Our minister has a certificate that we will be signing and asking him to keep till we next come to service. I have kids (previous marriage) who need to file for financial aid, which would be hit if I legally married. I am a police officer and am very worried about 20 years from now half my pension gets stolen in the event of divorce. Most states require both spouses, the officiant, and one or two witnesses, to sign the marriage certificate. But legal marriage has never been a priority or dream for me, so I don't really care about not getting married. Is it having your community watch you commit yourselves? [* full disclosure: now-spouse has serious medical issues and getting legally married before having legal issues worked out would have jeopardized his care]. We are not getting legally married (at least not now, and it's more like a legal formality to us) and the word "wedding" makes me cringe a bit. Any supreme court, circuit court, or municipal judge, or any court commissioner may perform civil wedding ceremonies in the state of Wisconsin. Get legal "Commitment ceremony" feels a bit too new-age or PC or something to us. Both of our families and all of our (true) friends accept this. You'd come to a WEDDING! By the time you get to the reception no one will care if you signed a certificate or not. Because I want to keep the certificate just not have it filed. Those who attend will be happy just to see the unity and love between two people. Thanks! My partner and I are having a ten year anniversary "love fest" ( we haven't chosen the official name for the party yet). You are supposed to file your taxes together, claim each other on insurance, etc – legally married or not. My daughters will wear fancy dresses and we will have music and cocktails and all will be right (as right as we can control) with the world. He is the father of my two daughters – both in their early 20's. I will be having mine too soon. Going so far as to look me in the eye and ask me if its legal. Happy commitment ceremony or unity ceremony to all . Pick your favorite idea, or come up with something all your own and throw a unity ceremony party. You don't "need" a reason to ever change your name. I personally wouldn't care, but you have to prepare for guests that will. You don't have to care, but understand everyone doesn't see things as you do. Since they had already exchanged vows when they eloped, they used their party a year later as an excuse to say nice things to each other…. Finding the love of your life and getting married to them and promising to be there for each other is the most beautiful feeling that one has. Our family is me, my husband, my boyfriend and my two daughters. http://tribe.offbeatbride.com This is EXACTLY the kind of question it was designed for. I have been together with my partner for almost six years. That is not my only issue. Sad part is that somehow we as women are trying to convince ourselves that it's okay to have a partner, have a whatever wedding and forgo the legalities behind a binding marriage contract. We plan on keeping things separate legally and financially and there will be no documentation even though we live in a common law state. I know I am. When applying—which must be done together—you'll be handled by … This is basically what I am planning on doing. It is a convenient choice for you to get married without a ceremony and simply enjoying the day with your loved ones. Thanking the people I love for the part they have played in my relationship is super important too. (Note: Not meaning to knock anyone else's beliefs, I DO believe that everyone should do whats best for them and I fully support that 100% with bells on – I just know what's not right for me.) I have lost a daughter and a husband. Thanks again for your kind suggestions <3. ceremony in order for the marriage to be legal. The question is finding the right person to "officiate" the ceremony.. At first I was worried about what people would say.. I don't want them running to him and saying I'm getting married, because technically I am not. Marriage is about love and commitment. Anyhow, the vast majority of people believe lots of silly things. Is it the rings? I already did it. If you want to leave your money or policies to say a homeless man, that is your money or policies and you can give it to whomever you want. Our priest is concerned we wont be as committed but with the number of divorces these days it is a couples commitment to each other not a document that is more important. Hey, I'm Ariel Meadow Stallings, the Seattle-based author of a book called Offbeat Bride: Create a Wedding That's Authentically YOU. Iowa does not recognize proxy marriages. My boyfriend and I have been together for over 6 years. You may want to check out our handfasting archives for inspiration as well as these posts: Sarah and Tim, of Kermit and Miss Piggy fame, had a great idea when they got weddinged. So here are some forms of non-legal wedding ceremonies you can do instead of getting legally married…. I believe that "common law" relationship status is state law, not federal law. Do it by your rules! I feel as though I cheated and lied to people and it feels horrible. Reading from this site has opened my eyes a little and made me feel a little better that others