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Military Brides

If you got 'legally' married before your ceremony, how did you feel?

Hi! I'm new new NEW to the boards. I don't know why it took me so long to discover them! Here is my situation... I have been engaged for a year and a half already - the wedding is in June. My fiance is a Navy Officer stationed in Bethesda, MD and I moved up there after I graduated college. We have been living together for a year now and for all intensive purposes we might as well be married. I feel like we're going to have the wedding and come back home and nothing will be different than how it is now. I'm not saying that's a bad thing... it's just the newness of living together has worn off and I'm getting a little tired of playing house - I really want to make it official already. Also - I have had a really hard time finding a job and in turn have no medical or dental insurance. That is the major thing. There are little things like being able to shop at the commissary by myself that would be nice too. (I literally go in and do all the shopping, and he comes in at the end and pays). My fiance and I both agree that it makes sense and would be very beneficial to me if we were legally married. So we have been debating going to the courthouse and getting it done. We would like to keep it a secret (from EVERYONE -including our parents) because I don't want anything to think less of our wedding in June.

However, my main concern is MY feelings. Though I do get frustrated that I play the wifey role already without it being real yet - I also fear that come wedding time I will regret doing the JOP thing because I would somehow have taken away some of the 'specialness,' even if no one knows but me and my fiance. So my question is - for those of you that did the JOP thing before your ceremony - did you regret it? I don't want to take away the excitement of my wedding ceremony from myself. I would gain a lot of benefits by getting married (health insurance, base access/priviledges, spousal preference for government jobs, etc...) but are the benefits worth the cost? I don't think I will regret it - but what will I feel come June? Any thoughts?

Re: If you got 'legally' married before your ceremony, how did you feel?

  • mysticlmysticl member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited December 2011
    My FI suggested that we do this because I had been out of work for months and the job that I did find does not offer benefits.  I declined because I want to say my vows for real when we have the wedding with our families and friends.....and I do not want people to think I am just marrying him for the benefits. 

    Some food for thought:  My cousin was in the Navy and dating a fellow officer.  They got married out in California and didn't tell anyone.  Several months later they came back east and had the church wedding and the reception and we all thought it was a real wedding.  I  have no idea how she felt about it but years later the truth came out.  Some of our relatives were furious with her for lying to them and staging a fake wedding that her mother spent a lot of money on. 


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  • edited December 2011
    I think you answered your own question, hon, you're not going to be comfortable with a JOP before the actual wedding.
    FWIW we're sticking it out too till our wedding, you're not alone!

    Have you applied for individual medical insurance in the meantime? Most companies have it, and the cheapest options can be under $100 a month for catastrophic insurance that would tide you over till the wedding. Dental I wouldn't worry about.
  • Victoria2013Victoria2013 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Only you can know how you feel and how other women have felt about this really isn't going to make a difference.  Although situations are similar the people are not.  Just trust your heart and gut.

    But my perspective...My husband and I just recently did that.  We are both active duty and living overseas.  We knew if we didn't get married sooner rather than later that we would not be able to go to our next duty station together.  Since we are currently in Japan we went off base to there city hall and filled out the paperwork.  But we made sure before we did it that we let our families know and are not trying to hide it.  Like one of the other women said there will be plenty of hurt feelings if you hide it.  Just explain the situation, I'm sure people will understand.  Now about it not feeling special I don't have that feeling towards this.  The JOP was just a special ceremony for him and I and then the bigger wedding is special too because of all our loved ones being able to attend.  But most of all I don't regret it whatsoever.  I just get to "officially" start the rest of my life with the man I love sooner rather than later!!
  • KatyBug513KatyBug513 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I posted something like this a few weeks back, I'm not engaged yet but my boyfriend is planning on looking at rings when he gets home on post deployment leave in December. He's stationed in Italy and wants me over there so bad it kills him so he was wondering about doing a JOP, I'm still not sure about it. I know his reasoning behind getting married is not just to get me over there or to get me over there for free, he adores me and we're in love and he just hates the thought of being in Italy and knowing he could see me and I could be over there but I'm not. Oh how the military complicates things from time to time.

