Second Weddings

Eloped but Parents Want a Church Blessing

Hi all, 

I'm in a bit of a tricky situation. My husband and I eloped in 2015 with our parents (we had our Moms sign as the witnesses) and we thought it was beautiful. While I'm sad we didn't get the glitz and glamour and all the pictures we could cherish forever, we decided to elope for a reason. We were blissfully in love and didn't want to wait any longer to be married. We always said we would do a reception later but just haven't (we've had 2 babies and developed our careers instead). 

Last year my husband had an affair. We're working through things but know we want to stay together. Now, our parents are telling us we should have had the wedding in the church (because maybe this all wouldn't have happened-totally different conversation), and that if we want to start our marriage over we need to get blessed by the church. They want us to have a vow renewal and invite all the friends and family that weren't part of the first one, but that takes time, and planning, and an annulment (because I'm my hubs 2nd marriage). While I would love to do the big shebang all over again and secretly sort of want to know what it feels like to go through the whole process, I don't think our current situation seems appropriate to be planning a "redo wedding". 

How do we appease our parents (so they stop asking about it), but also get what we want too? I'd love to hear your feedback, but please also understand this is an emotionally challenging situation. 
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Re: Eloped but Parents Want a Church Blessing

  • kpgleasonkpgleason
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    edited September 12
    MobKaz said:

    There are PLENTY of folks who married within the confines of a church and had affairs.  The correlation is absurd.  The size and location of a wedding has zero correlation to affairs or divorce for that matter.  If there is, I would love to read that study.

    You are married.  There is nothing to "start over".  Your situation is between yourself and your husband.  Do your parents want your husband to wear some scarlet letter to this new ceremony?  Is everyone aware of this affair? 

    What exactly do you and your husband want?  You simply need to explain to your parents that YOUR marriage is between you and your husband and they need to respect whatever choices the two of you make.  You might want to explain that the last thing you need is pressure from them to "correct" your husbands affair with a public display, and reminder of past transgressions.

    I would say once, quite firmly, that any consideration of a renewal is your business, and that they need to stop questioning your personal life and how it is led.  You and your husband are the only ones who can, and should, shut this down.  Your married life has nothing to do with what your parents want or don't want.  As long as all is right between you and your husband, no one else needs to be placated.  That is all you need to say to them.
    Thank you for your thoughts. Oddly enough it's his parents that are pushing the idea more than mine. While we aren't particularly religious our families are and they feel as though we have let our marriage down by not having it recognized by the church. They all seem to believe that if we proclaim our faith to each other in the church that it will hold more merit (which I don't believe at all) and that our marriage can be "reborn" (i.e. a start over because it technically wasn't recognized by the church to begin with). We've had numerous conversations about it and while we've even agreed to have our kids baptized, they still badger us about a vow ceremony. We don't want to push them away but on the other hand we don't want to necessarily do it just for them. It's extremely frustrating. 
  • ShesSoCold said: 

    What do YOU want? 

    You're an adult. You, thankfully, no longer need to do what your parents want you to!

    Are you religious? Do you want to have a church ceremony? If so, fine, but I would definitely avoid the whole wedding shebang and honestly, do similarly to what it sounds like you did the first time around.

    And kudos to you for working through an affair. Most women (myself included) wouldn't be that strong.
    Thanks for your response. While it's not easy by any means, we fell in love for a reason and we feel we owe it to ourselves and our children to see if we can make it work. I'm not really religious but I always dreamed of getting married in my parent's church (it's a beautiful building) with all our friends and family, wearing the classic white dress, and on and on, but when I met my husband it all just kind of faded. We we're different people as a couple and I was more inclined to do something for "us" vs what I had always imagined for "me". I still got to wear a dress, and have my Dad walk me to my husband, but I didn't need everything I once thought I did. I wanted my husband, and that was enough. I feel like if we do anything again, it should be something for us again, not everyone else. But we keep getting badgered about the church blessing. It's just extremely frustrating. 

