(Closed) Justice of the Peace before ceremony?

posted 3 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 2
Member
7806 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

He doesn’t want to lie to his friends and family. Sounds like a good man!

Post # 3
Member
1400 posts
Bumble bee

Are you religious? You could have a separate religious and civil ceremony. The civil one is with the jop and the religious one is with whoever will be running that.

My fiance and I are going to sign the paperwork at the courthouse either the day or week before our ceremony (though it’s nonreligious). We’re doing it entirely for logistics reasons. But we will be celebrating the day we make our vows in front of our family and friends as our wedding day. It takes weeks for a marriage certificate to become official anyways, so who cares when we sign the legal paperwork?

Do what works for you and what makes life easiest for you.

Post # 6
Member
1400 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
Samantha151 : I still say do what is right for you. The legal side of it and the sentimental side can be two completely different things. We’re getting legally married by a jop because we didn’t want to pay for an officiant to come out to our ceremony and there was no friend or family member that felt right to do the job. So we’re signing the paperwork beforehand to save a little money so we can spend it on hosting people. We’re also moving ~2 weeks after the wedding so we want to have the certificate and all the paperwork finished and in our hands (without worrying if it will get mailed fast enough) before we move. But the part that we consider our wedding where we make our vows to eachother and sign them (jewish custom that we’re keeping even though we’re not religious) will be in front of family.

Post # 7
Member
7806 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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Samantha151 :  you said you’d only tell your parents and would continue to pretend to just be engaged. Girl that is lying lol.

Post # 8
Member
352 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2025 - City, State

If you invite people to a “wedding” without telling them that you’re already wedded, that certainly counts as a lie.  Get married now or get married later, but pick one.  Don’t ask your friends and family to spend time, money, and effort to attend what they think is a momentous occasion in your life, but is really just a reenactment.

Post # 9
Member
4964 posts
Honey bee

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Samantha151 :  I’ve read people occasionally post questions here similar to your situation. Most bees will disagree with you not letting your guests know before hand that you’ve already had a courthouse wedding and what they will be witnessing is a vow renewal instead.

Personally, as your guest, I don’t care whether you had a ceremony prior and I did not know about it. I would not even bat an eyelash if I found out after the fact. My officiant says this happens more than we know. In fact, he said about 20-25% of ceremonies he performs, the bride and groom had a courthouse ceremony prior and they’ve requested for him not to say anything. What’s important to me is you wanted me to be there when it’s time you exchange vows in front of family and friends then celebrate with you afterwards.

Post # 10
Member
345 posts
Helper bee

We are planning on doing a civil ceremony and not telling anyone about it (except our respective HR departments). We planned to get married at the end of this month but my fiance broke his ankle and just had surgery. We still want to be married for logistical reasons (I want to be on his insurance and he wants me to qualify for his company’s life insurance and spousal support shoud anything happen). 

I don’t even think we’ll tell our families. We plan to get “married” for real in September. Nothing wrong with doing it that way. We will celebrate our anniversary from our wedding date. 

 

Also – I’ve been married before and your wedding day is so much about other people. You probably won’t have a second to sit down and enjoy each other’s company. It’s kind of fun to have a secret between just the two of you, and a chance to celebrate your love privately. 

Post # 11
Member
1002 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

I think it depends on what you consider to be the “real wedding.” If to you it being legal is the significant part, and the legal documents carry NO weight to you then your wedding is when you are actually getting married and so go about your business. 

BUT- then the fact that you feel the need to tell your parents tells me that this is not the case. You wouldn’t feel the need to call your parents and tell the that you’re going to the DMV. 

I think you need to ask yourself why you feel the need to tell your parents. Is it because you are considering the legal ceremony to be the real wedding? When do you consider yourself married? 

If, however you consider yourself to be married when you sign the legal documents, then that is what you should refer to as your wedding. In that case I would think you are being dishonest because you are inviting people to something other than what you consider to be when you are getting married as your wedding. 

It is also possible that you and your fiance have different answers to these questions. 

There are entire countries where there are separate legal ceremonies, everyone knows it, and everyone lives. But what people there do not do is have one thing that they consider to be when they are getting married then invite people to something else as their “wedding.” 

Post # 12
Member
999 posts
Busy bee

This topic is a pretty devisive on this board.

My personal opinion is that you get one wedding. If you choose to have a legal ceremony to expedite the adoption process, that’s your perogative. I think the wedding is the event where the officiant witnesses the marriage and you two sign the documents. Period.

 

If I am invited as a guest, to the event which I have been led to believe is your wedding, and I discover later you two had already gotten married secretly, I would be royally pissed off.

If attending your event meant I had to re-arrange my work schedule, take a day off, use my vacation time, or travel a long distance, I would be ultra pissed off and we would be having words.

Because I don’t hop on a plane for delayed parties / vow renewals / “surprise we’re married” events. I don’t use my vacation time on stuff like that either.

I also don’t give wedding gifts to weddings I was not invited to, and if you invited me to your “wedding” when you were already married, and I gave you a gift, then found out about the sham? I would absolutely furious with you.

 

People have really strong opinions on this topic. While some people think it’s totally fine, other people do not.

Post # 13
Member
9887 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

View original reply
samael :  I agree whole-heartedly with everything here.

OP – you get one wedding.  It can be at the courthouse, in a church, on a mountain, at midnight, or any other qualifying thing you want to throw in there — but you get ONE. 

FWIW, someone in my family did a secret wedding then had the big for-show event later, and it got out.  And now, 20 years and a divorce later, it’s still referenced by people who attended with snide and sarcastic comments. 

Post # 14
Member
362 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2017

In my country to have a church wedding (i am catholic) you need to have a civil ceremony first…I had mine 1 month before my wedding (yes, because even if I know the legal part is the one that “counts” the sacrament was the most important for me) so on the day of my big wedding, I was already a married woman….

Post # 15
Member
1364 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

View original reply
Samantha151 :  I guess I don’t understand why he needs to adopt her now vs waiting until you have a wedding with family and friends. Could you clarify that for me? I didn’t see anything in your post for the urgency.

I don’t see anything wrong with having a legal wedding beforehand as long as your honest about it. I’m currently married, 2.5 years before my planned big wedding celebration, but we’ve been up front about it to all of our friends and family, and mention the plans for the big celebration later so they know to still expect that. Everyone I know has been cool with it. I’m also planning to change my name later as well.

Some bees will get super butt hurt on this topic, especially if you don’t plan on telling others. While we ultimately did tell everyone, we originally planned to keep it only to inner circles and on the down low overall since the big celebration we’re spending thousands on will truly be what we celebrate as our wedding day, not the 10 minute ceremony in Olive Garden done by a pastor who also worked as a waiter at that location. 

I think those that will be butt hurt can have whatever opinion they please. If any of my guests chose to not come to the wedding because they were so offended to not see the “real thing” then that’s absolutely fine by me! I’d rather not spend an extra hundred dollars to host and feed them if they’re not going to support my marriage. There’s many reasons to have a legal wedding before the big party, and those that aren’t willing to understand need not come.

If you decide to go through with this, be honest with at least your family. They deserve to know, and will likely want to be there – even if itsi just the courthouse. That’s how our parents were and why we Invited parents, siblings, and grandparents, to our ceremony and lunch at Olive Garden. They felt loved and included, and has only improved our relationship with them. Again, all of our friends understood our circumstances and fully support our decision. They now look forward to celebrating at the big wedding that’s coming up.

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