Is it tacky or deceitful to get legally married months before the wedding?
D ear Carolyn:
Is it tacky or deceitful to legally get married as much as nine months in advance of a wedding ceremony? I’m recently engaged (yay!) to a great guy. We chose a date nearly a year from now because my fiance travels for work all through the spring, and we want to accommodate parents, stepparents, and family traveling from many other states.
However, we’re both small-business owners and it looks like it would benefit us financially to marry before 2018 is over. I recently told a friend this idea and she was appalled, that it amounted to us putting on a “show” wedding. For me and my fiance, getting legally married as a business/tax decision doesn’t have any of the emotional meaning that standing up in front of our friends and family would.
We’re having a “no-gifts” wedding, so it doesn’t feel like we’re even asking friends for anything other than joining us for a celebration of vows. Is my friend right, could it be perceived as dishonest? Should we keep this idea to ourselves?
I’m impressed your friend has the energy to be “appalled” by a decision that isn’t about her and doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s good to be young, I guess.
There is something to its being a “show;” I’ve been knowingly to one such wedding and, yes, there are moments that might otherwise have seemed spontaneous that came across as staged.
But it’s hard to remember caring more than a second or two beyond said flicker of recognition. The point of that wedding and any other was for the couple’s loved ones to show their support; for the couple to share their moment with others and express gratitude for the support through generous hospitality; and for people in general to step out of their routines to celebrate life for a day or three.
And, pardon the juxtaposition: A memorial gathering is still moving and important when it’s held months after a loved one’s burial, no?
And, pardon the juxtaposition again: The end of a close game is still exciting (to me at least) an hour late on DVR. It technically already happened but the story it tells is the same.
Whether any of this gets you off the “tacky” hook is moot because every guest will have an opinion on everything you do anyway; that’s why chasing approval is for suckers. Be true to yourselves and be gracious hosts and leave the sleep loss to somebody else.
It is “deceitful,” of course, if you pre-marry and don’t tell anyone you did; you don’t need me to tell you that. Now you just need to decide whether the deception is morally significant and/or worth the money you’d save.
I have a neighbor who frequently joins me in my morning walk. She or I will initiate a conversation. There are times when she is quite insightful and even delightful. Usually however, when I start talking, she either pulls out her phone and starts talking about something else or yells to someone across the street or is so distracted by whatever is going on in her head she completely misses whatever I’m saying.
I’ll say something like, “Apparently I’ve lost my audience.” Or, “I’m sorry. Am I keeping you from something?” My sweet morning activity then becomes an upsetting experience.
When I have spoken to her about how this makes me feel, she says, “I’m a space case. Don’t take it personally.” I do take it personally. Sometimes it affects the rest of my day.
Any suggestions on how I can get through to her without killing the relationship?
— Tuned Out
You are unlikely to get through to someone who’s still in the excuse-making phase, and you have no relationship to kill. Unless performer/audience counts as one.
I actually agree with her that not taking it personally is your best play, though. Your only information is that she demonstrates zero interest in what you have to say, so I get why you see it as personal and why it can ruin your day. But look at it this way: A polite person with zero interest in you would at least make a show of nodding and uh-huh-ing during your turns to speak.
She doesn’t do that — she grabs her phone, ugh, like an adolescent dopamine fiend. More important, when you object, she doesn’t show you the basic respect of an apology. That’s not spacy, that’s self-absorbed.
So your neighbor apparently is a few qualities short of high quality. Oh well, right? Don’t torture yourself looking for just the right combination of words to unlock the secret brain-dungeon that imprisons her social graces. When you see her coming, just remind yourself you’re the latest audience for an impromptu one-woman show. Or, of course, walk the other way.
Email Carolyn at email@example.com, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.