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Snarky Brides

Getting Married in Secret for Practical Reasons

So you dreamed of your wedding since you were little.. but what if there was a very good reason to get married a few months before the BIG day (insurance, taxes, etc) - would you get married in secret then go through the ceremony and reception bit for all of your guests?

This conversation came up at a recent dinner party.  My FH works for a large corporation and they have a policy intended for same-sex couples (but the language is worded in a way were I could qualify for his insurance benefits).  I will lose my school health insurance when I graduate in June (I am too old to still be on my parents' plan).  My insurance at my new job won't start right away.. so I will have to purchase "catastrophic insurance" to carry me over for a few months.

I jokingly said we should either look into getting on my FH's insurance early (via the domestic partner clause) or get married in secret before the real wedding date.  (keep in mind: one of the GM has the legal right to marry us and has already married a couple last summer- so this can be done in a very convenient manner)

THEN- My friends, married Jan. 3, 2009, confessed they actually married sometime in December- so they can file a joint tax return for 2009.  They had me convinced that it was just too practical to pass up and that their wedding day was still just as amazing as they had imagined.

So - back to the original question - would you marry your FH in secret before your wedding date for practical reasons (ie. health insurance, taxes, etc)?  OR would you wait until the day of so you can enjoy all the wedding day excitement in its fullest?

Just curious!!
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Re: Getting Married in Secret for Practical Reasons

  • This is very rude to your guests.  They think they're seeing you get married, but you are LYING to them.  Lying is not ok, you should have learned that in kindergarten.
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  • Blueyed228Blueyed228 member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited March 2010

    K-L-A-S-S-Y.  As a guest I would just love being lied to and tricked into giving a couple money just so they can get more money from taxes and get health insurance while I pay 500 a month out of pocket for it.  It would make me feel very appreciated.

    FWIW:  Lying to your guests and calling your non-wedding a wedding just for insurance and money scams is not a "practical reason".  If things are that bad off financially that they cannot hold off a year to get benefits and tax breaks, then maybe they should reconsider getting married in the first place.

    And having a ceremony and reception "for your guests" is crap.   It comes off as "have the reception so people will bring us gifts".  I would be just as happy as a guest to receive an email telling me you eloped.

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  • I have had two of my close friends do this. One did it about eight months early so her husband could have health insurance. It really upset their families when they found out. It's a secret to most of the guests and they plan to treat the big ceremony as their wedding day. They were already living together and they had no religious reasons not to. My other friend got married in a church two days before her wedding because she is catholic and wanted to be married on the beach. Only the wedding party and parents knew. No one was really upset about it. Personally I don't have a reason wed secretly so I am not going to and it wouldn't be my first choice, but I understand why my friends did it. It makes me wonder how many people really do get secretly married early!
  • I don't think it's rude, as long as you're not getting married in a church or other religious traditional sense on your "real" wedding day.  We may need to get legally married before our wedding so I can stay insured.  Without insurance my monthly medical costs are more than we make per month.  It would be ridiculous to go into debt because we think our guests might be offended that we did the legal bit early!  Your wedding day is the day you make a spiritual commitment, which is what matters to most people.  The day you go to the courthouse (usually before the actual wedding anyway) is the day you tell the government you are a committed enough couple to deserve benefits.  Marriage is a civil issue (which is why the Bible doesn't work as an argument against gay marriage, imo), a wedding is a traditional/religious one.  Your guests came to share in your wedding.
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  • You can get married for health insurance, but it's SO rude to lie about it to your guests. Why do you need to lie to them? Why not just say "Hey we got married, let's have a party to celebrate." I'd be oh so annoyed if I found out that you were already married.
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  • Haha..  I made it a rule not to post on the knot after drinking wine- but I have to respond to the liar comments-- really -- you think the guests will feel cheated or lied to?!?  lol

    As a guest at my friends wedding- I am happy they did it.  She has a serious medical condition and lost her job.  I am glad my friends found a way to save $ and still have the wedding of their dreams.  I don't feel cheated and I don't regret giving them a gift.  I was celebrating their marriage and union- and did not feel cheated that I didn't witness the actual first kiss.  Besides- after dating for 7 years and living together for 2 years- their wedding already looked like they were going through the motions since we considered them married for years by this point.

