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

Elizabeth35

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Sep 24, 2011
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294
I completely agree that I am traditional, in the sense that I am uncomfortable with pretense or lying.
And if you read the thread--I knew they were legally married. That is the whole point.
I am fine with whatever they choose as I love them dearly and was thrilled to celebrate.
My discomfort was in the fact that it was kept secret from some family members.
I am not struggling--I was simply trying to get a barometer of how people felt about attending a ceremony that was neither legally or religiously valid when it was not disclosed as such.
Probably my biggest discomfort was knowing that most family members believed this to be the legal ceremony, when it was not.
It does not make any difference. I love them and am happy for them.
I would have preferred to not know that I was keeping secrets from other friends and family. I don't like that. Either tell everyone, or tell nobody. Don't put people in the position of keeping secrets--that is just wrong.
 

tigertales

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I understand, but I think their need to keep something private until the right time is not lying.
Your post is somewhat confusing, I thought you said you did NOT know:

"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 it sounded as though you found out afterwards, and were then upset or shocked by it.
 

marymm

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Keeping something private in this case was lying, as they purposefully sent out invitations to people who were not in on the secret - there is no way the couple did not realize those not in on the secret would assume the couple had not yet wed and that attendees would be witnessing their joining in matrimony. Instead, only the couple and certain people knew it was just another ceremony for an already-married couple. Yes, there is a difference, in my eyes. And it is equally valid if there is no difference in your eyes. But that doesn't mean the couple didn't purposefully misrepresent the event to those not in on the secret. Purposeful misrepresentation is a lie.
 

Elizabeth35

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I understand, but I think their need to keep something private until the right time is not lying.
Your post is somewhat confusing, I thought you said you did NOT know:

"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 it sounded as though you found out afterwards, and were then upset or shocked by it.

Oh--so I apologize for any confusion. I knew before the wedding. And that's why I felt uncomfortable.
It was a very intimate friends and family wedding. They are a close family. I should have stated that I knew ahead of time--so my fault for not being clear.
 

Elizabeth35

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Keeping something private in this case was lying, as they purposefully sent out invitations to people who were not in on the secret - there is no way the couple did not realize those not in on the secret would assume the couple had not yet wed and that attendees would be witnessing their joining in matrimony. Instead, only the couple and certain people knew it was just another ceremony for an already-married couple. Yes, there is a difference, in my eyes. And it is equally valid if there is no difference in your eyes. But that doesn't mean the couple didn't purposefully misrepresent the event to those not in on the secret. Purposeful misrepresentation is a lie.
Well marymm---evidently you are a dinosaur as I am. Lol.
It is all water under the bridge as they are happily married and we all enjoyed celebrating.
But I, as an old-fashioned, pearl-wringing, judgmental person---felt genuinely awful knowing that the family, including 80+ grandma, was somewhat deceived.
But in the end--it is all good and they are a lovely couple.
My apologies for ruffling feathers.
 

PintoBean

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This reminds of a wedding I didnt go to, but heard about. Apparently, when the bride and groom came to my MIL's table, she congratulated them on their nuptials AND their pregnancy. She didnt know that it wasnt public knowledge. :???:

Perfect example of why you shouldn't let SOME people know :doh:
 

Tacori E-ring

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What interesting timing. We plan to have a ceremony with just family and a reception maybe a year later. There are a few reasons we are doing it but it’s not their business. It is our decision. I never thought to make it secret. Getting married is a big deal and I don’t want another large ceremony. Celebrate without over analyzing their decisions. Luckily I doubt there is anyone IRL who would question or judge this choice.
 

MissStepcut

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With more information, I do find that odd. Not a fan of trying to have your super private/romantic/intimate elopement “cake” and eating your public ceremony too.
 

PintoBean

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I don't like secrets bc I need to know EVERYTHING!

However, my next wedding would be a secret between me, groom and planner. I'd invite people for one event and go surprise, impromptu wedding and reception! I think this is fair... everyone or no one knows bahahaha. I loved wedding planning but I hated the pressure that came along with all the friends and family KNOWING it was a wedding and offering way too much unsolicited advice.

My cousins (bro and sis) had their receptions a year apart because they wanted to get married around the same time but did not want a combo wedding. Literally a year apart same venue for 2 receptions. But it was cool with everyone bc we knew they were getting legally married but one reception was going to be held a year later. It was their prerogative how it played out, and the guests had advance notice and could decide for themselves if they wanted to partake or not.
 

qubitasaurus

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I guess you have to ask what exactly did you want to cellebrate with them? Why do people get married and why do people gather to attend the wedding?

I have seen a lot of my friends and family get married recently. Most of them held the ceremonies several months appart from the legal marriage. All of them were in locations I struggled to get to and sometimes spent up to 5 k per person just on flights to reach the non legally binding ceremony (honestly the weddings have been in brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand. The list goes on but no two weddings were in the same country).

