FutureMrsWerner
Just Said Yes December 2018

Secret eloping then wedding tips

FutureMrsWerner, on July 6, 2018 at 12:36 PM Posted in Planning 1 21
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My fiancé has always wanted a small elopement (just me and him) and I’ve always wanted a big wedding. So we started weighing the option of him and I getting secretly married a month or two before the actual wedding and not tell anyone, as our families would be very upset to not have been involved. Has anyone pulled off a secret elopement and still gone through with the wedding? And how did it go with the marriage certificate signing at the wedding without anyone finding out? Thanks!

21 Comments

Latest activity by Kayla, on September 6, 2019 at 1:53 PM
  • Kristina
    Master August 2018
    Kristina ·
    • Flag

    I would at least tell very VERY immediate family. I could see this causing a lot of hurt feelings. Like, at least tell parents so they're aware and they feel included.

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  • Sarah
    Master June 2016
    Sarah ·
    • Flag
    You can’t sign the marriage certificate at the wedding if you’re already married. Also, your officiant will have to know so they aren’t surprised at your lack of marriage license. I can tell you that if one my children chose to get married and kept it from me, I’d be incredibly hurt.
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  • Mrs.Whooooo
    Master May 2017
    Mrs.Whooooo ·
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    Lying never ends well. I would advise against it
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  • J
    Devoted August 2018
    Jillian ·
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    Depending on where you live, you'll need 2 witnesses. So you'll have to tell somebody. Id suggest parents so they dont feel hurt
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  • MrsD
    Legend July 2019
    MrsD ·
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    Just a warning, you'll get a lot of negative feedback for asking this just FYI. The main points will be, think about if your parents knew or not, and realize you won't be legally signing a marriage certificate so the officiant will have to know too.

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  • Official Mrs.K
    Devoted May 2019
    Official Mrs.K ·
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    My fiancé and I were in the same boat. He wants something with just the two of us because he gets pretty emotional (says he doesn’t want to embarrass himself in front of all our friends and family) but I really want everyone there. One night we were watching the episode of The Office where Jim and Pam get married on the boat and I told him I would consider it (how romantic was that episode!). Anyway, I had the same concerns with you about how to handle the legality of getting married in secret so I proposed that the big ceremony be the legal one but we could have an “unofficial” commitment ceremony for the two of us in advance. Finally, I ended up getting him to agree to just doing a first look in private (although I will want my photographer and videographer there) before the ceremony. Do you think your fiancé would compromise and not have the first “ceremony” be the legal one?
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  • Sarah
    VIP July 2018
    Sarah ·
    • Flag
    My brother did this. They legally got married for tax reasons a year before their wedding date. It was tricky and I am now the only one who knows about it. Our other brother was the officiant in the second wedding and he still doesn’t know. Basically they just never turned in the paperwork from the second Wedding so it never became a legal thing. May want to check how that would work in your state.

    From a sister’s perspective, it was really hurtful to not be included, especially when I was asked to sign the marriage license. I know our brother who did the ceremony would never get over it.
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  • firstoneat56
    Master August 2017
    firstoneat56 ·
    • Flag

    Lying is a bad way to start your marriage. I'm not sure why anyone would even consider it. Compromise by either eloping with your immediate family present and having a reception at a later date, have a private ceremony with immediate family present then a large reception following immediately or just have a smaller wedding altogether.

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  • firstoneat56
    Master August 2017
    firstoneat56 ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    I think what might help is explaining to your fiancée that there is nothing embarrassing about being emotional.

