We already had a big wedding, now how do we celebrate getting legalled?

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An image from JE's recent wedding.
So here's the thing: my wife and I had an amazing wedding celebration. We wanted to express ourselves and share our love and happiness with all of our friends and family. We had our wedding already, as we never knew when, if ever, Prop 8 would be repealed.

Thankfully it did! We can now legally get married.

How can we have a “part two,” without it being as big as the first and having everyone ask so many questions?

Any ideas on how to pull that off? Is anyone else in the same position as we are in now? -JE

With the shift in marriage equality laws, we've been talking a lot lately about “getting legalled.” Now we'd love to hear from those of you who've navigated your own second celebrations: did you acknowledge finally being able to make your marriage legal? How did that second celebration compare to your wedding?

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Comments on We already had a big wedding, now how do we celebrate getting legalled?

  1. I officiated a legalling for two of my friends on their second wedding anniversary after Prop 8 got repealed (thank you ULC). They wanted a low-key thing, so we had the signing at a friend’s house, then went out to a lovely, lengthy formal brunch with plenty of mimosas and great food. We took video of the signing for friends and family who weren’t able to make it, and the brides recreated quite a few of their poses from their wedding day. We wore what we had to the wedding or to the rehearsal dinner, and even broke out some streamers they had made so their wedding colors were in full force.

    Some couples have wedding renewals every few years or so, and they have big dos, so if you want to have another big bash, I say go for it. If you just want a quiet affair with friends and family, do that too. Just do what feels right for both of you. If you do have a small ceremony, though, you may want to consider sending out “we got legalled” announcements, or mentioning it in an annual holiday letter if you do those sorts of things. My friends are still fielding questions about when they’re going to ‘finally tie the knot already’, and they signed the paperwork in July.

  2. I think everyone has great advice! I think something I want to flag up is the bit you ask about dealing with everyone’s questions. Are you concerned that they’ll ask why you’re making a big deal out of the legal aspect – particularly perhaps friends/family who don’t really understand why this is such a legal milestone? Perhaps then you could include a section on your wedding website or in the invitation about (a) why this development has such social significance and (b) why it matters to YOU! You could do this in a lighthearted way, so it doesn’t feel like a history lesson.

    And I guess what you’re also telling people is: “the wedding you attended doesn’t mean less because now we can get legally married. We still think of that day as one of the most special of our lives and are proud that you shared it with us. But even on that special day, it hurt that our country, unlike you, didn’t recognise the validity of our union. Now we can celebrate that the nation finally gets what you already did – that we love each other and deserve to have our union recognised.”

  3. Thank you for all the wonderful feedback. My wife just celebrated our two years since our ceremony. I think after all the help we’ll ready to celebrate this time next year.

    our idea is less formal more fun lovin.
    Rainbows encouraged .

  4. Whoot! Another couple getting legalled! My wife and I just did this last month on our 2nd anniversary(September 2013) and it was far more profound that we ever could have imagined.
    We got un-legally married in the Deep South two years ago with all of our friends and family there. It was a huge wedding weekend with camping, s’mores, canoeing, great food, and great people.

    When it came out this summer that DOMA was overturned and that the federal government would now recognize all marriages, we knew that we needed to get married again! We are both federal employees so our employer was now required recognize our marriage, even if our state won’t.

    We made our getting legalled event into a vacation. The destination was chosen on where we wanted to go and what each state’s marriage requirements were. Since we were traveling in from out of state, we couldn’t get hitched somewhere with a waiting period. We didn’t invite anyone to come with us and we didn’t send out announcements when we got back, even though we did talk about it. We did text and email pictures to family and friends after the ceremony was over. We did tell folks what we were doing and everyone was very excited for us.
    We didn’t wear our wedding dresses again, just nice clothes that we already had. I did make us boutonnieres with dried flowers from our wedding, which was a surprise to my wife. The ceremony was short and sweet- we reread our vows from the wedding and I cried through the whole thing again. We had planned to get married at the courthouse, but ended up getting married in the Unitarian Universalist church across the street- I’m a UU and it felt so right!

    Everything was very simple: we took our own pictures, wore clothes we had, went out for amazing cake afterward, and laughed and cried more than we thought. It was fantastic and small things came together over and over again to make it really personal and just what we wanted.

    I hope you and your wife have a celebration that fits you both! I think we are all in new territory with getting hitched after getting married so do what makes you both happy.

  5. We are doing the same thing but opposite. My wife and I got legalled shortly after New Jersey made it legal in our town courthouse. and our now planning a big party to celebrate. It is your day do it how you feel is best. When we got legalled we went out to brunch at the diner where we had our first date and then went back to our place and played cards against humanity with our friends. A really cool laid back day.

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