We had been dating for about a year and living together for 6 months when we made the decision to marry. His grad student visa was set to expire in half-a-year and we thought it would keep him in the country [it didn't and we moved abroad together]. We decided to get married so we could continue dating without a long-distance relationship. It's a bit backwards, but we got married so we could figure out if we wanted to get married "all the way" publicly some day. We wrote our own vows to convey commitment without the "forever" part - like a trial marriage - and eloped in Central Park with our parents' blessing. Our marriage is what we wanted it to be.
Our parents know, but almost no one else among our friends and family knows our story. A year after we were married, he proposed to me and now we're planning the wedding so we can make all the vows and have our family bear witness. Everyone thinks we're just engaged. We joke that we could hire an actor for an officiant since the paperwork is done.
The thing is, now I want to come clean before the wedding. We didn't want to tell anyone we were legally married until we were sure we wanted to be married forever. We wanted space to figure that out without everyone knowing or the social pressure of staying together (he comes from a country where divorce is still uncommon). And we just wanted to stay together; I didn't know then that I'd be able to go abroad and still stay in my grad program.
Now, I think I want it to be clear to the guests that it's a reaffirmation of love and a strengthening of vows. Fiance thinks it will just weird people out and offend them at this point. Perhaps they will be mad/shocked and maybe confused about why we want to have full wedding. He wants to tell them AFTER the wedding. I think people will attend and still care about the traditional wedding, but there's concern that it will be perceived as "less real" (ugh, why do I care what they think) and that we're perpetuating our lie.
I was thinking maybe having a little "Boy met Girl" story on the invitation to explain the situation? Maybe hire the same officiant who married us the first time (who was amazing) and let him explain at the wedding in a nice way our unique story? Or should I just bite the bullet/my tongue and not tell until afterwards?
I'd love suggestions on this.