feel the same as we do and that there are more than we would've thought. Obtain your marriage certificate online or by visiting the vital records government agency in the state where the wedding ceremony took place. yea, i mean, how would they ever even know? In Australia defacto is classed the same as marriage by most government institutions. Our officiant said something like, "by the power invested in me and with the support of all present". The emotional impact of "getting married" but not being actually, legally married? I'm a freelance graphic and web designer and I don't make nearly enough to get off of it. To get married in Wisconsin, you and your future spouse need a marriage license.Here's what you need to know to get your marriage license in Wisconsin. Find the closest vital records office, visit OnlineVitals.com. Any info would be really useful as wedding booked for October. I mean it's all the same thing, just without the paperwork. The legal position you will be in if you get married in a registry office and not a church or in an informal, non-legal ceremony? Some couples prefer this method, but others would rather have someone lead the ceremony for them. Never signed any papers. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. That kind of fits into the categories already suggested though. Plus, if you take each other's name and hold yourselves out to be husband and wife, in 9 states that in itself will make you legally married, which defeats the purpose of not being legally married. He has no family. In Canada, proxy marriage is only recognized if the marriage was performed in a jurisdiction that allows proxy marriage. ANYHOO: Gwen, this is all to say that you can have whatever you want and call it whatever you want and it will be beautiful and yours and amazing. I feel like a bbq with no ceremony would be really informal and not what I want. My boyfriend and I have been together for 10 years. So he and Katniss did that, and to them, even without the legal paperwork, they feel married. The final contract in our view of marriage is between the people getting married and the state. A legal marriage offers protections being committed to someone doesn't- it enables you to make medical decisions for that person, it enables you to claim them for tax purposes, it gives you rights to financial assets earned during the marriage, it provides financial protection and custody protection in case of divorce, it protects children and the other partner in case one person dies, etc. I cant imagine who would ask to see your paperwork. She's the co-author of The Everything Great Marriage Book. All rights reserved. Contact your local courthouse. the county where the marriage ceremony is to be performed. Most people on this site probably don't care. But I still have these moments of thinking "should we call it something else?!" I can't afford to lose them, I need the insurance and free medication. But calling it anything else invites questions and, frankly, I'll consider us married. Google marriage laws in Florida. LOL, I'm not 100% sure – but unless you 'officially' marry, you can't legally change your name (unless you apply to do so via deed poll) in which case their birth certificate would have your maiden name anyway? Not sure if the church or officiant would go for a non-legal religious ceremony. You can snoop into her personal life over on her website The Dash and Dine! They want to be there. I've seen this complaint sadly quite a lot. Do I have my last name changed, or not. My daughter wants to do a handfasting commitment ceremony and not legally get married because of her future mother in law is getting ill very often ( she already had three strokes) and her fiance is the only child she had. I've even had a family member, when asked by their kids why they don't get to call me auntie, that even after 14 years I'm not really an aunt because its not legal, while we discussed our plans. THANK GOODNESS!! Four states in the United States allow proxy marriages in some form. Ministers ordained through the Universal Life Church have performed thousands of legal marriages in Wisconsin. My partner and I are planning a non-legal wedding, and we've still just been referring to it as a wedding. There are wonderful references on the internet on drafting up a ceremony. I have not herd about anyone calling it this but it sounds fun. My fiancee has changed his 401k to my name as well. It's a long story but she will lose monthly benefits if she EVER re-marries. Please feel free to e-mail me at melissa@mlbarber.com if you want to discuss this further in depth. Done. Take inspiration from Ben and Joriel's non-legal wedding and just exchange vows: Doing a handfasting is an awesome way of having a wedding-type ceremony without the legalities. And if I do then if we do ever have any kids then their birth certificate would show their parents are not married but has the same last name… I wouldn't want them to ever think we were family before we married. You won't be married. In Michigan, we could not call it a "marriage", it had to be a commitment ceremony and we couldn't have a clergy or public official to officiate the ceremony. So going forward…I am calling it our wedding reception because that is what it is to us. It was important