Having thought about it for a while I have decided that people were gathering to cellebrate the new family that was forming. Not the legal shindig where they agreed to a set of repecussions if they ever split up and got some defacto rights over power of atoney and what happened to the valuables if one of them died. I err dont think anyone would be so joyous over that. But rather it is a cellebration of the future house hold the couple were agreeing to build together.

I dont think that I understood that when I had my nose stuck deeply in a wedding checklist. It wasnt about the decor, the dress or when the paper work was signed (I actually tried to sign mine during my ceremony only to be told 3 days beforehand that I was not allowed to -- as I am expatriated and therefore by law I needed my passport or else no bannana (which was in the chinese embassy at the time)). It was about people acknowledging what was coming next. Which in the fuss and razzle of wedding planning I sincerely hadnt thought about at all :lol-2:. I assumed it was more of the same. In some ways it is, but for me in other ways it has been more complex. The people arround me anticipated this, and I think that was what they were there to cellebrate.
 

JPie

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For the wedding that was mentioned previously, I heard rumors before the wedding that the couple had already married, and they confirmed it to me before the “big day.” I don’t know how many other people knew, nor did I make any mention of it at all after finding out.

I never felt like I was being put in the position to help them lie so I can’t relate to being upset about it.

Did people actually ask you if this was a “real” wedding or if the couple got married before? Did you think it was wrong for guests to have a great time at a wedding and not know that it wasn’t the “real” one?
 

violet3

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My brother in law and his wife did this - only the immediate family knew they were already married. We thought it was strange, but it didn't really bother us at all.
 

OreoRosies86

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Why is it anyone’s business? Not every couple wants to say “Well, we got legally married last month because I needed insurance” and they shouldn’t have to explain their decision to anyone. Not everything needs to be up for scrutiny and criticism, let people enjoy their happiness. I truly think it tends to be the older generation who fixate on how a wedding is supposed to go, and the protocol and proper way to do things. I don’t know a single person in my life who would find this “deceptive.”
 

tigertales

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In her original post, she said she found out afterwards. She then backtracked. If she actually knew before the ceremony, what would have been the issue? I think there is WAY more to this story than meets the eye. Sorry.
I know how complicated wedding dynamics can get...we all do. But to fault the couple when it's THEIR marriage is probably not fair, especially because she keeps calling them a "lovely couple". Maybe they're just not as close to her as she would like. Unfortunately, weddings bring out the worst in people when their expectations of where they fall in relationship to the couple fall short.
I wonder if OP can discuss this with them and resolve her hurt feelings. That would be the best for everyone.
 

House Cat

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People’s lives are their business and their business alone. I would be totally fine with people choosing to keep their privacy from certain family members.
 

bludiva

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In her original post, she said she found out afterwards. She then backtracked. If she actually knew before the ceremony, what would have been the issue? I think there is WAY more to this story than meets the eye. Sorry.
I know how complicated wedding dynamics can get...we all do. But to fault the couple when it's THEIR marriage is probably not fair, especially because she keeps calling them a "lovely couple". Maybe they're just not as close to her as she would like. Unfortunately, weddings bring out the worst in people when their expectations of where they fall in relationship to the couple fall short.
I wonder if OP can discuss this with them and resolve her hurt feelings. That would be the best for everyone.
This is bothering you way too much. I'm sure there's a reason it strikes a raw nerve with you but while the OPs feelings were not shared by many but she has the right to feel them and not be judged for it.
 

Rubymal

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Feb 27, 2019
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One of my coworkers has been married for almost a year and she has yet to plan her formal wedding. Something to do with purchasing a house together with her husband, but I am indifferent to it either way. Sometimes people are not in a good spot financially or time-wise to dedicate their efforts and money into planning a large scale wedding. But it is her marriage, her wedding, not mine so I'm pretty indifferent to it and I think her family is too.

For my wedding (getting married later this year) we have a formal wedding planned but my future MIL wants to invite everyone and their brother's cousin's mother's neighbor's cats, so we opted to have a banquet event during the same week to let her invite everyone to her heart's content since it's more cost effective (btw- I feel it's important to note that she is not even paying 1 cent of our wedding, never offered either. Our wedding and banquet is 100% organized and being paid for by me and my fiance). She tried to get us to hold the banquet BEFORE our actual wedding and her reason was because "so other people will feel like this is the real/actual wedding so they can feel important."

