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Opinions please--formal wedding for people who are already married

Elizabeth35

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
293
I am struggling with this one. And I will admit upfront that I am older (61).
I found out that a 'wedding' I attended was for a couple who was already legally married.
But---it was a secret. They played off the wedding as them getting married, when it was actually just the celebration.

So, do you think it is wrong or deceitful to invite people to a wedding when you are already married? And keep it a secret?
It doesn't pass the sniff test for me. I was happy to go celebrate but I am not comfortable with the duplicity.
Maybe I am too old fashioned?
I get people doing a courthouse wedding for military deployment or health insurance reasons and doing a big wedding later. But is it right to keep it a secret?
 

bludiva

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I think it's ok, the legal ceremony is sometimes viewed as a paperwork formality and the celebration with family and friends as the real wedding.
 

Elizabeth35

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Sep 24, 2011
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I have no problem with the legal ceremony being separate--and months earlier.
So it is no big deal that it is a secret? That's what make me uncomfortable but I fully realize that I am old-fashioned.
I felt uncomfortable with the fact that it was not disclosed. I guess I am weird.
 

bludiva

Brilliant_Rock
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I have no problem with the legal ceremony being separate--and months earlier.
So it is no big deal that it is a secret? That's what make me uncomfortable but I fully realize that I am old-fashioned.
I felt uncomfortable with the fact that it was not disclosed. I guess I am weird.
Ohhhh i see. I think it's a little strange but maybe they didn't want to preempt the big day. I had a friend consider doing this for some really tactical reason, like to get on her fiancee's health plan sooner. Maybe the rrason is a little embarrassing for them.
 

lyra

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How did you find out about the secret wedding? How secret was it? I'm just curious. People do things like that for both practical reasons, and for familial "issues". I am fine with courthouse wedding and later reception no matter what the case. As long as I know and like the couple, it doesn't matter.
 

Elizabeth35

Shiny_Rock
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Sep 24, 2011
Messages
293
I adore the couple. It was very secret. TBH--I wish I didn't know!
I get the practical issues and have no problem with a legal ceremony and separate wedding celebration.
I guess I wonder why it was kept secret. Perhaps there would be family disapproval? I don't know.
I just know that I don't like lying and it seems like lying when you are keeping it secret and pretending this was the legal ceremony.
I'm old--I am probably overly traditional--lol.
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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As long as nobody was hurt in the process, sometimes a white lie can smooth choppy waters!
 

GliderPoss

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 25, 2008
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2,196
Yeah I see no issue with this. Plenty of legit reasons why they did the legal part earlier and perhaps wanted to keep the excitement for the celebration? :kiss2:
 

MissStepcut

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Jun 29, 2011
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1,720
Since I’m a religious person the secular “marriage” isn’t the “real” marriage anyway. And isn’t that view the most traditional and old-fashioned?

My cousin got paper-married for health insurance. His sisters weren’t there and his pastor wasn’t either. How is that the more “real” wedding than the family & religious ceremony and celebration?

And more importantly, why should someone have to disclose any of that? Is it our business why his intended needed his health insurance ASAP?
 

strawrose

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May 24, 2014
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My dad was really against me living together with my husband before marriage. :rolleyes: We had a courthouse ceremony a month before so we could settle down at the new home before the wedding. They decided to keep everything hush-hush, because feelings would be hurt if their close friends weren’t at the real wedding. The wedding was 60% my parent’s money and 90% their friends, so I didn’t care. It’s their problem to deal with. :| I told my closest friends we were already married.
 

JPie

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Feb 12, 2018
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I went to a formal wedding for a couple who got married at city hall almost a year before, and it didn’t bother me at all. I don’t really care when they signed their certificate; I’m happy to celebrate with them when they’re ready.
 

sonnyjane

Ideal_Rock
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This is a super popular/common thing among the military community, of which my husband and I used to belong. Because of the extra benefits extended to both the service member and their spouse after being legally married, we know of dozens of couples that got married on paper and then didn’t have their “wedding” until sometimes more than a year or so later.
 

missy

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We eloped at City Hall 3 months before we planned the bigger ceremony celebrating with friends and family. We did not keep it a secret however. It was very spur of the moment because I decided I was now ready (when my dh proposed I wasn't ready and needed time hence planned the wedding almost a year after the engagement). And when I am ready I am ready and didn't want to wait another minute. LOL.

