Post # 1
I searched and saw a few boards about this topic, but couldn’t find an answer to my question. My fiance and I are considering getting legally married at the courthouse without telling ANYONE, not even our parents (is this possible to pull off?) before we have our actual wedding ceremony & reception with all our friends and family next April. The biggest reason for this is that the economy is not so great where we live and he’s having the worst time finding a job where he can have good insurance that isn’t astronomically expensive (which we can’t afford), but I work for the county and have AMAZING insurance. So, actually we’d have to tell the 2 people in my office who deal with all the insurance/payroll. But other than that we don’t want anyone to know. Nothing would really change in our day-to-day life; we’ve already lived together for almost a year and have a 10-month-old daughter together, share joint finances, have both our names on several of the bills, etc. We’d wait to do the rings, change my name, and all that good stuff until next April. We really just want the legality of it at this point for financial & life insurance reasons. Not trying to justify our position to anyone, just giving a little background on us
My question, and really the only thing holding me back from doing it, is: for any of you ladies who did this, did it make your public wedding day/ceremony/whatever you want to call it day any less special to you? Part of me thinks it will be amazing because I’ll be less stressed when planning and won’t be so adament about every little detail going perfectly, but part of me wonders if by our public wedding (a year after we’re already married) it won’t be as special to me/us and basically like old news. I’m also wondering how it works with the marriage certificate because we’ll give it to the officiant buuuuut it’s already signed? hahaha lastly, did you do the public ceremony the same as you would have if you hadn’t married legally first? Pronouncing you man & wife, etc. etc.? Any other (kind and/or helpful) advice/experience is also welcome! (:
Post # 2
Could you add him as your domestic partner to get him on your insurance? That seems easier, if it is an option for you. At the company I work, they let you do that for the benefits. Registering as a domestic partner looks pretty easy- just a form to fill out at the government office (similar to a marriage form).
Post # 3
emsc123 : I think you would have to tell the officiant that you’re doing a vow renewal – they’re not going to perform a wedding when you’re already married.
I don’t think guests would mind that you got married for insurance reasons, just don’t lie about it. Everyone likes a party! Then again, if you live together, have a kid, and are married, I probably wouldn’t waste the time and energy (and money) on a pretend wedding.
Post # 4
I don’t understand the point of throwing a huge wedding, and pretending it’s a wedding instead of a celebration of marriage. People have fought for their rights to have that little piece of paper/ceremony that legally states they are married—that’s the important part–that is your wedding day no matter when you have the party. Why not just throw a celebration of marriage a year later?
I think trying to sneakily have a big wedding just to get gifts/have your princess day a year later is tasteless and tacky. My friend’s sister pulled that on her family and everyone is quite upset with them still, five years later (the cat always comes out of the bag).
Post # 5
lahela017 : I’ve never heard of this! I’ll check into it. Thanks!
Post # 6
fredthebasil : We aren’t lying about it, just doing what’s best for our family and keeping a secret. I wasn’t asking what YOUR thoughts were on what our plan was, just seeking advice/experience from those who had done this. But thanks anyway!
Post # 7
winterash : The rude response and telling me my fiance and I are tacky was not helpful. I wasn’t seeking your thoughts on the concept, but advice from someone who had experienced what we were considering. Thank you!
Post # 8
emsc123 : You posted on a public forum, you got a real response. Lying about a wedding is tacky. It’s not rude, it’s blunt. It’s a tacky thing to do to your guests. I have experienced what you are considering from the guest point of view. I think a celebration of marriage is a fantastic thing to do—why wouldn’t you consider that? Why must you lie to get gifts and a party?
Post # 9
My sister did this – but for immigration reasons. Your officiant will have to be ‘in the know’ because they are the one who sends in the certificate, and you can’t do that twice. But most (civil but not governmental) officiants have done this before and will probably keep your secret and work with you. Sister definitely didn’t care as much about the reception & details as she would have if it was her real wedding, so my mom did a lot of the planning.
A word of caution- my mom found out about the real wedding date a few years after (they ran into some legal issues), and my mom was livid. She asked my sister to repay the money my mom had given her to pay for the reception. Things are still off between them.
Post # 10
The only thing holding you back is that you want to make sure your fake “wedding” is still special? I would hope that lying to everyone you love would be higher up on your list of reservations.
If you’re going to do it, don’t lie to people.
I have several friends who did this (minus the lying) and they all said that they would not have spent the money on the vow renewal if they could do things over again.
Post # 11
emsc123 : I think you will absolutely make the day less special by getting married a whole year before.
Post # 12
emsc123 : I think that if you both want to get legally married before having a public wedding, go for it! It’s absolutely possible to keep it a secret. Darling Husband and I did that this month (sudden health condition) and we didn’t tell anyone beforehand. But we made a video afterwards announcing that we were married and that we would have a big celebration with everyone after I’m healthy again via Facebook. If not that for that, nobody would have ever known. Which I was really surprised I was able to keep it from everyone (I’m the worst secret keeper). Anyway, we are thinking about doing a vows renewal ceremony/reception next year to celebrate with all of our friends and family. I think it will be a different feeling because we are already married and everyone knows that, but it won’t be any less special. So for you and your Fiance, if you keep your secret, when your wedding rolls around next year everyone will treat it as a real wedding. I think it will be special, if not more so because you’ll be surrounded by loved ones. Good luck and keep us posted!!
Post # 13
Yeah, I don’t think having a fake wedding would be nearly as meaningful as a real wedding. A wedding is when you get married. You’ll already be married…for a year!
If you want to get married now, that’s great. But dont lie (and yes, keeping it a secret is lying by omission). Tell everyone that you got married for insurance reasons, but are SO excited to celebrate with them on X day.
These things always tend to come out too. Your friends and family will be so hurt to find out you lied to them and put on a pretend show (of getting married) instead of just being honest with them.
Post # 14
If you need to get legally married for whatever reason before the actual celebration, fine, do it. I think it won’t be as special at the celebration but that’s my personal opinion and there’s nothing wrong about doing it that way.
However, If I went to a wedding where they got secretly married the year before, especially if it was close family and friends, I would be so hurt and upset. That is a huge lie and just so insulting to everyone. Lies by omission are still lies. There are many cases on this board of people who have found out. This topic comes up frequently. It would definitely affect our relationship moving forward. Don’t keep it a secret.
Post # 15
emsc123 : I understand why you’re doing it, but I think it’s going to be really difficult to pull this off.
And I think it’s 100% important to let people know this is a wedding celebration not an actual ceremony.