Military Brides
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Is this okay to do?

My husband and I got married at the courthouse in April 2009 before he left for Afghanistan. Ever since, I have been planning a wedding where all of our family and friends can celebrate with us. I bought a wedding dress and picked out the cake and all that jazz, so we can have wonderful pictures and fun memories to keep.
I want to do a garter toss and a bouquet toss, but would it be appropriate for what is technically a "vow renewal"? Some people tell me our wedding is different because it's under different circumstances than most vow renewals and that I should do what I want, but I also read that it's not appropriate to wear a wedding dress or to even have a ceremony.

So confused and the wedding is in June! Please help! I need some thoughts! Thanks!

Re: Is this okay to do?

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    edited December 2011
    I personally think that you should not do all the typical wedding events: garter/bouquet toss, birdal party, showers, etc. Y'all chose to get married at the JOP. Having a party is fine, a VR is fine, but this is not your wedding. GL

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    kyrgyzstankyrgyzstan member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I also think it's great you care. I think you can do whatever the heck you want at a VR, and those things are important to you, so do them if you want.

    As long as you're being honest with people, as PP said, I think you can do whatever you want, since for a lot of people, the commitment to God and family is more important than the legal commitment. I only hate JOPs for other people when they're for the wrong reasons or there's dishonesty involved.

    ETA: I don't actually think there are ever enough right reasons to JOP, but I have a fairly colored experience. I don't care when other people do it unless they're lying about it.
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    edueckmanedueckman member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I think you DESERVE a wedding!  Kudos for getting officially married before he left, and you both deserve to have an event together with family.

    Do what you want! Who cares what people think, as far as I'm concerned, you haven't had a wedding yet...you had a marriage ceremony :)
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    edited December 2011
    I guess it kinda just depends on who the VR is with? Because we had looked into it (military things as well), but then we found out our officiant would NOT let (me) wear the big, white dress, have a huge decorative wedding party and stuff like that - because we would have already been married. It was presumed that all that stuff had already been done - and you don't get to do it twice. You already had your wedding ceremony. So the vow renewal had to be more "spiritual" and simpler and personal.

    If you do a reception later, that's different, but to do the whole white dress-wedding traditions (besides cake, of course!), that just seems well, not exactly appropriate. Mostly, I am just thinking white dress, garter toss/bouquet toss, shower, bach. party - and only because well, you have already been married a year - even if he wasn't there. That's what you both chose to do for whatever reason. I kinda feel like... if you wanted the big white dress wedding then THAT is what you should have done.
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    Marcia1215Marcia1215 member
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    edited December 2011

    I have to disagree with the previous poster who said that you only had a marriage ceremony and not a wedding. Your marriage at the courthouse was your wedding. That being said, you have not had a chance to have a reception and celebrate that wedding with family and friends because of your husband's deployment. As long as you are up front with everyone that this party/reception is to celebrate the marriage that occured last April I say go for the white dress and every else you want (within in budget of course). But I would skip the showers/bachelorette parties etc because you are already married.

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    kaynix21kaynix21 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I agree with skipping the shower and b-parties.

    I would probably be a little insulted if I got an invite to a friend's bridal shower when she is already married.

    I say go ahead, have the party. Wear the dress. Enjoy celebrating with everyone. But like other posters said, be upfront. And I agree, good job on caring about the etiquette aspects, a lot of people don't.
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    katem38katem38 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thank you for all of your support and input! I think I am going to go ahead and do the garter toss, bouquet toss, etc. I just want the wedding day that I've always dreamed of and I think all military brides deserve the same.

    I have absolutely no regrets with marrying JOP. My husband and I were sort of in difficult circumstances, and getting married before he left instead of after was definitely the best choice. We lived 14 hours away from each other and we'd have to spends hundreds of dollars to fly to see each other 1 weekend a month (that was a pain!) And right after he left for deployment, I got laid off from my job and therefore lost my health insurance (which is mandatory to have in MA). So being able to have Tricare for free was SO much better than spending $400 a month for Cobra. My husband's family is also super religious and would never let me and my husband live together until after we were married. We needed the extra money from his deployment to help move my stuff to where he's stationed, rent an apartment, and buy furniture. So, after almost a year, I wouldn't change a thing!  :o)

    Thanks again!
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    edited December 2011
    hey i am in almost the EXACT same situation only we are both deployed to different locations. i think its special, and even though you are already married, its still your wedding! not only do I dream about the wedding day, but so does my family! they are doing everything possible to make it the most special/memorable day of my life. getting married in a court is just a piece of paper. i say go all out!
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    kallenlckallenlc member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I think it totally depends on who you ask & that includes the officiant. Several other people here have commented that the JOP was your wedding & therefore it's not appropriate to have a full wedding afterwards. DO WHATEVER YOU WANT! It's your day & you are entitled to it. A lot of people get "married" at the JOP for a lot of reasons & that is their business (for me it was moving 3000 miles away from family & not being able to do anything if an emergency happened & I couldn't get on base if need be). I'm Catholic & technically the fact that FI & I have a marriage certificate from the Commonwealth of Virginia means diddly! Nothing is recognized for us until we are married by a priest or at the very least have our marriage blessed by a priest. Regardless of your beliefs...you are still totally allowed to do all the traditional wedding stuff! Good luck:)
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    edited December 2011
    Check with your officiant, fiance, parents, and future in-laws.  If none of them have a problem with the white dress, garter, and bouquet toss, do whatever makes you happy!

    Don't let people who tell you it's not a "wedding" get you down - a wedding is a party to celebrate a marriage.  You've just happened to have already gotten married, and as others have said, as long as you're up front about that, no one should really mind.  And if they do?  Like I said, your fiance and family is who is important.
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