Trying To Have Your (Wedding) Cake And Eat It Too: There Is No Such Thing As Getting Married Now And Throwing A Wedding Later

December 18, 2012  |  

Source: Shutterstock

“So, after you’ve been married for a year, you’re going to have a wedding?”

When my friend suggested that she and her fiancé were going to exchange vows in her pastor’s office then have a “big wedding” the following year, I had to make sure I heard that correctly.

Apparently, she didn’t see anything ridiculous about the prospect of getting legally married now, then planning the ceremony where they would get fake married later.

Yes, “fake married”.

A wedding is a ceremony in which two people are united in marriage. If those two people unite in a courthouse, an office, a church, a backyard, Times Square, mid-air, Taco Bell, or the TJ Maxx where they met, then they just had their wedding. Whether they exchanged vows in front of a judge, and an Elvis impersonator or three thousand of their closest friends, that was their wedding. Anything after that is a vow renewal ceremony, a blessing, or an elaborate costume party.

I liken the idea that you can get married now and have a wedding later to the idea that you can turn 21 now but have a 21st birthday again next year. At that point, it’s not your 21st birthday it’s your 22nd. Why would anyone wish you a happy 21st birthday when you’re 22?

Apparently, this “get married now, wedding later” happens more than I think. I recently read about Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa’s decision to get married now before their baby comes, but have a “traditional wedding ceremony” later. What’s traditional about not actually getting married at your wedding? And considering they’re already living together and have a child on the way, is tradition really that important to them anyway?

Of course, there are all sorts of reasons why couples say they want to get married now and have a wedding later: finances, military deployment, undesirable seasons for a wedding, a family member on his or her deathbed, etc. Still, if a couple gets married now then they won’t be getting married at their “big wedding later” because, unless you get divorced, you can only get married once. A wedding is a joining together of two people. How can you join what is already joined? How can the father of the “bride” give her away if she is already someone’s wife? How can you commit your life to someone you’ve already committed your life to? It’s not possible.

This isn’t to say I’m against the idea of having a wedding now and a reception later. In those instances, the couple isn’t trying to hide the fact that they’re already married. And they’re certainly not pretending to get married again. A reception is an optional post-wedding party and many couples elope or have a small, private ceremony then throw a big bash to celebrate their union. For these receptions, couples can still register for gifts, send out fancy invitations and even wear a wedding dress and tux. That still sounds like a thinly-veiled gift grab, but it definitely makes more sense than having two ceremonies, one legal and one for show.

And speaking of “show”, maybe that’s the problem. The prevalence of wedding planning shows and televised reality-show-special weddings have a legion of women thinking that they’re not a bride unless they’ve got a ball gown, fifteen bridesmaids, three-tiered cake, ice sculpture, six-thousand dollar Christian Louboutin Daffodile Strass shoes and enough flowers to fill the White House lawn. That, to them, is a “real wedding” and only the whole nine yards will make them feel that they’re a “real bride”. However, it truly doesn’t take all that. If you’re getting married, you’re a bride. If you’re already married, no matter how lavish the ceremony, you’re a wife in a wedding dress. I’m all about the dream wedding, but I don’t think getting fake married is the way to live out that childhood fantasy.

Not surprisingly, plenty of couples that say get married now and say they’ll have a wedding later end up never going through with it. That’s likely because, once they get into the throes of planning, they realize it’s a lot of money and hassle to do something they’ve essentially already done. Wedding planning is taxing – especially when trying to plan your dream wedding – and I imagine that if a couple is already married then that takes away a lot of their motivation to plan an expensive spectacle.

Also, it’s understandably difficult to get others onboard for Wedding 2.0. Few would shell out beaucoup money for a bridesmaid’s dress, plan a bridal shower, throw a bachelor party or fly across country for a friend’s wedding who is already married. Of course, oftentimes the couple doesn’t tell their friends and family that they’re ceremony isn’t real. In those cases, I wonder why the couple would even want their friends and family there if they were okay with lying to them about being married already.

Maybe I’m old school and “getting married now and having a wedding later” is the new thing to do. To each his own. As for the friend I told you about earlier, I got a Facebook message from her several months after she tied the knot in her pastor’s office: “We decided not to have a wedding next year. Maybe the year after.” I didn’t even respond.

What do you think about you (or one of your friends) getting married now and having a wedding later? For those who have successfully gone through with the get married now and have a wedding later, when is the anniversary? Do you celebrate the day you were legally married or the day you had the big ceremony? Would you be ticked if your friend lied to you about already being married while she was planning her wedding?

 Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink or check out her blog This Cannot Be My Life

 Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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  • WizardofOZ59

    @TeahMonae, I disagree. At one point, she does say that but insinuates another in the rest of the article. Clearly, this is an opiniated article, and I took great offensive to it. As a mother of an only daughter who eloped with her military husband because of unforeseen circumstances, we missed out on the ceremony. The groom’s mother and I are heartbroken and devastated that we missed out on the wedding ceremony so we are doing it for ALL of us. We are having her wedding 2 years after the elopement….YES! 2 years later!! Do I like that idea,? No! Do we care what other people think? No! But circumstances got in the way and we have no choice. My daughter will have the wedding she always wanted and we will have an experience to remember. Just remember Allissa Henry, not everything goes as planned so let us not be so quick to judge when we don’t do the “traditional” way of things.

