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Marriage before the Wedding - Legality?


Re: Marriage before the Wedding - Legality?

  • My suggestion is to have a glass of wine, or a bottle.  The calls won't stop, the big wedding won't go away because you don't plan on telling people you are married.  Everyone has had problems with their weddings.  I lost a Bridesmaid and a friend and it was hard and I cried.  My grandfather died the night I got engaged.  There have been a number of times I felt like just eloping.  

    I do not talk about the wedding with my FMIL, my FI does.  She stresses me out and my FI calls her on her BS.  Maybe take that approach?  Let your FI field the calls.  Or, you can elope and tell everyone, because by lying, you are just adding another stressor.

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  • BeeBee22BeeBee22 member
    edited June 2010
    Kat, I hope you're still reading, and I'm glad you did a few follow-up posts, because you've opened up a little to the real troubles under the panic.  Please re-read the advice from (in particular) gottahava, trix and Sarah - it's spectacular and might save your sanity both in the short term and the long term.

    I'm an introvert as well, and understand the overload that can lead you to the kind of desperate idea you started with.  Please take a breath and listen to the women here. The secret ceremony is a truly terrible idea that will just make everything else worse for you.  They have given you really good ways to cope.

    Can someone else field these "why haven't I gotten my invitation?" calls?  People have no business calling to ask you that, by the way.   Personally, I would have a hard time facing a bunch of those, but my sister would have no anxiety at all about it, so maybe you can hand that off.  You're clearly at a breaking point, and you need to protect yourself.  I wish you well.  It's important to sort out ways to function in the world as an introvert - this can be a tremendous learning experience if you heed some of the advice here!  



    i realize that planning a wedding can be stressful and that family and guests are very intimidating. but we aren't talking about a party. we're talking about your marriage, and the day that you are pledging yourself to the one man you love most in the entire universe.

    remember why you're doing this. it's to start off your marriage right.

    it sounds most of all that you're just getting bogged down by the last few weeks! don't worry about any of it!
    if the real reason you're stressed is because of the actual marriage part, then you have serious thinking to do. but if it's because of the party part, then just move forward. it's obviously important to your FH.

    try to be calm about all this, and seriously consider what is going on here.

    and i would trust every single person who has told you that eloping before the wedding is a mistake.
    being legally married before your date won't make the people and the party go away.

    good luck with everything, i really hope you make the decision that you'll be happy about for the rest of your life.
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  • M1ssJM1ssJ member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary 100 Love Its Name Dropper
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_chit-chat_marriage-before-wedding-legality?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:14Discussion:994877a3-b0b7-47ab-a5de-7a5de7722843Post:b975ed89-b141-48ee-a7e8-6db522cbbaf3">Marriage before the Wedding - Legality?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Well, I didn't really know where else to put this, so here it is. My FH and I have been very stressed out lately because of wedding planning and other issues. One of our ideas on how to relieve the stress of the big day was to go ahead and get married now (about 5 weeks before the Wedding) so that in our minds we know that the wedding is just a party, not the 'big day'. We would keep this a secret from everyone we know, especially my father, until years down the road. We want to keep it a secret because everyone has been looking foreward to the wedding and we just want everyone to be happy. No one will know but us, and probably my boss (changing forms). It will be our little secret. Our question is, is it legal for me to continue to go by my maiden name until the wedding? Of course I would have to change my tax information with my job and my information with my bank, but I would go by my maiden name in all other ways. Can I do this? Can I keep my ID with my maiden name until then? I run no risk of being pulled over by the police for speeding and having it run through because I can't drive to begin with. Also, would we need a witness to sign the marriage certificate? Do we even need to do a 'ceremony' at the courthouse? Any help guys? I can't bounce this idea off of anyone because we want to keep it a complete secret, we can't risk anyone knowing. ADDED: Maybe it's just the fact that I don't even want this wedding anymore. I just want to get married and have it over with.
    Posted by Katzilla_dances[/QUOTE]

    I know people who have been married before their actual wedding and they said it was still just as stressful to plan the actual wedding. Its not as dramatic as some people on here would make it out to be. Do you and be happy.

