There are many benefits to marriage that may compel a couple to the court house before they have a chance to throw a huge wedding. There may be a dash to marry before the death of a close family member, the need for medical benefits, the conditions of military service, or countless other hitches that may leave you running to the altar before you have a chance to order centerpieces and address invitations. Many couples feel robbed of their “big day” and want to throw a party for their friends and family to celebrate their union, even though they’re already technically married. These “Do-Overs” are a weird gray area as far as ettiquette is concerned, and should be handled with care. No one wants to rob a bride and groom of their day in the spotlight, but already being married makes some of the wedding details a little iffy. Here are a few general rules that you may want to keep in mind if you’re planning your own belated wedding party:
If you’re having a ceremony and a reception in the weeks and months following your vows, it isn’t technically a wedding. In the interest of clarity, “Vow Renewal” is more in-line with what you’re doing. If you’re skipping the ceremony and going straight to the reception, make sure you include that you’ve already gotten married and this is just a belated party. Everyone will be excited to celebrate with you, but if you try to keep your earlier wedding a secret, you could hurt some feelings and leave others assuming that you’re grabbing for extra gifts.
Skip the Pre-Wedding Parties.
Vow Renewals don’t usually come with bridal showers, bachelorette bashes and engagement brunches. They all operate under the pretext that you’re still a bachelorette, still just engaged, or are not yet a bride. Remember - they aren’t really “pre-wedding” anymore.
Don’t use the phrase “Real Wedding.”
Even “Do-Over” leaves a bad taste in my mouth. You’ve gotten married, and a party doesn’t validate it any further. One wedding isn’t more “real” than the other because one bride is wearing cotoure mermaid gown and the other is wearing yoga pants in a courthouse. Celebrate your marriage because you want to have a party with your friends and family, not because you don’t think it will “count” until there’s a guest list of over 50.