Author Topic: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.  (Read 9696 times)

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Cz. Burrito

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #90 on: April 18, 2014, 09:56:12 AM »
Dealing with one of these right now in our family... deliberately deceitful so they can have their BWW long after the fact.  They both have said "we feel like we didn't get the wedding gifts we would have had we had a BWW so we are having it now"
 
Calling it a renewal of their vows or a celebration reception would be acceptable - calling it a wedding, not really.

Oh that's just awful.  Weddings are not fundraisers.   >:(

rigs32

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #91 on: April 18, 2014, 10:01:47 AM »

And that mindset doesn't even make any sense! It costs a whole lot more money to put on a BWW than couples usually 'recoup' in gifts.


Assuming you actually host your guests properly.....

z_squared82

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #92 on: April 18, 2014, 11:22:50 AM »
I actually believe my SILís sister (or my brotherís SIL, whichever you prefer), X, is trying to do this now. She didnít have a BWW for either of her marriages. Just popped down to the courthouse. When my SIL and Brother got married, they had a BWW and X was bitter the whole time. Kept passive aggressively harping on the photographer, of all things. Well, if X's Pinterest page is at all telling, theyíll be doing a Big White Vow Renewal.

Iím so glad I wonít be invited. I hope my SIL doesnít get roped into being a ďbridesmaidĒ.

cheyne

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #93 on: April 23, 2014, 02:06:35 PM »
Etiquette (according to Merriam Webster dictionary) is: "the rules indicating the proper and polite way to behave."  So does etiquette only apply to certain people?  If you think you're the exception does that give you a pass?  If everyone who has a reason gets a pass, why do we have etiquette at all?  Or is it too "judgemental" to ask people to hold to correct etiquette? 

When it comes to being married, etiquette is clear that you get one wedding per couple* unless there is a divorce in-between.  If you choose to be married due to health insurance, military service, citizenship status or same-sex, you are married.  That fact does not change just because you want to have a religious blessing or a BWW for whatever reason you want those things (for family harmony, gifts or being Princess for a Day).

If we keep making exceptions for everyone who "doesn't feel married" or wants a BWW after their courthouse wedding for the reasons stated above, where does it stop?  Is it only certain people that must hold to etiquette while others are exempt? 

I have no problem going to a reception to celebrate a marriage held earlier.  The problem with holding 2 weddings is that you are lying to your guests and lying to people isn't cool.  In answer to the OP, your friend should be encouraged to do exactly as you stated.  Tell people they are married and have the reception later.

All "yous" general
*I know this is different in Europe/outside the US. 


LadyL

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #94 on: April 23, 2014, 04:02:23 PM »
I know a couple who took the "reenactment" part very literally - they had two weddings, one on each coast, because their families were bi-coastal. They "reenacted" the entire ceremony from Wedding #1 at Wedding #2 complete with processional, readings, vows, and recessional. 

turnip

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #95 on: April 23, 2014, 04:49:49 PM »
Etiquette (according to Merriam Webster dictionary) is: "the rules indicating the proper and polite way to behave."  So does etiquette only apply to certain people?  If you think you're the exception does that give you a pass?  If everyone who has a reason gets a pass, why do we have etiquette at all?  Or is it too "judgemental" to ask people to hold to correct etiquette? 

When it comes to being married, etiquette is clear that you get one wedding per couple* unless there is a divorce in-between.  If you choose to be married due to health insurance, military service, citizenship status or same-sex, you are married.  That fact does not change just because you want to have a religious blessing or a BWW for whatever reason you want those things (for family harmony, gifts or being Princess for a Day).

If we keep making exceptions for everyone who "doesn't feel married" or wants a BWW after their courthouse wedding for the reasons stated above, where does it stop?  Is it only certain people that must hold to etiquette while others are exempt? 

I have no problem going to a reception to celebrate a marriage held earlier.  The problem with holding 2 weddings is that you are lying to your guests and lying to people isn't cool.  In answer to the OP, your friend should be encouraged to do exactly as you stated.  Tell people they are married and have the reception later.

