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Being Single Is So Taxing

My cousin, whom I’ll call Bubbles, has been dating a very nice man I’ll call Jeff for a few years. After nearly breaking up with him several times for reasons none of us really understand, he proposed to her on a trip to Europe and she giddily accepted. The rest of the family really like Jeff and thought he would be a good, stabilizing influence on Bubbles’ somewhat erratic way of going about life. They are currently planning a “wedding” for Memorial Day weekend of next year and are saving up so they can impress their trendy friends with the splendor of it all.

Fair game.

However, I found out that they had recently gotten married at the court house!! At first I was understanding, although a little hurt because my sister who lives in their city was invited along with both sets of parents, who were apparently not told in advance and surprised by the ceremony. Maybe she had gotten pregnant or maybe they were just too excited to wait for their big shindig? But no, the reason they got hitched was that Jeff had calculated he would save some $10,000 dollars on his taxes for this year by taking advantage of the marriage credits.

Now I’m thinking Jeff is a little TOO practical, and wondering whether that money will go towards entertaining all the friends and less close family who don’t know about their marriage at the “wedding.” I firmly believe there’s no reason to go into debt over a wedding, but neither do I think getting secretly married to score a big tax refund is the classy way to go about it!!!!   1201-09

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Brenda December 2, 2009, 4:18 pm

    If Jeff comes to his senses and breaks up with Bubbles, let me know. I could use a practical guy (of course, I’ll have to dump the current hubs, but it would work out).

    A lot of people have the ceremony on one date and a reception later, so if Bubbles and Jeff just have a big party for everyone, i really can’t see the harm. Also, in many countries, the official ceremony must be handled by a government official, not a religion officiant, so couples in those countries will have the civil ceremony, then a friends and family ceremony at the church and reception afterward. Again, as long as Jeff and Bubbles are up front about it, I can’t see the harm.

  • Shirley December 2, 2009, 9:09 pm

    This is my first visit to this site, I expected to find stories about bad etiquette.

    Er… why is THIS bad etiquette, exactly? How have you, or anyone else, been insulted or slighted by their trip to the court house?

  • NKKingston December 3, 2009, 3:57 am

    As long as they make it clear that they’re already married when they have the reception, rather than going through a fake wedding, then it’s probably okay. Though it would have been nice if they’d told everyone.

    (If you want a really cheesy tax/marriage story: my parents made a point of getting pregnant before they got married, since two single people living together got tax breaks, and a married couple with kids got tax breaks, but a married couple without kids didn’t. My father wanted the shortest period possible without tax breaks!)

  • Danielle December 3, 2009, 10:26 am

    It’s bad etiquitte because, they intentionally did not inform people that they were already married. It seems like it was hidden for the purposes of a gift grab.

  • Dani December 4, 2009, 11:23 am

    Yeah, it’s the fact that it sounds like they’re being sneaky about it. If they’re being open about it, I don’t really see a problem, but it sounds like they might be trying to keep it on the down-low.

  • Chocobo December 21, 2009, 4:06 pm

    Maybe they were trying to keep it on the down low because for some reason people regard the paper signing (why, I don’t know, it’s just the government) as more important than the religious/communal one. Then you get outraged reactions like the womans’ above.

  • Fanboy Wife January 25, 2010, 7:37 pm

    Wow! $10,000? Actually, I don’t see any problem with being legally married before having the ceremony and party.

  • Margaret February 9, 2010, 4:53 am

    I think that is hilariously practical!!!

    To me, it seems weird if either they are keeping the civil marriage a secret OR they are going to have a religious ceremony later but do not actually practice a faith which would not recognize the civil marriage as a marriage within their faith.

  • Lauri February 10, 2010, 1:31 pm

    It seems like a bait-and-switch to me. If I am invited to a wedding, I expect that I am witnessing the marriage of a couple. They are already married. They had their wedding at the courthouse.

    That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with them renewing their vows at a later date with the church ceremony of their dreams, or having a reception at a later time when they can afford to entertain in the style that they want.

    But to invite people to the wedding of a couple that is already married? That’s just tacky and seems like a gift grab to me.

  • Virg February 12, 2010, 3:05 pm

    Lauri wrote:

    “It seems like a bait-and-switch to me. If I am invited to a wedding, I expect that I am witnessing the marriage of a couple. They are already married. They had their wedding at the courthouse.”

    There are many who believe that a marriage unsolemnized by an officiant of their given faith isn’t “real” just because the law recognizes it. If this couple married in court to save the taxes but considered their church wedding to be their “real” wedding, then you’d be seeing the one that’s important to them anyway. I don’t see that it’s particularly underhanded. Are you to imply that if they threw a reception some time after their wedding, that you’d be uninteresting in attending? If that’s the case, then you might have a case, but then I’d have to wonder how close you were to the couple in the first place.


  • Submitter March 4, 2010, 5:11 pm

    To clear a few things up, their courthouse marriage is being kept a complete secret from the rest of the family and I have been warned by those who do know about it not to make any comments or even give congratulations to my cousin so that no more people find out about it. And yes, I was hurt by it. Wouldn’t you be hurt if someone you grew up with made a major life change and you only found out about it because on a whim they invited your sibling to witness it? If they were up front about it and had made an announcement to their family and friends I wouldn’t think it was rude (and yes, it is hilariously practical), but to keep it secret so as not to take the shine off their glorified party at the expense of making their loved ones feel unworthy of such knowledge…that is EHell material, I think.

  • RedSox33 April 4, 2010, 6:02 pm

    The reason that this is in poor etiquette is because she is lying to her family about her marriage. She already had her wedding at the court house. This second ceremony is a vow renewal, not a wedding. She can’t have two weddings unless she gets divorced in between the two. I feel bad for the submitter that she was hurt by this. It’s horrible to lie to your family and friends about something as wonderful as a wedding.

  • sassygirl73 June 18, 2010, 6:30 pm

    I have been to one wedding, of a Catholic, that happened about a year after the civil ceeremony. My friend had proposed to his fianceee I think two years before the religious ceremony. Sadly, the bride started getting a mysterious illness, and was forever going to doctors appointments. They got civilly married first, so she would be on his health insurance. She still didn’t have a diagnosis, but REALLY wanted the religious ceremony, so her parents helped her with the wedding. I don’t know how many people knew, as she comes from a pretty conservative, religious family. However, I didn’t see anything wrong with it, ccnsidering the circumstances.
    On a side note, it was a bit funny, as it was a pretty traditional Catholic wedding. (but from what I have heard, not a full Catholic mass.) and my friend had been a very alternative Goth like guy most of his life.:)

  • Donna February 9, 2011, 10:00 am

    The wedding ceremony can be distinct from the civil proceedings. I think it was a good idea… except for the fact that they lied about it. That was a bad idea. I guess they didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the family, who probably disagree that the civil contract can be distinct from the wedding ceremony.

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