    Also, and maybe it's just me working though some of my anger from the affair but I don't feel as though I should have to proclaim my faith again. I said my vows, and I held them. He didn't and that's on him, I shouldn't have to do it all over again because I did nothing wrong. But that's a whole other topic haha Thank you for your thoughts. 
    charlotte989875eileenrobshort+sassyahoywedding
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    @kpgleason, I have shared this story several times.

    My daughter married in a full nuptial Catholic Mass because it represented who she and her husband are as a couple.  My son married in an extremely secular ceremony void of any prayer because it represented who he and his wife are as a couple.  Was the ceremony of my daughter more "fulfilling" to me as a parent?  Absolutely.  However, I would actually find it almost disrespectful had my son married in any other way, because it would have not been sincere.  I focus on the relationship they have for each other, and the way they now grow together as new parents.

    Your wedding and lives should reflect who YOU are as a couple.  It is not about the parents.  If they cannot see that, then that is on them, not you. 


    kpgleasoneileenrobshort+sassyahoywedding
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    Tell your both of your parents to butt out of your marriage. Why are you letting either of them have so much input? It's none of their business.

    My H and I do not involve our parents in what goes on in our marriage, and that was a very long discussion before we even married, as both of our moms are overbearing. 

    You have only been married for 3 years. In that time, your H cheated, so it couldn't have been that long ago. I personally would feel very odd having a vow renewal so soon after such a crisis like that. 

    charlotte989875kpgleasoneileenrob
  • kpgleason said:
    Thank you all for your comments. While we both grew up Catholic, and try to live our lives as respectful human beings, we just don't follow the ritualistic and habitual nature of the Catholic church. We try to teach our kids to be kind and care about others but we don't think that making them go to church every week at such young ages (3 and 8mo) that they'll be any better for it. When they're a little older and show interest we'll make that decision for them, but for us as H&W we don't see the need for us. 

    I agree that we need to set boundaries. It's been a struggle as my Mom watches the kids everyday, and his parents are in Boston, so we see them only a few times a year (therein they try to make everything their way during that time). No matter how many times we tell them all the way we want things they never listen. I think that's one of the issues in our marriage (I'm always the bad guy because he lets them walk all over him). Seeing someone to help with our issues now needs to include our parents. I hadn't thought to bring them into it so thank you for making that suggestion. 

    Also, thank you all for validating my feelings about not wanting a Church ceremony. I don't feel as though it would be for us, and realistically it wouldn't be for the Church either. It would just appease our parents and that's not what OUR marriage is about, it should be about us and our family. If we do have another commitment celebration it shouldn't be for them. 
    I'd also use the comment that if you weren't genuinely interested in raising your children in the faith, practicing it or believing in it then what they're doing is Sacrilegious and THEY would be out of line to insist on it.

    I am a Catholic but think you need to walk the walk.    If you don't have any intentions to are they suggest you SIN and LIE to a priest so they can get their way?? 

    MyNameIsNot
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
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    edited September 13
    I am glad that you are doing what works for you. I agree that this is more of a boundaries issue. Your husband had an affair for a multitude of reasons. One of them is not because you didn't have a church wedding. 

    I am sorry if this sounds mean, because I fully understand that infidelity is none of my business and you never know what goes on inside people's marriages, but honestly, IMHO if I received a vow renewal, commitment ceremony cum white wedding redo invitation 3 years after an actual wedding and an affair, I would think this was the kiss of death of this relationship. I know everyone is different but big public vow renewals after infidelity just screams painting over the damage.

    I am really glad you are working on your boundaries and standing up for yourself. 

    banana468charlotte989875
  • I am glad that you are doing what works for you. I agree that this is more of a boundaries issue. Your husband had an affair for a multitude of reasons. One of them is not because you didn't have a church wedding. 

    I am sorry if this sounds mean, because I fully understand that infidelity is none of my business and you never know what goes on inside people's marriages, but honestly, IMHO if I received a vow renewal, commitment ceremony cum white wedding redo invitation 3 years after an actual wedding and an affair, I would think this was the kiss of death of this relationship. I know everyone is different but big public vow renewals after infidelity just screams painting over the damage.

    I am really glad you are working on your boundaries and standing up for yourself. 

