How to celebrate six months of marriage at a wedding party?
July 20, 2014 10:47 AM   Subscribe

In March, Mrs. HeroZero and I exchanged vows and rings at City Hall with a very small group of friends and immediate family. On Labor Day, we're having a bigger wedding party with the friends and family who couldn't come to the original, tiny event. What are some ideas for making this ceremony meaningful in a way that's different from how a wedding goes?

That is to say, though we'll have a tiered cake and dancing and a ceremony of some sort, we don't want to exchange rings again or necessarily reiterate everything that happens at a usual wedding. We want it to be more about how our community of friends and family supports our vows to each other than about the vows themselves (which we already took).

One idea we're already enacting: on our RSVP form, we asked people to give us one line of advice for our marriage. We are having a graphic designer friend put combine these into a sort of "secular ketubah" wedding contract for everyone to sign.

Any other fun, ceremonial ideas?
posted by HeroZero to Human Relations (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If I were you, I'd just have a nice party that starts with a speech to the people in attendance about how grateful you are for their love and support etc. In our ceremony we had a section where we asked the guests to affirm their support of our relationship, but that would be weird outside the context of a wedding ceremony. The secular ketubah idea is nice, too.

Honestly, it's weird to have another ceremony at all. I am not a person who cares if folks do a later wedding for Reasons (I've been to "fake weddings" for couples that had to get legally married earlier for visa reasons/deployment/whatever, though most of them had sort of a religious component), but if there aren't mitigating circumstances it's an odd thing to do. Why not just have the party?
posted by goodbyewaffles at 11:08 AM on July 20, 2014 [8 favorites]

I think what you've planned is enough to be honest, I'm rather with goodbyewaffles in this regard. I like the Ketubah idea a lot.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:11 AM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think you want to have anything that feels like a faux ceremony. But I agree that it'd be nice to give the event some structure.

Here's what I'd propose:
-Guests arrive/mingling/drinks etc.
-Guests are seated

-Speech from bride & groom welcoming guests, thanking them for their support, etc.
-Short reading from someone important to you (pick this carefully so it's about affirming marriage, your love etc. rather than something that sounds as if you're about to launch into vows)
-Toasts from a couple of people

I think that would help give the event a sense of purpose and would give your guests a chance to raise a glass to you all together, while still ensuring that it feels like a party celebrating your marriage, rather than a faux wedding.
posted by leitmotif at 11:20 AM on July 20, 2014 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I would suggest setting up a babysitter in a special kids area for those friends and family who want to bring little ones. This allows those parents and caregivers a respite and cuts down chaos. If you really want to blow dough then hire a teacher to teach the kids cool things or a special crafts table with the kids making something special for you.

I did what you did with a separate reception and having a special kids room was helpful.
posted by jadepearl at 11:30 AM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I attended a ceremony where, for logistical reasons, the couple had legally married months earlier. I think if your guests are aware of this then they will obviously be attending in order to celebrate your love and commitment not necessarily the legally binding portion. At the ceremony I attended, the bride and groom did all aspects of the wedding ceremony (walking down the aisle, wedding vows, etc), however, the individual officiating the ceremony stated, at the ring exchange portion, something like "in May {bride name} and {groom name} exchanged rings in an informal and small setting...saving the celebration and dedication for today's ceremony with family and friends...blah blah blah...I introduce to you {bride and groom}." This was a beautiful wedding and I felt like these things are really for the guests anyways and I am glad that they did the ceremony even though they had already legally married. I think a beautiful introduction of the married couple and a statement of appreciation for your community would be nice.
posted by W.S (disambiguation) at 12:24 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

We did this.

We had a party.

At some point, my husband's best friend some words and my dad said some words.

Then we had more party.

And that was it. And it was great. And what I wanted.
posted by zizzle at 6:22 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

We did this, too. What you want to avoid is creating the impression you're re-enacting your wedding for the people who weren't important enough to be invited to the real thing. Leaving six months in between definitely helps with that, as will keeping it low-key and informal.

I think what you're planning - wedding contract, cake, dancing - is plenty, and people will make loving speeches and toasts whether you provide a formal setting to do so or not. (Ask me how I know this.)
posted by gingerest at 7:19 PM on July 20, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all. We ended up doing something like a traditional wedding ceremony. We had a procession, but Mrs. HeroZero and I walked in together instead having the bride process to the groom. We had everybody sign the wedding contract. We mostly drank and ate and danced. It was lovely.
posted by HeroZero at 10:50 AM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

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