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Catriona
October 2023

"Married" but never had a wedding

Catriona, on May 24, 2020 at 12:17 PM Posted in Planning 0 72
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Okay, so this may be a bit confusing but I need some opinions (please kind ones only).


I met my partner almost nine years ago. We have been together for 8 of them.

We were 19 and 20 and we became really good friends. At the time we had both gotten out of rough relationships and we wanted to take it slow. However, there was also a very intense attraction to each other almost immediately.

Less than a year into our "friendship" I became pregnant. Which was a huge shock to both of us as I have PCOS and was told as a young teen that I would either not be able to have children or it would be EXTREMELY difficult for me to. I was also on birth control only to assist with my excruciatingly painful periods.

Neither of us had ever planned to have children, we were both of the mindset that if we ever did (and not necessarily as a couple) it would be when we were in our late 30's.

I only wanted to adopt as I have/had a phobia of foreign things being in my body.

Neither one of us believe in abortion (unless under specific circumstances) so that was totally out. Plus it was my responsibility and I meant to stand by it.

Fast forward a few years into the future and we have two beautiful children, a boy and a girl.

Now I'll get to the reason behind my post.

Back in 2014 we were really struggling with figuring out what to do with our lives and how to provide the best possible lives for our children, I had served in the Navy until I was injured so he had the idea to join.

If only to provide for us.

Here comes the issue.

Due to the Military's rules he wasn't allowed to join despite his exceptionally high ASVAB score.

Reason? Because he was unmarried and had two children. They viewed it as family abandonment.

So despite my immense reservations ( not because I didn't love him but because I had a vision ever since I was a little girl of big romantic proposal and a dream wedding) we sat down and very coldly decided to marry just so he could get in.

We decided to go to a courthouse and do it as generically and as unromantic as possible.

We didn't tell our parents, we didn't tell anyone. I barely even remember the date it occurred. We didn't dress up I wore jeans and a winter jacket and same for him. I despised doing it but he reassured me that it was only a strategic business move and nothing more and one day we would do the whole thing.


Now let's move to the present.

He never joined.

We both made the decision to go back to school.

We even considered getting a "divorce" to erase the marriage completely.


We are coming up on our ten year "dating" anniversary and I want a real wedding.

I want a proposal

A bridal shower

The whole thing because I never got to have it.

I didn't think I would care, I was never the type of woman to be bothered by that sort of thing, but I am almost thirty now and I still refer to him as my boyfriend whilst my parents and his parents AGAINST our wishes call us husband and wife.

Every time I think about the fact that I never had a wedding I feel utterly devastated. Attending others weddings literally breaks my heart.

I love weddings and I am an extremely empathetic person, I am that girl that always cries at weddings out of sheer joy for the bride and groom.

However, that has been tainted, now whilst I am thrilled for them, it is tinged with jealousy and hurt, and embarrassment.

My father is getting old, he is almost 70 will be next month and I can't stand the thought of him never walking me down the aisle or seeing me get married, (God, I'm crying now as I write this.)



I don't know what to do. Is it unseemly for me to do have the whole nine yards?

The shower, the Bachelorette party?

I want to do it but in reality I'm not a bachelorette and I don't feel like my family would respect my wishes to view it as such or if they would even participate in it.

I literally fought with my parents over them calling him my husband, and his parents are a super strict holiness pentacostal pastor and wife and wouldn't respect it either.


I could really use some advice...







72 Comments

  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    You had a wedding. The white dress, caterer, decorations, etc. don’t make it a wedding. If you got married, you had a wedding. It’s totally fine to have a vow renewal with all of the details you want, and you should! But it would be pretty tacky to expect a bridal shower and a bachelorette party when you’re not a bride or a bachelorette. You’ve been married for 6 years.
    • Reply
  • Nefetera
    Rockstar March 2015
    Nefetera Online ·
    • Flag

    Hello

    Nice meeting you, I understand how you feel and your story was very interestng to read. However we've been married only 5 years and I too have always been the girl who always wanted a nice wedding and it hasn't happened for us neither.

    This year was supposed to be the year we renew our vows and make it a whole big thing like if we first got married but due to cviod 19 in living in NYC we hd to cancelled. Our renewal was supposed to be yesterday. I'm going to try to push for the next 5 years to do a renewal or next 10 years I guess.

    However wont you guys do a VOW Renewal and do a Bridal renewal shower and Bacholorette. Never heared of it but I did it because its something I personally never had and it was so much fun. Felt as if I just got married.

    I know you will enjoy the whole expereince.