All "yous" general
*I know this is different in Europe/outside the US.

See the bolded. In your asterisk you clarify that this is the etiquette according to current U.S. norms.  My observation is that this etiquette is perhaps in the process of changing in the U.S. - that there are guests ( myself included ) who are not concerned about the legal status of the happy couple. 

There are happy couples who cannot get legally married.  There are happy couples who must get legally married immediately or risk terrible repercussions.  Many happy couples are already sharing a life and a home, so a wedding is not the gateway to a whole new world in the way it used to be.   And of course many people just like to go to a big party!

All of this, I think, leads to an environment where a lot of people are less interested in dictating what a 'wedding' has to be.  If we like the couple, and they are having a wedding, then that's enough for us - we'll go and eat cake and drink champagne with them.

I know not everyone feels this way - of course.  But back to the OP I would be very careful about trying to 'convince' a friend not to have a non-legal wedding ceremony.   If my friend knows her family and knows her guests than she is better able than I to evaluate how concerned they are about whether or not they are witnessing a legal binding.

TurtleDove

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #96 on: April 23, 2014, 05:16:08 PM »
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.   :-\

turnip, this is from the OP.  No one is saying that people cannot or should not have the party and celebration that they want.  Some of us are saying, however, that they should be honest about what it is.  I am even fine with having a BWW feel so long as it is a solemnization of vows rather than purported to be the first time the vows are exchanged.  It is as simple as changing the tense from "I do!" to "I have!" 


CakeEater

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #97 on: April 23, 2014, 05:27:42 PM »
Etiquette (according to Merriam Webster dictionary) is: "the rules indicating the proper and polite way to behave."  So does etiquette only apply to certain people?  If you think you're the exception does that give you a pass?  If everyone who has a reason gets a pass, why do we have etiquette at all?  Or is it too "judgemental" to ask people to hold to correct etiquette? 

When it comes to being married, etiquette is clear that you get one wedding per couple* unless there is a divorce in-between.  If you choose to be married due to health insurance, military service, citizenship status or same-sex, you are married.  That fact does not change just because you want to have a religious blessing or a BWW for whatever reason you want those things (for family harmony, gifts or being Princess for a Day).

If we keep making exceptions for everyone who "doesn't feel married" or wants a BWW after their courthouse wedding for the reasons stated above, where does it stop?  Is it only certain people that must hold to etiquette while others are exempt? 

I have no problem going to a reception to celebrate a marriage held earlier.  The problem with holding 2 weddings is that you are lying to your guests and lying to people isn't cool.  In answer to the OP, your friend should be encouraged to do exactly as you stated.  Tell people they are married and have the reception later.

All "yous" general
*I know this is different in Europe/outside the US.

See the bolded. In your asterisk you clarify that this is the etiquette according to current U.S. norms.  My observation is that this etiquette is perhaps in the process of changing in the U.S. - that there are guests ( myself included ) who are not concerned about the legal status of the happy couple. 

There are happy couples who cannot get legally married.  There are happy couples who must get legally married immediately or risk terrible repercussions.  Many happy couples are already sharing a life and a home, so a wedding is not the gateway to a whole new world in the way it used to be.   And of course many people just like to go to a big party!

All of this, I think, leads to an environment where a lot of people are less interested in dictating what a 'wedding' has to be.  If we like the couple, and they are having a wedding, then that's enough for us - we'll go and eat cake and drink champagne with them.

I know not everyone feels this way - of course.  But back to the OP I would be very careful about trying to 'convince' a friend not to have a non-legal wedding ceremony.   If my friend knows her family and knows her guests than she is better able than I to evaluate how concerned they are about whether or not they are witnessing a legal binding.

