Customs and Traditions

Having a wedding but not legally married

Me and my fiancé are planning a wedding but we will not be signing legal papers to be legally married. My fiancé went through 3 divorces when we was young and does not belive it the legal aspect of marrige. I on the other hand have never had divorce in my familly. We have been engaged 5 years now (after having two babies) we comprimised on a wedding but no legal aspects. To us the vows we make to each other and the celebratuon of our love with our families is what is tge most important. We will from that day on be husban and wife just not in the eyes of the federal government. We will be signing our vows instead of having a legal certificate. We will have my fiancé father as our officiant because it will mean more to us. I just wanted to know if you think we need to tell all our guest that it is not legal? Our parents know and are happy for us. I just dont see why we need to go into details with everyone why we are not making it legal. Thoughts?

Re: Having a wedding but not legally married

  • You don't have to go into detail about your fiance's marital history, etc. with your guests, but you shouldn't call this a wedding when it isn't one. Call it a commitment ceremony/celebration. From there, they will probably figure out on their own that it isn't legal.
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    STARMOON44charlotte989875InLoveInQueensahoywedding
  • ernursejernursej
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    Me and my fiancé are planning a wedding but we will not be signing legal papers to be legally married. My fiancé went through 3 divorces when we was young and does not belive it the legal aspect of marrige. I on the other hand have never had divorce in my familly. We have been engaged 5 years now (after having two babies) we comprimised on a wedding but no legal aspects. To us the vows we make to each other and the celebratuon of our love with our families is what is tge most important. We will from that day on be husban and wife just not in the eyes of the federal government. We will be signing our vows instead of having a legal certificate. We will have my fiancé father as our officiant because it will mean more to us. I just wanted to know if you think we need to tell all our guest that it is not legal? Our parents know and are happy for us. I just dont see why we need to go into details with everyone why we are not making it legal. Thoughts?
    A commitment ceremony sounds like the appropriate way to phrase what you want to do. 
    SP29
  • CMGragainCMGragain
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    edited March 2
    Me and my fiancé are planning a wedding but we will not be signing legal papers to be legally married. My fiancé went through 3 divorces when we was young and does not belive it the legal aspect of marrige. I on the other hand have never had divorce in my familly. We have been engaged 5 years now (after having two babies) we comprimised on a wedding but no legal aspects. To us the vows we make to each other and the celebratuon of our love with our families is what is tge most important. We will from that day on be husban and wife just not in the eyes of the federal government. We will be signing our vows instead of having a legal certificate. We will have my fiancé father as our officiant because it will mean more to us. I just wanted to know if you think we need to tell all our guest that it is not legal? Our parents know and are happy for us. I just dont see why we need to go into details with everyone why we are not making it legal. Thoughts?
    You are not having a wedding.  Please do not use this word for any part of your ceremony.  You are not a bride.  He is not a groom.  You are partners.

    You are having a commitment ceremony.  There is nothing wrong with this as long as you do not confuse it with a wedding.  There will probably be questions.  You cannot avoid them.  How you answer is totally up to you, but you cannot lie to people and pretend that this is a wedding because it is not.

    I am usually the Knottie who advises invitation wording.  Try this:

    The pleasure of your company is requested
    at the Commitment Ceremony of
    Your Name
    and
    Partner's Name
    Saturday, the twenty-third of June
    two thousand eighteen
    Venue Name
    123 Maple Street
    Anytown, Iowa

    Reception to follow

    This wording makes it clear that you are not inviting people to a wedding.  He is not your fiance if you are not planning to be legally married.  You will not be "husband and wife".  "Partner" is a more accurate word.  Many senior citizens (I am one) decide to do this because of legal tangles with family.  I hope you have a lovely ceremony.  It can be beautiful and significant.

    PS.  Be sure and check the marriage laws of your state.  There are states that would recognize you as being legally married (common law) without the paperwork!

