Post # 1
For immigrations reasons, my partner and I will probably “make it legal” at city hall first, and have our “wedding” at least a year or more after the fact. I didn’t think this would be a big deal, but from doing some research on here, it seems the general consensus is to not keep that fact a secret and let people know.
I was talking to my sister-in-law, and she got me down a little bit. She said we wouldn’t really be having a “wedding” later – it would just be a renewal of vows, or a reception. I felt a little sad. I still want it to be like an actual WEDDING – where we say our vows in front of a room full of our friends and family, with an officiant overseeing us. When I send out invitations, I want to say “you are invited to our WEDDING” – not “you are invited to our vow renewal!”.
For those of you who have done this or will do this, how did you handle the wedding itself, the ceremony and vows, the invitations, the telling people, etc.?
Post # 3
We did the same thing, civil ceremony in February, wedding in September. I call it our “religious” wedding, because the civil ceremony didn’t include any traditions, but it was definitley a wedding. Invitations, white dress, wedding party, first dance, and all.
Everyone knew our situation and the reason behind why we got married and then planned a wedding. When people (mostly who weren’t close to us) questioned it, I would just say “I’m not letting the US Government cheat me out of being a bride!”
Post # 4
Call it whatever you want!
Post # 5
I’ll be honest – I’m with your SIL here. You can call it whatever makes you happy but the truth is, if you are already married you are having a vow renewal, not a wedding. And there is nothing wrong with that – it’s just a fact of what it is. Vow renewals can still have friends, family, white dresses, officiants, flowers, etc. But if you choose to get married beforehand (and I can completely understand immigration reasons for doing so) you will be renewing your vows at the larger ceremony, not getting married.
Post # 6
Call it a wedding, that’s what you seem to want. It doesn’t matter if it’s already legal. A lot of people do what you are doing for so many very good reasons, but that doesn’t take away the fact that you want what most girls want…their dream wedding with the dancing, the dress, and the celebration.
Post # 7
@FutureKMM I’m sorry, but I beg to differ. A wedding is two people exchanging vows infront of people they love. Just because you signed a piece of paper to make it legal beforehand doesn’t take away from what it is. If you didn’t say vows the first time, you’re not renewing anything.
Post # 8
@CanAmBride: See, I completely disagree with your definition of a wedding. A wedding is a ceremony that results in the marriage of the two individuals involved. If the people involved are already married, they can’t be having a wedding because the result of the ceremony isn’t their marriage.
By your definition, people who elope or who choose not to say vows don’t have weddings.
Post # 9
I’m with the bees that say call it whatever you want. Everyone’s wedding is different because….. wait for it……..WE’RE DIFFERENT. Yes traditionally the legal and religious part usually go together… but really I’m sure most of us are breaking tradition in one way or another. It’s what you want! So don’t let your SIL pop your bubble or rain on your parade.
LOL I just had a visual of a Debbie Downer music playing after SIL told maggierose….
Post # 10
@Mrs.KMM: I’m sorry I’m going to have to disagree too. Getting married beforehand for immigration is not much of a choice for an expensive process. If you choose to enter as a fiance you need work authorization which can take months. If you choose to get married you’re basically setting yourself up to live without a partner for your first year of marriage. So going the legal route and still having a wedding is in essence the only way to have a seemingly normal wedding experience that we shouldn’t be cheated out of because of circumstances out of our control.
OP send out invitations for a wedding..the wedding you deserved to have and could not because of the beaurocracy of immigration. We decided to keep it quiet but ended up telling friends one by one and none of them have held it against us or said that we weren’t having a wedding. There will always be people who will have something to say…ignore them and enjoy the process and being a bride:)
Post # 11
@MAlove: I never implied that it being a vow renewal made it any kind of a different experience. I actually explicitly stated the opposite.
“Vow renewals can still have friends, family, white dresses, officiants, flowers, etc.“
The whole shebang of whatever you want to plan. It’s all still the same process if you choose to plan it that way (and I fully think you should if that is what you want). But I (as both a guest or a bride) could never call it a wedding if the B&G are already married.
