Many people find weddings to be joyous, happy occasions to be spent with as many friends and family as possible. Many couples wouldn’t dream of getting married without their parents or grandparents. Many couples planning a big wedding find they have to take people off their list of potential guest so they can afford their wedding. But, this isn’t true for everyone.
As a wedding officiant and pastor I perform many secret weddings. Yes, some people need to be legally married right away. So much is possible with a marriage license. Health insurance, better loans, speeding up adoption and child custody are just a few of the reasons I’ve heard. The marriages themselves, the legal part at least, are just little secrets.
Often couples are already planning a big wedding but need to be legally married sooner. Some home loans have better rates when the couple is married, some couples find better mortgage deals if they aren’t married. I’ve married couples in both situations. One couple were long time friends and wanted to move in together and buy a house. He was a veteran but needed to be married to qualify for a VA loan. Another couple has already secured affordable financing for the home they were building but that would change if they were married. They had a BIG wedding planned and were very concerned. I explained that a ceremony is one thing and the signing of the legal documents were another. We still performed the formal ceremony and their wedding and reception went off as planned. Later, we signed their marriage license when they were settled into their new home. Their legal wedding date was the day we actually signed the license but their celebration and the anniversary everyone will remember was the day of their actual wedding.
Once, we had a couple come in from Ohio. They had a destination wedding 5 years earlier but they never actually made it legal. They were concerned about getting married in their hometown where it would have been posted in the newspaper. They didn’t want to have to explain to anyone about the “legal” part even though they bad been living together happily “married” for years. I always get interesting answers when I ask why did you choose to elope in Indy or Indiana?
Deployment is another good reason to get have a quick, legal wedding, and sometimes, secret. I performed a wedding ceremony at a large wedding but they had actually been legally married for several years. The groom was in the military and had deployed to the middle east several years earlier while the bride was still finishing up her graduate degree. He wanted to be legally married to her before he left. Her father and much of her family wouldn’t understand that. They had their own idea of what marriage and a wedding is. I thought it was a very practical thing for the couple to do and once I met the bride’s family and their love for her and the incredible importance of the day of her wedding I totally understood her need for secrecy.
Now, there are other times where I do act as a pastor and perform a secret wedding. A wedding can be with or without legal papers. There are still many couples who believe in saving themselves for marriage. They live chaste lives until their wedding night. Some people may think that’s incredibly outdated and impractical. I think there’s a lot of merit in keeping sex out of your relationship and building a common ground on something other than physical attraction. I still remember when my mother told me sex was God’s gift to newlyweds. Some couples decide that they don’t want to wait that long. They are already planning their weddings and their pastor is going to marry them in a Christian wedding in accordance with their church, but they want to make a commitment ahead of time.
I’ve had couples come and marry each other before God without the paperwork and others have come and filed the paperwork and were still having their church weddings later. Sometimes it’s because they are setting up a home together and believe they should at least be legally married before moving in together. I believe often, it is about sex and wanting to consummate the relationship. It’s hard enough being an adult virgin in today’s world but add that to the stress of a wedding and all the planning? I think once you’ve gotten that far it might actually be a very good idea to take that extra step - just the couple - to make their commitment to each other, either legally or in their hearts, and getting the sexual tension out of the way. It’s definitely a very personal decision for each and every couple and I honor that.
Wanting to get married and looking for someone to keep your secret? Contact me:
Victoria Meyer, Your Wedding Officiant in Indy!
You CAN get married TODAY!
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Victoria Meyer has been a professional wedding officiant providing legal wedding services and performing weddings in Indiana for the past 8 years. She has married over 2500 couples. You can get married today in Indy! She has received the Couples Choice Reward from Wedding Wire 5 years running. She has been State Best and Local Best according to My Wedding's since 2013. She has also been voted Best of Borrowed and Blue.