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    ernursejInLoveInQueensshort+sassySP29
  • CMGragainCMGragain
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    edited March 3
    @LondonLisa is a very wise lady.  Please listen to her.  If you haven't talked to a lawyer about this, please do it now.  You need to understand what you are giving up.
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    LondonLisa
  • Have you checked your local laws? In many places, living together as if married for a certain number of years makes you common-law married anyway.

    And I agree with PPs, don't lie to people. You can't have a wedding at which you do not get married; that's the definition of a wedding. Call it something else or get married; those are your only options.
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    CMGragainSP29
  • Thank you for repling, i wasent aware that "commitment ceremony" was the correct words to use. However, yes we are engaged and I have been calling him my fiancé for years now so that will not change. We have just resently decided to not make it legal. We talked about what it means to us and what we both want. We currently have our wills and everything legal done so if something happens to him I get everything and vice versa. The house is in both our names. We are common law (in Quebec) so legally it dosent change much. My fiancé has even been putting money in a retierment savings plan for me. He started that when we had our first child because I was not going to be working.
     Im happy with the desision we made. It might not be what everyone wants and some might not get it but since this is our decision I think thats what counts the most.
     We have no intentions of lying or misleading our guest! This is why i came here for ideas how to word it properly . Since we live in Quebec things are quite diffrent. If we were to split I still get 50% of everything. The only thing I cant touch is his pention. Wich is why my fiancé started one for me in the first place. Thank you all for your input and ideas. 
    knottiea93249bb3bb0c591
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    If you are not getting married, then you are not having a "wedding." Pretending that you are without clarifying for your guests that they are not seeing you actually get married = "lying."

    And as PPs have noted, holding yourselves out as a married couple, whether or not you have a legal marriage certificate, could lead to you being treated as "common-law married."

    And to be be honest with you, I personally would really resent being invited to such an event and not told that what I'm seeing doesn't constitute a legal marriage. I also am not into seeing couples "celebrate their coupledom" without getting legally married because one or both "don't believe in marriage." It comes across as a big, expensive ego-fest. I prefer to spend my time and money in other ways than as a guest at such an event. Lots of people in this forum feel the same,and you might find that this is also true of your families and friends. 

    PS - "silence" on the matter =/= "agreement" with it or "support" for it. And you might be surprised at how many people you believe will go along with it "because they love you" actually won't.

    PPS - Marriage records, and the lack thereof, are public. It can be easily checked out that you're not getting married. Forget about keeping that aspect of all this "secret." And forget about whether it's "anyone else's business." As a citizen and taxpayer, I hate being lied to about someone else's marital status who claims the benefits of a state he or she is not actually legally entitled to. That's called "fraud," BTW.
    InLoveInQueens
  • Again ladies, our goal is not to be lying to our guests! We do not want to mislead anyone wich is why i am seeking ideas. No need to be mean and no need to be rude! We are not keeping any secrets form anyone, we just want to find what works for us. Again the US is what is most important. I refuse to lose my loving family over getting married if its not what my fiancé wants. I have cheked into it and it is completly ok to do it this way in Quebec. We cannot how ever use the words " i now pronounce you man and wife" but we can say " i now pronounce you united by love". I even spoke to a few of the venues about it, most have told me that they are seeing more and more couples do this. Mabey its a Quebec thing? Not  sure but we are obviously not the only ones doing it this way. 
  • No one was mean or rude to you.  We are sincerely trying to help you.

    A wedding needs these things:  a couple who wants to get married (You do not qualify!), a valid marriage license in the state or province you are having the ceremony (You won't have this), a licensed officiant (You won't have one) and legal witnesses.

    There is nothing illegal or wrong about having a commitment ceremony, as long as you make it clear that this is what it is.  In your first post you said that you were having "a wedding".  You are not.  If you tell people this, you will be lying.  I even gave you the proper wording for your invitation.

    Commitment ceremonies were often used by same sex couples in the old days before they could be legally married.  Now that the laws have changed, they are seldom used, since most couples want and need the legal protection of marriage.

    A fiance is someone who wants to marry you.  Your partner may be the father of your children, but he has made it very clear that he does not want to marry you.  Therefore, he cannot be your fiance.  Telling people that he is would be a lie.

