Secret civil ceremony marriage then wedding in a few years?

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  • Posted: 9 Jan 2020 5:52

    Secret civil ceremony marriage then wedding in a few years?


    My partner and I have two children together and have been together for 13 years.  

    We have both recently had health scares that have made getting quickly and legally married more urgent  in our minds. 

    We want to have the legal protection of marriage/civil partnership for each other and for the children.  

    Our neighbour recently died, young, suddenly and his fiancé who he had been with for 10 years has really struggled with the legal side of things because they hadn’t made it ‘down the aisle’ yet when he died.  It has been devastating to watch this lady and her young children having to deal with legal issues on top of all their grief. 

    We would like to have a secret civil ceremony and then have our actual wedding with friends and family later.  Our daughters (and our family and friends) would be very excited to have a big (not huge) wedding with the dress, cake, band & nice venue etc.  

    We will love all of that too.  It’s what we’ve thought about since the girls came along.

    But we want to square things off legally right now for the reasons above.

    Over Christmas we had started looking at having a secret mixed sex civil partnership (became legal 41st Dec 19), telling everyone we got engaged and then having the partnership converted to a marriage at our wedding.  However, this option is not currently available to mixed sex couples...

    Whatever we do we’d be telling everyone we’re engaged. They all know we want to get married.  We’re nit religious at all and our families respect that utterly.  

    What do you think to this idea?  

    Don’t want to upset/offend people but equally the first civil ceremony is about protecting our little family legally.  The second would be our wedding, where we get to share our love with family and friends in style!  

    Please be kind in your responses.  Thanks for reading xx


  • Posted: 10 Jan 2020 8:46

    Re: Secret civil ceremony marriage then wedding in a few years?

    Hi Singing Bride! Actually we are thinking of doing the same!! For similar reasons. My fiance and I have a child together and are concerned about the practical benefits of being a legally recognized couple as well as the romantic wish for a wedding. The first is very much the priority however, and so we have thought of doing exactly that - civil ceremony followed by a celebration in a few years. I think our idea was just to fess up though - explain afterwards we have "eloped" I suppose, and assure everyone there will be a big celebration in a few years time! 

    Maybe that would be more straightforward than having one type of partnership converted during the second ceremony? I hope that helps! xxx

  • Posted: 11 Jan 2020 18:35

    Re: Secret civil ceremony marriage then wedding in a few years?

    Could you have the legal ceremony now and then have a 'wedding celebration' in a few years?  

    I think that as long as you are open with people about what they are being invited to, no one will mind.  But I would suggest telling people.  A number of years back, I went to a 'wedding', which actual was a wedding celebration.  The couple had legally married a while before, but hadn't told anyone until the actual 'wedding' day.  I know a few people were upset that they'd been 'misled' over what they were invited to, so it's probably easier all round if everyone knows you're already married.

  • Posted: 12 Jan 2020 9:39

    Re: Secret civil ceremony marriage then wedding in a few years?

    Thank you so much for your reply Romantic Yellow Stationary!

    So glad we’re not the only ones thinking along these lines. 

    The conversion thing isn’t on the cards at the moment as it’s not permitted for heterosexual couples at this time anyway.

    Guess we’re worried that people will not want to come to the wedding because we’re already married, if you know what I mean.

    Also, worried that both our parents will get really upset/offended!  Especially my in-laws as they arm much older and a bit more traditional about these things.

    Eloping to the nearest registry office does seem like the best option but not sure whether to keep it secret or not?

    Are you taking you child when you marry?

    Our girls 6 and 2 and not sure what to do about that either... xx

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