Military Brides

Civil Ceremony and then Reception

My DH and I had a civil ceremony with just us, and then plan on having a reception with friends and family after he gets back from being deployed.

I was wondering if any of you ladies had done that, and what your experience was. I know a lot of people, say this is what they want to do, and then never do. Part of me feels like, is it silly to "waste" money on a wedding when we are already married? There are a lot of other things we could spend that money on. And another part knows it means a lot to me. I really want to experience my own wedding, to celebrate with everyone. 

Opinions ladies? Thanks. :)
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Re: Civil Ceremony and then Reception

  • edited December 2011
    Most people on this board are fine with this as long as you are open and honest with your family, friends and guests and not hiding your first wedding to have a second.
    Personally, I like how you are doing it. I have been to a couple "receptions" like this but not because of Military reasons. Just friends who don't like the big hoopla of a wedding or couldn't afford a large wedding so they went to the Court House with immediate family then had a big party a few weeks later. Being a guest they were fun to attend. In both cases it was summer time and both ladies wore a springy white dresses and fun accessories. They were more BBQ and Keg style party.
    Again I had a blast at them celebrating but they also didn't make it seem like it was a wedding/wedding reception. They didn't request gifts/register, they didn't have cake, they DID have drinks and food and did make toasts thanking guests for coming---.

    HTH!
  • JynxeyJynxey
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    That definitely helps a lot. We are already married. Unfortunately, our family couldn't be there, but it also wasn't a secret that we were doing it or anything, I think that is such an awful thing to do to your loved ones! We tried to include them as much as possible, but being 3,000 miles away from them, they just couldn't make it, which is why it was so important to me to be able to have something they can be apart of. Thanks, I am glad you had a good experience at them and it wasn't seen as an odd thing to do.
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  • calindicalindi
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
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    edited December 2011
    Yep, this is perfectly fine!  Congratulations on your wedding!

    I'm sure your families will want to celebrate with you - you can simply hold a reception, or you can do a vow renewal before.  Whatever you prefer.  Personally, if I were to do this, I wouldn't wear the big ballgown, but rather probably a cocktail length white dress.  And I probably wouldn't wear the veil at all, or maybe just a birdcage veil.  I wouldn't register for gifts.

    In general, just look at it as a party to celebrate with loved ones and you'll be fine.  If you're trying to make it fit what you envison as a "wedding", it might come off feeling awkward since you're already married.  Just imagine it's a really nice birthday party, and plan accordingly.  Would you register for a birthday party?  Probably not (I've never seen anyone do that).  Sure, there'd still be cake!  And there would be music and good food.  And a toast or two?  Absolutely!

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  • JynxeyJynxey
    10 Comments
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Civil Ceremony and then Reception:
    I 100% understand where you coming from. But there isn't anything remotely silly about wanting to hold a ceremony or reception after the fact to allow your family to celebrate and take part in your marriage. I think people will appreciate it and completely understand about your situation. I actually think most families would be a little peeved if they didn't get to take part in some way. I say have a wedding or renewal of vows or reception or whatever you want to call it and enjoy it for what it is: the joining of two families and the celebration of your relationship. There are plenty of resources online that will help you wording your invitations so as to allow for the acknowledgment of your previous ceremony if you are worried about coming across as dishonest.  But don't get too caught up in the "rules" or how you think things "should" be. It sounds like you guys just want your family to be a part of your celebration and that will mean a lot to people :) Hope that helps!! :)
    Posted by marcyk2110
    Part of my dilemma was what I should call it. Because we don't want to mislead anyone. We are sending out "Wedding Announcements" now, so hopefully that will clear up any confusion down the road. Everything you said helps a lot. I thought our civil ceremony was really nice, better than I expected it to be, but we want to have something special for it as well. I know that it broke my family's heart a little not being able to be there. And this wouldn't take the place of that, but hopefully it could make us all feel like everyone was a part of it.