  • Nap town

    This article offended me at first, but then I reminded myself that there are plenty of simple minded out there and I just read one of their blogs. Earlier this year I bought my girlfriend an engagement ring, but before we went to Hawaii where I was going to propose, we found out she was pregnant. I wanted to ask her to marry me as soon as she told me but I held out until our vacation. I explained to her I bought the ring months prior and she didn’t even bat and eyelash; she believed me. So what we’re we to do? Try to get married before the baby is born? We both knew how much planning and money goes into a wedding and we just didn’t have the time. At the same time we both agreed that we didn’t want to have a child out of wedlock and to me I wanted to assure my fiancé that I wasn’t going anywhere. Isn’t that what marriage really is; a promise? So in 2 weeks we are getting married at the local courthouse and possibly next year we will have the ceremony. She says she doesn’t need a big fancy wedding, but this is the love of my life and whether she’s needs it or not, she deserves it. So I’m going to give it to her, but we both understand that the baby comes first and foremost. So if we can do it next year, great, if not we’ll do it the following year. Life iso unpredictable and it doesn’t always work out in the movies, but you’ve got to roll with the punches. Everything is going to work out even if it’s not in the order we predicted. So yes, we will be married first and have the ceremony when we can.

  • Melissa St John

    My husband to be was almost killed in a car accident 2 months prior to our planned wedding day so he was not able to walk down a brick path at the outdoor garden we had planned the wedding at. We married in a church office and postponed the wedding ceremony until he could walk. We married legally so he could get medical insurance from my employer because he was a contract police officer and was not getting paid while he was recovering from the accident and likewise lost his ability to pay the insurance policy he had.
    I think you are a bit closed minded to think there is not reason to have both a legal marriage in an office and a celebration with family & friends, especially under uncontrolled circumstances.
    The fact that I almost lost him made the wedding ceremony that much more beautiful. That was 11 years ago and those pictures of us, friends& family still decorate our fireplace mantle.
    We celebrate both days because they both have meaning -no different than you likely celebrate the day you met, the day he proposed, etc.

  • confused

    I just read this article and some of the comments, aside from all the anger etc., I learned a little something.
    My dilemma is that a person I know is getting married and is only having a private civil service. She is pregnant and wants a wedding also with the whole nine yards. I think that if someone is already married then a reception is a wonderful thing but a trip down the aisle in a white dress and attendants is over the top. Friends and family just gave her a baby shower where she got everything she needs until the baby is probably five. She is very poor, has never worked and husband to be is illiterate and makes minimum wage. This is mostly why everyone kicked in to help with the baby.
    I feel she is wrong to have a big wedding in a couple of months when she is already married and has other needs. She was offered a smaller scale wedding of friends and family and many of us were willing to chip in and make it very nice for them. She said no as she wants the whole experience and feels anyone that doesn’t think this is a great idea is just not supporting them.
    The way I was raised is that how you chose to get married is how you did it….there were no do overs in a couple of months. There is a vow renewal that can be wonderful after some years and that is different. Also if one gets divorced having another wedding is okay. There are reasons to have two ceremonies I do understand that but this seems over the top to me and I just don’t think she should get married twice just so she can have a huge wedding, especially expecting others to pay for it…..Maybe it won’t happen unless she goes on the Fund Me site and asks others to pay…after all they are on the dole already. I don’t know….I feel very confused.

  • Omar

    Your article is borderline offensive; however, each is entitled to his/her opinion, so that’s that.
    Marriage confers certain legal rights, responsibilities, benefits, etc., whereas a wedding celebrates the union of two persons.
    My income being taxed at a lower rate is nothing to celebrate, and not a reason to to impose on friends and family to take time from their schedules to share in food and drinks; my union to the person I plan on dedicating my life to, the one who I want to pledge my love to and vow will always be under my protection, well, that is a cause worth celebrating.
    The two are separate entities, unfortunately ‘married’ as one. This article plays on to the pitiful zeitgeist, the same one that tells a man to stupidly waste 3 months of income on useless rock, makes peddlers out of married couples expecting gifts, and ultimately ends up with a pathetic marriage success rate hovering about 50%

  • Dana Smith

    I know someone who got married in December with a small crowd of close family members, by a dude in a white collar, but now is planning on getting “married” this summer. In a church. It drives me crazy. It isn’t like she went to the court house and signed a paper. She was officiated by a minister. It feels disingenuous to be married and then tell people you’re getting married. “Do you take this woman to be your wife?” I sure as heck hope so! Maybe it just needs to be marketed better. A commitment ceremony? An affirmation of vows?

