(Closed) Telling Others About Civil Ceremony?

posted 10 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
Member
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

That’s a tricky situation. If you have a civil ceremony, your parents will want to share the good news with family and their friends. Inevitably, most people will find out. And then some people, being generous family and friends, will send you the wedding gift. Not that it’s a problem to get the gift early, but it might be awkward to send them an invitation months later. Others may wonder why they weren’t invited to the ceremony.

I would say just go ahead and plan a wedding for next year. But that’s just me. You have to do what’s right for you and your fiance.

 

Good luck!

Post # 4
Member
282 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

I don’t really know the answer to your question — only you and your Fiance know what will be best for you, and that’s exactly what you should do. I can tell you what my sister did. She had her baby in October, and her wedding was scheduled for the following June. It was important to her husband’s family that since the baby was born, they be married sooner rather than later. So, the day of the baby’s christening, after the celebration, they snuck off to the county clerk’s office and had a civil ceremony, which they had videotaped (this was in November). They didn’t tell anyone until Christmas Day, when they called everyone into the living room for a surprise – and popped in the tape. They still had their church wedding and reception in June, seven months later. No one questioned their motives that I know of. 

My understanding is that it is quite common overseas to have a civil ceremony followed by a spiritual blessing at a later date. Who’s to say how much sooner or later that date should be? If you are uncertain of your guests reactions to it being a full year out, perhaps you could call it a renewal of your vows on your first anniversary. 

Post # 5
Member
4 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: September 2009

That is a really tough decision to make. I think it is important to look at what YOU and your Fiance really want.  If you want to wait until your wedding day, then DO THAT. The family might huff and puff at first, but they will get over it. They always do. 

Remember that this day is about you two and celebrating your union with your friends and family. It doesn’t matter how and when it happens. Your closest and dearest of friends won’t care if you were already married, they will just be excited to be there with you.

I wish you the best in your decision. I know it is really hard. You want to make everyone happy, but don’t set aside what you have been wanting all along. 

Good luck!

Post # 6
Member
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

One of my friends did this, except they did it kind of backwards. They got married and didn’t tell anyone. We all found out kind of slowly, but that’s a story for another time. Then they decided to have an actual church ceremony and reception. They had their "wedding" a year later, it was a blessing of the marriage and then we had a nice reception. My friend just wanted to celebrate with everyone. She wore her white wedding gown, we all wore bridesmaid dresses. It was like a regular wedding, except they were already married. I’m not sure if anyone sent them gifts before, I know I didn’t, but we all gave them gifts for the "wedding." I don’t think you need to keep it a secret, but I also wouldn’t go and send out wedding announcements, because that’s really asking for presents, and people will be confused if they then get an invitation a year later. I would tell his parents that they can tell their close friends and family if they wish and that it’s not a secret, but you’d rather keep it quiet because you don’t want people thinking you’re just trying to get gifts. Hopefully they’ll understand. However, if you get some gifts, just enjoy them

Post # 7
Member
2324 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

Is there any reason you don’t just move the ceremony/reception up? I would tell people that you are doing sort of a vow renewal a year after. I would be slightly peeved if i found out after the fact that you had been married for a year.

Post # 8
Member
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Oh, actually I should add this which I thought was a great idea, my friend sent out a "newsletter" type thing around Christmas saying they got married, and that it was a very private, special moment for them, but they plan on having a celebration in the coming year for everyone. So it was kind of letting the cat out of the bag, but also side-stepping the whole "should we send them a present" thing.

Post # 9
Member
754 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

I will not embarrass myself by telling you how long I searched for this article, but here is what Miss Manners has to say on the subject:

Dear Miss Manners: My boyfriend and I need to get legally married now for immigration purposes in order to stay in the same country after I graduate medical school. We cannot afford a wedding right now, and the timing is bad because of an intense medical school schedule.

For the two of us, this civil marriage feels like our engagement. We would also like our family and friends to think our wedding is meaningful when we do have the “real” ceremony in a year or so.

However, we didn’t want to keep such a serious decision from our parents, who are traditional and upset about this split set-up.

What should we tell friends who kindly inquire about our plans and engagement status? What should we ask our parents to say when faced with the same questions? I dislike lying, but I also feel that this is private information.

Gentle Reader: We can only hope that your reluctance to face the facts and your conviction that you can manipulate reality and suppress inconvenient information will not carry over to your medical career.

Miss Manners is aware that many couples have now separated getting married from what they are pleased to call “having a wedding.” They throw the party at another time, which would be fine in itself, but they include a fake ceremony, as if that made it as important an occasion as the real thing.

That Miss Manners is not the only person who considers this fraudulent is evident from your realization that your guests will not find the rerun as meaningful as actually witnessing your marriage. And you cannot make your legal marriage into an engagement by declaring it so.

Rather than tangle yourself further in this deception, Miss Manners recommends admitting that you are married but that you will be inviting them to a delayed celebration later. If you must, you can add, “and we’ll be re-enacting the ceremony then.”

