I think for me I struggle to understand the following situation. Amy and Sue are legally married on January 15. They have a BWW July 15 and say that is when they got married. What were they for the previous six months?
You'd probably have to ask them. Is it important that they have a clear label? Sometimes we just don't have a good word for a situation but that doesn't invalidate the situation in some way.
Again, I will happily celebrate the BWW with them....but I will consider it strange that they are calling it a wedding when they have already been married for six months.
I don't consider it strange at all. It's just an evolving state. The reasons to get/not get a piece of paper are often legal or financial. The reasons to have a wedding are often social.
So as an example. Our HC is living together, happy together, planing a future together, but for one reason or another haven't gotten around to getting married yet.
Then a test result comes back and it's a bad one. Out of the blue, everything changes, priorities shift, lives are never the same.
So the HC realizes that if they are legally wed, soon, then they can solve a lot of problems and potentially save a life. Easy decision.
But what about a 'wedding'? Maybe they just don't get one? Maybe the rush something together in a few days?
Pros: Traditional etiquette is satisfied.
Cons: Parents, siblings, friends and family are saddened and disappointed to miss out on an event that they may have been happily anticipating.
When I line it up like that - for me it's an easy decision. Get the license and legal stuff done, have a Wedding later with the friends and family who love you and want to support you. I'd rather have Emily Post wag her finger at me than deal with my Father's heartache that he'll never walk me down the aisle.
First a disclaimer. Should what you say happen for my friends, following would not be the stuff in my head. Following is meant as part of "rationalized" discussion about the topic.
But, how I see it, that slightly goes under the "though luck"-category. Maybe it is because for me marriage is a financial agreement firstly. It does have also plenty emotional value for me (and I recognize it does have spiritual value for others too, but about that I'm not fit to discuss here), but love does not need papers, nor it needs public recognition. If it would only be about love, marriage would not be needed at all. But historically, and mainly for today too, marriage is about finances. It is a decision between two people who at that moment will promise to each other to take responsibility of each other, to support each other and to act as a unit, financial unit. If you decided not to marry, you just take the legal and financial risk involved with not marrying. If you are living happily together and planning future, this should be, at that point, a conscious decision. And when situation suddenly changes, you reap the result of your conscious decision. This might mean that you don't get the happy social side effects of getting married.
I don't condemn in anyway living together without being married (I do it myself too) or feel that everybody should get married. I just say, that adult in relationship
should know the benefits and risks of marrying/not marrying. There really should be the thought and discussion about "hey, you are not in my health insurance/are not considered my near relative and thus cannot decide about my medical treatment should something happen/won't be able to live in our apartment if I die in accident because we are not married, is this reason big enough that we marry as soon as legally possible or do we risk it and marry with nice big do later on with good time?". Because there are no right answers for these. You might be in a relationship
where you'd rather that your parents or siblings will make the decisions about your medical treatment. It's just... a person old enough to marry should know these things and make decisions based on that.
But as I said, should someone near find themselves in such situation, I would not think of this. And I'd happily attend a celebration about their marriage, even if they got legally married long time before. But I'd like to know about it.
Also, I don't remember who talked about words changing. But it's slightly different about marriage than word "literally" when used in general discussion. You could use a word "murder" as an example. Yes, both can be used in casual discussion anyway person talking wants, and it can be assigned different meanings too. But they both do also have "clear" legal definition, and I don't run around claiming my grandpa was murdered when he died of old age, even if the result is same. That is because it might cause terrible misunderstandings when people would assume I'm using the publicly known, clearly defined legal meaning of the word.