    I know it’s not my business but I reserve the right to feel how I feel. Also, there’s a lot of back story here that probably contributes to my strong feelings.

  • Kate Helgason

    A courthouse wedding is for legal purposes… a religious wedding marries you in the eyes of god. They are separate things and can in fact… be done at different times.

  • Jojo

    I just came across your blog today and want to let you know that in Asia, it is very very common for couples to get legally married in a registrar office on a particular auspicious date (could be a weekday) and then throw their wedding reception months or even a year later. My sister is doing this and so am I.

  • Maria Roy

    Some people have religious beliefs and just want to honor God with their commitment. As a Christian, I don’t believe in pre-marital sex, nor do I believe in a couple living together before marriage. That’s my belief. What other people do is their business. In my case, we needed to live together in order to save for our wedding.

    At the end of the day, we did the exact same thing every other couple did that lives together before getting married. The only difference is that we signed a piece of paper and repeated a few words. I don’t think that God cares how you go about having a wedding or getting married. As long as you honor Him, that’s all that matters. We just wanted to share a special moment with our closest friends and family, and that’s exactly why we kept our decision to ourselves.

    I’m happy we did because I can only imagine the depression that sets in after a wedding because you planned one day for over a year, only to realize that you didn’t plan for your marriage.

  • WatcherofWorlds

    I think it’s close-minded to say that the wedding doesn’t count if, for
    some reason, they had to postpone it when they “officially” married.
    Technically, most religions believe that you should be a virgin until
    you’re married. Does that mean people who’ve had sex before marriage don’t
    deserve weddings? Or a wedding night? How about people who moved in
    with their significant other first? They’re already living together, I’m
    certain some people think they don’t deserve a wedding either, after
    all they’ve already started a household and family together.

    I think that if a person has a marriage ceremony first with the
    intention of having the wedding at a specific future date, then so what?
    Is it any different then getting it done the day or week before the
    wedding to save trouble/hassle? The main point is, its NOT about you,
    its about them. In polite society, people can respectfully and QUIETLY
    disagree with something that doesn’t affect them without making them
    feel bad about choices that you think are stupid/unfair/etc. Why do you
    dislike the idea? And what if it happened to you? What if you were stuck
    in a situation where you HAD to get married before you could have your
    wedding? How would you feel to people who treated you poorly because of

    Weddings are about a commitment of love.The situation surrounding it
    doesn’t matter and quite frankly, doesn’t require your approval. So keep
    your sneers of disapproval to yourselves.

  • Jessica Walter

    I just wanted to express my gratitude and appreciation to prophet salifu for bringing my husband back to me,I was married to my husband for 4 years and all of a sudden he started seeing another lady (his mistress).he started hailing at me and he was abusive.. and he hated me , but I still loved him with all my heart . the situation made me unsettle and not to focus at work .so a friend told me about trying (prophet salifu )spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to him ? i did not listen to her and hoped that my husband will come back home . after 9 month of seperation and depression , it got out of hand and my husband came back home to break the news to me that he want a divorce that he is getting married to his mistress .Hmmm it was so shocking to me ,i felt sad and more depressed ,so i contacted my friend again and decieded to try to use spiritual means reluctantly..although I didn’t believe in all those things? I never thought in a million years that i will get my husband back to me a again. but I was proved wrong.after 24 hours, my husband came back and was pleading..he had realized his mistakes..i just couldn’t believe it that we are back together. I am deeply satisfied and thankful with prophet salifu work .if you also want to fix you marriage or relationship email him at or , his work is for a better life .

  • Noneya

    You’re a moron, not to mention extremely ignorant.. Your opinion is invalid because of how much of an idiot you are.

  • Rachael

    To each their own. People need to care less what other people do. My fiance and I are getting legally married two weeks before our actual wedding. The reason for this is that it was easier for everyone. We are having a friend marry us and since we won’t be back to our home for 10 days after our wedding it just seems like one less thing to worry about (yes, I realize it’s a very simple process, but it’s still one more thing). I don’t want to make our friend deal with going to the courthouse (it’s not close to where he lives) to submit the license after our wedding and this way everyone makes one trip. I also worry that in all the hustle and bustle of the wedding day, we will lose it. Marriage licences didn’t even exist before the mid 1600s. They are just another way the government collects fees. To me the real marriage is the one we share with our family and friends. It has nothing to do with what the state recognizes. Do you base your moral compass on what the state thinks too? Another thought, if you do it before, then you are actually married when you have your wedding with family and friends, otherwise you technically are not and have to wait to file the paperwork the following week. Let people do what is best for them and keep your judgement to yourself. You truly sound like a miserable person. If you think that you’re not, you’re in denial. Happy people let others live…

  • Littel1094

    You can get legally married now and then bound in holy matrimony with a big wedding later…which is not the same thing at all!

  • Kk

    To each their own why judge someone’s decision to do that if they want to it’s really none of your business anyway it’s their wedding or fake wedding or whatever.

