We got married before our wedding!! Now what?

Online Users: 1,250 guest(s), 1 user(s). Replies: 13

Misstnt Posts : 26 Registered: 5/21/10
We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jun 29, 2010 9:32 AM

So...we sorta got married over the weekend. In secret. FH (DH now!) has always dreamed of having his favorite singer marry him. A few years ago when FH was at one of the shows, he found out that the singer was ordained and he said, "someday you're going to marry me." I always laughed it off and was like "yeah right, like that's ever gonna happen." Well, this guy was in town this past weekend for two shows so the first night we talked to him after the show and told him we wanted him to marry us. He was honored and reminded us that it WAS legit and for real and we said ok! So the next night we went to the show and sure enough, we were brought on stage and married. It was AWESOME! It was spontaneous (because we didn't think it was going to happen) and wonderful. No one there knew us and everyone was taking pictures and cheering. Then after we said "I do", they played a special song for us and we danced on stage. It was something we will never ever forget. We partied with the band all night and the guy who married us gave us his hotel room and he slept on his tour bus! What a night! So...while we are "married", we don't have any documentation yet because they're still out in tour, I'm assuming he can't get us the certificate until he's back in Texas. Anyway, what do we do for our ceremony on our actual wedding date? We're not telling any family because we think we might get in a little bit of trouble! So how do we have our ceremony go without it being obvious that we're already married? We haven't exchanged rings or anything and we didn't even recite vows so there will be that to do. We don't have anyone to "marry" us on Oct. 9th yet. Do we need to ask that person to "lie"? I'm a little worried on how to pull this off, but FH/DH and I are SO excited about what we did. :-)


MizJodi Posts : 65 Registered: 3/8/07
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jun 29, 2010 12:25 PM Go to message in response to: Misstnt

Don't even know where to start with this...first of all, did you sign anything?


Misstnt Posts : 26 Registered: 5/21/10
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jun 29, 2010 12:58 PM Go to message in response to: MizJodi

Nope. As of right now, we have no proof that anything even took place! That's why I'm thinking we can go on with the October wedding as planned and this will just be a nice little memory for us.


dodgercpkl Posts : 130 Registered: 9/27/09
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jun 29, 2010 1:15 PM Go to message in response to: Misstnt

I was wondering about that too.... If you didn't sign anything and didn't get a marriage license, then I think it's a beautiful memory but not actually a legal marriage. I might be wrong about that, but I'm pretty sure that each state requires a marriage license for any marriage to be legal.

As far as the rest of it goes, I really believe that IF you are legally married, you should be honest to your guests about it. My husband and I got married in April for immigration purposes and we plan to have a family/religious ceremony in October. However we are being fully up front with everyone. I've changed my name and wear my wedding ring. There will be no pretend signing of licenses that won't exist or anything like that. Everyone coming to the ceremony knows that it's basically a glorified vow renewal and wants to be a part of it because they love us.

I guess that if I were a guest and found out that the couple was already married but had purposely hid it from me, I'd be a bit hurt and offended.

As far as the officiant goes, if you are legally married then really anyone can do the ceremony for you. If you choose to have a certified officiant/pastor do the ceremony, then you'll have to discuss it with them and definitely be very much up front with the fact that you are already married! My pastor knows our situation and is happy to officiate for us despite the fact that we will have been married for 6 months prior to the October ceremony.

My best advice is to verify that you truely are legally married first and foremost. After that if you find that you are truely and legally married, then put yourself in your guests position before you make the decision to hide that you are already married. Consider how you'd feel if a good friend or family member did the same to you.


Misstnt Posts : 26 Registered: 5/21/10
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jun 29, 2010 1:20 PM Go to message in response to: dodgercpkl

My guess is that once we get the certificate from the "officiant" that we would then take it to the courthouse and get the marriage license to make it legal. If that's the case, we just won't do that and we'll save the certificate as a special memento/memory for us and make it truly legal at our October ceremony. We are not planning on keeping it a secret, we just need to have it all worked out before we tell people what's going on.


dodgercpkl Posts : 130 Registered: 9/27/09
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jun 29, 2010 1:47 PM Go to message in response to: Misstnt

TBH based on what you are saying, you aren't actually legally married. Check with your state, but in California you have to have the license 1st and that license needs to be signed by 2 witnesses and the officiant at the ceremony. Some states even require blood tests and waiting periods (California doesn't anymore). It's not something that you can make legal after the fact to the best of my knowledge. So based on that assumption, it's not legal and you have no issues with telling or not telling. It's a beautiful memory though and something you can and should enjoy and remember!