    Thank you for your response. I don't think I clarified well enough that we're not planning a ceremony now...but at some point they expect us to have the blessing at the church. Also, it's not public knowledge that there was an affair. Our immediate family knows (because I needed their support as I was 8mo preg when I discovered it and had to focus on the baby not the affair) but other than my best friend no one knows. Personally, I feel like if we were to do anything within the next year it would be just faking it for our parents. And we don't want that. But we just can't seem to make them understand it's not what we ever wanted. No lie my husband told me when he talked to him Mom last night she brought up the annulment conversation again, saying "well I talked to our priest again and...". It just never ends...
    charlotte989875
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    It sounds as though your parents are trying to take advantage of your reconciliation to get you to have the church ceremony you chose not to have when you were married.

    If you and your husband don't believe in the church's teachings, then you shouldn't have a church ceremony. A secular vow renewal might be appropriate, but as PPs note, don't do it in the church just to make your parents happy. As you note, you need to set boundaries with your parents and make clear that this is not up to them, and they need to drop the subject.
  • It sounds like this topic has been discussed, ad nauseum, between you all and the parents.  Now it's time to "train" the parents and completely shut these conversations down.  And your H needs to be 100% on board with this.

    I would lay down the law with one last conversation.  Like, "Moms/Dads, we know this disappoints you, but there will be absolutely no vow renewal or co-validation of our marriage in the Church.  We won't do it because (insert reasons).  You have really been badgering us on this subject and we've had enough.  Do not bring this subject up again."

    Then, any time they bring the subject again, immediately shut the conversation down and remind them this will no longer be discussed.  If they persist, end the phone call.  If in person, get up and leave and go home.  Tell them you'll come back and visit when they can control themselves from bringing it up.

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    ShesSoColdlevioosaInLoveInQueenscharlotte989875
  • A lot of this will rest on your H to be firm with his parents.   As other posters have recommended, if he allows his parents to think that they can make decisions in your marriage that's going to be a big problem.  


    ShesSoColdMyNameIsNotInLoveInQueenscharlotte989875
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    kpgleason said:
    I am glad that you are doing what works for you. I agree that this is more of a boundaries issue. Your husband had an affair for a multitude of reasons. One of them is not because you didn't have a church wedding. 

    I am sorry if this sounds mean, because I fully understand that infidelity is none of my business and you never know what goes on inside people's marriages, but honestly, IMHO if I received a vow renewal, commitment ceremony cum white wedding redo invitation 3 years after an actual wedding and an affair, I would think this was the kiss of death of this relationship. I know everyone is different but big public vow renewals after infidelity just screams painting over the damage.

    I am really glad you are working on your boundaries and standing up for yourself. 

    Thank you for your response. I don't think I clarified well enough that we're not planning a ceremony now...but at some point they expect us to have the blessing at the church. Also, it's not public knowledge that there was an affair. Our immediate family knows (because I needed their support as I was 8mo preg when I discovered it and had to focus on the baby not the affair) but other than my best friend no one knows. Personally, I feel like if we were to do anything within the next year it would be just faking it for our parents. And we don't want that. But we just can't seem to make them understand it's not what we ever wanted. No lie my husband told me when he talked to him Mom last night she brought up the annulment conversation again, saying "well I talked to our priest again and...". It just never ends...
    Okay, but how did he respond? If he didn't shut it right now, you're contributing to the problem. 

    Since it sounds like all the parents have meddling in your marriage for quite some time, it'll probably be hard to get them to stop. But you have to be firm, like PPs said and you cannot engage with them about it. The conversation is closed. Period. 

    I also like the switch-a-roo (works well for me with all of the people who insist I need to reproduce). "Ya know, I wanted to mention to you that you really need to be investing in gold. Gold is where it's at...blah blah blah" and shove it right down their throat the way they're shoving their Catholicism down yours. Just pick something ridiculous and be as insistent with them about it as they are with you on this. Probably not the most mature way to go about it, but it shuts people up!

