive to how others would feel about what to call it, etc is a good start. We got engaged in January & immediately set a date in September & started making deposits on things. Then we got married in March for multiple reasons, but our families couldn’t be there. We were already living together so really it was just a fun, intimate thing at the courthouse for the two of us, & it will always be very special. The September thing is still going on, & our families and friends know all about it, but it hasn’t changed anything.  They’re all still coming & treating as just as important as the actual wedding day.  Our invitation says, “with warmth & joy,  ___ & ___  invite you to join us in the celebration of our marriage.” And we will be saying the vows we originally wrote. At the courthouse we just said the legal ones.

I think as long as you’re open about it, & you keep expectations in check & remember that it’s not the actual wedding, it’ll be fine! Everyone has different circumstances. And anyone who really loves you will view it as important & not be pissy about it. 

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