    For the record.. I would love a tiny wedding on the beach with close friends and family.  We have a huge family and they expect a traditional wedding.  I actually did look into booking a hall in the spring (instead of fall 2010) but only the cheap halls (with horrible food reputations) would have been available.  In addition- late summer wasn't available out of respect for another family member's wedding date.

    Here I am wondering whether getting married early would take away from the big day or ruin it for anniversaries.  Never once thought I was cheating my guests out of something.  But maybe cuz I thought they were here to support us and not to challenge the validity of our wedding date.

    Seriously.. it IS equivalent to lying in the first grade!!  How horrible I am to deprive my guests out of a real wedding and leave them with a lousy 5-course dinner and premium bar.  I really out to re-think my priorities!!

    Sorry to post so soon after my original post.. but lying to my guests.. seriously.. lol  your responses made my night! 
  • It's awful and I ditto kiki and blue.

    There are people on here who have been the receiving end of being lied to and it's NOT pretty.  Try to put yourself on the other side.

    You can't get married twice without getting divorced in between. 

    If you can get insurance through the domestic partner clause, then do that.  It's a far better option.
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  • I would never do it. It's really rude to get married and then expect a big wedding AFTER you got married. You either have the big wedding the day you make it legal, or you elope. You don't get both.
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  • In Response to Getting Married in Secret for Practical Reasons:
    [QUOTE]So you dreamed of your wedding since you were little.. but what if there was a very good reason to get married a few months before the BIG day (insurance, taxes, etc) - would you get married in secret then go through the ceremony and reception bit for all of your guests? This conversation came up at a recent dinner party.  My FH works for a large corporation and they have a policy intended for same-sex couples (but the language is worded in a way were I could qualify for his insurance benefits).  I will lose my school health insurance when I graduate in June (I am too old to still be on my parents' plan).  My insurance at my new job won't start right away.. so I will have to purchase "catastrophic insurance" to carry me over for a few months. I jokingly said we should either look into getting on my FH's insurance early (via the domestic partner clause) or get married in secret before the real wedding date.  (keep in mind: one of the GM has the legal right to marry us and has already married a couple last summer- so this can be done in a very convenient manner) THEN- My friends, married Jan. 3, 2009, confessed they actually married sometime in December- so they can file a joint tax return for 2009.  They had me convinced that it was just too practical to pass up and that their wedding day was still just as amazing as they had imagined. So - back to the original question - would you marry your FH in secret before your wedding date for practical reasons (ie. health insurance, taxes, etc)?  OR would you wait until the day of so you can enjoy all the wedding day excitement in its fullest? Just curious!!
    Posted by [email protected][/QUOTE]