    But I think you know that you aren't going to feel right about it if you do the JOP, at least I get that from your post, so I think you should wait. Plus, I don't really think keeping it from everyone is the best idea either, I could see where peolpe would be mad or upset not knowing.
    -Katy
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  • edited December 2011
    Im doing this in a few months but changing my name and everything in June when our wedding comes so it will feel more like im 'officially' married.  We are doing it because there is no way I can live with him before it without it and I also dont have beneifits or anything but our families both know about it and are okay with us doing it.  We have thought it through and everything and Im okay with it.  To me its more just a piece of paper than it will be when we have the wedding.  We dont plan on telling anyone except our families (which we already have) and we will still consider ourselves 'engaged' after it.  To us its more like we got the paperwork already done.
  • Sammy0709Sammy0709 member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Comments 25 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    PP's are right.  Only you can know how YOU will feel about doing this.  As far as me, my H and I just recently got married by the JOP.  We're actually calling our second event a vow renewal.  I was comfortable with it and so was my family because they kind of expect me to do out of the ordinary stuff by our family's standards lol.  H's family was fine with it too because his parents did the same thing.  I think that's another reason why I was okay with it.  Our parents were.  But like I mentioned...the others are right, no matter how other people felt about it you are the only one that can decide if you will be comfortable with it.  Wait it out becasue that is definitely what you seem most comfortable with.  A JOP wedding is not right for everyone.
    On the benefits issue (since a job seems to be a big concern for you), I don't know if this is military wide or just Department of the Navy but, you only get spousal preference for jobs on base if you were married when your husband moved to that duty station.  So, if your big thing is being able to get a job I would still wait. 
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  • edited December 2011
    I think not telling family and friends the truth about getting married is always a big mistake.  If you want to have a JOP wedding, I think that it's fine.  However that is your real wedding.  If you chose to do that, do it because you love your FI and everyone should understand & you won't have any regrets.  Then you could do a vow renewal later so all your family and friends could celebrate with you.

    I just think lying about something as big and important as marriage is a bad choice and like PP said, would likely end up hurting friends and family (even though that's obviously not what you are intending). Plus, if no one know's that you are married, it'll probably still feel like you're "just playing house".  I hope that helps and you do whatever's right for you two. Best wishes!
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  • KatyBug513KatyBug513 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_military-brides_got-legally-married-before-ceremony-did-feel?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:13Discussion:0d2b30fb-4413-4965-aab2-5d85e913878fPost:752fd835-bf4b-4934-bd73-8e3c504b96c6">Re: If you got 'legally' married before your ceremony, how did you feel?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Im doing this in a few months but changing my name and everything in June when our wedding comes so it will feel more like im 'officially' married.  We are doing it because there is no way I can live with him before it without it and I also dont have beneifits or anything but our families both know about it and are okay with us doing it.  We have thought it through and everything and Im okay with it.  To me its more just a piece of paper than it will be when we have the wedding.  We dont plan on telling anyone except our families (which we already have) and we will still consider ourselves 'engaged' after it.  To us its more like we got the paperwork already done.
    Posted by vlk263[/QUOTE]

    I'm dealing with this as well, there is no way I can move to where my boyfriend is stationed till 2014 unless we get married, since he's overseas, it's not as easy as just picking up from Kentucky and moving to a different state. I know that isn't a reason to get married, but to me, it's not about getting over there, it's about being able to wake up and fall asleep next to the man of my dreams.
    -Katy
    Visit Cincinnati.Weddings.com

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    "Love of mine, won't you lay by my side and rest your weary eyes before we're out of time. Give me one last kiss, for soon, such distance will stretch between our lips." - City and Colour
  • edited December 2011
    You did answer your own question like other ladies said.