The question for me, though, is where does it end? Do you celebrate the quickie legal wedding with a card and a gift, then spend money to attend the BWW months later, then what if elderly Grandma couldn't attend that one and the couple has another ceremony at Grandma's church that she can witness. As the bride's sister or mother or best friend, do you have to go to that one? Just how many celebrations of the one couple's joining is enough? Especially if they've had an angagement party, showers, hen's night etc.

What if they have a one year anniversary party 6 months after that? It sounds silly, but I've seen just this situtation. And even the bride's mother got pretty weary of celebrating her daughter's 'wedding'.

My brother and his wife were married in a civil ceremony with about 20 family members and close friends present. They're having a church wedding in his wife's home country about a year later. I love my brother and his new wife, but I don't feel a need to go to this ceremony, or drink champagne with them. I saw them get married the first time: they're married now. I'm interested to look at photos of the church wedding, but that's about it. Happily, they understand that and aren't pushing anyone to come to wedding number 2.

It's not about whether you like someone enough to let them off the hook.

gellchom

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #98 on: April 23, 2014, 05:29:57 PM »
Coming late to the conversation and admitting I skimmed the last few pages --

I can see all the different points of view.  Here's mine:

The legal interests and the social* interests, matters, and affected parties, with regard to both weddings and marriages, don't always equal each other.  (Note that in all the following, fraud would be an obvious exception.  But we aren't talking about that.)

*I don't mean "social" in the "party" sense, I mean "in the eyes of the community" as opposed to "in the eyes of the state."

The legal or "paperwork" parts -- the stuff that the government requires, license, officiant, ceremony with certain bone fides -- are very important to the couple and to the government.  They really aren't the guests' business.  But the civil wedding (which may be the only ceremony and may be combined with a religious one) is the only one of interest to the government.  You can have a BWW and tell everyone you're married and share a name and so forth, but if you don't perform the legal requirements -- or the state won't accept them, e.g. same sex couples in most states -- then you might well be considered married by your community and families, but not by the state.

Conversely, the social (including in some cases religious) parts -- including possibly a wedding with guests and any religious ceremony, but the point being that you are holding yourself out as a married couple, a family unit, to other people -- are very important to the couple and to society (friends, family, community).  The government couldn't care less.  You could be secretly legally married but not live as a married couple or tell anyone you are married, and be considered married by the state, but not by the community. 

In most cases, the two will be the same: you're both legally and socially married, or neither.

But as you see, it's theoretically possible to have only one or the other.  And because of that, I cannot agree with the posters who insist that no one should ever call the social event their "wedding" if the legal event was separate and more than a couple of days before or after.  (And you might be very surprised to know how common that is.  My husband has performed several such, for one boring technical reason or another.  We almost did it ourselves, until we learned that for a fee the distant state where we were to be married would waive the requirement that we get the license in person three weeks before the wedding.  No one ever discusses it with the guests, not because they are trying to trick anyone, but because it simply doesn't matter.)

Nor do I think that such a couple is "lying."  They may be perfectly honest about it with any and all when it comes up somehow, yet still call the event their "wedding" in conversation and on their invitations.  I sure would -- even if every single guest knew the legal details, I wouldn't put "solemnization of vows" or something, I'd put "marriage."  The same as I wouldn't insist that same-sex couples having ceremonies in non-marriage-equality states not put "marriage" on their invitations just because the state won't recognize it as such.  It's just not something that has to be spelled out on the invitations.  Same for insisting that they say "I have" instead of "I do."

Part of this is coming from a respect for religious, not just civil law.  A religious ceremony, at least in my religion, isn't just a blessing by clergy -- in fact, clergy aren't even a requirement.  But a ketuba (marriage contract) and certain rituals absolutely are.  And many people absolutely would not consider themselves married without them, even if they had totally satisfied the state's requirements.  It is terribly disrespectful to insist that they are wrong, and only the state's requirements really matter.  "I have" simply wouldn't work.

A good point was made about respecting the struggle for marriage equality; we don't want to minimize the importance of civil marriage, either, for that and other reasons.  I'm just saying it's separate, and not the only or, to many people, most important side of marriage.