But we finally pushed back. Why? Because we realized that our wedding is about us (me and my fiance) not everyone else. Organizing and holding another event right before our wedding is going to be super stressful. If we want to have our ceremony first and do the banquet later, we should be able to call the shots on it because we are organizing, we are paying for it, and it is our wedding. Not everyone else's wedding. But of course, if feeling "the most important" trumps all, then the people that feel that way are not obligated to attend and they may organize their own festivities at their leisure :)
 

seaurchin

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Nov 2, 2012
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Yes, it would annoy me. There's a difference in what I might choose to spend to be there when someone special to me takes their vows and what I might choose to spend to attend a celebration of a marriage that's already occurred. The first seems to me to carry much more obligation to attend than the second. Some of these affairs are extremely expensive to attend or be in, and guests' means vary. If there was a good reason, that might be different, in my opinion.
 

Calliecake

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Elizabeth, A close friend of mine attended the wedding of a family member and the situation was similar to what you described. She felt very much the way you felt. She didn’t know the details but felt like she was lied to. When we talked about it she asked how I would feel. I didn’t understand why she was so upset. She loved these people dearly. There was no way she would have missed the ceremony or reception. People make decisions that they feel are the best decisions for them. Often times the decisions people make are really none of our business. The wedding was beautiful, everyone had a wonderful time. I would focus on being happy they were all able to celebrate a special time in the lives of the couple.

We all view things differently at times. I don’t feel anyone was telling you that you were wrong for feeling the way you do. Just giving you their prospective.

FYI it bothered my friend for a while. You aren’t alone in your thoughts.
 

missy

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Why is it anyone’s business? Not every couple wants to say “Well, we got legally married last month because I needed insurance” and they shouldn’t have to explain their decision to anyone. Not everything needs to be up for scrutiny and criticism, let people enjoy their happiness. I truly think it tends to be the older generation who fixate on how a wedding is supposed to go, and the protocol and proper way to do things. I don’t know a single person in my life who would find this “deceptive.”
Yanno this is how I feel. Let people enjoy their happiness. Life can often be challenging and full of stress and sadness so why not rejoice in the good times and happy occasions? And why is it anyone's business? I agree with @Elliot86. @Elizabeth35 I understand your point of view and I don't think you are a terrible person for feeling the way you do and I am sorry others here might have taken it to the extreme in responding to you and perhaps making you feel attacked. To be clear I don't agree with their harsh view.

However if you think about it from the perspective of the couple in question why can't they do as they please? If you love them and care about them wouldn't you want to celebrate their union even if they are already legally married? Especially since you did not attend the original marriage ceremony? To me, it's just a legal document but the fact they want to share it with friends and family is what makes the celebration with friends and family special. My point of view.

On a personal note when my dh and I eloped spur of the moment the mistake I made was not inviting my mom and dad and sister. They were hurt to not have been invited to the City Hall ceremony where we were married by a Judge. Entirely my fault and if I could do that over again I would absolutely include them. However the marriage 3 months later that was planned 6 months prior to the spontaneous City Hall marriage was the one we always celebrate each year because it is the one where we celebrated with our family and dear friends. And at that ceremony our friends and family knew we had eloped 3 months prior. As far as I know no one resented us for doing so (except my immediate family and that was because they were not included in that ceremony too) and it was our personal business and decision. Inviting you to our wedding does not give you the right to judge us and our actions prior to or after the wedding IMO.

However I don't think I was the typical bride in many ways as we did not have an engagement party or shower as many brides/grooms do. The only occasion where people could celebrate with us regarding our marriage was the actual planned wedding in the autumn. Why would anyone consider that to be wrong? Just because we decided spur of the moment to get married a few months earlier? And that was because I was ready and excited about marrying the love of my life and it took some time to get to that frame of mind as I am slow to change.

Not that it is anyone's business but the reason I didn't want to wait anymore once I felt excited to marry Greg was because our new home was finally renovated (did a gut reno) and we were moving in together that weekend. And call me old fashioned but since I was ready to get married and we were about to live together in our new home I wanted to do it as husband and wife. So that was my reason and I don't care what anyone thinks about that decision since it is our life, our decision and our business.

I go into this explanation for you @Elizabeth35 just so you could see that there are various reasons behind couples getting married before the actual ceremony in front of friends and family and that they are all valid if they are important to the couple in question. And what other people think of their decision matters not one iota since it is not their life to make decisions about.

@Elliot86 I just wanted to add one thing. I find young people can be judgmental as well so would not agree completely with you about it being the fault solely of the older generation. I consider myself part of the older (because I am haha) generation being a Baby Boomer and I think Greg and I are one of the least judgmental people around. I have many friends of different generations and I see their friends etc and IMO it is a problem that is not limited to any age group or generation.
 

House Cat

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For us, the courthouse marriage was more clinical. No one was there, not our four children, not our parents, not our beloved family. It was just the two of us and it was done for logistical reasons. We needed insurance for my chronically ill son. We had been together for 8 years already. We were in the middle of planning a big wedding, but this had to be done or my son would suffer great harm. We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t have to. It was a matter of necessity.