    I would just like to add, don't keep it a secret. That's wrong. JOP for your reasons and explain them to people and let them know you'll be having a big reception later.
    People would only be angry and hurt if they found out. And wouldn't that feel like you were still "playing a role" you're acting like you're not married. Which makes no sense.
  • LuluP82LuluP82 member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    We did this. We didn't hide it, and I suggest you don't either for a few reasons: if people find out they'll be mad/hurt/think you're tacky or gift grabby; you are married after you sign the paperwork! So you should celebrate that with each other, at least. People will find out-- his work will know and it will be hard to keep a dual life, trust me (like being half married is weird).

    Now, part of the reason we did this is, it's incredibly common in our culture. We're both from Latin America, where veryone HAS to have both a civil ceremony and a religious ceremony (if they want a religious ceremony, obviously). But usually, everyone goes down to the courthouse to sign the papers a few weeks or days before the wedding, and then dress up in the pretty dress, etc for the "real" wedding. Honestly, I dind't even realize until I joined TK and saw all the posts about courthouse weddings vs. Pretty Princess Days that this wasn't done in the U.S., so our guests definitely don't think it's weird or anything.

    I will say, though, after our courthouse ceremony, I felt...married. I mean, I got my DEERS card, which had my new last name on it. I started getting spouse emails. I started going to Tricare and all that stuff. We're still excited about our religious ceremony and reception in November, and I'm still nervous since it will be our first time exchanging vows (we got married in VA where you literally need to do next to nothing). But, I know it would be different if we'd just waited.

    I'm glad we didn't though-- it was the right decision for US.
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  • 6220962209 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I have been considering doing something similar but only telling my close family, who is paying for the wedding.  I don't think it's too big of a deal unless you have to hide it for a long time (months not so much, weeks much more reasonable). Taking on a second job will definately help to getting out there; it's helping our situation greatly.
          * I have read that it takes only 2 weeks to get your SSN, but i'm still trying to find out how long the certificate of marriage takes to process. So if anyone has a general time frame that would help me. :)
    Tara1226
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_military-brides_got-legally-married-before-ceremony-did-feel?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:13Discussion:0d2b30fb-4413-4965-aab2-5d85e913878fPost:2fc88aab-7e45-4267-a28b-0bf79ddcba1e">Re: If you got 'legally' married before your ceremony, how did you feel?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I have been considering doing something similar but only telling my close family, who is paying for the wedding.  I don't think it's too big of a deal unless you have to hide it for a long time (months not so much, weeks much more reasonable). Taking on a second job will definately help to getting out there; it's helping our situation greatly.       * I have read that it takes only 2 weeks to get your SSN, but i'm still trying to find out how long the certificate of marriage takes to process. So if anyone has a general time frame that would help me. :)
    Posted by 62209[/QUOTE]

    If you go through a document retrieval company you can probably get it in a week or less.
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  • edited December 2011
    My fiance got stationed in Germany and I'm from New York. We wanted me to come over ASAP so we got legally married about 11 months before our wedding. I didn't change my last name (am doing that after our religious ceremony in May). Our families both knew about it and a few friends did too. Now people are starting to catch on because they can all put 2 and 2 together. At work, he calls me his wife because that is what everyone, including his CO know me as, around our friends and family, he still calls me his fiancee.
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  • knd0226knd0226 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I just dealt with this same situation. Me and my husband wanted to get "legally" married before he left for boot since I had recently lost my jobs. We have lived together for 4 1/2 yrs and pretty much considered ourselves marriage.  We were going to try to have a regular wedding but his boot date got bumped up. We decided to do a private ceremony with just our parents. We were able to find an officiant to do it who made it a very personal and touching ceremony so it was just a JOP. We originally were going to hide it from our extended family (which is very large and nosy) and hold a large weding later. We eventually decided we didn't feel right lying to everyone so we just let it leak out through the grapevine and I am now planning a reception for when he is home from boot.