Seriously though, it's easy enough to look up online for your state. I'd do a bit of research before you worry about how to tell or not tell, because there might not be anything TO tell other then "Hey we had this awesome experience!". :)

I'm glad you had an amazing time!


Misstnt Posts : 26 Registered: 5/21/10
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jun 29, 2010 3:16 PM Go to message in response to: dodgercpkl

That's what I'm thinking. Although, to us, we are because we did exactly what we wanted. We were reminded all through the night that what we had done was real though and legit. But, I know we need a license. It just can't possibly be legal. I'm anxious to get the certificate so we have some proof of what we did, even if it isn't legal. So, we just won't worry about the Oct. ceremony, we'll just do it as planned. Thanks for your help!


dodgercpkl Posts : 130 Registered: 9/27/09
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jun 29, 2010 3:28 PM Go to message in response to: Misstnt

You mentioned that it was done by a singer and up on stage at a concert... would there be any pics on the singers website or papers or anything? Because even without a certificate, you'd have proof of something special to you happening that night with the pics.


Misstnt Posts : 26 Registered: 5/21/10
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jun 29, 2010 4:36 PM Go to message in response to: dodgercpkl

Oh yes there are pics. I gave my camera to someone standing next to me and there were other people taking pictures (really it was quite an experience!) and another fan has put them on Facebook but I've asked her not to tag us in them or anything. We have our own pics too! We have proof that we were on stage and that we danced on stage! It really was a VERY special night for us :-)


STBMrsBW Posts : 21 Registered: 7/16/10
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jul 16, 2010 1:00 PM Go to message in response to: Misstnt

I don't believe that you are actually married. You must, you and your FH, apply for your license before the ceremony and have the officiant and one witness sign it. This is coming from the Texas website. However, you could be common law if you wanted. This is directly from Texas laws website:

1. Sign a declaration of their marriage under oath. The form is available at County Clerk's office.
The Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage asks for full names, woman's maiden surname, addresses, dates of birth, places of birth, social security numbers, and relationship information.

The Declaration states: "I solemnly swear (or affirm) that we, the undersigned, are married to each other by virtue of the following facts: On or about (Date) we agreed to be married, and after that date we lived together as husband and wife and in this state we represented to others that we were married. Since the date of marriage to the other party I have not been married to any other person. This declaration is true and the information in it which I have given is correct."
2. Live together as husband and wife in Texas
Represent to others that they are married.
Agree with one another that they are married.

So, this should answer the "are we married" question. Now I think you should tell everyone what happened. And since you haven't gotten the actual marriage license yet then you can have a ceremony where you do it all over again and sign the dotted line. Tell your friends and family the story, it is a great one! They should be happy that you both have what you want and are happy. You should have the wedding and all of the bells and whistles. You are blessed, most couples only get to do it once!



auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jul 16, 2010 5:17 PM Go to message in response to: Misstnt

Dear Miss,

Your post is unclear on one important point.

Did this so-called wedding take place in Texas? Are you Texas residents? You only said the singer has to get back to Texas before he can give you the certificate. That does not tell us where you live.

Your profile states that your wedding location is Wisconsin.

What's the diff? Texas recognizes the establishment of common law marriages and Wisconsin does not. What's the diff between a common law and a statutory marriage? The possession of a marriage license BEFORE the ceremony. We have established that you did not have a marriage license before the ceremony.

A license is a state-issued permit to marry, just like a drivers license is a state-issued permit to drive a car. If you live in or got married in a state that does not permit the establishment of a common law marriage, then no marriage is valid unless the couple applies for and receives the license before the ceremony, and fulfills any waiting period. A spontaneous ceremony would not be valid.

Next question: The singer is an ordained minister. Is he licensed to officiate at marriages in the state where the on-stage wedding took place? Does that state require any kind of pre-registration of religious officials in order for them to officiate legally at weddings?

In the state where I got married, people wishing to officate at a wedding have to be registered with the Probate Court. It's actually easy - just show any kind of proof of one's clergy status in any religious organization, and the Probate Court will register you. However, if someone ordained to the ministry, but not registered with the Probate Court, were to conduct a wedding ceremony, that would not be a legal ceremony in that state.

OK, let's consider under what circumstances this on-stage wedding would be valid.

Non-common law state, such as Wisconsin:

The officiant (ie the singer) is permitted to officiate at weddings in that state.

Issuance of a marriage license is not required before the ceremony. (Doubtful. The Wisconsin website specifically states there is a 6-day waiting period between the time the application is signed and the ceremony may take place.)

If the concert was in Wisconsin, I think I am on solid ground stating the on-stage wedding was not a legal wedding.