    Legally, you can continue to use your maiden name on everything. My mom did it for years when she was married and used her married name on legal documents (like taxes). You can even wait to change your W-2 and license because legally you only need to change your filing status, changing your name is a choice.

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  • the only advice i can give here is to 1. don't get married earlier and lie about it, it's a terrible thing to do and 2. relax. the stress that you're having is mostly caused by yourself. if you don't let these people get to you, you won't be stressed. 

    there's nothing you can do about your MOH so why be stressed about it? you can hope that she makes it, but if she doesn't then you see her when she's home. if people call asking about their invitation, tell them they're terribly rude for asking that and hang up. 

    the money issue, well you kinda did that to yourself. never plan on others paying for anything until you have the money. so scale back to something you can afford and leave it at that. and tell all these people in your life to go screw themselves and leave you alone. also enlist your FI to take care of somethings and field phone calls if you have to. you don't have to do this alone. 

    we're all stressed, welcome to planning a wedding. you just need to relax. and have some tequila. 
  • megk8ozmegk8oz member
    edited June 2010
    I really don't see how getting married with a little over a month to go is going to "ease the stress" of the wedding.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but right now it sounds like the only thing you're really looking forward to is the getting married part. Why are you continuing to waste time and money planning this party you admit to hating, if you want to take away the only thing on the agenda that you're actually looking forward to? Why not look at getting married on the "big day" as something you can be happy about?

    If you go to the courthouse, just cancel the wedding. Not even because it's rude to lie to your friends and family about something so huge (Which, it is, and I will get to that in a moment), but because you literally will have nothing to look forward to on that day. Why bother having a "real" wedding if neither of you want anything to do with it and you won't actually be getting married on top of that?

    Also, I know a few couples that actually did the whole "Secret JOP before the fancy party" thing and kept it a secret at the time, and then way after the fact dropped the bomb: "Oh, it's the funniest thing, we were actually married the whole time and just didn't tell you". Not once did it go over well, and there were quite a few relationships that got damaged by the deception. And the real kicker? In every single case, the couple was told "You know, if that's how you really wanted to get married, you could have just been honest with us!".

    And the families and friends would have been fine with it ... it was the being lied to about something so huge that made everybody hurt and upset. And unfortunately, saying "Oops, my bad" doesn't un-do something of this nature. It takes years and years to be forgiven ... and even then, there are people who really might just wash their hands of you both entirely. Is that really worth it?

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  • edited June 2010
    I see now lots of people answered you.  Good Luck!
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  • You're asking about the legality of going by your own name?  I don't understand the question. 
    Your last name doesn't automatically become his last name as soon as you sign the papers.  You have to legally change your name (if that is your choice) and you have to go though notifying your bank, credit card companies and everyone that you do business with that your name is changed.  Some women do this right away, others do it when they have to renew their license or something like that since it's basically a formality. 
    The bigger issue here is that you plan on LYING to your family about your wedding, and that is ridiculous.  If you want to elope, then elope, but you can't get the ceremony over with and still get the party and all the presents if you don't tell people.  It's sneaky and wrong.  Just don't do it.  If you do, it will not end well.  People will be really upset and hurt and will probably stop talking to you (I would).
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  • Yeah... in addion to the downside of lying to your family, I just don't see how a trip to city hall is going to relieve you of stress? That's like the least stressful part of the entire thing.
  • Okay, others have already touched on this being a bad idea so I think they got that covered.  

    As for the Legal thing.  You can not change your name or anything at work and such until you change your license, social, etc.  You can however continue to use your maiden name but just change your "Status" on tax info to "Married"  but not your name. 