To the OP – feel free to call it a wedding if that is what you feel most comfortable doing. But you also have to respect and understand that there are those of us like myself and your SIL that will not see this event as a wedding because you are already married. That doesn’t take anything away from the event or the celebration or your commitment to your SO though.
Post # 12
I’d call it a wedding. We have friends who had a tiny legal ceremony before their destination wedding in Italy b/c it would have been too complicated and expensive to make it legal overseas. Everyone still thought of it as their wedding. We will probably get married legally beforehand, so we can do it in front of our grandparents who can’t travel to be with us, but what we’re planning is still our wedding.
I think as long as it’s really the first time you’re publicly sharing your new marriage with friends and family, it’s still a wedding. Saying it needs to be legal discounts a lot of weddings – immigration reasons, same-sex marriages in states that don’t recognize them, or even brides and grooms who forget to sign the license.
Post # 13
I had the exact same situation as you did. We had a “civil service union” so that I could move on with my immigration and we have our real wedding with all of our friends and family in Ireland next year. We only told family in the end. And our very closest friends who we could trust with the secret! It was just, for me, it was not what I had grown up dreaming of as my wedding. Not even close. Having my family there is so important to me. So what we did was looked at it as legalising our engagement! We made as little fuss as possiblw with it, doing it after work on a Friday. I think these days most people understand yhat sometimes these things have to be done but personally I was happier keeping it on the down low. I think it’s whatever you feel more comfortable with. It’s an emotional one though!! 🙂
Post # 14
We had the civil ceremony in April and our wedding in June. I did not look at the civil as a wedding at all…it was just paperwork. Our WEDDING was a Catholic ceremony that took place in Italy. We did the civil part months in advance because it was easier for the paperwork required in Italy since I am American and Darling Husband is Danish and we live in Sweden (confusing, I know!). If you don’t want to tell people about the civil part then that is your perogative…the only people that knew about ours was immediate family.
Post # 15
I did not do this, but I had two sets of friends who did. One for immigration reasons like you, and one who wanted to get legally married in a state that allowed same-sex marriage but wanted to have their wedding in the state where they lived (they weren’t a same-sex couple, though).
Both couples were very forthright that they would be legally married before the wedding, and also very firmly considered their wedding to be a Real Wedding. They both had ceremonies at their later weddings (with friends as officiants, since it did not need to be legal), both consider the later date to be their wedding anniversary date, and both only began to wear wedding rings after their later weddings.
I don’t know how their families reacted initially, but by the time of the wedding everyone seemed to be onboard. I think the only things they did differently was say “celebrate the marriage of” rather than “celebrate the wedding of” on their invitations.
As for the couple that married sooner to get the immigration ball rolling, I think it all worked out for them. The husband had already legally been in the US on a different kind of visa, but now needed a sponsor for a more permanent visa. Or I think, anyway….I do not know much of anything about immigration (and am glad that I don’t have to, it sounds horrible to have to go through)!
Post # 16
WOW….thanks for all the feedback, everyone!
Actually, since I live in Pennsylvania, we are one of the few states that has “self uniting marriage licenses” (originally intended for Quakers, but anyone can get one). This means we don’t even need an officiant to say any vows to us to make it legal – we just need to sign and have two witnesses (my mom and dad) sign.
Thus, I really feel like I WILL be having a real wedding, when we do it properly – not a vow renewal because we are not planning to say any vows when we make it legal, lol 🙂 That will come later and be more meaningful in front of all of our family in friends which is why I consider it a wedding. I still want to walk down the aisle with my dad and have an officiant look over us and guide us as we say our vows in front of everyone…..I looked up the definition of wedding and it says “the celebration at which the ceremony of marriage is performed”. Our legal signing won’t be a celebration or ceremony of any sort……
I actually did not want to tell people other than close family and friends, but it sounds like the general consensus I’ve gotten from reading posts on here and talking to people is that people feel “hurt” if they find out later you are already legally married. So whatever, if someone asks, I can tell them. I won’t keep it secret, I just won’t broadcast it. I hope people will be understanding and not judgmental like I feel my SIL was being when it comes time to send out invitations which I fully intend to say “you are invited to our WEDDING” and when we make vows in front of each other to say we are uniting in marriage…..yes, we have already put that fact down on paper a year before hand, but it will be the first time we will say it out loud….