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Legal vs. Symbolic Ceremony... :0S Help!

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#1 taratoons

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    Posted 30 July 2009 - 06:36 AM

    Hi Ladies!

    So I'm totally torn between doing a legal or symbolic ceremony. Originally, I thought it would be best to go with symbolic, because it was cheaper, and it would avoid the added stress of translation of documents, etc. Then I decided that it just wouldn't feel right, I want it to be legal and real when they say "you may now kiss the bride." Now, I'm back to unsure again, based on something one of the past brides has told me. When she got married, she was told she had to have her ceremony at 5 pm because that's when the judge would be there (same as me, though I really wanted a 4 pm service). Then it turned out the judge didn't turn up on time, so her wedding coordinator performed the ceremony, and the judge showed up during the reception to have them sign papers, which she said took quite some time. The reception is short enough, in my opinion, and then part of it was taken over by the signing of documents!!!! I e-mailed the wedding coordinator to see if this is common, and she just said that "she's hopefully he'll be there in time, but can't guarantee anything." GREAT. So after all that money to translate documents, all the added stress, and being forced to have the ceremony at a certain time, the guy can be late, resulting in the wedding coordinator performing the ceremony, which is technically then a symbolic ceremony, and he can then just show up, and shorten your reception by taking you away from the party and your guests? Arg, I'm so torn! Should I take the chance? Has anyone else heard of this happening?

    #2 PCBride

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      Posted 30 July 2009 - 08:26 AM

      Wow! That is NOT cool!

      I am having a Catholic wedding so at least I know that the WC CAN'T marry us!

      Sorry you are going through all that. Good Luck and I hope it all works out for you!

      #3 SSNM

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        Posted 30 July 2009 - 11:37 AM

        Well, if you look at it this way, they probably got to have the ceremony in english, which is definately preferred by me and for guest comprehension (no one in my family or my FH's family speaks spanish). As long as the minister didn't interrupt the ceremony to take over and we just did the paper work afterwards in the background, you still end up with a beautiful ceremony and it still counts as a legal event. AND it all happened there in the same day which is what one would want anyway. Heck, even if the minister showed up the next day and we signed papers, that would be even better because the actual wedding day event would have been fully enjoyed and then the minister just shows up after to do the boring paperwork...heck I may even push for that myself!

        What would have been a piss off, is if he a) never showed up, or B) he interrupted the ceremony, or c) you had to repeat the ceremony all over again in a lack lusture setting for legal purposes. I am with you when I say, do it once and that's it. In this case, that is what happened so I would be happy.

        #4 amyanddehn

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          Posted 30 July 2009 - 12:11 PM

          I hear you for sure. We went back and forth and still are, even though we signed on for a symbollic. My feelings for symbollic are: less hassle amid alllll the other hassles, no translation, get the time you want, more romantic less legal (you can modify the script at some resorts, write own vows, etc where as legal ceremonies have to be just so), and I can't think of others right now :). I just like saving a few bucks and sweat! THEN future MIL comes in and says it won't be the same, blah blah blah and got Fiance all worked up too. In the end it's the ceremony, the peope around you, and the vows of forever that make the wedding... IMO!!! Good luck!

          #5 pineapple princess

          pineapple princess
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            Posted 30 July 2009 - 02:18 PM

            I was all gung ho, no going back, legal ceremony because i am trying to do a catholic ceremony. I waver occasionally because of all the extra work and stress it seems to be causing- but in the end - i think it will be totally worth the hassle. Also - it is really helping with my wedding ADD because it is eliminating countries and resorts left and right! :)

            that being said - go with what YOU want! if we all changed our plans based on what could possibly go wrong - NONE of us would even have a wedding!!!! So my vote is to take the chance and oh well! if something goes awry - all the better story you have to tell later. In the end, you will still be his wife!
            "Formerly goNDmay9"
            "so long and thanks for all the fish!"

            #6 mich999

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              Posted 30 July 2009 - 03:10 PM

              I think this really comes down to the wedding coordinator and resort - that's a completely unacceptable answer. While anything can happen, she can triple check that the judge knows when to be there and confirm the day before. You may just have to harass the WC on this issue in the weeks leading up to your wedding - I must have asked my WC to confirm with the judge at least 3 separate times. Of you could even ask for the judge's phone number to confirm directly!! The judge may still be late, but that's true of anyone. We had both a minister and a judge to make it legal on our actual wedding day - it was very important to us to have it all be on thw same day - so if it's important to you, go for it!

              #7 PynkLemonade

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              • 350 posts

                Posted 30 July 2009 - 04:19 PM

                I'm sorry I beg to differ on the situation. We opted for the religious symbolic ceremony with a sand ceremony performed by Pastor Rick York, due to the fact that we are Christians and want that to be reflected in our wedding, as well as having everything made legal here takes away the pain of translation of documents and I will have no worries about whether my marriage is legal or not. And no time frames that I have to worry about, ex..how long the translation process is.

                Follow your heart, we are still going to celebrate our anniversary's on the day we exchange vows in PC in front of friends and family, but just the security of knowing that my day there won't be messed up was enough to help us make our decision.

                Good Luck Taratoons!!!!

                #8 shanelle

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                • 29 posts

                  Posted 30 July 2009 - 04:37 PM

                  Im glad to hear some else with the same dilema. My only reason for not doing a symbolic ceremony is because I dont want to be married before the "wedding day". It just wont feel right to me. My guests may not know, but Ill always know. Im also perplexed about having to pay the higher fee for the legal ceremony & the judge possibly not being there. But I look at it this way, by the time the day comes Ill be so happy w/my surroundings that I wont even sweat it. I dont really care who officiates the wedding, just that I sign the legal documents that day.
                  Wow...I just made myself feel better about it! lol Hopefully youll come to peace with your decision
                  Good luck and let know what you decide!

                  #9 Moonrhea

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                  • 153 posts

                    Posted 30 July 2009 - 05:10 PM

                    I have been told of a few frustrating stories by people who've had legal ceremonies. One couple had to return to the resort as it had been over a year without recieving their marriage license. Two friends who had destination weddings told me it relieved a lot of stress by having a symbolic wedding.

                    Also in Panama they require bloodwork and I'm not really interested in giving them that.

                    So we've opted to be married by a Justice of Peace here and a symbolic ceremony there.

                    #10 taratoons

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                    • 123 posts

                      Posted 30 July 2009 - 05:25 PM

                      Thanks everyone, you've made some very valid points that I'll have to mull over! It's just so anxiety-provoking to me, because I'm such a TERRIBLE decision maker. Even at McDonald's, I have to ask my fiance what I should get, nuggets or a Big Mac, because I'm terrified if I pick one I'll be disappointed that I didn't choose the other! And that's just greasy food, this is my one and only wedding!!!! Minute to minute I swear I'm changing my opinion on the whole thing. Luckily, my parents are saying to go with what I feel is right, take the chance if I want to, or they'd be just as happy with a symbolic ceremony. I don't know though, I REALLY want my wedding kiss to be my first married kiss!!!

                      Anyway, thanks again, and I hope everyone's planning is going well. :0)


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