Military Brides

Separate Ceremonies

Hey Everyone- I need some advice. My fiance is deploying in May 2011 but there has been talk of moving it sooner. He also has a few trips happening before then too that he is unsure how long he will be gone. We want to get married before he leaves but we wont be able to plan the whole wedding before. So we want to have a small ceremony with just family before he leaves and then have a larger ceremony when he gets back with a reception so our friends and important people can be involved. Has anyone done that? Can someone give me advice on he best way to do that? I don't want to make people upset they weren't involved in the first ceremony. I also don't want to People to not come once they hear we've already had a small ceremony.

Re: Separate Ceremonies

  • edited December 2011
    I am doing this, but be careful, there are a lot of people on this board and the others that do not approve of some ways people do it.

    -Don't call it a second wedding. It's technically a vow renewal, unless you just have a party.
    -Tell everyone that you're married, don't hide it. I sent out formal announcements telling everyone our news. Being upfront will eliminate any hurt feelings if you lie about being married. (and our family is now bugging us about planning our vr)
    -In my opinion, try not to make your VR too much like a traditional wedding. We are doing some non-traditional things to replace that typical wedding vibe, but that's just us.
    -I would word invites and announcements very carefully. Since, it is easy to plan a large wedding in a month (just might not be platinum) if you only invite the "important" people to the first ceremony, some people could potentionally be hurt that they weren't special enough to be there.
    My H and I eloped, there was no one there but us and the judge.
    -Keep your first ceremony casual. IMO.

    Sorry for the length. If you have any questions let me know.
  • iluvmytxrgriluvmytxrgr
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    edited December 2011
    I just helped a friend plan her wedding.  We had less than 5 weeks to plan and she invited 100 people.  86 people showed up.  The wedding was fabulous and went off with out a hitch.  It can be done.  Plus, do you really want to go through planning two events.  I wouldn't. 


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  • shibbs86shibbs86
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    I had a similar situation.. kind of. My husband is in the Navy. He proposed on the 4th of July, deployed first week of August, and is getting restationed this coming January. After he deployed we talked about it and eventually decided it made a lot more sense to get married before we move (health insurance since I will be unemployed for the move, moving expenses, etc.). He got back from deployment Dec 14 and we got married on the 18th. Everything was rushed. That in itself was one reason my family was very understanding of the small ceremony.Basically we told our parents and asked them to let their brothers and sisters know that we woudl be having a small wedding here and then have a big reception once we can make it home. As for invites, we sent formal invites to moms, dads, and grandparents, but no one else. Again, we asked out parents and a few close relatives to make sure everyone knew we wanted to celebrate with them, but given the circumstances, it woudl have to be postponed. Everyone was very understanding and the fact that we are planning to have the reception near them and not near where we will be living made them feel like we were really going out of our way to share our wedding celebration with them. We are also debating doing a small vow renewal as a sort of reenactment. In my case, I found that having the word spread itself worked great. Just make sure you speak in person to anyone you are peticularly close with as they are the ones most likely to get their feelings hurt.
  • calindicalindi
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    member
    edited December 2011
    Becky, it's very common in the military (though in some ways quite controversial).  Legally, you only get married once.  One day you're not married, the next day you are.  You can't re-do that, but it sounds like you understand that since you're having your immediate family there when you get married.  But you certainly can get married and then have a vow renewal to celebrate with family and friends.

    I think for the most part people understand that the military does put unique constraints on a relationship.  Because of this, I expect everyone would be very happy to celebrate when he gets back at a "vow renewal" ceremony.  They'll understand that you got married before he left but want to celebrate with everyone.  Especially as the rules are quite simple - immediate family and grandparents come to the wedding, everyone else is welcome to come to the vow renewal. 

    You can do this any way you want - you can wear a white dress, you can have bridesmaids, you can exchange vows, you can have a father/daughter dance and cut the cake.  Or you can do none of those things - it's up to you and your FI. 