The legal issues really aren't the guests' business (again, fraud excepted), any more than the virginity of the bride or the consummation of the marriage, which not long ago were, and still in some places are, considered very much the community's business -- people would have felt outraged if those had been misrepresented.

Cake eater, I think your brother's situation is different, because in his case, it sounds like both events were "social" weddings, even though only one was religious and one was small.

I think there is a big space between lying to your guests and just not making a point of stressing or even mentioning things that are really not their business.

turnip

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #99 on: April 23, 2014, 07:36:42 PM »
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.   :-\

turnip, this is from the OP.  No one is saying that people cannot or should not have the party and celebration that they want.  Some of us are saying, however, that they should be honest about what it is.  I am even fine with having a BWW feel so long as it is a solemnization of vows rather than purported to be the first time the vows are exchanged.  It is as simple as changing the tense from "I do!" to "I have!"

I was responding specifically to the title -  "Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to."

And while I think solemnization is a lovely term and I'd be delighted if it caught on, I have to admit that if I was planning a 'post-legal wedding ceremony' and was trying to think of an alternate title for it, 'solemnization' probably wouldn't occur to me in 100 years.  I'm sympathetic to couples who call it a wedding just because that's the closest term that occurs to them that they think other people will understand.

LtPowers

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #100 on: April 24, 2014, 05:33:22 PM »
The legal or "paperwork" parts -- the stuff that the government requires, license, officiant, ceremony with certain bone fides -- are very important to the couple and to the government.  They really aren't the guests' business.  But the civil wedding (which may be the only ceremony and may be combined with a religious one) is the only one of interest to the government.  You can have a BWW and tell everyone you're married and share a name and so forth, but if you don't perform the legal requirements -- or the state won't accept them, e.g. same sex couples in most states -- then you might well be considered married by your community and families, but not by the state.

But what you're missing here is that the government is not an independent entity completely separate from society and community.  It is part and parcel.  Government is nothing more than an administrative arm set up to execute the will of society.  So if you're married in the eyes of the law, you're married in the eyes of your community -- they are one and the same.

You have a point about people who treat the religious ceremony as an essential component -- which is why no one is objecting to couples having a ceremony in which their religion blesses or formalizes their union.  But to go to the town clerk and get a license and get married and accept all of the myriad benefits of marriage that society (via government) bestows upon married couples, only to claim up and down that you're not "really" married... that's dishonest.  You have to take the good with the bad.  In exchange for all those benefits society offers, society expects couples to hold up their end of the bargain.

Now, of course, society doesn't enforce that through the legal system, but rather through etiquette.  And that's why etiquette says it's not okay to pretend you're not married when you really are (or to obtain government marriage benefits if you don't really consider yourself married).


Powers  &8^]

mj

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #101 on: April 24, 2014, 05:54:48 PM »
Coming late to the conversation and admitting I skimmed the last few pages --

I can see all the different points of view.  Here's mine:

The legal interests and the social* interests, matters, and affected parties, with regard to both weddings and marriages, don't always equal each other.  (Note that in all the following, fraud would be an obvious exception.  But we aren't talking about that.)

*I don't mean "social" in the "party" sense, I mean "in the eyes of the community" as opposed to "in the eyes of the state."

The legal or "paperwork" parts -- the stuff that the government requires, license, officiant, ceremony with certain bone fides -- are very important to the couple and to the government.  They really aren't the guests' business.  But the civil wedding (which may be the only ceremony and may be combined with a religious one) is the only one of interest to the government.  You can have a BWW and tell everyone you're married and share a name and so forth, but if you don't perform the legal requirements -- or the state won't accept them, e.g. same sex couples in most states -- then you might well be considered married by your community and families, but not by the state.