  • Yuri Muldowney

    You know you have to get married by the court before you even do your wedding ceremony right?
    The reason my husband and I are doing this is because we got married very young and now 4 years later our daughter is 3, we have money and we are able to have our dream church wedding and we are having it on our 5th anniversary. We’re calling it a vow renewal but everything about it is like a wedding. We are now making our marriage a covenant before God instead of just by the court.

  • SAHM4

    My fiance and I planned out our entire wedding to our liking. We wrote our own spiritual ceremony and our friend got online ordained to perform our wedding the way we want. However, right before we got our marriage license we found out our county doesnt recognize online ordination as legal. Therefore, we are getting married by our local judge 2 days before the wedding we planned and that will be our legal ceremony and then we are going to have our spiritual ceremony as we had planned with our family/friends/and God on the date we had it scheduled for. Since that was our date for the ceremony we created to consecrate ourselves to each other and God that is the date we are going to celebrate as our anniversary. We are also waiting to exchange rings until our 2nd ceremony with our friends and loved ones.

  • oodles

    You sound crazy. Do you not know that before people actually have a wedding ceremony they are ALREADY legally married? Lo how can u say u cant get re married? If two people didnt get to have the ceremony theyve always wanted who are to tell them they want it for show? Thats wild. Its for the love of two people getting married not YOURS or any one elses opinion

  • CaliG

    This post makes me very irritated. My husband and I have been married for 3 years, and were married at the Justice of the Peace. He is in the navy and his job is one that planning a wedding around would be hell trying to do. We signed the papers with the thought that having a “wedding” later on would be an option, however his work proves that to be very difficult. He deploys with very little notice so planning anything while he’s serving is without a doubt impossible. To this day I regret not having a ceremony with my friends and family to celebrate, or having a first dance, wearing that once in a lifetime dress etc. I would love to have an actual ceremony down the line when possible, but reading posts like this puts me into such a foul mood that I really don’t want to anymore. A while later I’ll get the thought in my head once again and be reminded of a post like this, or those certain family members who will say “You’re only doing it for the gifts!” It is none of your business what I or anyone else does further down the line after our marriage is legal. I would love to end this comment with some incredibly colorful wording, but I will be the bigger woman here and wish you all the best in your marriage, and good luck to your husband who has to deal with an obviously cynical and jealous wife.

  • Erin

    My husband and I got married at the magistrates office in May and are planning a vow renewal and reception next March. I would have loved to have waited and have my perfect dream wedding next year, but when you find out you have a serious health problem and no insurance, your priorities change a little bit, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve to have the celebration of our marriage and our love that we always wanted. Yes, our civil ceremony with just our parents was technically our wedding, and we are not trying to hide it from anyone that we are married, nor are we having a “fake wedding”. We WILL be having a vow renewal, I WILL be wearing a wedding dress, and we WILL be having a wedding party – not to pretend we are getting married again, and not to solicit gifts or just have a big party; but to celebrate our love for each other with our families and friends who were unable to be there to witness our actual union. Our anniversary will be the day we legally got married – May 1st.

    Although this may have not been your friends situation, it is a very real situation that happens everyday – where people arent living fairy tales, and no one is actually having the Pinterest wedding that they planned. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes before you judge their actions as being ridiculous or fake.

  • Shay

    I didn’t even read the whole thing cause the tone was just so judgemental. It’s up to people what they choose to do. I would love to just get married and then think about the whole thing later. At least it’s done legally and I can celebrate later.

  • Nikki

    My husband and I got married and moving to the UK three days later, it was quick and no family was invited. I’m not big on being the center of attention but I admit I always felt like I had missed out on something really special.

    My family was quite upset and I promised them that one day we would have a ceremony and they would all be invited. 7 years later we are back in Canada, we’ve saved up enough for the ceremony and we also decided that we wanted to do it for ourselves. We want to write our own vows and have our son involved in the ceremony. I don’t that’s weird 🙂

  • SuperShrug

    I had a late wedding.

    If I could have had it my way I would have had no ceremony at all and the courthouse wedding day would have been it.

    Of course, the actual wedding, the “fake married” part, is only for the other family members’ peace of mind.

    “What’s traditional about not actually getting married at your wedding? And considering they’re already living together and have a child on the way, is tradition really that important to them anyway?”

    For me, no, it wasn’t important. And now that I’m on the other side, I’m reminded by a renaissance era book called “The Book of the Family” by Leon Battista Alberti, in which he says any man that throws a banquet quickly learns never to waste his money on another one or else he is a fool.

    I could’ve started off my married life $18,000 richer.

  • SuperShrug

    I had a late wedding.

    If I could have had it my way I would have had no ceremony at all and the courthouse wedding day would have been it.

    Of course, the actual wedding, the “fake married” part, is only for the other family members’ peace of mind.

    “What’s traditional about not actually getting married at your wedding? And considering they’re already living together and have a child on the way, is tradition really that important to them anyway?”