A year later we had what we consider our wedding. Very few people knew we were already married. That day, with all of our most beloved friends and family present, is the day that remains in our hearts. I would die to think someone was sitting in the audience with a resentful heart during one of the most touching and beautiful moments of my life, because none of my actions were meant to deceive anyone. They were about taking care of my family and about living my life in love.

If someone can’t understand that, they shouldn’t have attended my wedding in the first place.
 

violet3

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Why is it anyone’s business? Not every couple wants to say “Well, we got legally married last month because I needed insurance” and they shouldn’t have to explain their decision to anyone. Not everything needs to be up for scrutiny and criticism, let people enjoy their happiness. I truly think it tends to be the older generation who fixate on how a wedding is supposed to go, and the protocol and proper way to do things. I don’t know a single person in my life who would find this “deceptive.”
I think this is why my brother in law and his wife did it - for insurance purposes. I agree that they shouldn't have to share that just to have a "regular" celebration of the marriage with friends and family.
 

Arcadian

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My grandmother and grandfather (mom's parents) for a very long time could not legally get married. Wanna know why? They happened to be an interracial couple.

My grandfather identified as a white man. I say he identified as one because he was by nature of his birth, half White, half American Indian. To his advantage, he did what he needed to do to make it. Passing was something many did back in those day though in his case, even on his birth certificate he was listed as white.

A more gruesome side to all this is that his mother was sold to his father. in the eyes of the law, she was his to do whatever he wanted.

On my grandmother's side, my grandmother was a black woman who happened to be mixed. She didn't look totally "black" and she had blue eyes, but she obviously wasn't white enough to pass. Yes ma'am lot of dirt on those sides but at that time, the one drop rule was in effect in the US, and so it was...

They wanted to get married in 1934. They couldn't because of the dictates of the day.

So they had a church ceremony. Now, legally they could not claim marriage, but in the eyes of those that witnessed the ceremony, they were. They had their first child in 1935.

My mother is 12 of 13 children, and I was the flower girl when they got married in the early 70's. if you look at it from a legal standpoint, they were only legally married 16 years before my grandfather passed on, though they celebrated much longer because they were in the eyes of family, man and wife the moment they had the church ceremony and jumped the broom.

In my view, weddings are to allow people close to the couple a way to share in the couples joy of being united. Its less about the order and more about the people involved.

I'm very lucky that my mother got my grandmother to record her thoughts and feelings and stories before she passed (yeah all on tapes which we had to digitize) because these are things that should never be forgotten.

Anyway, OP, while I can understand why you feel like you've been lied to and upset about it and you have some disappointment in that, I think that if you love them, please try to put the upset and disappointment aside and celebrate the day with them if you can. Life is very short indeed.

Also if it helps, I got married on my lunch hour. I disappointed plenty of people (parents included) but I got the "wedding" I wanted. We had a very large party later when it was feasible.
 

Laila619

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It doesn't really bother me, but I can see how it would be dishonest to some. A wedding unites two single people and joins them in marriage. However, the couple in question was ALREADY married. So it's really a party or vow renewal they invited people to.

It's also not as exciting probably. Like watching the big game live in person vs watching the game at home prerecorded on TV when the game is already over. Still happy for the couple either way. You just want to be at the "real" ceremony.
 
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Maria D

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@Arcadian, I enjoyed reading about your family's story - thank you so much for sharing! This part of U.S. history doesn't often get told in a personal way. How wonderful that you were able record your grandmother while she was alive. Have you considered donating copies of the recordings to a historical society?
 

Arcadian

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@Maria D I think in modern times, people do forget or, don't want to reflect on that history until its "necessary". The history of my family isn't really that uncommon for black Americans. I'm just grateful that someone thought to preserve it.

The story of how they met.... hmmm... it ain't PC!!! (its pretty darn PG though!)

I don't think my mom or her siblings where terribly interested in having those tapes as apart of the national archive. I remember asking once myself and got a non answer.

We've done recorded sessions with my parents already. And we've each done some ourselves. I guess you can say we're building a family time capsule of sorts.

at any rate, I sincerely hope that the OP can find a way to reconcile her feelings and enjoy her friends wedding.
 

Calliecake

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Arcadian, Thank you for sharing your family history with us. I’ve never read anything so incredibly beautiful and incredibly sad in a small number of short paragraphs. Love always wins.
 

strawrose

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It probably also has to do with the guilt of knowing something others don’t.

Being around people with strange situations (eloping on a hike, getting a gay marriage secretly, etc.), I am okay with most things. The only time I got offended was when a couple went through the wedding and celebration, only to reveal later they broke up before the “celebration.” :shock:
 
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