Should I or shouldn't I?

We get a lot of questions on the Military Brides board about getting married at or by a Justice of the Peace! There is nothing wrong with getting married at the Justice of the Peace. In fact, it's a great solution and works perfectly for some couples!

We also get questions asking the etiquette of a JOP wedding: Can I have a JOP wedding and then a real wedding later? Here is Miss Manner's advice in regards to this topic.

Answer is edited from a Miss Manners column:

Apparently the act of getting married is no longer considered an essential part of a “real wedding.”

We are not talking about a civil ceremony followed, in short order, by a ceremonial religious blessing. Rather, these people are making a distinction between the act of contracting marriage and that of putting on a showy entertainment, with the idea that the first is not the real thing unless accompanied by the second.

That big white dresses and bridesmaids are associated with weddings is not surprising, although these are not essential. Many a bride has had a real and charming wedding wearing something more to her own taste, and not every one chooses to be attended by a bevy of female friends.

Parties in honor of a newly married couple can be held practically up until the time they start celebrating anniversaries. But for a married couple to pretend that they are getting married? And possibly to play with the feelings of their guests, who thought that they were witnessing people actually being married?

Even that doesn’t bother Miss Manners as much as the sad realization that “real,” in regard to something as important as marriage, has come to mean extravagant and fake

Please be aware that being legally married(and accepting financial benefits from the military as a married couple)but not presenting yourselves publically as a married couple is fraud, and can result in the service member facing charges and potentially being demoted or expelled from service. 

As Miss Manners stated, there is NO PROBLEM with having a JOP wedding and a religious ceremony or vow renewal later. However, please make sure your guests know what event they are invited to and are attending.