    For me, no, it wasn’t important. And now that I’m on the other side, I’m reminded by a renaissance era book called “The Book of the Family” by Leon Battista Alberti, in which he says any man that throws a banquet quickly learns never to waste his money on another one or else he is a fool.

    I could’ve started off my married life $18,000 richer.

  • Ashley

    My husband and I got married at a courthouse 9 months ago and are still saving up for and looking forward to our ceremony. He isn’t from the United States and we needed to be married to get his immigration and green card process moving quickly so that he could go home to see his sick father without worrying about being deported. Not everyone has the means to throw a showy ceremony at the moment they decide they want to be married but it doesn’t change what the ceremony means to the couple. This is getting married in the real world not The Knot.

  • G

    My fiance lives in another country. We are planning on having a very small, immediate family only legal ceremony in his country, and then a month later having a bigger ceremony and reception in my country. We are planning on living together in his country once we are married, so it makes the most sense to have the legal marriage happen in his country. I have a very large family who I would love to celebrate with… Does this make me a gift-grabber or mean I have poor etiquette? Maybe some would say, but considering the circumstances, I really could care less what other people think. I know that my family and friends appreciate that I’m doing it this way. It’s about what works best for the couple. In the end, that’s all that matters.

  • I think the author is simply confusing the aspect of the officiated wedding and the actual celebration that usually follows, I also think she lacks maybe cultural perspective? It’s the usual tradition in Europe, the legal wedding happens one day and the next day the family celebrations and religious ceremonies. I got married at a court house and 3 months later, we invited our loved ones to celebrate our union surrounded by the people we love most.

  • Ladybug94

    It’s not called fake married. If she got married by a JOP then had a ceremony a year later, it’s renewing your vows. Come on now, Alissa.

  • My husband and I had a small intimate wedding (like 25 people) and a kickazz honeymoon in Belize. Our five year anniversary is coming up in July I can’t even believe its been that long.

  • NewMrs.

    LMAO, now rants are being posted and called articles….Alissa, you sound kind of bitter. Did you have a small ceremony and wanted to have a big ceremony later, but didn’t. So now anyone else who does that is considered ridiculous….girl go somewhere

  • I myself just got married this year but alot was going on and to be honest we couldn’t wait to be Mr and Mrs. So the plan was to get married next year on our anniversary BUT im pregnant and don’t want to be big at my wedding so it will be my second year anniversary. I don’t think its fair to downplay being able to do things this way the only reason I am is because parents such as mine look forward to the walking down the isle seeing me exchange vows thing and why should we completely take that from them just because when we was ready our pockets aren’t or other things come up. So I completely disagree and don’t understand the big deal that would make you take soooo long to express it smh

  • kierah

    Don’t you know the point of a wedding is to speak your vows and intentions aloud to the other person? The reception only exists to celebrate the event of exchanging vows. If you want to repeat or say your vows in front of your loved ones, there is nothing wrong with doing so as many times as you want.

    If you think your friend is having too many weddings, then check Will Not Attend on your RSVP card. It is their prerogative.

    I eloped overseas and I did not host a reception after the fact. I felt it would look like a solicitation for presents. Those who wanted to honor our marriage with a gift did so. We legally married in the US a month later. We celebrate our anniversary on the day we said our vows under an African sky.
    To me, this is a non-issue. When it comes to your wedding, do you.

  • Amy Perry

    There’s nothing wrong with doing that. My friend and I just graduated from college, and she got legally married before she had her baby the middle of our senior year, and had another ceremony and reception after we graduated.

  • Royaltee

    The Author sounds Bitter and Opinionated and probably doesn’t have many friends. Why are you so concerned about how others choose to start their Union? Are you Married? or atleast have a significant other because if you were in love with someone you would get it. For the reason you stated in your article some people don’t have a wedding because of a number of reasons and then decided the want to have a ceremony and include family and friends why is that a problem. As for Amber and Wiz Khalifa instead of talking about tradition why can’t you just applaud the fact that he’s a rapper that will marry her instead of knocking up 5 or 6 different women at the same time. These articles are becoming sensationalized her on MN and becoming the same caliber as other nonsense blogs. DO BETTER

  • LiiSH

    I totally respect the author’s right to her opinion but honestly it kind of downplays what should be a special moment for two people, a joining of families, and a celebration of love. Everybody cannot afford their dream day. Does that mean that mean they should postpone it? Nope. Sometimes that feeling just can’t wait. Sometimes time is not on your side. Weddings are symbolic rituals. The way you choose to have and and however many ceremonies you choose is a personal choice. To each his own. (Anyone not in agreeance can stay they butt at home lol) But to blatantly call out the ceremony as “Fake” is dern disrespectful. You don’t have to agree Ms. Alissa, but I wish you would show some reverence for something that is sacred to other people.

