Author Topic: Commitment Ceremony odd update #50  (Read 7823 times)

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Nikko-chan

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Commitment Ceremony odd update #50
« on: May 25, 2014, 10:26:04 PM »
I am posting for a friend. She and her fiance are planning to have a ceremony next year. The reason for the commitment ceremony is that my friend is on disability. Through that she gets medical benefits. If they get married she loses her disability, and everything that comes with it, which would leave them in dire financial straits without that extra income, and medical benefits because of her disabilities. So they want to have a commitment ceremony, with similar vows to those used in weddings... basically they want to have a wedding without the legal on paper "we are married as recognized by the government" aspect of it.

Thus my question. Is having a Commitment Ceremony with all of the wedding trappings but the legal stuff etiquettely okay?

What say you, ehellions?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2014, 02:52:43 PM by Nikko-chan »

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2014, 11:32:05 PM »
To be honest, I'd feel a bit weird, if I was invited to a commitment ceremony that had all the trappings of an actual wedding.* If I was the happy couple, I'd focus more on making it a special party, rather than having a big white dress, tossing the bouquet, wedding-style cake, etc.

*Unless the couple were prevented by law from marrying (such as a same-gender couple). In which case, I'd be fine with a BWW type ceremony. But this couple DOES have the option of getting married, despite the financial drawbacks, and are choosing not to do so.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2014, 11:34:34 PM »
Something low key, yes.  Something on the level of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West...no.  Which to be fair is like comparing a flea and an elephant, but still.


I would feel weird knowing that  I was attending a "wedding" with a big white dress and 12 bridesmaids, and 3 junior bridesmaids, and a garter/bouquet toss, and all of the typical wedding stuff, when the couple wasn't actually legally married.  I would attend because I love them, but I would still feel weird.


I think if friend and fiance bill it as a celebration of love, rather than a "wedding", they won't go wrong
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 11:38:01 PM by PastryGoddess »

purple

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2014, 12:20:37 AM »
I think it's a bit 'off' myself.

Nikko-chan

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2014, 02:09:39 AM »
I think it's a bit 'off' myself.

thats what i thought too, but i figured i'd see what everyone thought.

TurtleDove

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2014, 02:50:35 AM »
I would likely happily attend such a party, but yes, it seems off to me. It is essentially calling attention to the fact they have chosen *not* to marry. And generally that isn't an event.

greencat

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2014, 05:05:39 AM »
I was thinking it strange that marriage would cause disability benefits to end, but I did a little research and discovered that there are a number of circumstances where that would be the case, even under just the laws of my own country.

I once attended a handfasting, where the couple had chosen not to wed for an extended period of time, for various reasons, but wanted to make a social commitment to couplehood.  It was a very simple ceremony at a low-key party in the couple's home.  It did not have most of the trappings of a wedding.  It wasn't weird.

If they bill the event as a non-wedding commitment ceremony of some kind and make it clear that it's not a legal wedding, but is a formal acknowledgement that they're a serious couple, it could be fine. It could also be tremendously tacky.  It's probably not actually rude if they don't try to deceive others that it's a legal wedding.

peaches

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2014, 07:24:07 AM »
A commitment ceremony wouldn't bother me, as long as it was described clearly as such.

There are pros and cons to marriage. I can imagine situations where marriage might add more complications than a couple would want. (Although, in those situations, I donít think Iíd be having a celebration.) 

There are couples who can't legally marry in the jurisdiction where they live. A commitment ceremony in their situation is surely understandable. 

I don't think there's any special etiquette surrounding commitment ceremonies (or any that prohibits them). I think the details and scale of the event would be up to the couple. 


gramma dishes

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2014, 11:05:10 AM »
I'd be fine with it.

I know some older couples (widows and widowers specifically) who also choose not to marry because of the financial issues that can come up -- and which vary from state to state.  They may live together and share virtually everything, but what's hers is hers and what's his is his and they're more comfortable with that rather than the risk of having state laws alter the distribution of their individual assets which can sometimes happen, even overriding preexisting wills.

Luci

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2014, 11:17:18 AM »
I believe strongly in marriage but have also seen many cases where it is just too impractical financially to do it. Greencat mentioned doing research, and I do know that in the US some laws can be unkind to married people. I also know some couples get a divorce but maintain a married lifestyle for financial reasons.

I would support the commitment ceremony if it was low-key as mentioned several times above.

shhh its me

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2014, 12:10:55 PM »
  If they call it a commitment ceremony I don't think its rude , if I didn't already know the general reason it might make me curious though.

This isn't something you want to think about just before getting married, but I think in some circumstances I think getting married PERMANENTLY (even if the marriage ends in divorce) ends some SSI/Disability benefits. I know that if I was disabled and if divorce meant my income would be cut for the rest of my life that would be a serious concern.

gollymolly2

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2014, 03:25:01 PM »
I'm fine with this sort of thing, as long as they're upfront about the fact it's not a legal marriage. People can commit to spend their lives together without having the government involved. And that's what I'm there to celebrate - the commitment, not the legal agreement. But, I've been to a few big white weddings lately and found out later that they didn't actually get legally married. And it would have been fine if I'd known that during the wedding. But something about learning it after the fact made me feel lied to.  So I like your friends' plan.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2014, 04:33:21 PM »
I would be okay with it, both because of experience with same-sex couples having commitment ceremonies--and sometimes referring to themselves afterward as "married' and using the words wife and husband--and because I have a close friend in the same situation as your friend. She and her partner have been using "partner" and/or "fiance" for years, but are unlikely to get legally married unless the social security disability and medicare rules change significantly.

However, given what you say of your friend's plans, I'd suggest that she double-check that she isn't living somewhere that still recognizes common-law marriage. If she is, I suspect the combination of the ceremony with wedding-like vows in front of friends, and possibly referring to each other with the words "husband," "wife," or "spouse," might lead the government to decide that they are married, with the consequences she's trying to avoid, where "partner" might be safer. A commitment ceremony by itself probably wouldn't, but I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, only a suggestion that they might want to at least do a bit of googling if they haven't already.
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z_squared82

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2014, 04:39:59 PM »
I would be okay with it, both because of experience with same-sex couples having commitment ceremonies--and sometimes referring to themselves afterward as "married' and using the words wife and husband--and because I have a close friend in the same situation as your friend. She and her partner have been using "partner" and/or "fiance" for years, but are unlikely to get legally married unless the social security disability and medicare rules change significantly.

However, given what you say of your friend's plans, I'd suggest that she double-check that she isn't living somewhere that still recognizes common-law marriage. If she is, I suspect the combination of the ceremony with wedding-like vows in front of friends, and possibly referring to each other with the words "husband," "wife," or "spouse," might lead the government to decide that they are married, with the consequences she's trying to avoid, where "partner" might be safer. A commitment ceremony by itself probably wouldn't, but I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, only a suggestion that they might want to at least do a bit of googling if they haven't already.

My cousin and his wife had a religious wedding without the civil part. B/c they are both on disability. No one had a problem with this. The government did (especially since they then began to live together) and threatened to go after all parties involved for fraud. They no longer live together but are still in a committed relationship.

I'd definitely bill it as a commitment ceremony and encourage keeping it low key (not b/c they don't deserve something big and spectacular but b/c the less attention drawn, the less likely anyone will try to go after anyone else for fraud).

mechtilde

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Re: Commitment Ceremony
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2014, 04:50:25 PM »
As long as they are upfront about it being a commitment ceremony, not a wedding, then it is fine.
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