Wedding Etiquette Forum

An acceptable reason to get married before the wedding?

I recently found out that a friend of a friend was married before her wedding, but I actually found it kind of acceptable.  Just wanted to see if I'm in the minority here:

They were engaged and planned their whole wedding.  They selected their officiant - a friend or relative or something.  A few months before the wedding, their state changed the law, so the officiant could no longer legally marry them.  He wasn't a religious official, but before the wedding the state allowed for that (DC has a similar law, where anyone can become an officiant for a day).  Because of this, they were legally married the day before the wedding at city hall.  Nobody was present (not even family), she didn't wear her gown, and they don't consider it to be their anniversary.  It was more a matter of circumstance.

What are your thoughts on this?  Like I said, I found it to be acceptable, but I didn't know about everyone else.

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Re: An acceptable reason to get married before the wedding?

  • dcbride86 said:

    I recently found out that a friend of a friend was married before her wedding, but I actually found it kind of acceptable.  Just wanted to see if I'm in the minority here:

    They were engaged and planned their whole wedding.  They selected their officiant - a friend or relative or something.  A few months before the wedding, their state changed the law, so the officiant could no longer legally marry them.  He wasn't a religious official, but before the wedding the state allowed for that (DC has a similar law, where anyone can become an officiant for a day).  Because of this, they were legally married the day before the wedding at city hall.  Nobody was present (not even family), she didn't wear her gown, and they don't consider it to be their anniversary.  It was more a matter of circumstance.

    What are your thoughts on this?  Like I said, I found it to be acceptable, but I didn't know about everyone else.

    Nope. A few days before the wedding is circumstance and I might be a little more forgiving. But with a few months there was still time to find a different officiant to oversee the wedding on the actual day.
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  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    Interesting.  I found it to be pretty legit.  My friend was the MOH and actually found out when they were drunk and the bride confessed.  She said they didn't find out about the law change until maybe a couple weeks beforehand, and didn't know what else to do.  I don't know how she didn't know about the law change, though.  I have a google alert for the DC officiant law just in case they repeal the temporary officiant law they inacted in 2013 lol
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    edited November 2014
    In a pinch, I would think one could find an officiant in a matter of days, especially in a large city like Washington DC. It might not be exactly who they wanted and might cost a bit more, but that is what happens when you rely on a friend to officiate who might not actively keep up on the legality of the situation. It is really nice for a friend to officiate, but there is a reason why judges and registry office officiants cost a bit more- they keep up to date with the licensing and make sure it is legal. 

    They had weeks/ months to figure this out. This isn't an emergency, this is bad planning. 

    ETF: typo


    They don't live in DC, though they do live in another fairly large city.

    I agree it isn't the best planning, I just didn't think of it as a big etiquette breach because it wasn't intentional from the outset like many other situations where the couple is already legally married

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
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    dcbride86 said:
    Interesting.  I found it to be pretty legit.  My friend was the MOH and actually found out when they were drunk and the bride confessed.  She said they didn't find out about the law change until maybe a couple weeks beforehand, and didn't know what else to do.  I don't know how she didn't know about the law change, though.  I have a google alert for the DC officiant law just in case they repeal the temporary officiant law they inacted in 2013 lol
    So this couple also kept their marriage prior to their planned wedding a secret as well? smh.  And a couple weeks is still plenty of time to find an appropriate officiant.  It seems to me that they didn't want to change their wedding vision or put forth the effort to find an appropriate officiant.

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  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
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    Eh, not a fan. 

  • esstee33esstee33 Pittsburgh member
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    Nah, I wouldn't consider this a justifiable enough reason. They had time. 

    This sort of thing kind of happened to my XH and I. A friend had gotten ordained online to marry us, and we had the ceremony planned for that. Then about two weeks before the wedding, it turned out that he had never sent back one of the required papers for it to actually be legal. I spent a couple days calling every single church or chapel or officiant in my city to find somewhere to marry us on such short notice, then called every single one of my guests to let them know about the change of venue (which ended up being a tiny chapel in a building in the parking lot behind Subway... SO nice...). It sucked ass, but it was what had to be done. 
    lc07
  • No. They could have found a new officiant, whether it was a few days or a few weeks. This is just another matter of a bride letting her vision trump more important things - in this case, her vision of having this special person marry them trumped honesty. And that's not OK.

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  • lovegood90lovegood90 Ontario member
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    edited November 2014

    I'm sorry, but I disagree. This is not an acceptable excuse IMO. They could have found a new officiant who could have legally married them on the day of their wedding.

