Secret WeddingsTue, 22nd Dec '15, 11:55 am::

Congrats to all three different friends of ours who got secretly married to their long-term boyfriends/girlfriends in the past few days! Two of the happily married couples are still not making their marriages public for family reasons so I can't even mention them here. That leaves my college buddy Tony to capture the limelight. He married his long-term girlfriend Olya on Saturday and shared the news with everyone after the ceremony. Congrats!!! We were so happy to meet Olya earlier this year at our baby shower and wish you guys a happy, loving life ahead.

Another close friend of mine told me recently that he is going to have a court-marriage next month, while the public wedding ceremony might not be until a year later. Last year two other couples we know did the same thing. Having eloped ourselves in 2008 after an impromptu hush-hush wedding, I'm surprised that we are not alone anymore. In the last five years, more of our friends eloped or quietly got married than had a typical wedding with guests, invitations, and receptions.

It is possible that our circle of friends is an odd exception and there has been no change in wedding behavior. But looking at the societal and financial aspects of life in the 2010s, the trend seems very clear. People in committed relationships still want to get married. No change in that. There are a lot of tax and legal benefits. And the titles "Husband/Wife" carry more social prestige than "boyfriend/girlfriend." But more and more people no longer want to make a big deal out of it, regardless of their age, financial situation, or social circles. For centuries people have had weddings befitting their wealth - the rich have grandiose weddings, the poor keep it simple, and everyone else somewhere in between. But now I see even relatively well-off couples from wealthy families opting for a quick 2-minute court wedding with no reception.

The good thing to come out of all this is that no longer must everyone be required to have the exact same things in every wedding. Let's see the variations I have encountered from happily married couples:

  • Sign the marriage certificate locally without fanfare, elope to a pretty place for pictures/honeymoon (our method)
  • Get secretly married before December-end for tax purposes, have a big wedding and/or reception with family and friends later
  • Get secretly married before December-end for tax purposes, announce on Facebook after professional photos are ready, no wedding/reception
  • Sign the marriage certificate and don't tell anyone except your closest friends because if your family finds out, there will be a lot of drama and heartbreak
  • Have a fun wedding/reception following all of the traditions
  • Have a fun wedding/reception without any of the traditions
  • Have a court-wedding with just your friends
  • Have a court-wedding with just your parents/siblings
  • Have multiple weddings - one for legal purpose, one for destination, one for religious/family

In the long-term, it doesn't matter if you had a blast at your wedding or if it was full of awkward family issues or even if you just signed a piece of paper and went to work the next day. What matters is how the rest of your marriage works out. So to all of my married couples, good luck with that!

 < Nov 2015Jan 2016 >