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Family freaking out- symbolic vs legal **UPDATE**

Hey ladies-

I made the mistake of mentioning that we were not going to do the legal ceremony to my parents a few weeks ago and they flipped out. Last night my mom had a meltdown about the whole thing.

Her comments are about "well this is just a lot of money to be spending..." Which I don't really get because although they are insisting on giving us a little money we said we don't expect it or never asked. We've been saving for the wedding ourselves. All my parents have to pay is their airfare and hotel and honesly if it were a real issue, we'd pay for it.

I think there is something more to it, as FI was real apprehensive about marriage about 2-3 years ago and in my heart I think that they think that he is somehow "tricking me" or weaseling out of a legal commitment?

I really don't know and when I ask, they just say "well, it's a lot of money...people that spend all that money are going to be furious if it's not a real wedding..."

I'm not quite sure what it's all about but to appease them I just said "we are doing the legal ceremony now."

So my question is if we still do the symbolic ceremony will the guest have any idea that it's not legal? Were there things that were done or said that alluded to it not being legal??

thanks so much!

NOTE: We ARE going to do a legal ceremony before we leave for Mexico. We just didn't want to go through all the hassle of translating his German birth cert into English, then in to Spanish, getting there 4 days early, blood tests, etc.

Re: Family freaking out- symbolic vs legal **UPDATE**

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    I don't know who your guests are, but it would be pretty easy for my guests to find out if we weren't really married since they are all family and friends. I'd be pretty ticked if  I got a gift and spent my money to go to what I thought was a wedding and it was really just an expensive party.
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    edited July 2010
    my beach ceremony is not legal, either. i actually don't think people would know to even ask this question. you can ask the officiant to review his script beforehand to see if he'll say anything about it. we were able to do this and ours made no mention of the legality of the ceremony. however, we are doing a legal ceremony in the morning at the Oranjestad Civil House. are you going to do a legal ceremony at some point either before or after the DW?

    i think all wedding ceremonies are symbolic whether they result in a legal union or not. if people were only concerned about the legality of it, everyone would go to city hall and the wedding industry would not exist. i think guests may not necessarily be upset if it's not a legal union, but they may wonder why you are only doing a symbolic ceremony. i think you will need to be prepared to explain this if it does come up.
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    My ceremony wont be legal either. We are going to get legaly married at home a few days prior to leaving. However we're not going to tell our guests that. The only people who will know that our ceremony in PuntaCana is not legal are our parent's and my sisters (They wll be at the civil ceremony at the court house). I'm not even considering my civil ceremony to be my wedding. We're just going to the court house and signing a few papers tp clear the way for getting married in PuntaCana on May 9 :)  I personally don't think your guests will figure it out, how would they? I doubt he officiant will announce that. I would tell everyone that it's legal and it can be your little secret that it's not ;)

    PS- My Mom thought it was a bit off that we weren't having the legal ceremony in PC but whn i explained that it's just so much easier to do it at home ahead of time she got on board and said she supports it as long as she gets to be at the court house ;)
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    Our ceremony will be legal, but not in the eyes of the Catholic Church.  We're choosing not to make it legal in the eyes of the church because neither of us really practices our faith anyway.  In fact, when I go to church, it's usually not a Catholic church because of.... well, I won't debate things here. I just don't enjoy the Catholic service and I enjoy the one I go to MUCH more. 

    Is there a reason you're not making it legal?  If it's personal, you don't have to get into it on the boards.  I was just curious because you're spending a lot of $$ but you won't be getting any benefits from it (ie tax deduction, work benefits, community property law if things were to not work out.  You couldn't sign anything if he were in a life-threatening accident, etc.)  You can always do your ceremony and then do a hush-hush thing where you go sign papers at the courthouse when you get back home if you're concerned about the legalities.
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    Hmmm, when I first read your post I thought you meant you were going to do a legal ceremony beforehand.  I agree with pp about the legalities.  I'm sure you have your reasons but I don't understand not having some sort of legal ceremony.

    On one hand, and this is just my opinion, a symbolic ceremony can and should mean just as much as a legal ceremony and I definitely understand it in cases where you can't legally get married but I, as a guest, might be a little upset to spend that kind of money only to find out it was something symbolic.  I think I would prefer to know that up front and then make my decision, if that makes sense. 
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    carrieoz_76carrieoz_76 member
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    edited July 2010
    Honestly, I think the right thing to do here is to have your legal ceremony whenever you're going to have it (if you ever have it), have your symbolic ceremony on your trip, and OWN IT.  Be honest about it.  It's possible that not everyone will approve, but it's better to be honest with people and have them not approve of your decision than it is to deceive them.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.weddings.com/Sites/Weddings/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-theme-boards_destination-weddings_family-freaking-out-symbolic-vs-legal?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20Theme%20BoardsForum:54Discussion:12568d66-d452-4d75-9d90-d914477e259fPost:d5b2c377-f560-49bf-8ef0-dea335734ae5">Re: Family freaking out- symbolic vs legal</a>:
    [QUOTE]Honestly, I think the right thing to do here is to have your legal ceremony whenever you're going to have it (if you ever have it), have your symbolic ceremony on your trip, and OWN IT.  Be honest about it.  It's possible that not everyone will approve, but it's better to be honest with people and have them not approve of your decision than it is to deceive them.
    Posted by carrieoz_76[/QUOTE]

