16 Comments

  1. Alicia

    I know that if it waspresented as a wedding and I knew the couple was already married I would feel lied to. If instead it is presented as a 1 year anniversary party and vow renewal I would feel charmed. I’d not call it a wedding as a wedding is where two people get married and they are already married. But an anniversary party with vow renewal is the truth and a lovely truth and one worth celebrating.

    • Jerry

      I never understood why anyone would feel “lied to” in a situation similar to that described above. The purpose of a wedding is to celebrate the marriage. Marriage is a creature of the state — a couple is married when they fill out the appropriate paper work and file it with the state! (For you non-lawyers, state law defines marriage.)

      Seriously, I absolutely do not understand why this is a big deal. (I have other issues with the question, too.) But I’m legitimately curious as to why anyone would have a problem with a party celebrating a marriage after their actual wedding date. I would expect guests to come, be happy for the couple, eat, drink, and be merry. I would consider it boorish to complain about being invited to a party to celebrate a new marriage, even if the couple had legally married earlier for [tax, benefits, green-card, or whatever] legitimate reason. It’s like that Mad Men Episode where Don takes Megan to the Howard Johnsons upstate and she complains that he made her eat ice-cream. . .

      • Chocobo

        I think it’s mostly an objection to the idea that what makes a wedding “real” is the superficial parts: the dress, the setting, the food, the reception, etc., and not the actual act of committing to one another, which has already been done.

      • Alicia

        The purpose of a wedding is not to celbrate a marriage that is the reception. The purpose of a wedding is to become married. A wedding is the event where you go from being not married to married. It is not the celbration it is not the frippery it is when two people go from being not married to married. They are already married so this event is not a wedding. If they call it a wedding they are lying by implication. A wedding reception is the party fun that celebrates the marriage. The wedding itself is a a very specific transition that has already occured. Now if this couple want to have a vow renewal , anniversary party, wedding reception or anything else along those lines I think it is lovely wonderful and I would be in 110% support. If they call it a wedding then it is not truthful as they are already married and I would view it very negative.

          • Winifred Rosenburg

            In most states you file the paperwork ahead of time but it’s not considered official until the offiant signs it saying he performed the ceremony. It’s the ceremony that makes it official. The paperwork is just the documentation of the ceremony.

          • Jerry

            (You realize that the statement “it’s not considered official until the off[ic]iant signs it . . .” proves the argument that one is not married until the paperwork is complete? Again, just saying . . . )

          • Elizabeth

            I wonder what would happen legally, though, if an absent-minded official lost the paperwork or didn’t turn it in…years later would the couple avoid having to get a divorce? Would they have been lying on their tax returns all that time??

          • Jerry

            You’d have to check the statutes in your state. But this is why we filed the paperwork and didn’t leave it to our minister.

          • This happened to my parents (they had a ceremony, they sought paperwork, apparently it wasn’t filed in 1974). They are married anyway. I don’t know if it’s because OK had common law up until recently, or because they declared “married, filing jointly” on all tax returns, but they’ve never had a problem as far as benefits/retirement/SS/taxes are concerned.

          • Winifred Rosenburg

            People can be charged with polygamy if they marry multiple people even if they don’t file any paperwork. Paperwork is just proof of marriage. It’s not the marriage itself. Just like a W-2 is proof of income not income itself. If your employer forgot to send you a W-2 it wouldn’t change the fact that you received income.

          • Jerry

            There’s a long way from criminal charges filed to successful prosecution with respect to polygamy.

            The example with the W-2 is a bad one. It’s apples and oranges. If (assuming I were single), my fiance and I stood in front of a minister, exchanged vows, but didn’t get the paperwork done, we’d have an issue!

  2. Chocobo

    I think a belated reception would be fine. In some faiths, the religious officiant can bless the marriage after a civil ceremony has already been performed. Either way, I think it is wise avoid calling it a wedding since the wedding has already taken place, and the guests might feel deceived. But a reception in honor of the couple and/or a blessing ceremony? Totally fine, and it can come with all the trappings they long for. My heart goes out to their difficult situation and I hope that they have a long and happy marriage together.

  3. Alice

    Under these circumstances, there’s no problem having a wedding a year later! Why not? And anyone who’s judging probably shouldn’t be attending anyway! I cannot see anyone “feeling lied to” or not on-board with this kind of celebration. That would be ridiculous. Also, you will have no problem finding a “minister”, that’s a total misconception. Weddings aren’t all about doing things by “the book” with only religious ceremonies, ha! It’s 2012 people!

  4. Michelle

    Why not call it “a celebration of the marriage of _____” or just “marriage celebration” in casual language. I agree with framing the ceremony as a vow renewal and think that when renewing their vows- particularly since it’s the first time that they’ll say their vows before family and friends- the wedding dress, attendants, etc are fine.

    I think that they should be prepared to handle the issue of gifts with a delicate touch. They should create a registry for guests who would like to purchase a gift from one but be sure not to act like they *expect* gifts. To me, that means not having excessive bridal showers (I think ones with close family and friends are fine, but having massive ones focused on gifts might offend more distant friends who don’t know the situation quite as intimately).

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