    My MIL wants me to live next door have have 40 babies. H is getting a vasectomy (we have no children) and we're moving 1,600 miles away. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    When she lost her shit because she didn't like the wedding we were planning, H would not engage with her on it. It definitely caused some issues but H stood firm and she eventually came around and was respectful of our wedding and our boundaries. Some shit just isn't up to you, mom. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    kpgleasoncharlotte989875
  • You all have no idea how helpful you are!!! My H doesn't like confrontation, and it's even worse because his parents aren't local to us. If he had his way we wouldn't even interact with them, but I think it's important for our kids. They should know their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I have a big family. He doesn't. I understand the value of that relationship whereas he could take it or leave it, which is why he won't shut down the convos. He'd rather let my MIL ramble on until she's done then tell her to stop. And if she does get the "I'm not having this conversation" vibe she instantly starts crying, which makes my H want to interact even less. It's ridiculous! They'll be in town next week to see our kids so I think we're going to sit them all down together and talk to them about it and just put it to bed. Thank you for all your comments and making me feel like I'm not crazy about this!
    ShesSoColdlevioosacharlotte989875
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California
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    kpgleason said:
    You all have no idea how helpful you are!!! My H doesn't like confrontation, and it's even worse because his parents aren't local to us. If he had his way we wouldn't even interact with them, but I think it's important for our kids. They should know their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I have a big family. He doesn't. I understand the value of that relationship whereas he could take it or leave it, which is why he won't shut down the convos. He'd rather let my MIL ramble on until she's done then tell her to stop. And if she does get the "I'm not having this conversation" vibe she instantly starts crying, which makes my H want to interact even less. It's ridiculous! They'll be in town next week to see our kids so I think we're going to sit them all down together and talk to them about it and just put it to bed. Thank you for all your comments and making me feel like I'm not crazy about this!
    I mean, yes, to a point. Why does your H not want to speak to them? I am glad you have a good relationship with your family. But just because you have a good relationship with your parents, and doesn't mean they have to. I know its hard when you get along with your family, but please don't force this relationship. 

    All families are not made equal. And if there is a toxic relationship brewing here, maybe follow your H's lead. You don't HAVE to see grandparents just because their grandparents. Sharing genetic material does not a family make. You see grandparents because they are loving and supporting of you and your family.  

    I am not saying cut off all contact, but why are you forcing a relationship with a family that clearly does not respect yours? If they are great grandparents, who do nothing but be loving and kind, and never mention your faults to your kids, then I understand. But part of me is guessing this isn't the case. 

    Again, I don't know you or know your family. My point is foster a relationship with the grandparents because they are loving and this is a healthy relationship.  Don't just foster a relationship because you feel they "should" have a relationship. 

    A toxic relationship with a family member is 1000% more damaging than a limited relationship. 
    Yes to all of this. I no longer have a relationship with my grandmother because she is a toxic, hateful individual who tries to manipulate everyone around her. I've gotten some flack for it, but I am 1000% happier without her in my life. Blood relations don't give someone the right to belittle, abuse, bully, or otherwise be toxic to you. No one is "owed" a relationship. If you're worried about your kids not having a relationship with your MIL/FIL (and this is a toxic relationship), don't. I can tell you from personal experience that having a toxic grandmother caused enormous strain on my parent's relationship, and her manipulation to and through my dad caused tremendous hurt to me and my brother. 

    Like LondonLisa said, I don't know your family dynamics, but I feel like there might be more to the story if your H doesn't really see a need to talk to them. You said, "if he had his way, we wouldn't even interact with them." Those are some strong words. I would really listen to him and explore why. Because cutting off a toxic relationship is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. 

    As a side note, if he consistently has avoidant ways of communication that would be something to bring up in counseling. 


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    InLoveInQueenscharlotte989875
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta
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    levioosa said:
    kpgleason said:
    You all have no idea how helpful you are!!! My H doesn't like confrontation, and it's even worse because his parents aren't local to us. If he had his way we wouldn't even interact with them, but I think it's important for our kids. They should know their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I have a big family. He doesn't. I understand the value of that relationship whereas he could take it or leave it, which is why he won't shut down the convos. He'd rather let my MIL ramble on until she's done then tell her to stop. And if she does get the "I'm not having this conversation" vibe she instantly starts crying, which makes my H want to interact even less. It's ridiculous! They'll be in town next week to see our kids so I think we're going to sit them all down together and talk to them about it and just put it to bed. Thank you for all your comments and making me feel like I'm not crazy about this!
    I mean, yes, to a point. Why does your H not want to speak to them? I am glad you have a good relationship with your family. But just because you have a good relationship with your parents, and doesn't mean they have to. I know its hard when you get along with your family, but please don't force this relationship. 