Conversely, the social (including in some cases religious) parts -- including possibly a wedding with guests and any religious ceremony, but the point being that you are holding yourself out as a married couple, a family unit, to other people -- are very important to the couple and to society (friends, family, community).  The government couldn't care less.  You could be secretly legally married but not live as a married couple or tell anyone you are married, and be considered married by the state, but not by the community. 

In most cases, the two will be the same: you're both legally and socially married, or neither.

But as you see, it's theoretically possible to have only one or the other.  And because of that, I cannot agree with the posters who insist that no one should ever call the social event their "wedding" if the legal event was separate and more than a couple of days before or after.  (And you might be very surprised to know how common that is.  My husband has performed several such, for one boring technical reason or another.  We almost did it ourselves, until we learned that for a fee the distant state where we were to be married would waive the requirement that we get the license in person three weeks before the wedding.  No one ever discusses it with the guests, not because they are trying to trick anyone, but because it simply doesn't matter.)

Nor do I think that such a couple is "lying."  They may be perfectly honest about it with any and all when it comes up somehow, yet still call the event their "wedding" in conversation and on their invitations.  I sure would -- even if every single guest knew the legal details, I wouldn't put "solemnization of vows" or something, I'd put "marriage."  The same as I wouldn't insist that same-sex couples having ceremonies in non-marriage-equality states not put "marriage" on their invitations just because the state won't recognize it as such.  It's just not something that has to be spelled out on the invitations.  Same for insisting that they say "I have" instead of "I do."

Part of this is coming from a respect for religious, not just civil law.  A religious ceremony, at least in my religion, isn't just a blessing by clergy -- in fact, clergy aren't even a requirement.  But a ketuba (marriage contract) and certain rituals absolutely are.  And many people absolutely would not consider themselves married without them, even if they had totally satisfied the state's requirements.  It is terribly disrespectful to insist that they are wrong, and only the state's requirements really matter.  "I have" simply wouldn't work.

A good point was made about respecting the struggle for marriage equality; we don't want to minimize the importance of civil marriage, either, for that and other reasons.  I'm just saying it's separate, and not the only or, to many people, most important side of marriage.

The legal issues really aren't the guests' business (again, fraud excepted), any more than the virginity of the bride or the consummation of the marriage, which not long ago were, and still in some places are, considered very much the community's business -- people would have felt outraged if those had been misrepresented.

Cake eater, I think your brother's situation is different, because in his case, it sounds like both events were "social" weddings, even though only one was religious and one was small.

I think there is a big space between lying to your guests and just not making a point of stressing or even mentioning things that are really not their business.

In some cases though, the civil and religious marriage lines are more blurred.  In the example with my family member, the religious ceremony used to bless the marriage after a civil ceremony and not married within a church has a very specific name.  Those familiar with this religion have so far been shocked to receive their invitation to the "wedding" when we know this religion to call it by another name, and this religion is very specific that the civil wedding is not to be cast aside.  In other words, they also believe that you cannot re-marry twice within the same marriage.  The civil ceremony is considered pertinent and permanent.  This is the reason why the couple will have to perform a certain amount of steps to have their marriage blessed by the church.

So knowing this and receiving an invitation to their "wedding" flies in the face of those who believe in this religion because we know this church does not allow it.  It is confusing and appears to be deceitful. 

Mikayla

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #102 on: April 25, 2014, 11:33:14 AM »

The legal issues really aren't the guests' business (again, fraud excepted), any more than the virginity of the bride or the consummation of the marriage, which not long ago were, and still in some places are, considered very much the community's business -- people would have felt outraged if those had been misrepresented.
(snip)
I think there is a big space between lying to your guests and just not making a point of stressing or even mentioning things that are really not their business.

First, CakeEater, I agree with all of that.  Miss Manners has expressed those same concerns, simply because each new trend is heading bigger/better/more.  Today's controversial topics like honeyfunds will become the norm; then what?  Door charges? 

