Nontraditional marriage/wedding timelines? Courthouse weddings w/delayed events?

posted 4 months ago in Traditions
Post # 2
4143 posts
Honey bee

I’m having a civil ceremony with a judge in the US. Then on a future date, we will have a second ceremony by a priest in my SO’s country. We might do it a year apart. Since he’s European, they look at a civil and church wedding as 2 separate things. Regarding your question, I see nothing wrong about getting legally married then having a second ceremony/celebration later on. I’d be happy to celebrate as a guest when the couple is ready and what works best for them.

booksandbananas :  

Post # 3
7765 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Agree with pp. we have close friends who got married at the court house for immigration purposes. We were their only witnesses…we then had a small celebratory brunch afterwards. Then a year later they had a big, traditional religious ceremony in the bride’s home country. The two (court house ceremony and traditional wedding) don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In your position I’d want to get the legal part done ASAP since there’s a baby in the mix, but there’s really no right or wrong answer. 

Perhaps since your fi isn’t big on being the center of attn you could compromise and do something smallish but still more “traditional” than just going to city hall? 

Post # 4
958 posts
Busy bee

booksandbananas :  it’s common in some other parts of the world to have first the legal registration of marriage done, then the ceremony (religious or cultural) + banquet/celebration party. I’m from SE Asia, and it’s very common there. We did our civil ceremony in the UK before we moved to US. Will have our church wedding done at some point. So if it’s the best financial decision to be taken, why not? The Catholic church in US and around the world consider civil/courthouse wedding as part of the marriage, but church ceremony is a convalidation of the marriage. Part of the same union, extended.

Post # 5
1905 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

So you can do something legal now and something more formal later, but I think you’re right when you are worried that saving for a party isn’t going to be a priority with a kid in the picture. 

If having a ceremony is important to you then I think I’d make saving a priority and have a small wedding and reception with a photographer, dress and flowers. 

Then you can have an anniversary party later if you want.

Seriously… have a backyard or park wedding. Invite close friends and family, pick a pretty dress, have food catered or go with just champagne, punch and cake, take pictures, have a string quartets for two hours or so and have your special moment. I bet if you’re trifty you could do it for 1-4K pretty easily. 

Post # 6
1475 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2021 - Kauai, HI

Were eloping to Hawaii in 2021.  But we wanted to do something now to celebrate so we’re having a big engagement party in August.  Dinner, music and a good restaurant.   Even a photographer!  That’s it.  No parties after the weddings. Just relaxing into married life after the vacation/wedding of a lifetime.

Post # 7
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

We got married at the courthouse (had a photographer and flowers; our families who could make it attended and we had a nice dinner after). We’re having a more traditional wedding celebration in October. Everyone is excited to celebrate and nobody has said anything negative. I don’t think the bigger celebration will feel any less special. 

Post # 8
534 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2020 - Clarksville, VA

One of my friends had a courthouse wedding because she was pregnant. They got married on a weekday so that their one year anniversary would be on a Saturday. They then threw a wedding in their backyard and hired a food truck. It was fun and laid back.

booksandbananas :  

Post # 9
2892 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

We have a beautiful courthouse and we’re able to get married on the roof top so we did that with our closest friends and family present, I still wore a wedding dress and had a bouquet. We took them to a nice dinner after, then the following day we had a reception with 60-70 guests. 

I would be worried to plan to have a big party months down the road because once your married, and with a young child it might not be a priority. 

booksandbananas :  

Post # 10
12232 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

With money tight and a child in the picture you may have to reconcile yourself to the reality that a traditional reception is not a wise use of your limited funds. In your shoes it would be my very last priority. I’d get married now and have an intimate reception. If you can swing it you can do a casual and inexpensive delayed reception for friends and extended family or have a nicer anniversary party at some point. 

Post # 11
363 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

We eloped locally, so that we could have the people most important to us there, we then did a luncheon reception type thing with more family and friends we had the private space of that restaurant that over looked the water so we got to decorate.. we stuck with candles and broken shells as well as whole shells in cylinder vases and then had votives alongside them.. so it was still very pretty, and then we went out to our fav neighborhood bar (it’s a classy bar.. don’t judge haha) and had even more people there, so we got to have our wedding, our mini reception, and then a bigger reception type thing. It was perfect for us and if you do some research you may find you could do something like this for a very minimal cost! We’ve been toying around with the idea of doing some sort of vow renewal on our 5 yr and making it one big party, but I’d rather take a lavish vacation!

….also we do not have children, we are just not super formal or traditional, and I didn’t see the point in spending thousands of dollars…

We spent under 2K for the day.. it was perfect. we had my cousins wife as our photographer, she was building her portfolio and didn’t charge us, she gave us the photos and flash drive as our wedding gift, so if you could find someone like that, it will save money and also we did a sheet cake rather than a tiered cake which cut cost down, but it fit our chill beach vibe!


Good luck!


Post # 12
558 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

A friend of mine got married at the courthouse because they were pregnant and wanted to be married before baby came. (Didn’t get married because of the pregnancy, they were engaged before that) and also so her husband could get on her health insurance. They had the whole big shebang – ceremony, reception, etc the next summer. She actually totally regrets having the party in the end because she felt like it was a huge waste of money and wishes she’d just stuck with the courthouse and not done anything else. But that’s probably not the norm. 

Post # 13
4143 posts
Honey bee

There’s a chance she might have regretted it too if she did not do the bigger celebration the next summer (like she missed out on something). Oh well.  mermaidbride79 :  

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