to us that we made it legal at some point, and having the same date (different year) made the whole anniversary thing much less complicated. Sorry for the rant. "Legal" or not. A ceremony does not have to be religious. Agreeing with Dee. (You're welcome, world!) We passed around scissors so “we don't all have to spend the rest of the evening tied together.” Then my sister came up and performed the very minimal ceremony that is required by the state of Vermont, where lay people can perform marriage ceremonies by applying for a permit in advance. Ultimately, it's no-ones business why you don't want to make it legal! While some marriages are legal with just a state-issued license, others won't be legally recognized without solemnization which can be either religious or secular. You're celebrating unity and blending families, with no talk of weddings or marriage. If a committed man gets mad, tells his partner it's over, and walks out the door, he's instantly single and so is she. Where are you at in the process now? My fiancee and I both agree that the government should have no part in a marriage anyway, but at the same time I can't help but feel nervous that there will be some sort of legal repercussions later in life that we haven't thought through if we aren't legally married…. All of our official paperwork still show us as single, with our respective kids as next of kin/beneficiaries as required by law. dinner, games, etc… kind of like planning a wedding but just a party on its own without the propers and traditions. 1. HOWEVER: If one of the married parties had a temper like yours, and for arguments sake cheated, thats adultry, and maybe you aren't familiar with how great lawyers can screw over the party with the not so great lawyer. It's really only the state, the federal government, and our insurers who would consider us unmarried. They say things like will you change your name, what about insurance, what if one of you gets sick… on and on. That sounds like a "commitment ceremony" to me, which I think should be perfectly acceptable. I'm 5 months from my reception and seriously stressing from all the questions well-meaning people are grilling me about. It did take some effort to get all our friends and family on board with the whole not-technically-a-wedding thing, but we felt good about making people think… Saying our vows to each other was the high point of the evening and, in many ways, the high point of our lives thus far. No one but my partner, our respective daughters, and the person who performed the ceremony know that we're not legally married (nor do they care, really). I'm finding myself not caring anymore. I feel it's no one's business if we're legal or not (as someone upthread said, I wouldn't talk about my pension contributions), but I worried that calling it a wedding or sayingg that we are married seeme dishonest somehow. Using language like "a unity celebration" helps avoid any confusion with guests who may have a lot of assumptions abut what the word "wedding" means. Have fun! Which I am okay with since I believe in not rushing into making an important vow commitment that is suppose to mean a lifetime marriage. It is complicated and sometimes drama – but it is the right thing to do. What is it you're concerned about? I'm trying to get a graphic design job but because of my speech impairment, companies tend to shy away from hiring people like me. You get the word proposed, but not the word marriage. If you invite people to your wedding, 9/10 will assume/believe you are also getting 'legally' married. It is good for you to cherish the private moments of your life with your loved ones. I am calling it a wedding. I don't know why people feel these strong reactions to a ceremony about love, but I'm just warning you that it happens. If either the bride or groom is under 18, he or she must have written, notarized consent from parents or guardians. Other states only recognize them as a common-law marriage. Getting married without an officiant is possible in two different ways. You and your betrothed need to go down to the local county clerk's office together with your photo ID and official birth certificate at least 6 days, but not more than 30 days, before your wedding ceremony. The person given the power of attorney must be physically present with the original POA document (not a copy). YES! I'm Christian and my bridesmaids are all super Christian people and I'm hesitant to tell them just because I don't want them to judge us or our decision. Like many holidays celebrated, marriage has turned into a commercial misconception that has mutated into something else. Acting married but filing separate taxes and getting separate insurance? Residency Requirement:One of you must have resided in the county where you are applying for at least 30 days. If you want your college basketball coach to officiate your secular "I dos," ask them to get ordained.If you want to get married in your family's house of worship, you should. Anyhow, my question is, when he "proposes" would that be considered being engaged? For younger couples that may have children, what would the status of the children be? Some states recognize a proxy marriage that was done in another state. 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