Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Is it tacky or deceitful to get legally married months before the wedding?

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

Is it tacky or deceitful to legally get married as much as nine months in advance of a wedding ceremony? I'm recently engaged (yay!) to a great guy. We chose a date nearly a year from now because my fiance travels for work all through the spring, and we want to accommodate parents, stepparents, and family traveling from many other states.

However, we're both small-business owners and it looks like it would benefit us financially to marry before 2018 is over. I recently told a friend this idea and she was appalled, that it amounted to us putting on a "show" wedding. For me and my fiance, getting legally married as a business/tax decision doesn't have any of the emotional meaning that standing up in front of our friends and family would.

We're having a "no gifts" wedding, so it doesn't feel like we're even asking friends for anything other than joining us for a celebration of vows. Is my friend right, could it be perceived as dishonest? Should we keep this idea to ourselves?

-- Engaged

I'm impressed your friend has the energy to be "appalled" by a decision that isn't about her and doesn't hurt anyone. It's good to be young, I guess.

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There is something to its being a "show"; I've been knowingly to one such wedding and, yes, there are moments that might otherwise have seemed spontaneous that came across as staged.

But it's hard to remember caring more than a second or two beyond said flicker of recognition. The point of that wedding and any other was for the couple's loved ones to show their support; for the couple to share their moment with others and express gratitude for the support through generous hospitality; and for people in general to step out of their routines to celebrate life for a day or three.

And, pardon the juxtaposition: A memorial gathering is still moving and important when it's held months after a loved one's burial, no?

And, pardon the juxtaposition again: The end of a close game is still exciting (to me at least) an hour late on DVR. It technically already happened but the story it tells is the same.


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