So Sunday night (7 months after my dh proposed and we were engaged) I said to my FI, OK let's get married now. The next morning, Monday AM, we went to City Hall and applied for the license and Tuesday AM we eloped and only took one friend with us as a witness.

3 months later we went ahead with the big ceremony and had a rabbi and priest marry us again or as I remember we officially "renewed" our marriage vows and signed the documents provided to us by the priest and rabbi.

The wedding ceremony however proceeded like a normal wedding with the vows etc and all that we had initially planned. All my friends and family knew we had eloped 3 months prior but that was from a romantic viewpoint as we wanted to get married already viewpoint and that did not take away from the friends and family celebration we had originally planned.

As for the couple in question you are asking about in your first post I think it's up to them. Whatever they want to share. I wouldn't judge them either way. They are celebrating their relationship and who cares if they are already married or not? It's about wanting to share your life with the other person and about celebrating that love. In my book any happy occasion is worth celebrating and if it's worth celebrating however the couple wants to celebrate. Life is short and life is challenging and I enjoy sharing happy occasions and joyous events. There's not enough of those. So I personally feel A OK with whatever the couple in question wants to do in this case. Personally I am an open book and wouldn't have wanted to keep it secret. But that's me. And everyone is different. It's their life and if they wanted to keep that a secret because they felt it was more special for them that way then OK. No judgments from me.
 

marymm

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Apr 21, 2010
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For me, if a couple married at City Hall/eloped (for whatever reason) and wishes to have a ceremonial proceeding later, I would prefer transparency in the invitation so that it is clear it is a vow renewal ceremony or the reception/celebration of the previously-held wedding, rather than the pretense that these two are not yet wed ... YMMV
 

liaerfbv

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Sep 16, 2007
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1,241
Years ago we had friends who planned a destination wedding. It was very expensive and really inconvenient for us, but we paid the money and took the vacation time from work, because we were very close friends with the groom from college. We then got an email 2 months before the wedding that they had decided to fly to Vegas that weekend and get "pre-married" -- honestly, I was ****ing livid. They were still having the destination wedding. We went, and the bride joked the whole weekend that they were already married and she was only there for the pictures.

Like you, I would have rather not known they were already married. To each their own, but I thought it was in really poor taste (and I was in my mid-20s at the time, so who is old fashioned now???? Haha).
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jul 7, 2004
Messages
10,707
It doesn't matter to me. There are lots of reasons a couple might already be married prior to their wedding, immigration needs, medical needs, travel related issues--like getting married in Italy but needing it legal here before that happens. It makes no difference to me. My cousin married a man from England and they had to be married within a specific window in order to get his fiance visa finished and get his permanent green card prior to the government approving everything at their final interviews and stuff. Since when they were planning their actual wedding they had no idea when that window would be and didn't want to have a wedding only to be stuck waiting 6 more months on those formalities, so they planned their wedding for 18 months out because there was a chance it could be more than a year before they had their final interviews,etc. And they were smart to do that because it took 14 months before they had that finalized, so then their wedding was only 4 months away, vs way longer. I also do not recognize religion (at all really) in a wedding. To me that's a secular legality. So whenever and however the couple chooses...whatever.
 

utsav

Rough_Rock
Trade
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May 20, 2018
Messages
6
I had went to few weddings like that where people were already married. I adore the couple and it’s nothing bad where they celebrate again. But yes, I do wonder when it comes to celebrating by wearing those wedding dresses. I mean fine. Celebrate. But can’t it be done by inviting few people over, have lunch/dinner together and nothing any more?
 

