A Civil Ceremony Before the Big Day?

by Pastor Marie April Gismondi

Thinking of signing the license and having a civil ceremony before the big day? This has been a hot topic as of late and there are many reasons why a couple would want to be legally married before the public ceremony.

Health insurance is a biggie! One of my couples signed their license 10 months before the wedding saving over 4k on the bride’s insurance.

Pregnancy, immigration, new home ownership, being able to file a joint tax return, even astrological reasons (makes grandma happy in some cultures) are all perfectly valid reasons why the public expression of your love and the day you make it a matter of public record need not be the same date.

But will there be anything to sign at the second ceremony?

Yes, if you wish.

What some of my couples have done to get the legal benefits yet still keep some aspect of a change in status on the wedding day, is to apply for the first license with no change of name. When the wedding day comes they get a second license on which they do take the Groom’s last name. For many this really does make a distinction between the contractual aspect of marriage, and the spiritual / emotional part of marriage.

What if we didn’t tell anyone we’re already married?

This is your choice and many do keep it a secret. As for the paperwork, there is a little box the clerk checks that says second ceremony and believe me no one has ever noticed or questioned this. With that said many families are very understanding and supportive when there is a good reason to have a civil ceremony first.

In this economy there is nothing wrong with thinking out of the box. I can’t speak for all officiants, but I charge no additional fee to the couples I will be marrying at a later date.

Happy Planning!

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