    However, there are a few things that are considered generally poor etiquette:

    1) Letting people believe they are seeing your original wedding.  Once you're married, call him your husband, not your fiance.  For your invites, you can say something like, "Parents of ---- invite you to watch their children renew their vows" instead of the traditional "exchange vows" wording to indicate that you are already married.  Your guests will still be just as excited for you, and most people will understand the circumstances.  However, if someone finds out later that you were already married and that you let them believe you were just engaged, that can cause unnecessary drama.  There are a host of legal and moral reasons here, too, which you can easily find on other threads in this board.  In short, keep it simple.  Just be honest.

    2) Having a wedding registry.  I personally believe it's fine, but there are some people who are adament that you shouldn't have a registry for guests who aren't invited to your wedding.  Just be aware that this is controversial and make your own decisions accordingly.  At the least, just have a small one but not announce it in any way.  If someone asks directly, you can tell them.

    3) First dance.  I don't think this would offend anyone, but it seems weird if you've already been married for awhile.

    Edited to add:

    4) Pre-wedding parties.  Since you're already married, it's considered gift-grabby to have a wedding shower.  It's also considered bad form to have a bachelorette party, but I see absolutely no harm in having a night out with your girl friends for any reason.  As long as you aren't blowing it out of proportion and making everyone go into debt (which is bad form for any wedding), I personally don't see a problem.

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  • LuluP82LuluP82
    500 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Separate Ceremonies:
    Becky, it's very common in the military (though in some ways quite controversial).  Legally, you only get married once.  One day you're not married, the next day you are.  You can't re-do that, but it sounds like you understand that since you're having your immediate family there when you get married.  But you certainly can get married and then have a vow renewal to celebrate with family and friends. I think for the most part people understand that the military does put unique constraints on a relationship.  Because of this, I expect everyone would be very happy to celebrate when he gets back at a "vow renewal" ceremony.  They'll understand that you got married before he left but want to celebrate with everyone.  Especially as the rules are quite simple - immediate family and grandparents come to the wedding, everyone else is welcome to come to the vow renewal.  You can do this any way you want - you can wear a white dress, you can have bridesmaids, you can exchange vows, you can have a father/daughter dance and cut the cake.  Or you can do none of those things - it's up to you and your FI.  However, there are a few things that are considered generally poor etiquette: 1) Letting people believe they are seeing your original wedding.  Once you're married, call him your husband, not your fiance.  For your invites, you can say something like, "Parents of ---- invite you to watch their children renew their vows" instead of the traditional "exchange vows" wording to indicate that you are already married.  Your guests will still be just as excited for you, and most people will understand the circumstances.  However, if someone finds out later that you were already married and that you let them believe you were just engaged, that can cause unnecessary drama.  There are a host of legal and moral reasons here, too, which you can easily find on other threads in this board.  In short, keep it simple.  Just be honest. 2) Having a wedding registry.  I personally believe it's fine, but there are some people who are adament that you shouldn't have a registry for guests who aren't invited to your wedding.  Just be aware that this is controversial and make your own decisions accordingly.  At the least, just have a small one but not announce it in any way.  If someone asks directly, you can tell them. 3) First dance.  I don't think this would offend anyone, but it seems weird if you've already been married for awhile.
    Posted by calindi
    This is great advice. We also did a JOP followed by a religious ceremony and reception. We didn't lie to anyone, made it clear to everyone invited that we were already married. We originally didn't do a registry, but our parents convinced us to because they were getting tons of questions about what we wanted from people. So,we did one, but only gave it out to those who asked first. We didn't do showers or bachelor/bachelorette parties or anything like that. We did do the dances, mostly because my dad really wanted a father-daughter dance, and it didn't seem like that big of a deal. We didn't announce it as a first dance, we just danced then I danced with my dad and then he with his mom, after dinner, more to get the dancing started :) Good luck!
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  • edited December 2011
    Do what you want don't worry about what others think... Have a vow renewal that copies a wedding in every way.  As long as you are happy...
  • brittbrat1620brittbrat1620
    First Comment
    member
    edited December 2011
    My husband is in the Navy and he was getting stationed in Ca and we did not have enough time to have the wedding we would have like to have so we eloped  just us and the judge at her house, we are now planning a renewing our vows on our wedding anniversary . I honestly think it is the best way to do it . We did not keep it a secret we told people we would do renewing of the vows when we would have the money and he can take leave so now we are planning to do it in March where I am from. Hopes this helps and good luck and congrats, What branch is your fiancée in?
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