Rhiannon
Just Said Yes September 2021

Is it an awful idea?

Rhiannon, on July 15, 2021 at 9:51 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 14
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My fiancé and I have been engaged almost a year and had a date in mind and in the process of booking a small intimate ceremony with our kids and a few family members. Ideally we were thinking next year in TN at a small chapel that I have fallen in love with. However every time we have the money to book the venue and a cabin something comes up or there is something I need to find out before I pick the actual date. (Ex: Soon to be step daughter graduation date and fiancé started a new job). I finally found out the date of the graduation from the school and finally got the vacation time figured out. Now another obstacle has came our way. . . His ex wife and him are in a custody battle and now due to lawyer costs and potentially more unexpected costs my fiancé has suggested to hold off on booking anything. But due to insurance and other financial reasons he thinks it might be best if we legally get married this year and have a ceremony when we know we can afford it. My question is if I have my heart set on the location and date is it awful to legally get married secretly but then have a wedding on the date I have my heart set on? My thoughts where to legally get married on the day he proposed to me at the court house just us. And then have the small wedding of my dreams later. We have already told the people that are going to be invited to the big event that we don’t want gifts or money since we are not just starting off as some couples are. Has anyone ever legally got married then had a ceremony that most people thought was your actual wedding day? And could you celebrate the anniversary of the ceremony not the actual legal date?

14 Comments

Latest activity by Sarah, on July 18, 2021 at 11:18 AM
  • Nisha
    Expert May 2022
    Nisha ·
    • Flag
    My best friend did that. They got married on paper, then had a big wedding 2 years later. However, I wouldn't be deceptive and pretend we're not already married. Let people know and call it a vow renewal on your anniversary. People will understand, no one will feel duped, and those who really love you will attend in a year or two. ❤
    • Reply
  • Yasmine
    Rockstar October 2020
    Yasmine ·
    • Flag

    Is there a reason that you don't want people to know that you are legally married? Why not just get legally married and have a wedding when you can afford it? My husband and I legally got married at our minimony last October but we didn't keep it a secret. Our bigger wedding is this October. No one had a problem or any issues with it.

    • Reply
  • Emilia
    Expert June 2019
    Emilia ·
    • Flag

    Hi ! I probably have a different perspective as in Europe (well, i 2 countries that I know well) it's absolutely normal to do the "administrative" wedding alone, before, sooner, etc - and then have a secular ceremony, church ceremony or a humanist wedding after, with the party. Maybe it's diferent in the US, but really, it doesn't bother anyone that they come to celebrate the love of people who already signed the paper... THIS IS the REAL wedding day because it's the day of your ceremony and celebration !

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  • M
    VIP January 2019
    Maggie ·
    • Flag

    I don't see any reason to keep your wedding a secret from your loved ones, but of course I don't know all the details of your life. But as PP said, plenty of people get married privately and then have a big celebration later, so this is becoming a fairly common thing.

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  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    Secret weddings always backfire. Why do you want to start off your married life with a lie? That’s not a good way to create and maintain relationships because they will wonder what else you are truthful or deceptive about.


    Either elope with an anniversary party afterwards (do not call it a wedding and do not lie to anyone unless you are ok with the relationship ending) or put money aside into a savings account so you can book the wedding you want at the chapel and everything else can wait if you want it bad enough.
    • Reply
  • Rhiannon
    Just Said Yes September 2021
    Rhiannon ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    I’m only thinking of keeping it secret because I would want the legal ceremony just us. And it not to be a big fuss. Just go and sign the papers. Then actually have a ceremony and exchange of vows at a later time. Our parents, especially my mother would want to be involved and try and build it into something else. We’ve been living together for over 5 years and have kids so I guess we’ve always done things the non traditional way.
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  • M
    VIP January 2019
    Maggie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Just tell your mom/everyone you want to to tell after you have done it. She can't "try and build it into something else" after the fact. You will still be better off not keeping secrets/lying to your nearest and dearest.

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  • Cool
    Super July 2020
    Cool ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    I completely agree with this. Excitedly announce your marriage after you go to the courthouse and invite everyone for a “celebration of marriage” later. However mad they will be will be much less than finding out later that they weren’t at (what they might consider) your “real” wedding.
    • Reply
  • Jacks
    Master November 2054
    Jacks ·
    • Flag

    Don't start off your lives by creating a deceptive situation. I would advise getting married, then being honest/telling people. Later you can have a reception/vow renewal.

    • Reply
  • Vicky
    VIP January 2020
    Vicky ·
    • Flag

    Don't start your married life off with a lie. You can have a private wedding, let people know afterwards so they don't try to change your plans, and then host a wedding celebration and even another ceremony at a later date, but don't lie to your friends and family and pretend like you're not already married.

    • Reply
  • Liz W
    Savvy November 2021
    Liz W ·
    • Flag

    It's completely ok to do that! People have done it in the past, and with COVID, it's becoming even more common. Though I don't think you need to keep it a secret! If you're worried about family, maybe keep it a secret until after, but then when you share the news, you can say, "We just couldn't wait to be married, but with the ongoing pandemic we were concerned about having a big party and didn't want to have to pick and choose. So instead, we are going to celebrate with friends and family next year and we hope you'll be able to make it!"

    • Reply
  • Ingrid
    Dedicated September 2022
    Ingrid ·
    • Flag

    This day is ultimately about you two. If your friends and family truly support you they will understand. I know it is hard for parents and loved ones to feel they missed out on the initial wedding but you do what you need to for your family and one another! Sounds like a great plan

    • Reply
  • S
    Just Said Yes April 2023
    Stacey ·
    • Flag
    We got married at the courthouse with only our parents knowing. The plan was to keep it a secret until our actual wedding date but that didn't happen. We ended up telling everyone because things just kept happening and we weren't able to plan the wedding. Plus I had been married before and didn't really care if we had an actual wedding. But this is his only marriage and he wanted to do it so for our 10 year anniversary we are finally having our wedding! I know it's not the same situation as yours, but thought I'd share anyway.
    • Reply
  • S
    Dedicated September 2021
    Sarah ·
    • Flag

    There is nothing wrong with getting the legals out of the way first and then having a wedding later. But be honest that the legals have been taken care of. You can call it what you want "vow renewal" "wedding", whatever, just don't be deceptive. My husband and I got legally married in December for reasons, and we're having our big wedding in 2 months. Everyone knows that we're legally married, but this is our (additional) spiritual, community, and family marker.

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