Three weddings???

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 16
8963 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

milkandcookies :  Is this friend/officiant from the states still in the states, or is he currently living abroad? 

Post # 17
1271 posts
Bumble bee

laynita :  Yea, everyone in China gets legally married in an office building. All paperwork, no vows. The ceremony and reception are typically weeks/months later. So, statistically it’s probably more common than what folks do in the US. 

Post # 18
186 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

dannij8918 :  Switch them up, that is brilliant.  Since the vows came first it is obviously your anniversary.  Party second, legal stuff third.

Post # 19
4409 posts
Honey bee

tinneranne2 :  Same with my experience outside the US. I have attended a few government/civil ceremonies when my SO was requested to be present by some of his friends to be the witness. It’s very simple, low-key and business like. The brides never wore anything close to white. From what I attended they wore black, blue and grey dresses. No bouquet, no large guest list. We went to the government office and the only ones present in attendance are the bride and groom and their immediate families plus one best friend each to serve as the 2 witnesses. That would make 10 people max. Afterwards, there’s just an informal meal at a regular restaurant. No speeches, no dances, no decors, no cake.

Then afterwards for the religious ceremony they have the big white wedding that many Americans are familiar with. This takes some effort and time for preparation as there are more formalities and a much larger guest list. From what I have seen, this ceremony can take place the following week, or months or a year after the government/civil ceremony. Again, this is very common practice outside the US. Majority of the guests there will not even know the date of the earlier legal ceremony.

Post # 20
365 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

charmed59 :  that’s my very simplistic mind haha and also the order of importance if it were me. Weddings are harder than they should be sometimes aren’t they?!!!!

Post # 21
1149 posts
Bumble bee

Agree with previous bees, outside the US, having a civil ceremony before the wedding is usually the norm and required. Some countries require that you get legally married before you’re allowed to go through your religious ceremony. Your religious ceremony only serves as a social announcement, whereas in the US, the officiant legally has the power to marry you.

When dealing with multiple countries, nationalities and visa requirements, some couples can actually be married up to a year before their official big wedding ceremony.

Imagine how awkward it would be if for some reason your legal paperwork couldn’t be done in the specified timeframe or your spousal visa got rejected, but you already planned and invite guests to a wedding you can’t legally have. Is why people wait until all the legal paperwork is handled before they start planning and putting down money for venues and such.

Post # 22
71 posts
Worker bee

I just came to say I’m very happy liking all the people’s comments about how weddings work in the rest of the world because it’s astonishing how many uneducated people are in the US, going around assuming because in here you get to have your pretty ceremony be legal, that is the only way things are done, and shaming people that need to do things differently.

OP, feel free to choose your anniversary based on the date of the celebration that holds meaning to you, which for brides in many countries would not be the legal one. You are definitely not alone.

Post # 23
324 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Some of these comments are a little ridiculous, especially from people who don’t understand that it’s really difficult to get married legally abroad, especially in a lot of European countries. We’re getting married in Spain and it requires you to get married in a church and a lot of paperwork and has a ton of rules. So don’t listen to a lot of the posts, in my opinion. It’s fine to get married ahead of time in a courthouse in the States (we did this too, and just didn’t tell anyone except our parents). 

I’d get married legally in a courthouse, but maybe just invite your parents and not make a big deal of it. Then have your destination wedding as the “real thing”. Just because you signed a piece of paper doesn’t make your destination wedding any less special and it’s not an “anniversary celebration”. If you want the date of your wedding in Europe to be your wedding date that you celebrate every year going forward, then that’s fine too.

You can have a smaller party / more informal back at home post-wedding for people who couldn’t travel far, etc. just to celebrate. I’d advise not doing something that seems too elaborate after the courthouse, especially if some of those people end up coming to Europe to celebrate, or word gets out that this has happened.

Post # 24
1840 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

I guess I’ll technically be having 3 weddings. I’m living abroad and everyone here has 2 weddings  – a legal one and a religious/traditional one. So we’ll have the legal bit at the town hall, with a couple of friends as witnesses. A few days later we’ll have the church bit and big party. Then once we have a visa for my SO, we’ll go to my country and have a celebration there too for the people who won’t be able to travel. The church wedding will be the anniversary. 

Post # 25
44 posts
  • Wedding: October 2017

 I dont think this excessive, only because your day is about your relationship. For me, I wanted an intimate ceremony (we both have very large families). Anyways, we are getting married in Arkansas (where we both live) this October. In January we are have two “hometown receptions” one in his home state and one in mine. For me, I would be happy with just my Arkansas wedding, but I also understand this day is just as special for our moms. So, I am getting the wedding I want and they are getting to host events with people they want (coworkers, cousins, friends, etc. People I wouldnt have invitied to our intimate ceremony)

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