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  • a marriage is shared between two people…the husband and the wife. a wedding is for the husband and the wife to celebrate their union and share it with their family and friends. some people do it all at once, and some who may want an “elaborate” ceremony, but have a conflict in scheduling, or maybe can’t afford it right now, will marry at the courthouse and have a wedding ceremony (complete with dinner and reception) at a more convenient time. not that it is life or death. just as long as you are married before the eyes of God and man.

  • IntellectisKey

    This was not an article, this was a rant. I got what you were trying to say, but uhh…. no.

  • AJ3

    I actually really agree with this article because I just went through it. I tried to elope in secret and not tell my family because I was going to have a “big wedding later”. I did end up inviting our immediate family to a courthouse ceremony, and close friends to a very nice dinner. We tried to start planning our big “wedding ” for next year, but we were totally unmotivated because we were already married! To each his own, and do what you please, but I think people feel the pageantry and the spectacle legitimizes the marriage. It doesn’t! We are much happier that we started our union without the debt of throwing a party for other people.

  • I want a traditional wedding, but I’m all for people doing what they want and I will fly a long distance to witness a dear friend or family member’s wedding regardless of how I feel about their planning or “lies.” I care about more about their happiness, their day and their marriage than I do my opinion especially if i’m not sponsoring it. I’ll save my opinion for my big day. I wouldn’t want anyone telling me how to handle my affairs so i’ll give them the same respect and i’m coming with cash so let’s celebrate. lol. At least they’re getting married. 🙂

  • Meyaka

    To each their own. I got married and had a wedding at a later date.

  • MrsM

    So much misinformation in this post. You can get married more than once legally. In fact in the state of NY you have to remarry if you didn’t take your spouse’s name the first go round. Which is what my husband and I did. People like you are why my husband and I didn’t share that with everyone that we went to City Hall before our planned ceremony months later. Our venue had been booked before we even decided to go to the JOP. But if it is all we did, then I would have felt cheated. No vows were exchanged at City Hall, now how can you renew vows that were never made. It felt pretty much like a legal transaction, which is what was. BTW legal ceremonies before the church/religious ceremony is nothing new and is actually commonplace in many countries. It is the only way to marry in France. So next time do a little research before you judge others choices.

    • Monique

      Thank you MRS M infact most of Europe has this requirement my friends from the UK got married in Italy and they had to first go to the courthouse and then have the religious ceremony later. Many African couples do this too get married traditionally and in court (they call it the registry wedding) get their pastors to perform a thanksgiving service in honor of the marriage and then have the big ceremony a few months later or even a year later. It makes perfect sense to me especially if you have values you uphold and don’t have the finances to throw a lavish ceremony get married in the courthouse and throw the big wedding ceremony later. Most invitation cards read “our vow ceremony” or “to celebrate our marriage” which in itself is self explanatory so i don’ t see how the author can call such people fake

  • Most people do this now a days.

  • Dee

    Like a fellow commenter said, this is more like celebrating your bday the weekend after…. Dont think its a big deal

  • L-Boogie

    Again, life partner is more important than lavish weding. May my comment please show up? Thank you.

    • WizardofOZ59

      When, how and why shouldn’t matter to anyone but the couple themselves.

  • A wedding is just the whole ceremony attached to marriage. They don’t have to go together. A wedding involves putting on the nice dress,being given away by your father, bridesmaids etc . Not marriage

  • MImi

    I disagree with this article. Not only because
    I am one of those women who got married in court and then a year a later had a
    wedding ceremony, I disagree with this article because everyone is entitled to
    do as they please. I feel this article is bias and judgmental. The
    reason me and my husband decided to get married in court first and then have a
    wedding later is because we didn’t want to live with each other without being
    married. We both grew up with similar values and we just didn’t believe in
    living with someone we weren’t married to (SN: I’m not judging anyone who does
    live with their significant other. Do you boo :)).

    Another reason, is that we wanted to pay for majority
    of our wedding expenses by ourselves without putting the financial burden
    on our parents. So instead of us each paying rent and other
    expenses individually we decided to get married and have one rent and share our
    monthly expenses. We were able to save money for our wedding and our honeymoon
    without having any wedding debt after the wedding ceremony. I feel like if a
    couple wants to get married now and have a wedding a year later then that is
    their prerogative. My husband didn’t care for the whole wedding ceremony , he was
    satisfied with our marriage in court, but he wanted me to have the wedding that
    I dreamt of since I was a little girl. I’ve always wanted the white dress, I
    wanted the tiara, wanted the pictures that my kids, grand kids and great-grand
    kids could see for ages to come. I just don’t understand why there is such a
    long article about what someone decides to do for themselves. If this works for
    a couple then that is their business and no one else’s. Why not have your
    wedding cake and eat it too?

    • Ms_Sunshine9898

      Glad you gave a response, was conflicted about the same thing, and now I’m going to do what I originally intended on doing!

      • MImi

        Good for you!!! It really helps financially!!! I was so happy that when we came back from our honeymoon all we had to worry about was our normal monthly expenses. There were no loans that had to be paid back. Everything was paid for before our ceremony and honeymoon was paid in full too.