    What about what YOU want?  Do you really want the protection of marriage for your loving family?  We have warned you about the consequences of your choice.  Please think very long and hard before you give in to your partner's demands.  He is not thinking about the children's best interest, or yours, either.  Yes, we care, here.

    You must do what you think is best.  You can certainly have a commitment ceremony if this is what you really want.


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  • Well he is my fiancé, sorry if you dont approve of my wording. He got down on one knee asked me to marry him and gave me a engagement ring. We had started to look into a wedding but i got pregnant. Then we had another. So two babies latter (and years latter) we started to talk about having a wedding and a marrige. This is were he told me that if he got married he would only be doinb it for me. That to him the legal part of marrige doseny mean noyhing to him. So thats were the discussion started. I do not want to pressure him in getting married (legally) because i do not think thats right. I make my own money (now that im back at work) and i can take care of myself. I dont need a man to provide for me or to offer me security. I make more then him anyways. So someone please explain what "im missing out" on tge legal side because i dont see any advantages to me in getting married other than being able to say "we are married". 
    I dont mean to offend anyone in saying this but thats my way of thinking. If it came down to it I could support myself and my kids just fine without him. You say the protection of marrige... what additional protection do i have? Our wills are made up, if we split i get haft of everything because I own half of everything. If we were ever to split he would be worst off then me since we will have to pay for child support. No he will not pay for me, nor do i need him too. So unless im missing something then please explain it. 
    I called it a wedding in my first post because i did not know what else to call it. We have no intention of lying to anyone. I was just wondering what to write on my invitations so that people will understand what it is. 
    If he said "i want to get married" i would. But i will not leave him for something that he dosent want to do. My family and our relationship is worth more to me than the title of "wife".

  • CMGragainCMGragain
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    edited March 3
    Again ladies, our goal is not to be lying to our guests! We do not want to mislead anyone wich is why i am seeking ideas. No need to be mean and no need to be rude! We are not keeping any secrets form anyone, we just want to find what works for us. Again the US is what is most important. I refuse to lose my loving family over getting married if its not what my fiancé wants. I have cheked into it and it is completly ok to do it this way in Quebec. We cannot how ever use the words " i now pronounce you man and wife" but we can say " i now pronounce you united by love". I even spoke to a few of the venues about it, most have told me that they are seeing more and more couples do this. Mabey its a Quebec thing? Not  sure but we are obviously not the only ones doing it this way. 
    Oops!  Forgot to quote!
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  • Well he is my fiancé, sorry if you dont approve of my wording. He got down on one knee asked me to marry him and gave me a engagement ring. We had started to look into a wedding but i got pregnant. Then we had another. So two babies latter (and years latter) we started to talk about having a wedding and a marrige. This is were he told me that if he got married he would only be doinb it for me. That to him the legal part of marrige doseny mean noyhing to him. So thats were the discussion started. I do not want to pressure him in getting married (legally) because i do not think thats right. I make my own money (now that im back at work) and i can take care of myself. I dont need a man to provide for me or to offer me security. I make more then him anyways. So someone please explain what "im missing out" on tge legal side because i dont see any advantages to me in getting married other than being able to say "we are married". 
    I dont mean to offend anyone in saying this but thats my way of thinking. If it came down to it I could support myself and my kids just fine without him. You say the protection of marrige... what additional protection do i have? Our wills are made up, if we split i get haft of everything because I own half of everything. If we were ever to split he would be worst off then me since we will have to pay for child support. No he will not pay for me, nor do i need him too. So unless im missing something then please explain it. 
    I called it a wedding in my first post because i did not know what else to call it. We have no intention of lying to anyone. I was just wondering what to write on my invitations so that people will understand what it is. 
    If he said "i want to get married" i would. But i will not leave him for something that he dosent want to do. My family and our relationship is worth more to me than the title of "wife".

    After reading your explanation, yes, you were engaged to be married for a long time, and he WAS your fiance.  Since he now has no intention of marrying you, he has broken your engagement, and he cannot be called your fiance.