On the bolded, I'm trying to find a non-humorous way to state the difference between someone's viriginity vs the legal status of a couple taking marriage vows!  Of course the former is nobody's business, but I'd never agree the latter is in the same category.  I want to know what I'm witnessing when I'm watching a ceremony. 

Another way to put it is that my favorite part of any wedding is watching a couple become husband and wife.  If I somehow end up attending a re-do,  this would be meaningless to me, and no different than someone re-enacting their graduation ceremony.  And if I later learned that they were married and I didn't know it, I'd consider this a lie by omission.

gellchom

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #103 on: April 25, 2014, 12:23:54 PM »
Another way to put it is that my favorite part of any wedding is watching a couple become husband and wife.  If I somehow end up attending a re-do,  this would be meaningless to me, and no different than someone re-enacting their graduation ceremony.  And if I later learned that they were married and I didn't know it, I'd consider this a lie by omission.
I think this pretty much encapsulates it.  For some of us, whatever comes first is what makes "a couple become husband and wife" (or wife and wife or husband and husband).  For some of us, it's whatever satisfies the government that they are married.  For some of us, it's whatever the couple decides "makes them" a married couple.

Most of us feel pretty much "one to a couple"; the disagreement is what counts as a "wedding" and what doesn't.  To some of us, an earlier, private, uncelebrated, legal proceeding counts as "a wedding" (I don't mean an elopement that you change your mind about later, I mean a quick visit to a government office to get the legal requirements covered before the planned wedding for some reason) and to some of us, it is more like getting the license.  So for us, "what we are witnessing" isn't changed by that.

And that colors our feelings when we attend the wedding.  Some wouldn't want it called a "wedding" and would feel that "I do" is a lie, because they already had satisfied the legal requirements.  But to me, if the couple felt they were forced to call it a "blessing" or "reenactment" or "renewal" or "sanctification of their marriage" or something and had to say "I did" instead of "I do," that would feel worse.  And it's for exactly the same reason as lead Mikayla to the opposite position! 

That is: don't invite me to a meaningless ritual.  But where we part company is what makes a ritual meaningful or meaningless.

In my opinion, if this is, to the couple, their wedding, what makes them a married couple, then the vows they are taking have meaning, and it's an honor to be there, and I really don't care that they took care of the civil legalities another time, and I don't think they should have to devalue what they are doing today by not calling it a wedding and saying "we did" or something.  But I agree that if they feel that the civil legalities were really the important part and they have been a married couple since then, then (I suppose except in the case of a religious ceremony that the couple takes seriously) I feel like this ceremony is the attempt to have things both ways that we all pretty much disapprove of, and they should just have a reception.

Mikayla, I am genuinely curious (you know I respect your opinion!): if The Moment is both (1) whatever establishes the legal status and (2) what you need to see in order to feel that it counts as "the wedding," then how do you (and others in your camp on this) feel about
- people in countries or religions where the civil and religious ceremonies cannot be done at the same time
- same-sex couples who want their wedding in their home town, but live in a state that does not yet have marriage equality, so must go somewhere else another time for legalities?

To me, it seems both mean and unnecessary to insist that these couples should not call their weddings "weddings" or say "I do" and the like.

And I guess for people who have other reasons for treating a separate legal ceremony like no more than getting a license, I feel the same.  I don't feel lied to or as if I am witnessing something meaningless in such a case.

[And I also stress that I am not talking about people who really are trying to fool people and have already considered themselves a married couple, and I know that you are not talking about people who had a civil proceeding just a few days before the wedding for some logistical reason.]

ladyknight1

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Re: Wedding reenactment-- really hope I convinced my friend not to.
« Reply #104 on: April 25, 2014, 09:37:48 PM »
I guess I like the old fashioned way of the HC eloping if they couldn't afford a BWW or didn't want to wait for one, in the case of needing to be legally married before getting sent away with the military or for other reasons.

Maybe they were thrown a big party later, but they didn't call it a wedding.

I would have no interest in attending a do-over unless it was a vow renewal, which is usually held on a milestone anniversary.