    Trust me, all you have to do to be legally married is sign a piece of paper, so really by doing this you are just getting the easy part out of the way, the ceremony is the hard part.  
  • OK, so you mention that you are stressed and that's why you are wanting to do this, but you don't realize ( I don't think) that lying to your family for years as you say will give you more stress than you really would want to have. Just wait for the wedding day. 5 weeks isn't that bad. Just take a break from wedding planning and enjoy being with the man you love.
  • I know that a lot of other people have responded, and I'm not sure if you're even reading this anymore, but I just wanted to commiserate with you on the stresses a month before the wedding and let you know that you're not alone.  My husband's brother is in the army and we didn't know if he'd be able to be there until a week before the wedding.  People inviting themselves and money stressors and the craziness of planning hit us too.  My H is not so great in crowds and I am not in love with them either and we were both worried about how we'd get through that.  Many times I said that if I were getting married again, I'd just elope.  But the point is, we did get through those stressors.  And the days after the wedding, the stressors were gone. 

    I know five weeks seems like an eternity, but when you get through them, and the wedding happens, you don't have to think about it again.  And eventually, even if things are stressful the day of, only the good memories remain.  All that matters in the end is that you and your H are married. 

    Those stressors won't go away if you get married now unless you cancel your big wedding.  But they will go away when it's over.  Good luck to you and know that there are many other women that have gone through the same exact things as you and survived.  You will too!

  • And I swear I didn't hit to have my text centered...oh well.
  • I can tell you, I did something like this....Got married, and didn't tell the folks.  Until I had to. It was a stupid way to do things.  Decent reason, stupid thing to do. (No second "wedding" was to take place, just basically  eloped.)  I can tell you you will probably regret doing it... You're stressed out enough as it is, then add the added stress of covering your tracks.... That's nuts!

    The legalities you ask for... depend on your state.  You may have to have witnesses.  The document created...as far as I know, is public acess.  Not that they'll put it in the paper or anything, but if anyone wanted to ask about it....Not to mention the local rumor mill (which is how my parents found out and then called me out- which was a relief!) if anyone works for the clerk and recorders office and knows you or your familly... they'll talk. 

    The whole changing your name thing... again, anyone who knows your family will talk.  I don't care if they swear on their mother's grave, they'll talk someone.  So changing names, marital status, tax forms.. at work.. you better not do it until after the "ceremony" if that's what you plan on doing.   Don't even tell co-workers what's up!  Word will probably spread like wildfire - especially if you're well liked at your job.

    And god forbid anyone go through your purse and find changed name checkbook or drivers liscence/state ID.  You'd like to think no one  would do this, but what about the casual... "hey, would you get my purse for me? "  or the " would you get into my purse and bring me xxx thing" asked of someone you trust.. and bam!

    See, the "lie" just isn't for your families.  You have to do it with EVERYONE.   Including work, and Friends..Take it from someone who's kinda been there done that... It's not worth it.  It's better just to wait out  this 5 mos.  You'll be just as married then as you want to be now, and without the lies. 

    Tell your family about it, tell work, and let them know, the ceremony is a vow renewal or something of the sorts.  But don't lie about it.

    I'm not calling YOU stupid, I'm just saying "it" is a stupid thing to do. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_chit-chat_marriage-before-wedding-legality?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:14Discussion:994877a3-b0b7-47ab-a5de-7a5de7722843Post:d8127542-1196-4622-aa2a-59584d7ef84f">Re: Marriage before the Wedding - Legality?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Maybe it's just the fact that I don't even want this wedding anymore. I just want to get married and have it over with.
    Posted by Katzilla_dances[/QUOTE]

    <div>If this is what you want then do it.  Identify what's stressing you out (planning?  the reception? money?) and eliminate the stress.  If you don't want the stress of coordinating an event, don't do it.  As the bride and groom, you get to choose how your day is celebrated and while you get to make the choices, I don't think that lying to your family and friends should have any part in getting married.  There's no need to lie to people because, like other posters said, that's only going to bring more stress into the equation, not eliminate the stress you have.  Not to mention, you can get marred without having to lie to people.  Just do what works for the two of you and do yourselves a favor and don't start out your married lives living a lie.</div>
  • As most other PPs have stated, I think it is a horrible idea to have a JOP ceremony and not tell your family. You're lying. I don't see how lying to your family about your marriage is going to ease the stress. How do you think it is going ot make life easier?

