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That’s right. I’m now legally married. This was not our original plan but came about because of our honeymoon travel itinerary.

My dear father-in-law did a very generous thing by purchasing our plane tickets to Ireland – we’re very excited! He also booked our flights. And he booked mine in my married name. Years ago this wasn’t much of an issue, you could bring your certified marriage license to the airport with you and still go on your flight. We thought that was the case this time but I double and triple checked with Orbitz, the State Travel Agency and our airline. While the government seemed to think I could travel on the marriage license, the airline and Orbitz disagreed. They said their regulations are much more strict now especially for international travel. Quite a few months had passed when our travel itinerary was forwarded to the fiancé and I (not calling him husband just yet!) and returning my plane ticket and purchasing a new one would mean a lot of lost $$ for my father-in-law. So it was decided to get married legally early and begin the name change process so that by the time we leave on the honeymoon I can travel on my brand new passport.

Not the marriage license – apparently just for looks! We'll sign this at our wedding on October 5, 2013.

This definitely added some stress on top of the wedding, I am now going through the name change process while still planning our big day, but I think it was the right choice. Fortunately my Stepfather is ordained and was willing to perform a simple ceremony at a moment’s notice. We applied for our license on a Friday morning, were married Monday night, the paperwork was filed Wednesday morning and we received certified copies that same day. All in all a very quick and easy process. In fact getting married legally is a very painless process, much less involved than renewing your Driver’s license at the DMV or filling out Financial Aid information for school. Tom and I even joked that our real marriage license looked like a FAFSA form.

THIS is our marriage license – with the select information photoshopped out.

For our impromptu ceremony we had just parents and siblings in attendance. We said simple vows to each other and even though we were in front of just our immediate family… I cried and was really at a loss for words up at the altar. I have NO idea what I’ll do on our wedding day! It was important that we not take the focus off our wedding which is still the day we are looking forward to, the day we will celebrate the start of our marriage and the day we will count as our anniversary. Even so our small ceremony was very meaningful and I can now see why someone would want to elope or have a small, intimate wedding. I didn’t feel like I was putting on a show for anyone. Everyone there cared A LOT. It was a great moment! But I still want that wedding and I don’t quite feel “married” yet. Tom and I joke that we are half-married.

Husband and Wife after signing our marriage “homework”

So know this, weddings are important. There is something to be said about saying your vows in front of everyone, in front of the community. It adds a layer of ceremony and importance. But when it comes down to it, a wedding is not about marriage, it’s about show. Marriage is committing indefinitely what you already have with your significant other. Hopefully it’s an acknowledgement of the relationship you’ve built and has a solid foundation of trust and history. Being married today I don’t feel like a different person at all. And that I think – is a good thing.

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About Ashley Catherine

I’m a 24-year old marketing coordinator from Portland, Oregon who enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and riding my bike, reading, blogging, and indulging my nerdy side with video games and trivia nights. I’m marrying my wonderful fiancé Tom in a fall-themed wedding on October, 5 2013. I’m lucky to call him my best friend.

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  • HeatherG

    Well Congrats! We had to do the same thing. In order for us to buy a house with the VA loan, we HAD to be married. When we thought the process would take much longer to find a house, it only took us a few weeks and it was a few weeks too soon, so we had to get married. Our venue was the Starbucks down the street. So romantic! Lol

    At first I was sad it had to be that way, but I wasnt going to hold up buying our future home over one day. We still had the traditional wedding day, we just took one thing off the table.

  • Christie O. {Mountainside Bride}

    Wow! That’s quite the story. And yes, congrats! We had 2 weddings: One in California in front of a JP and 17 friends where we were legally married, and one in NC where we had a formal religious ceremony and a traditional reception. Couples are doing this sort of thing all the time nowadays 🙂

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