    Seriously, this is awful. You can not do this. Your guest very possibly could fee lhurt and lied to. I'd be pissed off.
    You have a couple options (A secret wedding is not one of them):
    Purchase insurance until your actual wedding
    Go without insurance for those few months (I've been without insurance for a long time now)
    Get married and have your wedding now. It will be your only wedding though.
  • In Response to Re: Getting Married in Secret for Practical Reasons:
    [QUOTE]Haha..  I made it a rule not to post on the knot after drinking wine- but I have to respond to the liar comments-- really -- you think the guests will feel cheated or lied to?!?  lol As a guest at my friends wedding- I am happy they did it.  She has a serious medical condition and lost her job.  I am glad my friends found a way to save $ and still have the wedding of their dreams.  I don't feel cheated and I don't regret giving them a gift.  I was celebrating their marriage and union- and did not feel cheated that I didn't witness the actual first kiss.  Besides- after dating for 7 years and living together for 2 years- their wedding already looked like they were going through the motions since we considered them married for years by this point. For the record.. I would love a tiny wedding on the beach with close friends and family.  We have a huge family and they expect a traditional wedding.  I actually did look into booking a hall in the spring (instead of fall 2010) but only the cheap halls (with horrible food reputations) would have been available.  In addition- late summer wasn't available out of respect for another family member's wedding date. Here I am wondering whether getting married early would take away from the big day or ruin it for anniversaries.  Never once thought I was cheating my guests out of something.  But maybe cuz I thought they were here to support us and not to challenge the validity of our wedding date. Seriously.. it IS equivalent to lying in the first grade!!  How horrible I am to deprive my guests out of a real wedding and leave them with a lousy 5-course dinner and premium bar.  I really out to re-think my priorities!! Sorry to post so soon after my original post.. but lying to my guests.. seriously.. lol  your responses made my night! 
    Posted by [email protected][/QUOTE]
    Yes. Your guest will feel lied and cheated to.
    You're delusional.
  • In Response to Re: Getting Married in Secret for Practical Reasons:
    [QUOTE]Haha..  I made it a rule not to post on the knot after drinking wine- but I have to respond to the liar comments-- really -- you think the guests will feel cheated or lied to?!?  lol As a guest at my friends wedding- I am happy they did it.  She has a serious medical condition and lost her job.  I am glad my friends found a way to save $ and still have the wedding of their dreams.  I don't feel cheated and I don't regret giving them a gift.  I was celebrating their marriage and union- and did not feel cheated that I didn't witness the actual first kiss.  Besides- after dating for 7 years and living together for 2 years- their wedding already looked like they were going through the motions since we considered them married for years by this point. For the record.. I would love a tiny wedding on the beach with close friends and family.  We have a huge family and they expect a traditional wedding.  I actually did look into booking a hall in the spring (instead of fall 2010) but only the cheap halls (with horrible food reputations) would have been available.  In addition- late summer wasn't available out of respect for another family member's wedding date. Here I am wondering whether getting married early would take away from the big day or ruin it for anniversaries.  Never once thought I was cheating my guests out of something.  But maybe cuz I thought they were here to support us and not to challenge the validity of our wedding date. Seriously.. it IS equivalent to lying in the first grade!!  How horrible I am to deprive my guests out of a real wedding and leave them with a lousy 5-course dinner and premium bar.  I really out to re-think my priorities!! Sorry to post so soon after my original post.. but lying to my guests.. seriously.. lol  your responses made my night! 
    Posted by [email protected][/QUOTE]

    JIC.  I'm going to bed and can't reply to this nonsense now, but saving it in case you come to your senses and delete it.
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  • I really don't see what the big deal is. I think if getting married will help her, so that she does not have to lose insurance, than she should. However, I don't see why she still can't walk down the aisle and celebrate with friends and family.

    Although, maybe you don't need to lie. Maybe you can just explain the situation to your friends and family. I would think they would understand and still be more than willing to celebrate your new marriage.

    A couple of my friends got "secretly married" and did not tell anyone because they wanted to have a nice wedding (although they never did), but when they finally told me, I didn't feel offended and lied to. I was happy for them. And even if they do end up having their nice wedding, I would love to go and even bring them a gift!
  • Wow, everyone is really polarized about this one! Personally, I wouldn't care. My cousin got married before her formal wedding because her fiance is an immigrant and he couldn't have extended his visa. They thought about moving up the wedding, but we have a big family and it would have been impossible to arrange it so that everyone could attend. They were married by a judge three months before the "official" wedding ceremony. They didn't keep it a secret, but they also didn't make a deal about it. I don't think it was unfair that they wanted to celebrate with our whole family, as well as his family, who couldn't afford to come on short notice.

    While some people may consider this offensive, I think your own families and friends would probably understand. Generally, your own values are similar to those closest to you. Those who found this idea incredibly rude probably come from families that would agree with them that this is NOT okay. But those of us who are fine with it probably come from families that would also be fine with it.

