I’m spilling all of my secrets lately!
Here’s one that most people don’t know about Nick and me unless you’re a fellow military spouse or a close friend. On February 15, 2013, six months before our wedding, Nick and I put on some jeans, dragged my brother and my dad, and went to the courthouse to get married.
We didn’t make a big deal out of it. We didn’t even have rings (which sent the officiant into a frenzy as she scrambled to get us paperclip rings as we said, “No, really, we’re good…”). My dad wore his carpenter’s uniform and went straight to work after. My brother, Nick, and I went to the Cheesecake Factory after, where my brother insisted we feed each other cheesecake.
There was no honeymoon. The next day, Nick flew back to Washington and I stayed in New York. Nick went on one more deployment. Then we had our big wedding and moved to Hawaii together.
It’s a pretty common thing for military couples to do. There are a lot of reasons why a couple might get married before their wedding date. If you are not married when you receive your orders to your next duty station, then your spouse is not on your orders. This can be annoying for a lot of things.
This is probably not an issue for many couples, depending on when they decide to get married. Our wedding was planned for after Nick was going to be relieved from his boat. He would leave Washington, where he was stationed, and together we would go to his next duty station. A fresh start.
Our problem was the timing of our wedding. We wanted to get married before Nick was told where to go next so that I could be on his orders. We had been together for 6 years at that point and were actively planning our own wedding, so I didn’t really see the big deal for myself.
I didn’t tell anyone at the time because I felt like it would have taken away from our actual wedding. Also, we got married in a church in August, which meant something very different from our legal wedding, at least to my family. I also didn’t want people wondering why we were having a wedding when we were already married. I didn’t want people talking about me or gossiping or not taking our wedding day seriously. I’ve seen it happen and I didn’t want the drama or the judgment.
There are many couples out there who will bite the bullet and deal with whatever annoyances come because it’s important for them to get married on their actual wedding day. I totally respect that.
For me, I think it actually alleviated a lot of stress about our wedding. I knew that things weren’t going to be perfect, and I let go of a lot of that because, heck, we were already married. I will say that on our actual wedding day in August, I didn’t think about it once. I think that I might have joked in the morning that I didn’t have to worry about Nick showing up because he really had no choice at that point. I think that the entire day was less stressful overall.
We always say that this is our “fake” anniversary, but we always end up celebrating, because it does carry meaning for us. Nick gave me a beautiful necklace the day before we got married… I thought it was a Valentine’s Day present but he said it was for our wedding. And ever since, we have always celebrated our anniversary in a small way. It’s always been fun because no one else knows. I asked Nick if he wants to keep celebraitng and he said, Yeah, why wouldn’t we want more things to celebrate?
But I wanted to write about it today because this can be a difficult decision for many people to make. Among my friends, we are pretty split — and we all have pretty strong opinions on it. For some, it wasn’t an issue because of their timing. Some were adamantly opposed to getting married early, some didn’t care, some did it but didn’t tell anyone. But we all understand that decision and how hard it was, no matter what decision you make.
This was the first time that Nick and I had to do what we felt was right for us, despite what anyone else told us. My family didn’t really understand why we felt the need to do this. No one in my family is in the military so I really can’t blame them. I never was one to keep things from my parents, so I told them. While they didn’t really understand it, they came to support it. Now we joke about it, like, what was the big deal, really?
The #1 thing that this taught me was how important it is to do what is right for you and your spouse. Military life is really challenging and anything that you can do to make it easier on yourself and your spouse, do it. I’m glad that we started off our marriage strong by knowing what was best for us.
So, happy 5 years to us! And yes there will be another anniversary post come August. The perk of two wedding dates is two days to celebrate!