 

Post # 10
Member
159 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

As a few of the other ladies have already said…only you and your Fiance truly know what is best considering your unique circumstances. But, with that said, I would strongly advise you to either move the wedding up if possible or have the civil ceremony only.

My husband and I were married on our 6 year dating anniversary, we had lived together before the wedding, had joined everything in every aspect of our lives before the wedding and I thought that besides making it "official" nothing else would feel all that different after the wedding. We also thought about getting married about 6 months before the wedding because I needed his health insurance. I had a lot of the same thoughts you did about length of time together, feeling like I was already married, etc. I was very surprised at how wrong I was. 

Standing up and saying our vows and actually being married has really changed our relationship in meaningful and significant and wonderful ways. If we are similar at all, you will feel this too when you are married, regardless of the venue. And, if that is in a civil ceremony I am afraid it will be sad not to feel like you can shout you are married from the rooftops because you want to keep it under wraps until the reception. 

If you have the civil ceremony before the reception, I just think the reception will feel fake, like a fraud. It certainly won’t have the same meaning it would have if you did not have a civil ceremony ahead of time. There is just something so special about having everyone who means something to you there to witness and support you as you commit your life to the person you love. 

Your connection and relationship with your Fiance becomes solidified when you are officially married. It will hopefully be one of the best days of your life and I just would hate for you to feel it wasn’t all you hoped for because of external pressures and circumstances.And, of course, all I can go off of is my personal experience but I am SO glad we did not get married prior to the formal wedding. It just would not have been the same amazing day it was having already been married. 

I hope you and your Fiance figure something out that works for you and makes you both happy. In the end, all that matters is that you love each other and you will be husband and wife…that is what is most important.

Any other ladies have similar experiences? Can you share your decisions to get married before the formal reception or not to?

Post # 12
Member
88 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

After reading everyone’s responses I feel a lil’ hesitate to admit this, but I am doing exactly what you are asking. LoL. "FI" and I got legally married March 05, 2008. A few close friends know and that’s it. Our parents don’t even know. We got married for many reasons, a few being that I’m in the military so it benefits us to get married. I get "dependent" pay, he gets free health insurance and cheap life insurance, and he gets to use all my military benefits. We are planning a destination wedding March 05, 2009; a year after our civil ceremony. It doesn’t really feel like we’re married, I still call him my FI/boyfriend since no one knows. Nothing really has changed (we had already been living together for a year before we got legally married). We joke with each other about being hubby and wifey, it’s like our lil’ secret.  Our ‘rents will find out eventually (my dad does our taxes! LoL), and I’m not really too worried about that. My parents and grandparents eloped and this is something that they would expect from me. At our civil ceremony we didn’t exchange rings so that is something to look forward to doing at our wedding, along with having my dad walk me down the aisle and celebrating with family and friends.

Post # 13
Member
7 posts
Newbee

I think I have a different perspective on this than others, so pardon me if I offend. If you were getting married in a civil ceremony for financial reasons only, I would say go ahead and do it and don’t tell anyone. Think of it as paperwork but not as the real wedding. People do it all the time, and it is your own business, not anyone else’s.

However, I don’t understand why you feel you need to do this for his parents, especially if you have already been living together. Isn’t the fact that you are engaged enough for them? Moreover, you are getting married! Doesn’t that signal that you are adults who are capable of making your own life decisions without having to worry about doing what the parents tell you?

Post # 14
Member
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

I agree with Miss Manners. If you get married this year and have your reception next year, it would be wrong to pretend like you weren’t already married at your big celebration next year. You don’t want to celebrate what should be one of the best days of your life under false pretenses. Of course you can still have your celebration next year if you get married this year in a civil ceremony! If you have another ceremony, call it a vow renewal. That might mean you have to be more low-key in your ceremony (it might be inappropriate for your father to walk you down the aisle, for example–maybe you and your then-husband could walk down the aisle together?). Otherwise, I would just tough it out and wait for the day you have been planning for to do it all.  

Post # 15
Member
88 posts
Worker bee

I think if you consider the religious ceremony the "real" wedding (as I do), then there is nothing wrong with getting the civil ceremony done beforehand. I live in a country where you practically HAVE to have two ceremonies, as the religious ceremony has no legal meaning. (The priest definitely cannot say "by the power vested in me by the state of ___" — because he has NO legal power. What is important to me is the blessing of God and the promises of friends and family to support our union. Getting married before a judge, to me, is little more significant than getting your marriage certificate. That is why we are getting legally married tomorrow and REALLY married in December. But only a couple of friends and the pastor know.

Post # 16
Member
26 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Well, maybe I am rude but I think Miss Mannes is kind of full of it. True, if people are just "having a wedding" to have a big party, well then that’s what it is, but if someone has to have a civil ceremony for immigration/healthcare/financial reasons when they know they are going to be married eventually anyway, why be angry about it? That wedding is just paperwork, it does not make the personal ceremony before friends and family any less "real". However, I do agree that you should not lie to friends and family about whether you are legally married.

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