    The only time IMHO it's acceptable to get married on another day is if the government is denying you the right to legally marry in your home state, ie same-sex marriage. And even then I think the couple should be upfront about what's going on. 

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  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    I understand what you all are saying.  Maybe I would feel different if I had ever actually been to a wedding where this had happened, but I haven't so I probably can't fully appreciate how insulted I might feel. 

    Also, for the record: I would NEVER do this.  I actually already have a backup plan just in case something with the temporary officiant law falls through lol.  My mom is good friends with a judge who offered to "team up" with the officiant should anything go wrong.  I was just curious on your thoughts about this particular situation because I found it to be different than many other examples I had seen

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
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    I think it's lame and a little side-eye worthy, but that is about it.  The side-eye is really not looking at all their options.   There are ways around such things.     Friends of ours just tagged teamed with a legal officiant.

    If they wed months earlier then I would be all WTF?  The day before again is just a little side-eye worthy to me.  


    They fact she got drunk and spilled the beans leads me to believe she felt it was a little "wrong" for a lack of a better word.






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  • plainjane0415plainjane0415 The hills of Tennessee member
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    If you're going to do something like this, just be upfront about it.  People will respect you more than if you keep it a secret from them.  They might be a little bummed, but they will be more ok with it if you are upfront about it.

    She shouldn't have kept it a secret.  I don't understand how people are ok with doing things like this... I understand stuff comes up, but that's not a good reason to lie to the people you love.  smh.

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  • beetherybeethery So sayeth the fuckin' Pope. member
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    Nope. Not down with this.
    --

    I'm the fuck out.

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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
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    If you want to keep it a secret- it means you know you are doing something wrong. 
    QFT.

    ashley8918
  • Yeah, I don't find it acceptable. They had an opportunity to correct it by finding a new officiant but, they didn't. Plus as PP said if they had to keep it a secret then they knew they were doing something wrong. 
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  • lovegood90lovegood90 Ontario member
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    redoryx said:
    erinemm said:
    Personally, I don't care that much and it wouldn't bug me, I'd just think they were being a little stupid though. 

    I would care in cases of a year or two in advance when it was purposefully hidden, but this...meh. I think it's a little odd and not the smartest move on their part (I mean seriously, they had months...), but it wouldn't make me hate them. I'd just think they were bad planners.

    I have wayyyy more important things to care about than if my friends did the paperwork a day before the ceremony. Like if they had a cash bar. That would have bugged me wayyy more ;)

    But it's not just "paperwork" and calling it such is insulting those couples who 1) chose to only have a courthouse wedding and 2) are unable to get that paperwork and be legally married
    Yeah, as an Atheist, this shit offends me every time I see it.

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  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
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    They didn't get married the day before the wedding.  They had a courthouse wedding the day before the fake event.  It's not a wedding if no one gets married.  

    I would judge them for this. Not for the courthouse wedding, the laziness, or the poor planning, but for the lying. I don't like liars.

    Now it's out. Obviously this is going to spread, and everyone is going to know that this ceremony was fake. 
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  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    They didn't get married the day before the wedding.  They had a courthouse wedding the day before the fake event.  It's not a wedding if no one gets married.  

    I would judge them for this. Not for the courthouse wedding, the laziness, or the poor planning, but for the lying. I don't like liars.

    Now it's out. Obviously this is going to spread, and everyone is going to know that this ceremony was fake. 


    As far as I know, it actually hasn't spread.  My friend told me when I was worried about finding an officiant, but as far as I know she hasn't told anyone else.  And I don't know any of the brides other friends, so I couldn't spread it if I wanted to. 

    I'm not saying this makes it right, I'm just saying I don't think it will spread.  They got married about 3 or 4 years ago I think, and as far as I know it hasn't spread yet.

  • slothiegalslothiegal The Sloth Farm member
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    dcbride86 said:
    They didn't get married the day before the wedding.  They had a courthouse wedding the day before the fake event.  It's not a wedding if no one gets married.  

    I would judge them for this. Not for the courthouse wedding, the laziness, or the poor planning, but for the lying. I don't like liars.

    Now it's out. Obviously this is going to spread, and everyone is going to know that this ceremony was fake. 


    As far as I know, it actually hasn't spread.  My friend told me when I was worried about finding an officiant, but as far as I know she hasn't told anyone else.  And I don't know any of the brides other friends, so I couldn't spread it if I wanted to. 