    • Reply
  • A
    Super February 2020
    Andrea ·
    • Flag
    I didn’t do the bridal shower or bachelorette. I don’t think those things make a wedding.
    You should do a vow renewal, get a white dress and have a plan for a huge party because that’ll be more fun and probably what you truly want. A celebration with your family and friends!
    • Reply
  • Kari
    VIP May 2020
    Kari ·
    • Flag

    Awww, I'm so sorry.

    And unlike the previous poster, I don't think getting married is the same thing as having a wedding. The legal stuff is the marriage - the wedding is the ceremony and celebration. Signing papers means you got married but it doesn't mean you had a wedding.

    Have you talked to your partner about this? Since you are legally married, he might not know that you still want a proposal and wedding. Since no one else knows, he might be worried that if he goes that route it will all come out and then people will be upset that you got married and never told anyone. It sounds like you have a committed partner and supportive family (the most important things), but I think it's totally okay to want some of the celebration surrounding a wedding as well.

    I would definitely have a conversation with your partner and tell him how you feel like you missed out on not being able to have those experiences. Your partner may be on board with having a wedding, and together you can plan a day that celebrates your love and commitment to one another in a special way, and share that with your family and friends. You can call it a wedding and never tell anyone you were legally married, or reveal that you have been legally married for years and renew your vows and have it be the wedding celebration you never had. It can be small, it can be big, it can be whatever the two of you want it to be.

    A shower, bachelorette, etc is entirely up to you and the people you involve. There are many brides who get married for the first time and never have those things, and I'm sure there are women on their second or third marriages who do.

    The first step is really to tell your partner how you feel. Good luck!

    • Reply
  • Anna
    Dedicated November 2020
    Anna ·
    • Flag
    I say go for it! Tell him you want the ring and big proposal and plan the wedding of your dreams!
    • Reply
  • L
    Super October 2020
    Leslie ·
    • Flag

    All the romantic version of proposal, the fun bach and lots of gifts at a shower sounds great. But you are married even if you don’t call him your husband. You’ve established your home and to ask for a shower sends the signal is the only reason you’re doing it is for extra gifts. If your husband is onboard I don’t see what you can’t have a renewal ceremony and even a bach party. (We’re doing ours together.) But keep in mind it comes with a cost. Weddings are pricey and even with gifts from your guest you most likely won’t break even. You can enjoy being a bride with all the feels and have your Dad walk you down the aisle.

    • Reply
  • Courtney
    Super September 2019
    Courtney ·
    • Flag
    Have you shared your feelings with your partner? Does he want to propose and have a wedding too? You two can have whatever type of event you want to celebrate your relationship and commitment and if that involves walking down the aisle, the white dress etc then go for it.
    • Reply
  • Emily
    Devoted September 2020
    Emily ·
    • Flag
    I feel for you! I also think you were super clear with your post you were looking for kindness and empathy (cough cough side eye to some posters), so I'm sorry for that as well.


    Your marriage and your wedding are for you and your partner. Agree with Kari - talk with him, express what you're missing out on, and see what he thinks. It's possible things may need to be tweaked for current events or budgets (a lot of us here are heart broken and discovering that day to day), but even talking to him and feeling heard might help you untangle your thoughts on it.
    Good luck!
    • Reply
  • A
    Savvy June 2021
    Allie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Emily and Catriona,

    I agree with both of y'all! You didn't have all the bells and whistles the first time around, so I think it's perfectly reasonable to want them this time around! Maybe you could chat with your partner and see how he feels...sure, you guys have been together for years, but you could say something like "we're finally making it official!" or "formally uniting the family" and you're finally having your "wedding" or "commitment ceremony" or...whatever you want to call it! It'll be your celebration! Whatever y'all decide to do, I wish you the best of luck Smiley smile

    • Reply
  • Sharon
    Expert September 2021
    Sharon ·
    • Flag
    I don't see why can't do a big vow renewal now. People have the legal ceremony and then do a big celebration later all the time for a lot different reasons. The people that love and know you will understand and most likely will look forward to celebrating with you. Get the big white dress, have the big reception, do whatever you dream of! Life is too short to not celebrate things whenever you can.
    • Reply
  • Jessica
    VIP September 2020
    Jessica ·
    • Flag
    I understand how you feel and you should definitely talk to your partner. My FH and I have been together 7 years and also have two kids together. He suggested (I say suggested because it was not a proposal) we get married when we found out I was pregnant and I told him it was the wrong reason. He didn’t bring it up again, and several years later I discovered he thought I never wanted to get married and didn’t ever really understand why I’d said no before even though I thought it was pretty obvious. Sometimes guys just don’t get it.
    His adoptive parents have referred to me as his wife for several years now, but they are 100% supportive of us having our dream wedding and I would hope your parents and your partners parents can be supportive too because it is 100% not about them.
    Since you are legally married maybe it’s more appropriate to call it a vow renewal, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be exactly what you’re envisioning. If covid-19 spoils our plans this year, FH and I are still getting married on our original date and having the whole wedding and reception next year as a vow renewal. As for a shower, that’s thrown for you and I honestly wouldn’t bring it up unless someone offered. People get themselves all worked up about proper etiquette, but I’m sure the people who love you will want to celebrate with you.
    • Reply
  • Jana
    Rockstar June 2023
    Jana Online ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Agree with this.