    In Response to Re: Civil Ceremony and then Reception:
    Yep, this is perfectly fine!  Congratulations on your wedding! I'm sure your families will want to celebrate with you - you can simply hold a reception, or you can do a vow renewal before.  Whatever you prefer.  Personally, if I were to do this, I wouldn't wear the big ballgown, but rather probably a cocktail length white dress.  And I probably wouldn't wear the veil at all, or maybe just a birdcage veil.  I wouldn't register for gifts. In general, just look at it as a party to celebrate with loved ones and you'll be fine.  If you're trying to make it fit what you envison as a "wedding", it might come off feeling awkward since you're already married.  Just imagine it's a really nice birthday party, and plan accordingly.  Would you register for a birthday party?  Probably not (I've never seen anyone do that).  Sure, there'd still be cake!  And there would be music and good food.  And a toast or two?  Absolutely!
    Posted by calindi

    Thank you! I think I got a pretty good man! Haha good, because I really want the stupid cake! lol All my friends got married the "right" way, so I just didn't even know how to start with this. Everyone's input is being taken to heart and I appreciate it.

    In Response to Re: Civil Ceremony and then Reception:
    I don't agree at all.  You are doing your guests a FAVOR by registering for gifts. No matter what the nature of the ceremony there will indoubtedly be guests who will insist on bringing a present. They will want to get you something useful to help you start your life together on the right foot. Registering helps them out immensely! There's nothing worse than wasting money on a gift that never gets used.   And I wonder if down-playing the event would down-play the emotion involved and make the day feel less special not only to them but to their guests as well? Birthdays are common. Weddings not so much. Live it up I say!! :)
    Posted by marcyk2110
    This is definitely something to take into consideration. Thanks again :)
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  • calindicalindi
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    member
    edited December 2011
    You can word it as a "vow renewal and celebration".  The invites can say something like:

    "Jynxey and Jax
    together with their families
    invite you to join them as they renew their vows
    and celebrate their marriage with friends and family
    on July 1st, 2044..." 

    Or some variation - if your parents want their names on the invitation, may I suggest:

    "Jynxey and Jax
    together with their parents
    Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Jane Doe
    &
    Mr. and Mrs. Barney and Wilma Rubble
    invite you to join them..."

    I feel like since you're already married, I'd be more likely to put your names first regardless of who is paying for the wedding (as long as they're okay with it) since it establishes that you're already a unit.  Plus it makes the wording a bit easier.


    This will indicate that it's not actually the day you'll be getting married (since you're already married) but will still keep the feeling of a wedding.

    I do see the point that registering helps guests who want to give gifts, but it can be seen as gift-grabby since you're already married - some people view these receptions later as simply an excuse to invite a bunch of people to get a lot of gifts.  It's not always true, but sadly it's an assumption that sometimes is made.  If you want to register, I'd suggest keeping it quiet but if anyone asks you or your parents/siblings, then they can share where you're registered.  Or any silly person can just google your names and find where you registered - I've done this for more than one friend.

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  • JynxeyJynxey
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Civil Ceremony and then Reception:
    You can word it as a "vow renewal and celebration".  The invites can say something like: "Jynxey and Jax together with their families invite you to join them as they renew their vows and celebrate their marriage with friends and family on July 1st, 2044..."  Or some variation - if your parents want their names on the invitation, may I suggest: "Jynxey and Jax together with their parents Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Jane Doe & Mr. and Mrs. Barney and Wilma Rubble invite you to join them..." I feel like since you're already married, I'd be more likely to put your names first regardless of who is paying for the wedding (as long as they're okay with it) since it establishes that you're already a unit.  Plus it makes the wording a bit easier. This will indicate that it's not actually the day you'll be getting married (since you're already married) but will still keep the feeling of a wedding. I do see the point that registering helps guests who want to give gifts, but it can be seen as gift-grabby since you're already married - some people view these receptions later as simply an excuse to invite a bunch of people to get a lot of gifts.  It's not always true, but sadly it's an assumption that sometimes is made.  If you want to register, I'd suggest keeping it quiet but if anyone asks you or your parents/siblings, then they can share where you're registered.  Or any silly person can just google your names and find where you registered - I've done this for more than one friend.
    Posted by calindi
    I like that wording! That does bring forward another question though. Since it was our choice to forgo having a traditional wedding to begin with, should we be responsible for all the costs? Or would it be okay to ask my parents to help pay for it? And about the gifts, honestly we would both be surprised, pleasantly surprised, but surprised none the less if we received gifts. So, maybe we will do something, but like you suggest keep it low key and if people ask give it to them, but not publicize that we have a registry.