Common law state, such as Texas:

Common law marriage have four essential requirements:

1. It's a man-woman couple.
2. The two are eligible to marry. Both are of legal age, neither is married to someone else.
3. They cohabit.
4. They "hold out" (legal term) in public as husband and wife.

If the on-stage concert took place in Texas, then the couple could very well meet these requirements. They are a man-woman couple, they are apprently both of age and single. They cohabited, in that they shared the hotel room after the on-stage ceremony. By standing up in public, in front of all the concert-goers and stating their vows ("I promise to love, honor, etc") they went public with their status as husband and wife. That would fulfill the legal requirement of holding out.

The status of the singer as ordained minister does not matter. Texas common law marriage does not require any officiant. Any certificate the singer might send does not matter, as there is no need for a certificate.

It is very possible the couple are now, in the eyes of Texas law, married.

Here is my best suggestion.

The couple need to accertain whether or not they are now married, especially if the on-stage wedding took place in a common law state, such as Texas, or if the on-stage wedding took place in a state with no requirement for advance license application. They did something very foolish, and need to sort it all out before proceeding with the planned wedding.

Why? If they are getting married in a regular ceremony, with a regular officiant, and with a regular marriage license, they will have to apply for that marriage license and state their marital status in the application. If they are actually legally married, already, they cannot apply for a marriage license. Most reputable officiants are careful to have the marriage license in hand before the ceremony. If the couple cannot provide a legal state-issued marriage license to the officiant, the officiant has every right, and duty, to call off the ceremony.

If the couple apply for the marriage license and lie about their marital status, and swear under penalty of perjury that all is true and correct, they could later be found guilty of perjury and the marriage deemed invalid. This could make a HUGE difference, later, when one stands or inherit from the other or when it comes time for a divorce.

OK, now the couple needs to figure out if they are really married or not.

If they are really married, then they don't get married again. Their planned wedding turns into a Delayed Reception. (And, please, no play-acting fake weddings. Yech.)

If they are not really married, they the planned wedding goes ahead as scheduled. Any certificate from the singer is a nice souvenir, but not worth the paper it's printed on.

This was very, very foolish, indeed. It's time to mitigate the damages.


mariewedding Posts : 13 Registered: 5/11/10
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jul 16, 2010 8:49 PM Go to message in response to: Misstnt

Yeah, I don't think you guys are officially married, either - so it's sort of perfect actually... you have a lovely, heartfelt memory and you can still have your official wedding! Everyone wins ;)


Misstnt Posts : 26 Registered: 5/21/10
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jul 23, 2010 4:39 PM Go to message in response to: Misstnt

Wow...I wasn't even aware of all the "hate" responses until I noticed I had a PM from a poster apologizing on other posters behalf. Wow. You guys really need to find something else to do with your time than to call people stupid for doing something that obviously meant a lot to them. There was absolutely nothing stupid or foolish about what we did. We have no proof of it either so we are not "lying" to anyone. Many, many people have more than one wedding. And you know what??? This IS my second wedding, it is his first and I'll be darned (don't know if I can use the word I want to use) if anyone is going to tell me that I can't give my beloved everything he mother freaking wants for HIS wedding. And I'll also be darned if anyone will tell me that I don't mother freaking deserve to have my second wedding be what I want it to be. I cannot believe you people took the time to write the crap that you did. I did not deserve that at all. And I am not directing this at all responders, but I'm not wasting my time in pointing out the "bad" ones and the "good" ones. You know who you are. I appreciate the constructive and objective responses, but if you're going to call people stupid and foolish and go on and on about it, just refrain from posting at all. It's not needed, wanted or warranted. We are all supposed to be getting married and planning weddings here, there shouldn't be any "not nice" messages anywhere on this board. THAT is foolish and stupid.


MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: We got married before our wedding!! Now what?
Posted: Jul 26, 2010 10:58 AM Go to message in response to: Misstnt

First off, that sounds awesome. If hubs and I had had the opportunity to have our favorite singer marry us, we would have done the exact same thing.

Second, I agree with the posters above who have stated that first, you must find out what you actually have, before you decide how to proceed with the ceremony. If you are not legally married (and it does not sound like you are) then you don't have an issue -- what you have is a beautiful memory.

What I also find interesting here, is that, for many purposes, you think of this experience as the one that "married" you. Let's put away the questions of whether or not it was legal -- if it were (or is) possible to make it legal, would you want this to be your wedding?

If that's true, I'd be honest about that to everyone else. Frankly, this wedding sounds WAY more memorable than any big poufy white dress wedding that you could have, anyway. I'd save myself the $$, call myself married, and send announcements.

After all, the gift the singer gave to you is more valuable than anything you could put on a registry.


"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson


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