    • WizardofOZ59

      Well said, thank you. My daughter and her husband are getting “married” 2 years after eloping.

  • EbonyLolita

    Ummmm honestly MOST ppl do this! Your marriage certificate normally has to be completed BEFORE the church/religious ceremony. So…… your article kicks rocks. This is why I don’t plan on having a reception. Ppl are quick to throw their opinion on YOUR relationship & how you live it all while eating your free food! ChilePlease……. My future hubby & I will save our $$$ for traveling & a home *Shrugs*

  • Anon

    I’m in the Foreign Service and many people will marry their partner abroad for legal and logistical reasons and then have a wedding ceremony in the U.S. that their family can participate in. I think the author has a limited perspective.

    • Ronnye Clarke

      I’ve known couples from the US have the “secret” wedding on the mainland and them have a “destination” wedding. The author has some strong opinions on this issue and she is entitled to them, but I agree with some of what she said. The couple signs the license as part of the wedding ceremony in some places. Is it coincidental that the posters who strongly disagree have done it in some form or fashion? At least, the story shows that there are a lot of pretenders out there.

      • kierah

        I think part of the reason keep it a secret is because of judgmental people that agree with the author. Who wants to hear that noise when all you are trying to do is celebrate your nuptials with people?

        • Rogo

          I think it’s good to be honest. You’re friends and Close family will attend regardless. If people are that against it, fine, one less person to worry about inviting!

  • Girl as soon as I read the title of this article I knew you wrote it! You love to stir the pot and write offensive opinion pieces. Haha I’m not mad at you… Gotta get those clicks!! LOL!! I dont have the same opinion as you but this article was very well written. 🙂

  • pickneychile

    I had some people suggest I do this as a means to save up more money for my wedding without having to put the actual marriage on hold. It wasn’t for me, but I can definitely see why some people choose this route. I also hear that when the bride and groom have their bigger wedding celebration a lot of the stress is diminished because they are already married.

  • chanela

    awww shoot.. people are gonna be SOOO pissed at this article since so many people do i didn’t know that people HAVEN’T heard of this. it’s so common. they’re married already but i guess that doesn’t really matter. they want to materialistic aspect of the wedding. the dress,the huge cake, the hall,ect. ya know, things that most women want a wedding for in the first place?lol

  • Candacey Doris

    There are reasons why people have the ceremony later. Finances, inability to attend, scheduling, health, it’s not a farce to have the paper signed right away and do the ceremony later. It’s a decision that you just have to make some times. Getting married and having a wedding are two separate things. As far as some people are concerned, they have two wedding anyway, the one where they pledge themselves to each other before God and the one where they sign the papers. Does that make it fake?

    • anon

      But…if they’re wedding has validity, how can I feel that my wedding on my marriage date is superior to theirs?
      – Half the people in this thread

  • Nikki

    I would do this in order to save up money for a wedding; however, I hate having attention on me so I most likely won’t have a wedding. I’m a courthouse/preacher’s office kinda gal.

  • Pivyque

    Having a wedding later doesn’t mean getting married again. It’s not the same as celebrating your 21st birthday on your 22nd. It’s more like turning 21 on a monday and celebrating the following weekend. Lol Well, we had a wedding separate from our marriage day. We simply called it a vow renewal ceremony.

    • Ladybug94

      That’s what I would call it.

    • Carolyn Forte

      Thats what is was.

      • Pivyque

        Exactly, but it was still a wedding on a day other than the day we were married. Most people in our family refer to it as our wedding.

        • Pekis

          Considering that the license is what “counts” for divorce, the argument from this article is that the paper is what matters, which is a silly way to s. As someone who had to sign papers with my husband for legal reasons, the religious ceremony and reception on a later date is what we are seeing as our wedding date. We were legally married but like most folks we wanted to gather family and friends to celebrate the union. For us, that’s the date worth remembering every year.

  • Miss_Understood

    Don’t you need a license to marry anyway? I don’t see a problem with this. What about a couple wherein one is being deployed in the military and they want to save their ceremony until he/she returns but still need the legal and financial benefits before their spouse leaves?

    • anon

      This is what happened to my husband and I. He had to deploy unexpectedly 2 months before our wedding day, and I had to cancel the whole thing. I was devastated! And now a year later he is finally back, and even though we were married at the county clerk,we still want to celebrate the momentous occasion with the people we love! A ceremony is symbolic

      • WizardofOZ59

        This was posted 2 years ago. Just curious as to whether or not you did finally have your wedding.

  • Sevn

    Well, my BFF did it like this and I was actually a bridesmaid. Her and her fiance’ had already put a deposit on a venue, but found out they were pregnant before that wedding date. So, they married in a small church after the service …only me and a few of her and his family members were there (no more than 10 people). Seven months later they had the wedding they already paid a deposit for and if I can remember the baby had a little dedication in the ceremony too. As one commenter said “different folks, different strokes”…I didn’t think one way or another just happy to be apart of both.

