(Closed) Legal Wedding Before "Real" Wedding – Advice

posted 4 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 31
7504 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Every time I see a thread like this, where someone wants to hide their marriage so they get more money or stuff, I wonder what they would think if the tables were turned. OP, if your fiance had been married before, and his divorce decree ordered spousal support for 25 years or until his ex remarried, how would you feel if his ex got into a long-term relationship and had a fake wedding but didn’t actually get legally married? Your fi would still legally be on the hook for the spousal support even though his ex was basically living as married. 

If that sounds dishonest and would make you mad, how is what you are considering any different? It’s stretching the truth so that you get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

No one is saying don’t get married. They are just saying don’t be dishonest about it. Like *thousands* of other military couples do. 

Post # 32
971 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

We did get off topic based on the information you gave.  I think we felt that there was a bigger issue that would “nullify” your questions.  But what you asked is fine:  So, as to your questions–it honestly is okay to choose a time special to you.  As important as your Maid/Matron of Honor may be, it’s YOUR day.  Whatever day you pick will become super special to you.  Also, I don’t think most people hang their marriage certificates up for display?  Maybe I’m wrong, but basically, I think whenever you do your big party/wedding, you could display the invitation or some sort of print or picture commemorating the date.  It doesn’t have to be so “disguised” as a new certificate.

Post # 33
4119 posts
Honey bee

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cstale007:  I believe your intentions are pure. You two are ready to get married but you have your heart set on a certain date. You weren’t planning on telling your loved ones about the civil because you want them to feel that they were a part of your real wedding. If it were a couple of weeks or months, okay. But your plan is way too long.

We have to do two ceremonies over two days for reasons I won’t bore you with. Only immediate family is invited to the first. The second is the real wedding in our head as it is when everybody that we love will be there. We are being honest about it. But you would not believe the number of extended family members that are going batshit crazy over it. There are legitimate reasons why we can’t include them that has nothing to do with budget or anything else within our control but they refuse to understand and chill out  It got so bad I threatened to cancel everything and elope. 

Another family member had to get married civilly a few months before the religious ceremony to ensure the military transferred them to the same city. Totally legitimate and understandable. They told practically no one and so there were no batshit crazy family screaming and waving pitchforks.

So I recommend rethinking your plans. I would get married in your hometown on the soonest date the wedding works for you all. Planning from the opposite coast has some benefits. You can make all your vendor calls while you are off work and they are at work. The downside is the travel. It takes a lot of planning to minimize the number of trips. The key is scheduling tastings and trials for the same weekend to minimize your trips. If you are planning a Catholic ceremony, that complicates matters as they make you do all the classes at the parish. 

Let me know if you need any advice on long distance planning.

Post # 35
320 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

whoa…tough crowd.  🙂 


My take..?  If you want to get married—get married.  Don’t wait another 5-6 years for a special date.  That seems silly to me.  Any date can be special…and that delay seems way too unrealistic. 

Regarding having a legal wedding before the ceremony—I did it.  I did it for a few reasons. 

1) we are having a destination wedding.  Because of this and how complicated it can be to have the ceremony legal in a foreign country and then transferred to US legal stuff…we agreed we would file the documents prior to our ceremony.  (we could do it after we return home, but we agreed to do it before). 

2) fiance’s mother passed away.  We then decided that since our “date of marriage” and “wedding date” would be different anyway….we wanted to have our “legal anniversary” be a date that meant something and not just the closest business day we could file the papers. So…we went, just the 2 of us–to the courthouse on her birthday so we could share the date with her.  

3) no one went with us, here you do not need witnesses if you do not want them.  They are not required.  We had a private moment, on a special day and we spent the rest of the day celebrating together. 

4) Some of our nearest and dearest do know…but I agree with you–I didn’t want it to take away from our wedding ceremony (in 44 dayssss!!!!) with 50 of our closest friends and family on a vacation get away. 

So I vote, get married—but don’t wait 5 years for the big ceremony.  Our “legal wedding” and our “ceremony”  were about 60 days apart. And we will tell everyone at the ceremony that we married on a certain date (and why) during the service.  

That being said…for many reasons people file papers prior and then have a large celebration later and we should not be so rude and judgemental to each other.  I believe OP geniunely loves this man and is not after government funds solely.  How rude. 

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by  missbuckeye16.
Post # 38
4119 posts
Honey bee

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missyg819:  if I can help at all, please PM me. it’s not that hard, especially if you know the area.

Post # 39
1586 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

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topeonyornottopeony:  We’re doing the same thing, but eloping so nobody will be at the actual ceremony and we’ll just have 2 witnesses at the legal one.

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