    There are many lawyers who can explain to you how important the difference is between being married and not being married.  Please talk to one!  You have your children's future at stake.  If you do not understand the advantages, you are missing something very important!

    Nobody here cares if you get married or not.  We don't care WHY, either.  We tried to help you with suggestions, and you came back with attitude.  You are free to have your commitment ceremony, but why defend it?  If it really is what YOU want, go for it, but talk to the lawyer first.  I am afraid that you are making a terrible mistake.
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    InLoveInQueenseileenrobjaprincess24
  • Too late.  She deleted and ran.
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  • ernursejernursej
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member

    Thank you for repling, i wasent aware that "commitment ceremony" was the correct words to use. However, yes we are engaged and I have been calling him my fiancé for years now so that will not change. We have just resently decided to not make it legal. We talked about what it means to us and what we both want. We currently have our wills and everything legal done so if something happens to him I get everything and vice versa. The house is in both our names. We are common law (in Quebec) so legally it dosent change much. My fiancé has even been putting money in a retierment savings plan for me. He started that when we had our first child because I was not going to be working.
     Im happy with the desision we made. It might not be what everyone wants and some might not get it but since this is our decision I think thats what counts the most.
     We have no intentions of lying or misleading our guest! This is why i came here for ideas how to word it properly . Since we live in Quebec things are quite diffrent. If we were to split I still get 50% of everything. The only thing I cant touch is his pention. Wich is why my fiancé started one for me in the first place. Thank you all for your input and ideas. 
    You may want to double check the pension thought. It may be different in Quebec but I work with a lady that was commonlaw and she just found out that her now ex partner may actually be entitled to some of her pension. They had filed taxes together to improve deductions for the kids and that apparently led to this being a possibility. 
  • (snip)
    He got down on one knee asked me to marry him and gave me a engagement ring.
    (snip)
    But now y'all aren't getting married because he "doesn't believe in it" since his batting average is 0-3? Sounds like you're off to an awesome start. /*sarcasm
    *********************************************************************************

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    eileenrobahoyweddingInLoveInQueensjaprincess24
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
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    Ditto everyone. There’s a big difference between both parties never wanting to get legally married in the first place, but still wanting a commitment ceremony, and someone who proposed, and then went back on his word. He wanted to marry you, and then he didn’t. That would be a huge red flag to me. Having previous divorces just wouldn’t justify a change of mind like that. Is he having second thoughts? Why exactly is he so willing to have a commitment ceremony but not an actual legal ceremony that would be both a commitment event, and give you legal equality? Food for thought, OP, if you’re still lurking. 


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    CMGragainSTARMOON44ahoyweddingjaprincess24
  • Yeah breaking off a proposal would occupy my thoughts more than the nitty-gritty of the comittment ceremony.
    CMGragainSTARMOON44ahoyweddingjaprincess24
  • CMGragainCMGragain
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    edited March 6
    I wonder how many kids this guy has made so far?  Thinking about this because I have an ex-BIL who has been married 4 times and has zero personal interaction with his offspring.   Very sad. 

    Commitment?  This was the number one reason I married DH.
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  • I'd run for the hills.  

    What about if the relationship just ends?   Do you have any agreement that you're legally entitled to his earnings to support you and the kids?  What about your home?   

    FWIW, at this point now that you're parents I would want every possible protection in writing.  That still doesn't prevent your relationship from ending but I wouldn't even live with my SO without knowing that I have legal protection.


    holyguacamole79ahoyweddingJen4948
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    banana468 said:
    I'd run for the hills.  

    What about if the relationship just ends?   Do you have any agreement that you're legally entitled to his earnings to support you and the kids?  What about your home?   

    FWIW, at this point now that you're parents I would want every possible protection in writing.  That still doesn't prevent your relationship from ending but I wouldn't even live with my SO without knowing that I have legal protection.


    I'd run away too.

    A relationship that's supposed to simulate marriage without any legal protection just isn't worth the risks you list, not to mention claims to any other property acquired together and other things like not being his next of kin, and him not being your next of kin in case of emergencies and things like that.
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