    • Miss_Understood

      Okay I do think it’s strange when they try and “rush” the wedding before the baby is born as if that negates the fact that they were fornicating lol or maybe she just didn’t want to be too big in her wedding dress

      • Sevn

        Lol. Yep, the dress was already purchased tooo!

  • TeahMonae

    I had a coworker tell me that her and her husband where finally going on their honeymoon……they have been married 5 years. I’m like that’s not a honeymoon, you’re just taking a trip! You didn’t go on a honeymoon so get over it and stop trying to make this trip you are taking into one!

    • anon

      Yeah, they should stop trying to make something symbolize something they didn’t get a chance to have! The selfish jerks don’t care at all that it challenges your definition of a honeymoon, do they? Geeze, it seems like they’re treating you like your opinion doesn’t matter at all for some reason.

      • Kim C

        this made me LOL. I constantly find it humorous how invested people get in decisions that have nothing to do with them.

    • Steve Joseph

      She took that trip with the intention of it focusing on her relationship with her husband, spending time together alone and celebrating their marriage. I see no issue with her referring to it as her honeymoon. In fact I think that’s exactly the approach to marriage that will make theirs last and I say good for them.

    • Ashley

      My husband and I were unable to take a honeymoon immediately following our ceremony due to financial constraints. You had better believe that one day, when we’re able, we’re going to take a honeymoon and I’ll call it a honeymoon with all the pride in the world. Get over yourself.

  • Na Na

    This is THE most egotistical and pretentious article I have read from you Alissa, and believe me you rank high in your writing for pretentiousness. getting married is the legal and spiritual union of two people, if you decide to have a big ceremony later you are not re getting married. You sound very naive and like you are reading out of a princess fairy tale story.

    • anonymous

      we all don’t have to agree on what everybody writes about but everyone is respectfully entitled to their opinions. get off your high horse

    • Eggy

      Alissa, girl….you need to get out more.

    • Devyn Anderson

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. some people are so immature mentally that they can’t niyla get out of this childhood fantasy fairy tale ‘dream wedding’ even when real life comes and splatters all over their face. life isn’t about little fantasies you dream up in your head, it’s about being cognizant of your own circumstances and what’s the best option to help styers out not the most “ideal”.

  • Laine

    Wow….. such a relatively long story about such a nonsense topic ! Live and let live…, what is it to you when people choose to celebrate their wedding??

    • Devyn Anderson

      only a pretentious snob obsessed with having some dorky fairy tale would have a problem with it.

  • Joules

    You can’t legally get “married” in most states unless you’re already married. You have to have a license, which means you’re legally married, in order for the minister to perform the ceremony. It’s pretty much just a ceremony and changing the time between signing the license and walking down the aisle doesn’t make it any less of a celebration.

    It does however mean that those catty family members can’t say, “It’ll last a year, I bet you.” because it already has.

    • TeahMonae

      True you have to obtain the license prior to the minister or officiant performing the ceremony, however, in my state the license is only good for 30 days and becomes null and void unless the minister or officiant that performed your ceremony signs it as a witness and returns it to the state for recording and filing. You don’t have to have a wedding to do that, but just pointing out that obtaining the license doesn’t mean you are technically married right then.

      • Na Na

        But Alissa IS married, I don’t even see how someone who has gone through this process can even write an article like this.

    • L-Boogie


  • Gye Nyame

    I bet you’re young and naive to write this foolishness. First off, getting MARRIED is the joining of two people, and exchanging vows, and that can take place anywhere (i was married on the beach with just my husband and i). Having a WEDDING is the actual ceremony and after party that is usually for your guests (I had this 2 weeks after my husband and I returned from our honeymoon). The best marriages take place when the “couple” does what best and important to them…different strokes for different folks…it doesn’t make them any less “married” than you.

    • TeahMonae

      I don’t think the writer is talking about situations like yours. Wedding now, and reception later isn’t what it seems she’s talking about. I think she’s talking about couples who are secretly already married but pretend they’re not married and go through the whole ceremony and everything just for show.

      • Gye Nyame

        Yeah I get that, but the point I’m making is its none of her business and couples could and should do what’s best for them. Some couples decide not to tell people for this very reason, everyone’s unwanted opinions and suggestions. Bottom line is they’re not doing anything malicious, so it’s really nobody’s business.

        • Devyn Anderson


    • Devyn Anderson

      100% agree, it’s NONE of anyone’s business, only the couple themselves. people should be free to do what they want as long as they are not breaking the law, and you’re NOT. wish some idiots niyla, would understand that. and it’s funny that some say this is ‘lying’ when they lie all the time when it SUITS THEM. styers should go worry about her bad head skills and not about morals and hurting doris.

  • MissKayasha

    A lot of people when they have their big “wedding” have already sign the papers and are officially married already.
    All a big wedding is, is a big party celebrating the union of two people, that’s it.
    They do the sharing of vows as symbolism not necessarily that they officially got married that day. So, I see nothing wrong if they decide to have that “party” later or never.