    Sit down with your husband and tell him how you feel. If he's on board, have a vow renewal.
    • Reply
  • Rhiamae
    Devoted February 2021
    Rhiamae ·
    • Flag
    I would honestly just go for a vow-renewal, and go the whole nine yards with that, and while I don't think you can make it a bachelorette party there's nothing wrong with just throwing a party altogether.
    • Reply
  • C
    Dedicated 0000
    Chloe ·
    • Flag
    I have to disagree with PP, that if you're legally married then you had a wedding. Not true. You went to a courthouse and signed a legal document, so in the eyes of your government, yes you are married. However, a wedding is a marriage ceremony, and often times incorporates religion, community, and person aspects of life. So are you married in the eyes of your religion and community? Maybe not.

    I think you should absolutely have a wedding. The fact that you guys have been in a committed relationship for longer than a lot of marriages last, is even more reason to celebrate. I bet your family and friends will be excited to celebrate with you. Do the whole enchilada and make it you and your SO day.

    The bachelorette party and Bridal Shower depends on your bridesmaids (they plan it). I am skipping the shower because we already have too much stuff, and I dont want to open lingerie in front of my future MIL. But I let my bridesmaids know what I was hoping for in a bachelorette party, and they appreciated the guidance.
    I hope you guys go for it and celebrate your love and commitment with all those that matter in your lives!!
    • Reply
  • Vanessa
    Savvy November 2020
    Vanessa ·
    • Flag
    I think you absolutely deserve the whole nine yards. I’ve been dating my fiancé for 10 years, we’ve been engaged for almost four, and living together for six years. Some would say we appear married but we’re not and I’m having it all regardless of opinions. Even if it as a reward for maintaining our love and closeness, to still choose each other after all these years together. The family and friends who love and support your union will be more than glad to celebrate it. Don’t sell yourself short because of how others may feel or act. Let your “boyfriend” know how much this means to you and start hunting at rings, lol.
    • Reply
  • Serena
    Just Said Yes July 2020
    Serena ·
    • Flag
    Tell him how you feel & just do the real thing. And honestly you are still married, don't let the unconventional nature of how it was done deter you from feeling like a real married couple or a wife.
    • Reply
  • Karla
    Super February 2020
    Karla ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Agree with this. Especially with what’s going on now, tons of couples are getting legally married in the courthouse and having their wedding next year. Are we really going to say that these brides don’t deserve a shower and bachelorette?


    Actually come to think of it, I know of a lot of couples who get legally married first (insurance purposes, visas, military, etc) and then have their wedding ceremony and reception months (and even a year or two) later. I’ve never heard of those being called vow renewals.
    Have the wedding with all the bells and whistles, girl!
    • Reply
  • M
    Dedicated December 2020
    Maddy ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    This mindset isn’t kind to the OP. She may not feel married because it didn’t happen the way she dreamed. That doesn’t mean she cannot have a wedding, which is the official ceremony, not the signing of documents.
    For OP, totally go for it! It’s your life and if a full wedding ceremony and reception is what you want, go for it! I’m sure so many people in your life will be supportive and be excited to celebrate you in a formal way. Especially in the age of COVID, marriages and weddings are more and more distinct with so many elopement or marriages happening without a wedding.
    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Okay...but she’s married. You can call the celebration a wedding, or even a quenceanera for that matter, that doesn’t make it any less of a vow renewal. Of course things are different for couples whose weddings are cancelled or postponed because of a worldwide pandemic, that doesn’t apply to OP who expects people to throw her bridal showers and give her gifts when she’s been married for 6 years.
    • Reply
  • M
    Dedicated December 2020
    Maddy ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    She can have one just for the fun of games or a closer celebration with friends and family just with the knowledge that gifts may not be given. A friend of mine is having a vow renewal a year after her marriage but I still plan on giving a gift. OP may not expect gusts but that doesn’t mean people won’t give any.
    • Reply

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