    I'm not saying this makes it right, I'm just saying I don't think it will spread.  They got married about 3 or 4 years ago I think, and as far as I know it hasn't spread yet.

    What's that saying?  Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead....


    Anyways, I think what they did is shitty and completely avoidable.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    No, this isn't acceptable.  They had time to find another officiant instead of keeping secrets and pretending they weren't married when they were.

    During a courthouse wedding, people get married.  That's what the "paperwork" is about.  It's insulting to suggest otherwise just because there's no big white dress, attendants, gifts, cake, spotlight dances, or any other bells and whistles.
  • There are plenty of good reasons to have a real courthouse wedding.  There are absolutely no good reasons to have a PPD later.
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  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    dcbride86 said:
    In a pinch, I would think one could find an officiant in a matter of days, especially in a large city like Washington DC. It might not be exactly who they wanted and might cost a bit more, but that is what happens when you rely on a friend to officiate who might not actively keep up on the legality of the situation. It is really nice for a friend to officiate, but there is a reason why judges and registry office officiants cost a bit more- they keep up to date with the licensing and make sure it is legal. 

    They had weeks/ months to figure this out. This isn't an emergency, this is bad planning. 

    ETF: typo


    They don't live in DC, though they do live in another fairly large city.

    I agree it isn't the best planning, I just didn't think of it as a big etiquette breach because it wasn't intentional from the outset like many other situations where the couple is already legally married


    But it was intentional from the outset as soon as they found out the law changed, you know what I mean? Like no one who does this dreams of doing it that way since they were little, but an event happens (lost insurance, military, decide on destination wedding, whatever the benefit is they want to get) and then they decide. So its really the exact same as everyone else who does it. The only time I think this would be fine is if it happened like the Thursday before the wedding. And then there would be no reason to lie about it, because I think most people would understand. But I probably still wouldn't do the fake ceremony.

    @Fran1985 I totally get what you're saying, and you're definitely right.  Like I said before, I've never been in a situation where this happened, and I think it's difficult for me to fully appreciate how insulting it would be to attend one.

    I never thought it was fully acceptable, I just saw it as slightly different than other PPD situations.  But you guys are right - it's not cool.  I was just curious about the reaction here :)

  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
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    CMGragain said:
    There are plenty of good reasons to have a real courthouse wedding.  There are absolutely no good reasons to have a PPD later.

    @CMGragain - I'm NOT saying this was a good reason for a PPD, but I disagree with the bolded.  I have a family friend who's mom's cancer relapsed while he was engaged and she died before the wedding.  It was really fast acting, and she didn't want him to change the wedding plans (I think the venue had sentimental value to her, and she wanted him to have his wedding there, even if she couldn't be there).  They got married at her death bed, with only the two of them, an officiant, and the mom.  I'm not even entirely sure if this was a legal ceremony or not, but if it was, I see this as a good reason for a PPD. 

    They had the wedding, as scheduled, a couple months later, wedding gown and all.  They were honest about the situation, and, to my knowledge, nobody side-eyed or groaned about how they shouldn't have a wedding after the ceremony for his mom.  The mom wanted her son to have a big wedding, but also wanted to see him get married.  This was the only way both could happen.  It was such a horrible and sad situation, but I think definitely a good reason for a PPD.

    aleighbaker
  • redoryx said:
    erinemm said:
    Personally, I don't care that much and it wouldn't bug me, I'd just think they were being a little stupid though. 

    I would care in cases of a year or two in advance when it was purposefully hidden, but this...meh. I think it's a little odd and not the smartest move on their part (I mean seriously, they had months...), but it wouldn't make me hate them. I'd just think they were bad planners.

    I have wayyyy more important things to care about than if my friends did the paperwork a day before the ceremony. Like if they had a cash bar. That would have bugged me wayyy more ;)

    But it's not just "paperwork" and calling it such is insulting those couples who 1) chose to only have a courthouse wedding and 2) are unable to get that paperwork and be legally married
    Apologies for being insulting, BUT it sounds like this is what the original posters friend felt was the situation, so I fed off of that. And yes, for some of us there is a real difference between the paperwork and the wedding, but of course, not for all of us. So if for you, the paperwork and the civil ceremony IS the wedding and the paperwork is what makes it real, than awesome and it should be your special day and your special ceremony. But for some of us (due to unique situations, customs, and religion in some cases for my muslim friends), the wedding and the paperwork are in fact quite different and have different levels of meaning. I think that standpoint should also be equally respected and valued.

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