    It might be better to let people know, but I can't decide this for you. While everyone is entitled to their opinions about what's right or wrong, it's unfair to for me to judge what's right for you. I might have been a bit annoyed if my cousin (who has always been close to me) hadn't been honest about what they chose to do. I certainly understood why she chose to keep the "city hall" wedding to a minimum, because it was a formality that they were basically forced into, and they have both said that they didn't "feel" married until they had a ceremony and reception with everyone they love, and they only celebrate the anniversary of what they consider to be their "real" wedding. Just IMHO.
  • The whole keeping it a secret is a big part of it. As Sucrets said, one of the girls here had a family member lie to her about their wedding. It caused a lot of hurt feeling in the family. Its just wrong and tacky.
  • Deceptive behavior for any reason is never a good idea.  This would be lying (by omission) to all of your friends and family.  That would REALLY not be a good idea.  Sooooooo not ok.  Nope.
  • A good friend of mine did this...not even for practical reasons listed above. Her wedding was beautiful. I had a ball. I found out after the wedding that she had been married for a few months. I wasn't offended. I was still happy for her and her husband and never regretted giving them a gift. We had dozens of mutual friends (sorority sisters) attend and I never heard a complaint from anyone else either. 

    Weddings are about celebrating the love between two people. Why are people so judgemental about how other people choose to go about doing it? If you are offended by someone signing a marriage license without you watching, then maybe you've lost sight of what is important.

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  • riverjibriverjib member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited March 2010
    I agree that keeping it a secret is deceptive and unnecessary. I might have been offended, but I don't think it would have bothered me too much, unless we were truly close and she didn't tell me. She and I have always been close enough that we tell each other everything, but we're not so close that she's the first person I call, either. If we were as close as I am to my sister or some friends, I would probably resent her dishonesty, though.

    I knew that they were technically married, but it in no way detracted from the ceremony. Everyone knows that marriage is not about a piece of paper, but a deeper commitment that you celebrate with those you choose to have there. They didn't feel that the marriage was official until we were all their to witness their vows and celebrate with them. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I've attended.

    I do think that the couple should be honest about it. This kind of scenario seems like it happens more, so I would think that there is an accepted way of announcing it to guests. In my family, word of mouth was adequate, and we all supported their choice.
  • In Response to Re: Getting Married in Secret for Practical Reasons:
    [QUOTE]Haha..  I made it a rule not to post on the knot after drinking wine- but I have to respond to the liar comments-- really -- you think the guests will feel cheated or lied to?!?  lol As a guest at my friends wedding- I am happy they did it.  She has a serious medical condition and lost her job.  I am glad my friends found a way to save $ and still have the wedding of their dreams.  I don't feel cheated and I don't regret giving them a gift.  I was celebrating their marriage and union- and did not feel cheated that I didn't witness the actual first kiss.  Besides- after dating for 7 years and living together for 2 years- their wedding already looked like they were going through the motions since we considered them married for years by this point. For the record.. I would love a tiny wedding on the beach with close friends and family.  We have a huge family and they expect a traditional wedding.  I actually did look into booking a hall in the spring (instead of fall 2010) but only the cheap halls (with horrible food reputations) would have been available.  In addition- late summer wasn't available out of respect for another family member's wedding date. Here I am wondering whether getting married early would take away from the big day or ruin it for anniversaries.  Never once thought I was cheating my guests out of something.  But maybe cuz I thought they were here to support us and not to challenge the validity of our wedding date. Seriously.. it IS equivalent to lying in the first grade!!  How horrible I am to deprive my guests out of a real wedding and leave them with a lousy 5-course dinner and premium bar.  I really out to re-think my priorities!! Sorry to post so soon after my original post.. but lying to my guests.. seriously.. lol  your responses made my night! 
    Posted by [email protected][/QUOTE]

    By keeping it a secret you are in fact lying to your guests, so yes, to answer your drunken question, they will have been LIED to.

    You dont get two weddings.  If you want to JOP it then thats it. Thats your wedding.  If you are going to have a "party" to celebrate your wedding, then fine.  But don't lie about it and call it your actual wedding.  There can be no 2 weddings unless a divorce has taken place.

    You can attempt to wrap your deceit up in a pretty little bow, but its still lying.  And incredibly rude to mislead your guests just because you want to wear a big fancy dress, have your dancing, drinks and dinner, and receive gifts.