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  • edited December 2011
    Definitely agree about being low key with the registry if you decide to do one.  I have definitely heard comments from people thinking the bride and groom were being greedy, which sucks IMO because I know for a fact some of them weren't.  I am also the bride having a wedding the "right" way (when I'd rather do it my way) who is completely avoiding doing a registry.  My FI and I just had to completely replace everything because of a fire and now I have nothing to register for except some of the more expensive stuff and I don't want to seem greedy asking for "big ticket items".  At the same time, if you don't do a registry then people will complain that they don't know what to get you.  Rock meet hard place.

    As far as doing a reception after, I think you're in the clear.  A lot of us dislike when people have a "secret" wedding and then use their dependent BAH to have a big wedding and pretend it's the first.  Too much lying and dishonesty.  But if you're honest with everyone about already being married then even a vow renewal would be appropriate.  If you are religious, you could even do it in the church or have a pastor perform it since you had a civil ceremony initially.  And a nice white dress is still appropriate because you are still celebrating your marriage and in this situation you are still the bride.

    Good luck and congratulations on your wedding!!!
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  • JynxeyJynxey
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Civil Ceremony and then Reception:
    Definitely agree about being low key with the registry if you decide to do one.  I have definitely heard comments from people thinking the bride and groom were being greedy, which sucks IMO because I know for a fact some of them weren't.  I am also the bride having a wedding the "right" way (when I'd rather do it my way) who is completely avoiding doing a registry.  My FI and I just had to completely replace everything because of a fire and now I have nothing to register for except some of the more expensive stuff and I don't want to seem greedy asking for "big ticket items".  At the same time, if you don't do a registry then people will complain that they don't know what to get you.  Rock meet hard place. As far as doing a reception after, I think you're in the clear.  A lot of us dislike when people have a "secret" wedding and then use their dependent BAH to have a big wedding and pretend it's the first.  Too much lying and dishonesty.  But if you're honest with everyone about already being married then even a vow renewal would be appropriate.  If you are religious, you could even do it in the church or have a pastor perform it since you had a civil ceremony initially.  And a nice white dress is still appropriate because you are still celebrating your marriage and in this situation you are still the bride. Good luck and congratulations on your wedding!!!
    Posted by seasidebride24

    I am definitely amazed that anyone thought it would be a good idea to hide their wedding from anyone, let alone from their loved ones! I could never break my family's heart like that. Plus, secrecy is definitely the worst possible way to start a marriage. Anyways, off the soapbox. haha

    We are religious, so it did bum us out a little that the religious factor was missing from our original ceremony. I love the idea of incorporating the reception with a vow renewal and having the priest. 

    Side note: I am so sorry about your house fire. That is awful. I am glad you both are okay. 

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  • calindicalindi
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    member
    edited December 2011
    As far as your question for who should pay, it's not really good etiquette to ask someone to contribute in any circumstance, but if they offer then that's up to them.

    The best you can do is share your plans and budget with your parents, budget within what you can afford so you won't be disappointed, and if they ask why you're not doing something more elaborate, let them know it's what you can afford.  If they offer to help with costs, then that's a bonus!

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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Civil Ceremony and then Reception:
    In Response to Re: Civil Ceremony and then Reception : I am definitely amazed that anyone thought it would be a good idea to hide their wedding from anyone, let alone from their loved ones! I could never break my family's heart like that. Plus, secrecy is definitely the worst possible way to start a marriage. Anyways, off the soapbox. haha We are religious, so it did bum us out a little that the religious factor was missing from our original ceremony. I love the idea of incorporating the reception with a vow renewal and having the priest.  Side note: I am so sorry about your house fire. That is awful. I am glad you both are okay. 
    Posted by Jynxey
    We looked into doing the Civil Ceremony because we won't be able to live together for several months after the Wedding and I didn't want to be stranded in Kansas by myself. We decided to live off base and I have a couple friends now that are married and will be able to get me on base if I need to...
    anyways.. When we were checking out the civil ceremony I made sure to ask my Priest his feelings. Surprisingly he was okay with it as long as we knew that the Catholic Church didn't care about what the State of Minnesota thought. That to the church we were not married because we didn't celebrate the sacrament, and it didn't give us a free pass to cohabitate ;). He said that the ceremony would be like any other ceremony he performs the only difference would be that there was no Marriage License to sign at the end.
    So there is a FYI if you are Catholic. However, I would still talk with your officiant and make sure they are comfortable with it.

