The unexpected benefits of “getting legalled” before our wedding

Guest post by ynezg
getting legally married before wedding

My Sweetie, J, and I went to the courthouse and got legalled, but it wasn't originally our plan at all. And even so, we're still going forward with our wedding. The impetus behind our legalling came upon us quite unexpectedly: I became aware of a scholarship available (enough to cover the tuition and fees for the rest of my time in school) to military spouses and, as a student scrimping and saving my way methodically through grad school, there is no question that extra funds would be most helpful. The catch: I wouldn't become a military spouse until after the deadline to apply for the scholarship had passed.

It took approximately five minutes of discussion with J to decide that I MUST apply for the scholarship and that WE WOULD be addressing my legal status straight away. I bought a dress, he bought a suit, I made a hat, and we made an appointment to be married by the judge at our local county courthouse with my mother and his best friend in attendance to witness. And there you have it. I am now officially a military spouse and therefore eligible for this wonderful opportunity!

As expected, having the ability to now apply for this scholarship is a wonderful thing. But something completely unexpected happened through this experience that I did not anticipate.

Before I get into that, however, I should explain that oftentimes I make life-altering decisions based on what I see as purely practical and commonsense reasoning. Need money for grad school? Scholarship available for military spouses? Solution: become a military spouse as fast as possible and apply.

[related-post align=”right”]This is the second marriage for both of us. We both went through fairly nasty divorces and we both were carrying a lot of anxiety along with us as we planned to marry again. Forget the fact that WE ARE A TEAM dammit and we LOVE our team. GO TEAM! And our puppies and kitties, and our house, and our quiet time in the evenings, and absolutely everything about our lives. We still, both, suffered from the lingering sense that we had once upon a time loved those things with our former spouses and things nevertheless went horribly, horribly wrong for us before. Our anxieties became the THE THING THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED.

Enter this scholarship. We both saw it as an eminently practical thing to do and so therefore, off to the courthouse we must go. But in the quiet hours and the dark in bed the night before, we held hands and we shared our anxieties, THE THING THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED…

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I'm sure. I want to marry you.”

“Me too.”

I didn't sleep very much that night, and I got up quite early. I'd made an appointment to get my hair and makeup done, and while J slept, I snuck out of the house for coffee and a bagel before my appointment at the salon. When I got back to the house later, J was getting dressed. Normally, a retro-game-T-and-jeans-wearing kind of guy, all I can say is He. Looks. Amazing. in a suit.

He smiled hesitantly, and I smiled hesitantly back. I got dressed, and we drove to the courthouse.

In those moments when we raised our right hands and signed the marriage license, he didn't throw up and I didn't pass out or cry hysterically — though there were brief moments for both of us when we thought we might. Instead, we held hands before the judge, and our witnesses, and all the other couples gathered there that day, we grinned stupidly at each other, we spoke the very traditional vows prompted for us by the judge, and we got married. I married my teammate.

Here's the wonderful, unexpected part: In the aftermath of that day, the anxiety, the fear, THE THING THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED, has disappeared. Poof! Gone, for both of us.

There's a very good chance that our anxiety would have made our wedding, already a very stressful event for anyone, less than the amazing day we're planning it to be. Now, we know that we'll spend our wedding weekend having a blast with our family and friends.

Thank goodness for getting legalled.

Be sure to check out our very-much-related posts about Getting Weddinged (which is when you have a wedding-type event after getting legalled)

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Comments on The unexpected benefits of “getting legalled” before our wedding

  1. My husband, Daniel & I eloped in August 8th 2002, after he came home from Basic Training. We talked about the benefits during a couple of phone calls and letters while he was in Basic. Second day of him being home, we were still laying in bed waking up, and he turned to me and said, ”fuck it”! lets elope. So we did on a Thursday, before his parents and sisters came over the weekend from Massachusetts to Buffalo, NY area. The reason why we did it without his parents, well my parents wouldn’t be able to drop everything to drive from Massachusetts to NY in such short notice. So we had my husband’s best friend and his wife as witnesses, the town’s judge/justice of the peace, and eloped at a grove in a park which my husband grew up playing in as his back yard, which at one point was privately own land in his family till they sold some of it for a park for the town back in the early 1900’s. I wore a simple velvet green medieval dress that I’ve owned, with my long hair with green butterfly hair clips with my sides held, and my husband wore his Gothic club ataire, a long sleeved crinkled style button down shirt, not tuck and his vinyl pants with his black boots, and I wore black sneakers. His grandmother took us and our 2 witness/friends to a nice restaurant and had a nice dinner and awesome deserts. His parents were pleasantly surprise and happy for us but wish we they were there for it, but understood. When I called my mother to tell her the happy news, well she wasn’t so happy about it and went as far to say, ”I took from me to see you get married and I can never get that now that you and Dan eloped, well it’s done and congratualtions” I told her I had to go and I’ll let her know when we got to his first duty station safely(Colorado). Afterwards as time went by, my dad told both my husband & I how proud he was for what we did and he told me that my mom got an earful from him when he heard what she said to me. I also heard from my mom in early 2007, when I asked her what my dad said when she told him. ”He couldn’t believe it, he kept saying.. they got married? no they didn’t? really?!, while having a stupid grin on his face. When she told him why we did it and what she said to me, my dad flipped his shit on her for saying that and being an Army Vietnam Vet he understood. where we were coming from. We’ve been married for 14 years and 2 girls, my husband has 5 years left in the Army and he’ll be out in April 2022, and in August 20022 near our 20th Anniversary will be our renewal/rejoicing handfasting ceremony!!!!! By the way, I was 26 and Dan was 23 when we eloped, so he’ll be 43 and I’ll be 46 when we throw the big 20 years!!!!

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