    You can plan a wedding in 2 weeks if you need to for all of the reasons listed above by PP's.  If your FI does not have legal status to be here anymore then you can plan a perfectly fine wedding in a short time frame.  The only thing you are "entitled" to when it comes to a wedding is the piece of paper that legally states you are married.
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  • I know a couple that got secretly married right before he was deployed to Afghanistan.  After his tour was over and he came home safe and sound, they had an engagement and a big beautiful wedding with their families and friends.  Getting married before he was deployed was something they felt they had to do, but they also felt that they wanted and needed to celebrate their wedding with the people they loved, so they never told their parents or most of their family that they were actually already married so they didn't feel like they missed out on their big day.  Do you think they were rude or deceitful in this case?  What if someone with a chronic illness loses their insurance?  There ARE a lot of practical reasons to get married in a rush, but I don't think that neccesarily means that you have to cancel your big day.  Or, why do you have to tell people who might be hurt that you technically got married without them, like parents, siblings or close friends?  It seems that a lit of brides here seem to think very little of other brides.  Why assume that if you are legally married before your big wedding day, then that means that they are only having the big ceremony and reception for selfish reasons (gifts, money)?  Sometimes life gets in the way, but if what you've always wanted is a big white wedding, then in your mind that day will always be the day you were married, with all of your loved ones as witnesses.  Your guests are there so see you say your vows and commit your lives to each other, not sign a peice of paper so you can file a joint tax return.
  • In Response to Re: Getting Married in Secret for Practical Reasons:
    [QUOTE]I know a couple that got secretly married right before he was deployed to Afghanistan.  After his tour was over and he came home safe and sound, they had an engagement and a big beautiful wedding with their families and friends.  Getting married before he was deployed was something they felt they had to do, but they also felt that they wanted and needed to celebrate their wedding with the people they loved, so they never told their parents or most of their family that they were actually already married so they didn't feel like they missed out on their big day.  Do you think they were rude or deceitful in this case?  What if someone with a chronic illness loses their insurance?  There ARE a lot of practical reasons to get married in a rush, but I don't think that neccesarily means that you have to cancel your big day.  Or, why do you have to tell people who might be hurt that you technically got married without them, like parents, siblings or close friends?  It seems that a lit of brides here seem to think very little of other brides.  Why assume that if you are legally married before your big wedding day, then that means that they are only having the big ceremony and reception for selfish reasons (gifts, money)?  Sometimes life gets in the way, but if what you've always wanted is a big white wedding, then in your mind that day will always be the day you were married, with all of your loved ones as witnesses.  Your guests are there so see you say your vows and commit your lives to each other, not sign a peice of paper so you can file a joint tax return.
    Posted by rkmoore80[/QUOTE]

    Why was it something they "had to do"? 

    What are practical reasons?  And you are not cancelling your "big day".  You have CHOSEN to make your big day a smaller event.

    Its selfish if you call it your actual wedding and expect money/gifts.  Your wedding is when you are legally married.

    And you have to tell your guests that your are "technically married" because your are in fact married.  Why is this such a difficult concept.  Lying is not ok.  Especially lying to family and your closest friends.

    No one is saying you cannot have a party to celebrate your marriage after the fact.  They are just saying you cant call it your wedding.  You are already married......
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  • In Response to Re: Getting Married in Secret for Practical Reasons:
    [QUOTE]IYou can plan a wedding in 2 weeks if you need to for all of the reasons listed above by PP's.  If your FI does not have legal status to be here anymore then you can plan a perfectly fine wedding in a short time frame.  The only thing you are "entitled" to when it comes to a wedding is the piece of paper that legally states you are married.
    Posted by Blueyed228[/QUOTE]

    I think the issue here is decieving your guests, not having two weddings. If a couple is honest with their guests, those who disapprove of the "second" wedding can choose not to attend. But the rest who do not mind and want to celebrate with the couple can be there. In my cousin's case, his entire family and most of ours could not attend a wedding on such short notice, and they wanted us there. So I feel that they made the right decision for them and the rest of our family by explaining the situation, but still planning a big wedding when everyone could come.
  • Why can't you get married now and then send out announcements that say "ZZZ and YYY were married in a private legal ceremony on XXX, 2010. The couple joyfully invites you to their formal vows ceremony on XXXX, 2011, to celebrate their union with their friends and families. We sincerely hope you can attend our ceremony with reception immediately following at 4pm" etc...