    I agree with this. I don't think it's right to deceive the people that care so much about you (so much that they are willing to travel to a DW to see you get married). If someone I knew did this and I traveled to see it, I would feel tricked if I found out later. If you are not doing a legal ceremony at all, the odds are not in your favor that people won't find out, IMO.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.weddings.com/Sites/Weddings/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-theme-boards_destination-weddings_family-freaking-out-symbolic-vs-legal?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20Theme%20BoardsForum:54Discussion:12568d66-d452-4d75-9d90-d914477e259fPost:8a9e38df-fc6d-4aae-9ad6-44f82035a54c">Re: Family freaking out- symbolic vs legal</a>:
    [QUOTE] i think all wedding ceremonies are symbolic whether they result in a legal union or not. if people were only concerned about the legality of it, everyone would go to city hall and the wedding industry would not exist.
    Posted by sweetcatastrophe[/QUOTE]

    That.  I'm assuming by saying symbolic there you are planning on making it legal at the courthouse sometime before or after your return?  I doubt anyone would go out of their way so much to just have a symbolic marriage only unless they couldn't legally marry. 
    With that said, I don't think there's any reason you need to disclose whether it's a symbolic or legal ceremony based on the fact that 1. no one willl be able to tell the difference, normally the legal ceremonies just cost more money because of all the paperwork and stuff and 2. your ceremony on the island will be the ceremony you recognize as your true union (at least it was for us and that is when we will celebrate our anniversary, not the day we just signed some papers in the states)

    I really don't understand why this whole legal vs symbolic ceremony gets to be such a big deal with DW.  Just because you are not paying more to make your ceremony legal in that country does not mean it's not your wedding or the start of you marriage.  It just means you legalized your union in your country to make the recognization of your marriage easier (a lot of people that do legal ceremonies in other countries run into trouble getting their marriage recognized when they return).  The wedding ceremony should really be about two people uniting and pleging their love together, I'd be much more upset to attend a "real" legal wedding in the states and give a nice gift only to have the couple divorce 6mo-1yr later (true story) than I would be to attend a DW and find out the ceremony was symbolic.
    A few of our guests knew or found out that we got "legally" married in the states and had absolutely no problem with that and were not upset at all to have come and be a part of our ceremony because they loved us and wanted to be there to share in that occasion with us.
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    Sorry I was confusing ladies, we WILL be legally married, in fact we will probably be legally married both in the US before we leave and in Germany a few weeks after Mexcio.

    That is not the issue, we will consider December 11th on the beach when we exchange vows and rings as the declaration of our marriage, not the day we sign the paperwork.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.weddings.com/Sites/Weddings/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-theme-boards_destination-weddings_family-freaking-out-symbolic-vs-legal?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20Theme%20BoardsForum:54Discussion:12568d66-d452-4d75-9d90-d914477e259fPost:2834d40a-c872-46fb-9ad5-aebfcc4fc440">Re: Family freaking out- symbolic vs legal</a>:
    [QUOTE]The wedding ceremony should really be about two people uniting and pleging their love together, I'd be much more upset to attend a "real" legal wedding in the states and give a nice gift only to have the couple divorce 6mo-1yr later (true story) than I would be to attend a DW and find out the ceremony was symbolic.
    Posted by drm6285[/QUOTE]

    I think she says it very well.

    If I think about it as a guest and were to find out after spending a lot of $$ to fly and stay at an exotic locale, only to find out that their legal wedding was at home 3 months ago, I would not feel jipped, I find the real wedding to be when two people stand up in front of all their loved ones and make vows to eachother... it doesn't matter to me what country, state, or church recognizes it, I recognize it.  So as far as your guest s go, I wouldn't worry about it.

    Your family on the the other hand, if you were to tell them that it will be legal, just not in mexico, would that calm them?  I know it's sometimes hard for our family and friends to understand the way we think of our weddings since they are 'alternative' weddings, but hopefully you can find a way that they will understand you wanting both a legal and symbolic ceremony, and how they can't be the same ceremony.
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    This is why I went through the hassle of being legally married in PuntaCana.  I know some people feel the symbolic ceremony is truly it and some people feel the legal one is truly it, I did not want to ask pp to spend the money and time to come when some might feel it was not really it..and I might feel that way too, truth be told.  I can honestly understand why your parents feel this way..it's a tough one. 
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    This is a difficult one.  As long as you are legally married before the symbolic ceremony, I don't feel you need to disclose that information to anyone.   Even if your wedding was in the states, chances are you would file the paperwork a week or so before your "actual" wedding anyways.  

    I would just tell your parents that it is a budget issue.  Tell them you'd much rather spend three days worth of hotel costs on your reception.  Also, since most of us misunderstood your post about not having a legal ceremony - maybe it would be worth it to sit down with them again and make sure that they understand you will be legally married before the ceremony.  Maybe their fear is that you'll do the symbolic ceremony, but not get around to the legal one.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.weddings.com/Sites/Weddings/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-theme-boards_destination-weddings_family-freaking-out-symbolic-vs-legal?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20Theme%20BoardsForum:54Discussion:12568d66-d452-4d75-9d90-d914477e259fPost:29d63323-d604-4cdf-b1b6-882ecf4b88c5">Family freaking out- symbolic vs legal **UPDATE**</a>:
    [QUOTE]NOTE: We ARE going to do a legal ceremony before we leave for Mexico. We just didn't want to go through all the hassle of translating his German birth cert into English, then in to Spanish, getting there 4 days early, blood tests, etc.
    Posted by *tinkertoy*[/QUOTE]

    I don't see what the big deal....you will legally be married.  The ceremony will be symbolic....you have both aspects.  I guess I'm not sure why it matters that they have to be done at the exact same time.  I agree with you in that it just seems to be a huge hassle with all the translating, etc.  I would do it your way.  :)
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    Thanks everyone. I will talk with them and see what happens.

    Who knew a wedding would bring out so much DRAMA!

    Thanks for the input!
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