OreoRosies86

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Dec 25, 2012
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2,928
If you’re happy for them and want to celebrate their union, then who cares? They could have had a courthouse wedding for any number of reasons. Doesn’t mean they don’t want to celebrate with their loved ones.
 

tigertales

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Nov 8, 2015
Messages
371
Wow. You keep emphasising how "old fashioned" you are. Does that make your critique less judgmental? You're only 61, not 91, and far from the Victorian era, so I'm surprised that you feel so much shock and pearl clutching. Aren't you from the hippie generation? Free love and all that?
Why does it matter to you that this couple kept it a secret? Does everything have to pass under your watchful eye? It's THEIR business.
You're lucky you were invited to their wedding. Rejoice that they shared it at all with you, and that they now have the liberty to publicly celebrate their commitment.
And also, couples are entitled to privacy, "secrets" and all kinds of other little intimate goodies that don't require public scrutiny, or your approval. And, no, that's not "lying", that's known as the marital bond, which by definition excludes the rest of the world the way a fortress keeps out enemies.
And P.S., this isn't that rare. You may not know this, or have friends in Europe, or have traveled a bit...In France for example, a civil wedding always precedes the formal church wedding, or other form of celebration. The amount of time between the two can vary depending on many factors.
You should get out more.
 
Last edited:

madelise

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 23, 2011
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Lots of people do this. They legally get married to do money/insurance/residency issues, then have the party after. Most that I've known about were kept secretly specifically bc they were afraid of older generations being upset by this.

I honestly don't see what the difference is, nor why anyone would be upset. Who cares? They loved each other the day they were forced to sign paperwork due to whatever needs they faced. They obviously still loved each other the day of the party. It would only be upsetting to me if they ended up needing to divorce that would have otherwise not happened if they weren't legally married due to whatever needs those were.

If citizenship, finances, or medical insurance weren't an issue, most of these wouldn't happen. If anyone wants to point a finger to get upset for any reason at all, how about let's fix those issues?
 

tigertales

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Messages
371
Exactly @madelise
And also sometimes it's nice to be married for a while before the whole world descends on you asking questions or screwing with your joy. People do it, trust me, I know.
Before the church and state got involved ( the first to protect their souls, the second to protect the woman from poverty) couples ran off into the fields, and came back to town with rings woven out of grass.
That was good enough.
 

bludiva

Brilliant_Rock
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Sep 23, 2017
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1,997
some of these responses are a little harsh.... it's fine if the couple gets legally married first for whatever reason and discloses or doesn't disclose in my opinion but i can understand someone being disappointed...and at least in the US, where some brides demand a year or more of events celebrating and gifting them, i could see how patience would wear thin esp if the couple acts like in @liaerfbv 's example... weddings are demanding of guests - time, money, etc. you'd hope the couple shows understanding, appreciation, and tact in return.
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
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Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
898
Since I’m a religious person the secular “marriage” isn’t the “real” marriage anyway. And isn’t that view the most traditional and old-fashioned?

My cousin got paper-married for health insurance. His sisters weren’t there and his pastor wasn’t either. How is that the more “real” wedding than the family & religious ceremony and celebration?

And more importantly, why should someone have to disclose any of that? Is it our business why his intended needed his health insurance ASAP?
^ I'm in the same camp as that post. I know one couple, old enough to be the OP's parents, who secretly married then had a church ceremony later. Pregnancy might have been the reason. They never told anyone except the couple who eloped with them to be their witnesses. And, yanno, so what??!
 

Elizabeth35

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
293
Wow. You keep emphasising how "old fashioned" you are. Does that make your critique less judgmental? You're only 61, not 91, and far from the Victorian era, so I'm surprised that you feel so much shock and pearl clutching. Aren't you from the hippie generation? Free love and all that?
Why does it matter to you that this couple kept it a secret? Does everything have to pass under your watchful eye? It's THEIR business.
You're lucky you were invited to their wedding. Rejoice that they shared it at all with you, and that they now have the liberty to publicly celebrate their commitment.
And also, couples are entitled to privacy, "secrets" and all kinds of other little intimate goodies that don't require public scrutiny, or your approval. And, no, that's not "lying", that's known as the marital bond, which by definition excludes the rest of the world the way a fortress keeps out enemies.
And P.S., this isn't that rare. You may not know this, or have friends in Europe, or have traveled a bit...In France for example, a civil wedding always precedes the formal church wedding, or other form of celebration. The amount of time between the two can vary depending on many factors.
You should get out more.
Thank you for assuming that I am unfamiliar with European marriage traditions regarding civil/legal ceremony--but that was an incorrect statement as I am well versed in European traditions.
But unlike you, I am not name-calling nor was I shocked, nor clutching my pearls.
Your assumption that I am ignorant or not well-travelled is an incorrect one. I am neither.