    That way you get your paper and icing too! Plus no one will feel lied to or cheated out of a ceremony. Besides, if they were really friends and families, they would understand about the insurance thing.
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  • cukimerrydollcukimerrydoll member
    1000 Comments
    edited March 2010
    Personally, I hate this idea.  I would be offended.  My parents would be offended, and so would the rest of our families.

    If you don't have a major medical condition, you should be fine without the health insurance.  I've been without it for a while.  It's not great, but it honestly hasn't affected me that much.

    And it is incredibly rude to have a wedding and hide it just so you can have another.
  • In Response to Getting Married in Secret for Practical Reasons:
    [QUOTE]. So - back to the original question - would you marry your FH in secret before your wedding date for practical reasons (ie. health insurance, taxes, etc)?  OR would you wait until the day of so you can enjoy all the wedding day excitement in its fullest? Just curious!!
    Posted by [email protected][/QUOTE]

    I think it's a bad idea all around.  As for me, I would not do that. I would either have a small ceremony sooner, or just wait.  
    The problem is that people will feel deceived - although you are lol-ing about how crazy this sounds.  Yes, people will be hurt by it.  My brother did it and everyone was pissed.  I've also been to a celebration after the couple had a civil ceremony at the courthouse, and it was a blast.  They didn't have a ceremony per se, but they said a few words and then it was on to the party!  Don't decieve your guests by pretending it's your wedding day. You either get the big wedding day, or you do a Justic of the Peace.  
    And in your case: insurance related....why don't you just get on his insurance for the next couple of monts through the domestic partner option and then you'll be married and have it through being his legal spouse? 
  • AdeleDazeemAdeleDazeem member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited March 2010
    To the OP: Out of curiosity, what if you were not engaged and in the position where your current health insurance ran out and you wouldn't be covered under your parents?  What would you do then without a fiance to fall back on?

    A lot of people clearly have a lot of opinions on this.  But, I'm honestly asking from a different viewpoint.  I'm a little bothered by the idea "this is the only way!"
  • I think it's a great idea. Lying is always super fun. It makes me feel like I'm in the CIA.
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  • Let's see..umm no I wouldn't do that! FI and I are in a similar situation. FI is paying out the ass for his insurance and we will be saving a lot once he is on my policy when we get married. But we would NOT get married now, keep it a secret from all of our friends and family, then have a "wedding" when we are actually set to get married just to save money. Yes, it's a lot of money that could be saved but it is soo wrong to lie to your guests. If you get married now, you don't get another wedding...the day you get married IS your wedding.
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  • Great posts guys!  The responses were way more heated than I expected but that made for a more entertaining read!!  

    I guess my friends took a big risk telling people after the fact- but at least they knew their audience.  No one in the room took offense.

    As for my case- I do have a chronic heart condition... but it will be considered a pre-existing health condition for a year anyways.. so I am just going the individual insurance route and hope I don't have complications until I pass the 1 year mark on insurance.

    My FH and I care more about the anniversaries and tradition of the wedding day- so we have only considered this in a joking manner.  I really don't feel my guests would be upset if we did get married early.

    And for the record- it wouldn't be gift shopping- I would be lucky to receive 1/4 of the money I put into the wedding back in gifts.   A big portion of the guest list is family- I don't think the aunts and uncles will pay for all 6 of their children at about $80 a head.  So we already know we are losing a ton of money- and we don't care.  If I found out my friend showed up with a date and didn't give us a present- I can honestly say I wouldn't be upset- gifts are NOT required.  (don't misinterpret- I always give gifts at weddings!)

    My wedding is to celebrate- I thank my guests for attending with a nice meal, liquor, and dancing.  Whether we are celebrating the day of or a few months later is more a technicality in my opinion.

    Still- I love seeing how you guys respond to my question.  Keep up the posts!
  • kee80kee80 member
    100 Comments
    If you have to do something "in secret", it's because it is a bad idea.
  • i always love the let's get married in secret for health insurance reason. you don't need to be marrried to be on his health insurance. i have been on FI's health insurance for about a year and a half now. we are not married. we are officialy domestic partners. we have not hidden that from anyone, and no one is thinking twice about our wedding because we aren't married. yes it's a loop hole but it works.
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