If one were to get technical, getting married and having a wedding are two pretty different things.
In addition to showing your commitment to the one you love, marriage is also the legal arrangement a couple makes, and thus giving them new protections and financial stability they did not previously have.
While the wedding is the celebration the couple throws to share their love, commitment and new life together with their nearest and dearest.
Generally speaking, the wedding day is also the day that the spouses are also legally married.
But the two days don’t necessarily have to be one and the same.
Such was the case with Redditor, Brideandgroom19 and her husband, who unbeknownst to the guests at their wedding, had already been married for over a year.
When the mother of the original poster (OP)’s husband discovered this news, however, she was not pleased in the slightest.
Wondering if she and her husband had been unforgivably deceitful, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for having a wedding and not disclosing we were already legally married?”
The OP shared how for personal reasons, she and her husband were already legally married at the time of their wedding, and how that infuriated her mother-in-law.
“About two months ago, my husband and I got ‘married’ in a beautiful ceremony.”
“It was SO MUCH FUN.”
“We went on a honeymoon after.”
“The price tag makes me wheeze, but my parents were insistent on paying for 95% of it, saying it’s their only daughter’s wedding.”
“As a result, the wedding was way more fancy than something my husband or I could afford!”
“My husband and I paid the rest, his family did not contribute, which is fine!”
“The wedding was lovely, but missing one piece, the marriage license.”
“About a year and a half ago, I was going through some serious health issues.”
“The issues are resolved now, thankfully!”
“I had recently graduated from school and didn’t have health insurance.”
“My husband and I decided to get married so I could join his health insurance.”
“It was a quick Justice of the Peace ceremony.”
“We were always planning to have a ceremony at some point in the future.”
“A few months after that, he ‘proposed’, something I didn’t see coming, the wedding occurred, and here we are today, planning for kids.”
“Very few people knew we got legally married about a year and a half ago.”
“We weren’t trying to be deceptive.”
“However, part of it was that I wasn’t comfortable revealing my health issues.”
“My husband respected this.”
“My parents knew about our legal marriage, but his mother did not.”
“His mom, I’ll call her Carol, and I aren’t close.”
“She’s fine enough in low doses, but…”
“We’re currently in the process of moving.”
“This past weekend, his mother came to help us pack up things.”
“As we were packing files, birth certificate, social security cards, etc., somehow our marriage license must’ve slipped out.”
“Carol picked it up and kept insisting we need to frame it.”
“And then she noticed the date.”
“Carol lost it.”
“She insisted we lied to everyone.”
“She said our wedding ceremony was just a ‘gift grab’, our wedding website stated that someone’s presence was gift enough, we still got many generous gifts and we are forever grateful.”
“Carol went and called her twin sister, my husband’s aunt, and the sister called and lashed out at us.”
“She said we were sneaky and deceptive.”
“She is saying she may want her gift back, something we are fine with giving her.”
“For me and my husband, the legal wedding was just so I could get insurance.”
“A means to an end.”
“Our wedding date is what we will celebrate.”
“Are we a**holes for not being more upfront?”
“I’ve been really upset and confused and waffle back and forth.”
“My husband insists we are not a**holes.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community agreed that the OP and her husband did nothing wrong by keeping the fact that they were already married a secret at their wedding, and were not the a**holes for doing so.
Everyone agreed that the OP’s mother-in-law was badly overreacting, and the fact that they were already married shouldn’t have made a lick of difference, with many pointing out that it’s not really an uncommon occurrence.
“Also, your husband deserves an extra shout out for backing your decision.”
“There’s far, far too many feckless spouses out there who will side with ‘mommy and daddy’ over their partner.”
“And those partners deserve better.”- BropolloCreed
“There is a reason why you only take Carol in small doses.”- nextm8
“Also keep in mind that gifts are just that.”
“Once somebody gifts you something, sole ownership of that thing goes to you.”- hideyyo
“Being legally married unlocks certain powers that can make life better.”
“Y’all did that and that was wise.”
“The ceremony/reception is to celebrate the couple, and also a good way to see friends and relatives that aren’t close by.”
“The fact that y’all were legally married doesn’t diminish the celebration.”
“Carol is being an a**hole because she feels entitled to know EVERY detail about you and her son, and her not knowing a socially irrelevant, but legally very relevant, detail wounds her little heart.”
“This is a perfect application for the non-apology ‘I’m sorry you feel that way, but we made the right decision’.”- ShoelessBoJackson
“I suspect she’s just hurt she didn’t know you’d already been married a year and a half.”
“Her son didn’t tell her and I can see why she’d be upset.”
“Lots of people have ceremonies after they’re already married, it’s not uncommon.”
“Older people sometimes don’t get legally married force variety of reasons, like benefits from a deceased spouse, and just have a commitment ceremony.”- vanastalem
“I understand Carol feeling hurt at her son not telling her he was married, but your health and legal relationship status are your business.”
“Nor should you be denied a big family affair just because your circumstances forced you to get a marriage license.”
“She was way out of line.”- MightyMary007
“Your husband probably should’ve told his mum, but Carol sounds ridiculous.”
“Give her gift back & be done with it.”- electropop_robot
“I am in the wedding industry.”
“Do you know how many people have multiple ceremonies?”
“Let’s see, Sweden and NYC and Tucson, three there.”
“Indian are almost always one in India and one in America.”
“NYC and LA.”
“LA and Montana.”
“Colorado and NYC.”
“And those are just the receptions.”
“They get the legalities out of the way early on so that visas and passports and reservations, etc. are easier.”
“Send her gift back.”
“And tell her to google multiple receptions.”
“Very common these days.”- ichweisnichts
“This is so much more common than people think!”
“Health insurance is crazy in the USA and there are loads more reasons to sign the form at a different time than celebrating with friends and family.”
“Carol can throw her little tantrum all she wants.”- janewilson90
“As someone pointed out, the only unusual thing is the amount of time between legal paperwork and the actual ceremony.”
“It is a fact that some people were kept out of that loop because they are excessively nosy and unable to not share someone else’s private information when asked.”
“And those people confirmed the exact reason that they were kept out of the loop as soon as they found out the timing situation.”
“Frankly, I might be tempted to return all requested gifts.”
“And refuse any future gifts.”
“If they think gifts = all access to your personal information and choices as an individual and as a couple, then make that boundary clear.”- whereugetcottoncandy
“America, where you have to get married to get healthcare.”- Prismane_62
“The actual license and the ceremony aren’t really connected.”- TinderSubThrowAway
“Also, I’d bet money that Carol was snooping through your docs.”
“I don’t for one second believe your marriage license conveniently slipped out.”
“Keep her access to stuff at a minimum.”- paladindansemacabre
There were a select few, however, who felt that Carol’s anger was understandable, even if the OP and her husband did nothing wrong.
“But people do get touchy about this and she’s his mom.”
“I can totally understand why she got upset not knowing you’ve actually been married almost 2 years ago.”- OverallDisaster
One would like to hope that what upset Carol more than anything was that her son kept such a major secret from her.
However, one can’t help but be a little concerned by the rest of her behavior, particularly calling the OP’s wedding a “gift grab” when she didn’t put a cent towards it.
One hopes that Carol will offer an apology sooner rather than later, especially if she wants to remain on good terms with the OP and her husband.