Can I call it a "wedding" if we're already legally married?


Guest post by Kendra
Be blown away by this amazing DIY urban flavor and vintage frills wedding
Photo by Gaby Esensten Photography from this amazing DIY urban flavor and vintage frills wedding

Thanks to Covid, there are lots of us this year who got legally married without having weddings. Next year, lots of us want to have "weddings," but some etiquette tells us we're not allowed to call them that.

I wonder where the hesitation to call a wedding ceremony a wedding ceremony comes from. Because, generally, a celebration of marriage is called a wedding. Yet, etiquette everywhere tells couples that if they legally wed first that it's a huge faux pas to have a "wedding" after they've legally wed.

Etiquette they can be called "vow renewals" but those shouldn't occur until closer to ten years or after someone breaches the vows. Etiquette says that those "brides" are not "brides" and should not wear white. Etiquette says it's tacky and all about a gift grab. Most of us know Offbeat Bride's stance on the idea of anything being tacky

…But still. Do we perpetuate this attitude when we hesitate to call our wedding celebrations "weddings"?

My husband and I eloped to reduce the chances of exposing our families and friends to COVID-19. Next summer, we are planning a wedding celebration with family and friends. Some folks call this "getting weddinged," but can't we just call it a wedding?

How I'm wording my invitations

I've struggled a lot with wedding invitation wording so as not to pretend to something that isn't true. My save-the-date cards just say "Save the Date" and our names – including our shared last name. I agonized over invitation wording, I probably have a dozen different versions floating out there on the internet.

Then I found the perfect wedding invitation with wording that was just right. I'm inviting people to our "wedding celebration."

That's exactly what we're having.

It's a celebration of our marriage… and those are usually called weddings, so that's what I decided to go with.

What I've learned

I realized through the process that I am not responsible for the way others feel about what I choose to call this day.

I'm not responsible if they feel it is a farce and they are welcome to not attend if that is how they do feel.

I am not responsible if they feel tricked because when we pledge our love in front of family and friends we don't also sign a piece of paper.

I AM responsible for enjoying the day and celebration with my husband and our loved ones. It may be a year after we first said I do, but this is still our wedding celebration and we're going to rock it.

It isn't about rubbing it in people's faces or pretending we aren't married so they aren't upset – it's about celebrating our love and marriage with the people who love and support us.

  1. Hey there and congrats on getting married! To some of us- east european in my case- having to first get legally married then have a religious/wedding ceremony is the norm. Even though we are required to marry legally before allowed to have the religious service in a church, the ceremony itself it's still viewed as "the real wedding". If some choose to skip it and only opt for the legal courthouse ceremony still get asked about "the real wedding"…so either way, your WD is whatever you two, as a couple, decide and feel that it is. Just my two cents here 🙂

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.