Wedding Bliss and Blues > Where Do I Start?

Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.

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Cz. Burrito:
A friend of mine became engaged to a lovely woman last year.  Between them, they have five kids.  Money is very tight, and it doesn't look like they'll be able to move in together until sometime next year (finding a place for 7 people, even if they're not all going to be there all the time, is rather difficult!).

She is having some health problems of late and the insurance situation is iffy.  He wants to get married sooner rather than later so that he can put her on his health insurance through work.  His thought was to go down to the courthouse and get married without telling anybody and then hold their big wedding later as planned.

I told him that he shouldn't deceive people like that, and I recommended that he have a small ceremony now if they decide that's what they want to do, TELL people they got married, and then hold a reception at a later date for all of their friends and family.  I hope he does anything besides the plan he proposed.   :-\

lakey:
I think they would be better off to be honest about what they are doing and why. Have the courthouse wedding. Tell people what they did and why. In some countries, and religions, it is actually acceptable to have 2 weddings, a civil ceremony and a religious wedding. Are they members of a church or religion? Would it be possible for them to have a religious ceremony, or perhaps a repeating of the vows later along with a reception?

I don't think that repeating the vows is a problem so much as misleading people. I can see their wanting to have the fancy wedding with all their family and friends, especially since there are children who could be a part of the festivities.

Cz. Burrito:
He's Catholic. I don't know about her, and I don't think he had his previous marriage annulled, so I don't know if they're planning a religious ceremony or not.

I emphasized that I think the biggest problem is concealing the first wedding, if that's what they do. If they are both religious and would be doing the second ceremony for the religious aspect, I think that's reasonable. But they want to hide the fact that they would already be legally married, and they think their families would be upset about the secret legal ceremony, which I think says a lot about where they and their families are coming from in terms of the legal/religious ceremonies being separate concepts. Which is to say, they aren't.

I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this...I think it's a disingenuous 'out' to say "well, we are having both parts of the marriage ceremony separate and a year apart" if you consider yourself to be fully married and refer to yourselves as husband and wife after the legal ceremony.  There are definitely people who do not feel they are married until they have said their vows with their god as witness in the presence of their religious leader. That is not the case here.  In any case, if the religious part is important to them for the religious bit, I'm certain that they could have a small religious ceremony on reasonably short notice.  They've been engaged for about 8 months now, so it's also not like they couldn't have already been working on this if it were that important to them.

I also think it would be wrong to not have the children at their legal wedding.  They should be involved for sure.  So I don't think "for the children" is a good reason for a second, large ceremony. If they do anything for the children, it will be to teach them to not deceive.

CakeEater:
I don't think it's a great plan.

However, I think if they did it themselves and never breathed a word to anyone, they could get away with it. But they've obviously told you their plan, and who knows who else. So it is likely to get out. (Not because you would tell, OP, but because the more casual the couple are with this info, the more likely it is that someone who knows will slip up.)

I think in real life, people would be understanding about the circumstances and let them get away with it, too.

CrazyDaffodilLady:
Things like this are hard to keep secret.  They already told one person (you). People tend to get very upset if they learn they've been deceived.  There are repercussions the couple probably hasn't considered: even simple things like when they'll celebrate their anniversary.

Are they going to hide the initial marriage from their kids?  If not, how do they keep the kids from blabbing?

It seems like a bad idea to start a marriage with a lie.  If they're actively religious, are they willing to discuss this with a priest?  If they're planning a future religious ceremony, will a priest be willing to perform it?

There's truth to the warning "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive".

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