    As pretty much everyone has said, everyone is different and only you will know what is right for you. I wouldn't recomending keeping if from your family. Many people will be very hurt especially your parents. Good luck to you whatever you decide.
  • LuluP82LuluP82 member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Plus, hiding it makes it seem like you did something wrong, or are doing something sneaky. If you feel that way, then don't do it!
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  • KimL23KimL23 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I agree with everyone else that only you know how you're going to feel.
    That being said, i was in the same position as you. My husband and I decided on a JOP wedding and we're planning a vow renewal for next april. Honestly, I do not regret it at all. We said the standard vows at the JOP wedding, and we plan on writing our own vows for the april ceremony. Even though we're already married, we couldn't be more excited for April because we get to celebrate with all our family and friends. 

    As other posters have said, I really don't think you should keep it a secret. We told our families and everyone was very happy for us and they understand with military we are in different circumstances. Everyone is accepting our decisions and they're excited to celebrate with us. 

    But in the end, if you don't think it's the right decision, then don't do it. There are ways to work around health insurance, dental insurance etc.  Good luck!! 
  • micheleq1702micheleq1702 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    we are planning on doing the courthouse in December for legal reasons and for paperwork. Our immediate family knows and seems to be ok when we explain that we won't feel 'married' until we exchange vows in front of God and our friends and family in June. The benefits for us outweigh anything else, it will allow me to quit one of two jobs and go to school more as well as do better in classes since I won't be working 2 jobs on opposite shifts which will allow me to finish my degree and move with him so much faster..

    I would LOVE to just have everything in December, however with my schedule and him in Germany its just not feasible to do so. He's only got 2 weeks of leave for Christmas and with everything else it's just not logical to do a big wedding. While we are NOT hiding it, we aren't exactly shouting it from the rooftops either, if people find out they find out and we'll explain our reasons. being the first military relationship in our family besides my aunt and uncle who married very young, and are still together, I'm sure there will be many people who don't exactly understand our reasons.

    Our philosophy is that its our life and if you love us and support us you'll understand and be happy for us no matter what, regardless of what happens. :)

    happy planning!
  • alolesonaloleson member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I am getting married tomorrow at the JOP. It was such a hard decision, but when it came down to it it is more important to me to be with my fiance rather than waiting it out. I will have no benefits after December when I graduate college and we will have a VOW RENEWAL and reception in June. It's still just as exciting to plan for that. We are doing save the dates/announcements at the same time to not hide it from people. We are still just as excited for tomorrow and I am still having the time of my life planning our renewals. It'll be special because we are going to be doing it in front of ALL of our families and friends. :) I think it's definitely personal. If you will be disappointed, don't do it. If you don't think you will be, then go forward with it!
  • keribear120keribear120 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    My soldier and I just went through the same thing.  We had to fight with our parents to make them understand, but we needed to be legally married so that I could get command sponsorship (we met where he is stationed in AK which is considered 'overseas'), so that when he gets orders to PCS, I am on them!

    We told my parents, his parents, the bridal party, and the clergy.  If anyone else asks, we will be honest and tell them, too... but we're not announcing it.  We aren't wearing wedding rings until the church ceremony in January and I'm not changing my name until then, either.  But I CAN get on post to meet him for lunch, and I have Tricare, and we are making an extra $16,000 this year.

    In order not to lie, we've bent the wording a tad.  The STDs and wedding website say, "Our Marriage will be blessed on..." rather than "we will be married on."   And the invitations ask people to join us as we say our marriage vows.

    It was easier for me because we live in Alaska - there are some crazy laws here.  In AK, your wedding can be performed by ANYONE as long as you pay to have them "appointed" - so our "legal wedding" was performed by a coworker in the middle of a Mexican restaurant. ;)  There were no vows at all, we just had a bunch of drinks and signed the papers.  So now when we have our ceremony at home with friends and family, and say our vows in front of God, we will be making those promises for the first time.

    I think I might not have wanted to do it if we had to say our I do's in front of a judge... Alaska provided the perfect option that was right for US.  You have to decide how YOU will feel about it, from the perspective of saying vows twice and being pronounced man and wife twice.  Talk about it together, and do NOT feel guilty for being practical!  Military life is different - we do what we have to do.  Good luck!
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