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  • Brittney
    Devoted September 2018
    Brittney ·
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    Why don't you just do a small ceremony (elopement) then have a reception? There's not much of a point for the second ceremony anyway. You could do the first in the morning then invite more people to an evening reception. You need 2 witnesses to sign the marriage certificate anyway.
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  • Official Mrs.K
    Devoted May 2019
    Official Mrs.K ·
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    Oh I definitely have! He is a pretty tough guy normally but when it comes to me he is a softie and I love it! I think all of our friends and family will be touched by his emotion but I think he is scared he will get so emotional that he won’t be able to talk (which it how it was when he proposed. He just held out the ring and couldn’t talk for a while with the tears flowing) I’m hoping the first look with help alleviate some of the build up foe both of us.
    • Reply
  • Trisha
    Dedicated September 2020
    Trisha ·
    • Flag
    My fiance and I are thinking of doing this. Eloping with just family there and than going on a 5 day cruise. We are going to have a reception when we come back from the honeymoon . We want it to be simple.
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  • DC Wife 10.27.18
    Master October 2018
    DC Wife 10.27.18 ·
    • Flag

    Yeah, I wouldn't do this.

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  • Deirdre
    Super March 2018
    Deirdre ·
    • Flag
    I think it's fine if you elope, but you do have to tell people that the wedding is a vow renewal/celebration of marriage and not your legal wedding. Number 1, do you want the guilt of lying to all of your loved ones for the rest of your life? Number 2, someone will likely find out and feel hurt, plus it will damage your credibility with those you care about. I have a friend who got secretly married (she was planning on having a bigger wedding later, but ended up getting divorced). I found out because my step mom works at the town hall where she got her marriage license saw her come in and confirmed that they did get married. I didn't end the friendship over it (there were a lot of other issues with her marriage/relationship and I didn't want to turn my back on her when her life went downhill after the fact), but I take everything she says with a grain of salt. When she has to cancel plans because her son is sick (or fill in with other excuse), I never believe what she says and assume that she just didn't feel like going out or didn't have the money and was embarrassed to tell me, something like that. I don't really trust what she says to me anymore though because she lied about being married. If she's going to lie about that, I figure she's willing to lie about anything else. At the end of the day, you will do what you want and you have that right. I would just strongly caution you against deceiving all your friends and family. It's just not a nice thing to do andis really hurtful to those you care about.


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  • MrsV1027
    Master October 2018
    MrsV1027 ·
    • Flag

    Why the secret elopement? Without knowing that it's a little hard to give real advice on this.
    We eloped on 2/16/18. It was just me, him and my son. Afterwards we called our moms and let them know that we eloped and why. He needed insurance as he is a contractor and it didn't make sense to purchase expensive insurance when I have amazing benefits at work. We then made it facebook official and explained that we are still having the big "wedding" ceremony in Vegas in the fall as planned. Everyone was excited and no one was hurt that they missed the courthouse elopement. They all understood.

    If you know it's going to cause hurt feelings why do it? If you have reasons like I did to elope early why not let your parents come to that so they don't find out later and get really upset?

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  • MrsV1027
    Master October 2018
    MrsV1027 ·
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    There's a difference though. You aren't doing it in secret. It's the lying part that makes this not a good idea. We eloped as well and didn't hide it and are having our family ceremony and reception in the fall.

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  • C
    Devoted November 2023
    Crystal ·
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    Lots of places have done away with that. We didn't need any witnesses.
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  • M
    Dedicated September 2019
    Maria ·
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    My husband originally wanted to elope otherwise we wouldn't of been able to get married for another year so we did and called our parents after. Now we are planning our wedding/vow renewal and the whole family is excited and wants to be a part of it. It was a great compromise!
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  • Gen
    Champion June 2019
    Gen ·
    • Flag
    We are in a similar boat but FH wants a big wedding and I wanted a destination elopement on the beach. We wanted a way to do “both” but decided that the official marriage should begin (licensed signed and everything) should be at the big one so that our friends and family won’t be hurt at being left out.

    So our plan is to have our big wedding in 2019 and then for our 1 year anniversary in 2020 we are going to a beach in Hawaii to renew our vows. This way we get to celebrate with our friends and families and allow them to be included, and still get the intimate “wedding” I wanted with just the two of us a year later. Sure it won’t be the day we sign the document, but it’ll have the sentiment of it which is what counts!
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  • Megan
    Devoted November 2018
    Megan ·
    • Flag
    We are eloping when we go to get our marriage certificate. This is mostly because my officiant is not ordained and it is the simplest thing to do and not give anyone a headache.
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