    We shared with our immediately family that we were thinking of doing the Civil Ceremony and there was so much backlash I decided to suck it up and just have a Catholic Wedding Ceremony. Some families are different. For instance, there are a couple of my families members that are pissed at me because heaven forbid I plan our wedding on a Holiday weekend to ensure the Groom could be there.
  • Beachy730Beachy730
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
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    edited December 2011
    I only skimmed through the posts, but just to answer a few questions or to back up a few points:

    1. You should not register if you are already married.  Make no mention of gifts at all.  If people want to buy you a gift they can ask you or your parents what you would like.  Once you're married, you don't get to make a wedding registry.  That would be like me making a registry for my anniversary because we have made friends since the wedding that didn't get a chance to buy us a gift.

    2. NEVER ASK PEOPLE TO PAY FOR YOUR WEDDING!  if you are old enough and mature enough to get married, you are also old enough and mature enough to plan the wedding you can afford, and pay for it yourself.  It is rude to ask anyone to pay for your party.  If they offer to contribute that is great, and by all means accept whatever contributions you want.  But you shouldn't ask anyone for money.  
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  • Epic07032011Epic07032011
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    People will tell you it;s fine now, but after the first ceremony they will give you all kinds of flak for wanting the second one.

    I still think you should have your ceremony with family, but be prepared to deal with a lot of bull. Of course, as a military wife, you can get used to dealing with bull--you get strong fast.

    If I sound a little bitter, I'm sorry, but I am. Everyone was supportive of us splitting our legal stuff and our "real" wedding before hand, but in the months in between every turned evil on us. It sucked.

    But, it's ok.
  • calindicalindi
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Civil Ceremony and then Reception:
    People will tell you it;s fine now, but after the first ceremony they will give you all kinds of flak for wanting the second one. I still think you should have your ceremony with family, but be prepared to deal with a lot of bull. Of course, as a military wife, you can get used to dealing with bull--you get strong fast. If I sound a little bitter, I'm sorry, but I am. Everyone was supportive of us splitting our legal stuff and our "real" wedding before hand, but in the months in between every turned evil on us. It sucked. But, it's ok.
    Posted by Epic07032011
    Epic, I'm really sorry your friends and family were jerky about it!  Congratulations on your marriage!!!

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  • JynxeyJynxey
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    Sorry I haven't been on the past couple days. Thanks everyone for their input. I appreciate it so much. The past few months have been a whirlwind and it is so helpful to get some outsider perspectives. I will definitely take them all to heart. 
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  • edited December 2011
    My husband and I were engaged on October 11th and for some reasons of our own had a civil ceremony on November 4th. This wasn't the original plan but it never crossed our minds that we didn't deserve to have a "real" wedding including a ceremony, reception, and all the things that go along with weddings like registering and bridal showers. We even got pregnant (also not the original plan) and are still going on with our wedding. On June 25, 2011 I'll be a married pregnant bride. 
    So all I have to say to you is do what you have always wanted to do. Don't give up on your dreams!
  • lamoureux86lamoureux86
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    @Jynxey - I hope you check this board and see my message. I am doing the EXACT same thing as you! And I'm also in Hawaii! Where are you located?! FI and I are getting married April 23rd, just the 2 of us, and having our reception (not totally traditional..we'll have the wedding cake, dinner, drinks, and dancing, but no bouquet/garter tosses or first dance or bridal party or things like that) on October 15th in Maine. We got engaged in January and literally can't wait to become husband and wife. It is NOT about benefits or anything like that, we just can't wait to be married! I'm so happy to hear other brides doing similar things. Our families and friends are very supportive of our plans, but I know that naturally there is a piece of them that wish they could be here with us. But damn..Hawaii is way too expensive to travel to and from in such a short amount of time! Good luck with your planning and send me a private message or something..I love meeting other Hawaii military girlfriends/wives! You too Leah1103! Your plan sounds wonderful as well.
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