I adore the couple and was thrilled to celebrate with them, even though I knew they were already legally married.

I was honestly asking opinions about having a ceremony that was presented as a marriage when, in fact, it was neither a legal or religious marriage. Not in a church and the officiant presented it as a marriage ceremony. My discomfort was actually around the secrecy. So evidently I am unrealistic for being uncomfortable with presenting a ceremony as a legal/religious marriage when it was not.
So if you all feel it is fine to be legally married, have a ceremony that is presented as a legal/religious marriage while hiding the fact that you are married--then I accept that my views on being honest are clearly wrong.
 

Elizabeth35

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
293
I would like to add that my post title is probably not accurate in that I have no issue with separate formal wedding after legal marriage. That is not an issue at all and I 100% understand the various reasons people do this.
My question was completely around the fact that some people knew and some people (close relatives) were kept in the dark. It made me uncomfortable.
So clearly there is a difference of opinion and maybe it is based upon when you think someone is 'married'. I am someone who was fine being married by a judge. And I am also not a big traditional wedding fan. So that flavors my viewpoint. I could care less about the dress, venue, reception dancing, etc.
Marriage for me was an intimate commitment that did not require anyone else present.
We are all different!
 

Bron357

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3,778
In some Countries it’s only the “Court house” signing that is the legal marriage part. The rest is just a “show” and a celebration.
To me a “formal” wedding is the one done in a Church in front of a Priest.
But that doesn’t mean people who choose to use a Celebrant with their own vows is less of a marriage process or any less meaningful.
But it’s a bit weird to “pretend” doing the legal / formal part if it’s already done, but then again plenty of people decided to ”re commit” their marriage vows again, with the “bride”even wearing another wedding gown! That I don’t get. Just have a party!
 

Elizabeth35

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
293
My use of formal wedding was perhaps not the best choice of words.
It was a ceremony in a non-church venue with a celebrant and their own vows. Still absolutely a wedding, albeit not in the legal sense.
So absolutely this was the celebration and show. And I was happy to celebrate with them since I adore them. It was a joyous occasion and we all enjoyed it because we love them dearly.
It's all a non-issue. I have been lambasted for being uncomfortable with the secrecy. Whatever.
I personally would not spend $50K to have a big party and pretend I was not already married.
But I have been proven incorrect--lol.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

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Apr 30, 2019
Messages
2,246
Thank you for assuming that I am unfamiliar with European marriage traditions regarding civil/legal ceremony--but that was an incorrect statement as I am well versed in European traditions.
But unlike you, I am not name-calling nor was I shocked, nor clutching my pearls.
Your assumption that I am ignorant or not well-travelled is an incorrect one. I am neither.

I adore the couple and was thrilled to celebrate with them, even though I knew they were already legally married.

I was honestly asking opinions about having a ceremony that was presented as a marriage when, in fact, it was neither a legal or religious marriage. Not in a church and the officiant presented it as a marriage ceremony. My discomfort was actually around the secrecy. So evidently I am unrealistic for being uncomfortable with presenting a ceremony as a legal/religious marriage when it was not.
So if you all feel it is fine to be legally married, have a ceremony that is presented as a legal/religious marriage while hiding the fact that you are married--then I accept that my views on being honest are clearly wrong.
gee (only my opinion) but i don't personally see the point if the 2nd ceremony isnt a church thing ?
personality id do the registry office in secrete and have just a party latter on
or maybe id get married in a tiny country church and get the minister's spouse to be a witness
each to their own
i just don't feel the urge anymore to need the big Cinderella production, although i do want exstravagant flowers
but i think the huge production thing is important to a lot of ladies because that was their dream as little girls
so long as everyone has a good time
i know a couple who had a big flash party and surprised everyone by getting married
that was really cool
 

tigertales

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Messages
371
I'm sorry, Elizabeth, but you did sound a little pinched, and owed that to some traditional values. Maybe you felt hurt that you were not privy to the fact of their being already married? Or was it a feeling of pretense that bothered you? It's a shame you are still struggling ( as you put it) with this.
 
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