    As for the actual question, you don't have to change your name as soon as you get married. You can legally go by your maiden name for as long as you want.
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  • so I'm not going to read thru every previous post but my 2 cents is the stressful part of a wedding is the day of- looking good, making sure the timeline flows, making sure everyone enjoys the food, making sure your DJ and photographer show up etc etc- so having your license early wont change any of that.  You'll still a big event to pull of on that day... so why do something that could hurt your family?
  • Legally, you don't have to change your name right away, or at all. YOu don't need to change any of your work stuff either, until you are ready to. No one forces you to change your name.

    SaraPLiz was right. I'm assuming My fiancee's last name. I do not want to go and change all my personal information (ie birth cert.) I will still have bank cards and all other info in his last name, and sign his last name, but will need to provide the proper documentation to get the cards etc (wedding cert)

    WOW GIRL! you are getting blasted by people! Poor thing! You're stressed. I'm in a similar situation. We are waitig to have sex before marriage tho...AND long distance. WE've decided that, IN OUR SITUATION, to have our pastor give us our vows before God. We are saving the legalities for the ceremony. We will be married in the eyes of God..and that alone is all that is important for us.
    Similarily, stress is what ya gotta work on. The wedding is enough stress to drive a sane person crazy. All the focus is on that one day, and no one pays attention to what you really want...including yourself. Do whats best for you and your Fiancee. Don't have regrets!  Good luck!

  • Hi,
    Totally understand where you are coming from...
    I think you may have a legal issue, however. My uncle did exactly this. Got married a month before the actual wedding in secret, and then thought he could just go through with the regularly scheduled wedding without anyone knowing. Turns out he couldn't go through with a second marriage ceremony since he was already legally married. It was discovered (at the rehearsal) that the next day would be a "vow renewal" and not an actual wedding. The day of the "wedding/vow renewal",  it had to be announced that the wedding wasn't real - was only a vow renewal. Now, this was in a church, so a JP might have different rules around this...but I doubt that you would be able to have a wedding ceremony twice. The words, at least, would be different so I think that people would figure it out.

    Long story short, I don't think what you are doing is wrong, but I also don't think it is easy (might even be legally impossible).  People were really upset at my uncle's wedding. Some got up and left the ceremony when it was announced. I'm not saying you shouldn't get married before hand. What I'm saying is I don't expect to be able to keep it a secret...and if you can't keep it a secret, chances are people will be upset, whether they should be or not.
  • Legality of it you dont even have to change your name at all. I know women who keep their maiden names.

    Honestly though honey if its the people and everything like you say cancel the whole dang thing and elope. If you want a reception in a few months do it. Our friends eloped to Las Vegas in Nov. because her parents had a bitter divorce and are still bitter and mean. They are having a reception in a few weeks. Mostly its just a big party. If you do that though do not expect gifts. though I bought her a wedding present because I understand her circumstances many have said that they wont do that because they didnt get to attend the ceremony.

    If its so bad though that you want to lie to your family and what not call the wedding off. tell your parents and his give them the option to take a trip with you and go get married somewhere without the stress of guest...

    Personally if it was the people I would tell them to back the hell up its my day and my way. Its not always right to be a bridezilla but there are sometimes you have to be.

    "To my Husband: I pray that you never have to steal, lie, or cheat. But if you must steal I pray you steal away my sorrows, if you must lie I pray you lie with me all the days of my life, and if you must cheat I pray you cheat death so I never have to live a day without you" -Irish Wedding Toast Wedding Countdown Ticker
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