    All families are not made equal. And if there is a toxic relationship brewing here, maybe follow your H's lead. You don't HAVE to see grandparents just because their grandparents. Sharing genetic material does not a family make. You see grandparents because they are loving and supporting of you and your family.  

    I am not saying cut off all contact, but why are you forcing a relationship with a family that clearly does not respect yours? If they are great grandparents, who do nothing but be loving and kind, and never mention your faults to your kids, then I understand. But part of me is guessing this isn't the case. 

    Again, I don't know you or know your family. My point is foster a relationship with the grandparents because they are loving and this is a healthy relationship.  Don't just foster a relationship because you feel they "should" have a relationship. 

    A toxic relationship with a family member is 1000% more damaging than a limited relationship. 
    Yes to all of this. I no longer have a relationship with my grandmother because she is a toxic, hateful individual who tries to manipulate everyone around her. I've gotten some flack for it, but I am 1000% happier without her in my life. Blood relations don't give someone the right to belittle, abuse, bully, or otherwise be toxic to you. No one is "owed" a relationship. If you're worried about your kids not having a relationship with your MIL/FIL (and this is a toxic relationship), don't. I can tell you from personal experience that having a toxic grandmother caused enormous strain on my parent's relationship, and her manipulation to and through my dad caused tremendous hurt to me and my brother. 

    Like LondonLisa said, I don't know your family dynamics, but I feel like there might be more to the story if your H doesn't really see a need to talk to them. You said, "if he had his way, we wouldn't even interact with them." Those are some strong words. I would really listen to him and explore why. Because cutting off a toxic relationship is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. 

    As a side note, if he consistently has avoidant ways of communication that would be something to bring up in counseling. 
    This! OP, I was in this same position when my H and I started dating. I have a great relationship with my family and I just couldn't understand why H barely spoke to his father. I really tried to encourage him to talk to his dad more and grow the relationship. It was 100% wrong on my part. It didn't take long for me to see how toxic FIL is, and how much better off H was without him in his life. I'm happy to say I wised up and H let that relationship fade back out to annual calls.

    This is your H's family. If he doesn't want to interact with them, that should be his call. It's pretty clear that they come with problems and stress for you both, and likely your kids too. It's really not right to push him to keep this relationship going just because they share DNA with your children. 
    kpgleason
  • I mean, yes, to a point. Why does your H not want to speak to them? I am glad you have a good relationship with your family. But just because you have a good relationship with your parents, and doesn't mean they have to. I know its hard when you get along with your family, but please don't force this relationship. 

    All families are not made equal. And if there is a toxic relationship brewing here, maybe follow your H's lead. You don't HAVE to see grandparents just because their grandparents. Sharing genetic material does not a family make. You see grandparents because they are loving and supporting of you and your family.  

    I am not saying cut off all contact, but why are you forcing a relationship with a family that clearly does not respect yours? If they are great grandparents, who do nothing but be loving and kind, and never mention your faults to your kids, then I understand. But part of me is guessing this isn't the case. 

    Again, I don't know you or know your family. My point is foster a relationship with the grandparents because they are loving and this is a healthy relationship.  Don't just foster a relationship because you feel they "should" have a relationship. 

    A toxic relationship with a family member is 1000% more damaging than a limited relationship. 
    I never thought about it this way.....I don't think they necessarily have a toxic relationship, rather my H has a lack of interest in a relationship with them. My MIL is very emotional and smothering, whereas my FIL is the "let's make a joke out of everything" person, whether it's serious or not. Because my H doesn't really talk to his parents they always call/text me. I think it would be a great conversation for my H and I to see what he actually wants out of their relationship. I need to stop forcing it if it's not actually working. Thanks for the perspective!!!
    LondonLisacharlotte989875Jen4948
  • levioosa said:

    Yes to all of this. I no longer have a relationship with my grandmother because she is a toxic, hateful individual who tries to manipulate everyone around her. I've gotten some flack for it, but I am 1000% happier without her in my life. Blood relations don't give someone the right to belittle, abuse, bully, or otherwise be toxic to you. No one is "owed" a relationship. If you're worried about your kids not having a relationship with your MIL/FIL (and this is a toxic relationship), don't. I can tell you from personal experience that having a toxic grandmother caused enormous strain on my parent's relationship, and her manipulation to and through my dad caused tremendous hurt to me and my brother. 

    Like LondonLisa said, I don't know your family dynamics, but I feel like there might be more to the story if your H doesn't really see a need to talk to them. You said, "if he had his way, we wouldn't even interact with them." Those are some strong words. I would really listen to him and explore why. Because cutting off a toxic relationship is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. 

    As a side note, if he consistently has avoidant ways of communication that would be something to bring up in counseling. 
    Thank you for your comment. I think because I grew up with such a big, loving family (not without it's drama at times) I just inherently want that for my kids. My H just doesn't feel the same way. He's never told me of any particular reason he doesn't get along with his fam, but I also see the annoyance in him when they are around. It's always super stressful when we see them because my MIL is very frantic and anxious (about everything), whereas my H is very laid back and go-with-the-flow. It def put a strain on us at for a while and we've communicated about his lack of interest in a relationship with them, but my selfish wants for the kids hasn't really let that happen yet. I need to back off and let things just organically happen. 
  • Being Catholic - the one question is "Have you willingly come here of your own free will" is the first question they'll ask.  Sacramental vs. legal marriage.  Only the two of you can answer this question for yourselves.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It is not about others pressuring you, it is about the two of you and your choice.  

    The first step is attending mass together as a routine and finding a "Parish Home" that you both feel comfortable attending mass at.  THEN, schedule a meeting with the priest to discuss having your sacramental marriage blessing and the processes you'll need to go through/hoops should the two of you decide to follow through with this.  Oddly enough, it may be worth the two of you going through "marriage prep" through the church even though you've been legally married already.  Also, this doesn't necessarily equal a PPD, most times it's just a quick thing at a regular weekend mass, the same as they'd do for a 50th Anniversary for example.  

    No one can answer this for you, only the two of you can together.  
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    kpgleason
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    MesmrEwe said:
    Being Catholic - the one question is "Have you willingly come here of your own free will" is the first question they'll ask.  Sacramental vs. legal marriage.  Only the two of you can answer this question for yourselves.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It is not about others pressuring you, it is about the two of you and your choice.  

    The first step is attending mass together as a routine and finding a "Parish Home" that you both feel comfortable attending mass at.  THEN, schedule a meeting with the priest to discuss having your sacramental marriage blessing and the processes you'll need to go through/hoops should the two of you decide to follow through with this.  Oddly enough, it may be worth the two of you going through "marriage prep" through the church even though you've been legally married already.  Also, this doesn't necessarily equal a PPD, most times it's just a quick thing at a regular weekend mass, the same as they'd do for a 50th Anniversary for example.  

    No one can answer this for you, only the two of you can together.  
    This is another excellent reminder.

    Even IF you did everything required by the church, convalidations do NOT carry the pomp and circumstance of a typical ceremony.  They are understated to say the least.  You would not be inviting "all the friends and family" that were not part of your wedding.  You would NOT be wearing a typical wedding gown.

    Give a final response and then ignore.

    kpgleason
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    kpgleason said:
    *UPDATE*

    So my in-laws came in town this past weekend and my MIL instantly pulled my hubs aside and said she brought all the paperwork for the annulment process. He finally stood up to her and told her it's not what we want and that she needs to back out of our marriage. I.WAS.SHOCKED! Your suggestions were so helpful and I think it finally clicked with him that he needs to stand up for me, and us, vs just letting his Mom push him around. It's like a weight is off my shoulders. I just wanted to say thank you all for your comments because you truly do make a difference! 

    Kelli
    What a great update! 

    ShesSoColdcharlotte989875kpgleason
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