Posted by: chlost | January 22, 2013

It’s a son (-in-law)!

We spent the weekend with our daughter to work on wedding plans. They are planning an August wedding in Glacier National Park. We are now about 6 months away from the big day, and the serious planning is now starting. Our daughter seems to have been very overwhelmed by the entire process. She is very self conscious, and hates to be the center of attention. Of course, this will be a day when she will definitely be the focus of everyone. She wants to keep things simple, but planning an out-of-state wedding for at least 100 guests is just not that simple.

They seem to be getting things put together. We made a lot of progress this weekend. It was a good situation, as it was just the four of us, and we didn’t have the distraction of a holiday, or of other people vying for their time and attention.

There was a big surprise for us. I had a feeling that they had already gotten married. I don’t know why I began to think so, but over the holidays, that feeling intensified. I joked to our younger son that my daughter was definitely already married.

And yes, yes they are.


For nearly 6 months.

They got married on the day that they will be having the wedding…..exactly one year earlier.

In Nebraska.

When we asked them if they had figured out who would perform the ceremony, the response we got was “We have that covered” with a bit of eye contact evasion. I finally asked them outright. I will give them credit that they did not lie to me.

I’ll admit that part of my immediate reaction was to crow a bit about being right. My husband had not believed me. He didn’t think our daughter would get married without telling us.

Their explanation is that it was just a contract to ensure medical insurance for our daughter through his plan. “It’s just a business contract. We consider our real wedding to be when we are married in front of all of our friends and family.”




So why do I feel bad? Why am I feeling hurt, left out, disappointed?

It’s our only daughter. We would have been there if they’d told us. We would have jumped in the car and been there in 8 hours just to be with her for a simple courthouse wedding. They didn’t want us there. They wanted to keep it just business. They had some friends whom they don’t even know well act as witnesses.

We have been instructed to keep this a secret. They don’t want his parents to know. They are very concerned that his parents will “go ballistic” and things will never be the same in the family. If we tell others in our family, they are worried that the word will get out, and then it will get back to his parents. I don’t know them very well, but I wonder if his parents realize that their son (and now daughter in law) are so worried about a bad reaction that such information would be withheld from them.

I am still working this out in my head. I can’t discuss it with anyone other than Merle. I can’t talk to my sister, my sons, daughter-in-law or friends for perspective.  Merle and I are feeling the same way. We realize it’s out of proportion to the true situation, but we are both very disappointed.

We did the only thing we could….Congratulated them.

And welcomed a son-in-law into the family.



  1. That’s big stuff, indeed, and it seems like your whole swirling ball of reactions is legitimate and healthy: crowing and hurting and accepting.

    One of my good girlfriends had the same situation with her son and daughter-in-law, only she knew about it and was at the courthouse wedding, so that emotional bit didn’t rear up for her. However. The hidden wedding for practical reasons is anything but easy, no matter how you slice it.

    At the very least, I’d suggest this as one idea: your daughter got the wedding she actually wanted. Now she’s doing this other business that makes her feel uncomfortable but like she’s satisfying a larger public need.

    • I hadn’t thought of that angle, but we have not pushed her for a big wedding ceremony in any way. I would have been fine if she just wanted a courthouse wedding and that’s that. They came up with the plan to do this big wedding (65 of the 100 people invited are their friends, not family) so I don’t think she is feeling forced into the uncomfortable public ceremony. I am still rumbling this over in my head…..

  2. We almost had the same situation here. I would have felt much as you felt. I would take her at her word that it meant something different for her than for you and that the wedding that is being planned is the “real wedding” in their heart. A wedding at Glacier National park sounds amazing! Good luck to all!

    • I am sure that it does mean something different to them, or at least she wants it to. I am very much looking forward the the Glacier wedding. As you have gone through all of this recently, I am sure you can remember all of the trials and tribulations.I may need your input to keep me sane!

    • I am sure that it does mean something different to them, or at least she wants it to. I am very much looking forward the the Glacier wedding. As you have gone through all of this recently, I am sure you can remember all of the trials and tribulations.I may need your input to keep me sane!

  3. You are the one they trusted. That is awesome! I just hope nobody in your immediate families reads this blog. 100 guests sounds like a pretty big “simple” wedding and the logistics of doing it in Glacier can’t be simple either. Sounds like fun, though!

    • I do feel good about them telling us, but that wouldn’t have happened if I had not asked directly. I know it sounds crazy, but I feel as though our daughter wanted us to know, but has kept it secret for her husband’s sake, to keep peace in his family. I think the whole thing will be fun this summer.

  4. I can understand your feelings, finding out about it after-the-fact. I never would have done something like that because I’m not sure if my mom would’ve forgiven me…if she did, it would’ve taken years. As it was, we didn’t speak for two months after my wedding.

    I hope you find some peace in knowing that when asked, she shared the information rather than lying about it. To me, that speaks for her respect of you and your husband. I don’t understand having two weddings, but it may be one of those things that may remain a mystery.

    • I do appreciate that they did not lie to me. I can’t say that there is a “forgiveness” aspect to this whole situation, because I really don’t think that there is anything to forgive, and I can’t imagine not talking to our daughter, especially over issues about her wedding.

  5. They can’t do it again. They are already married. They can renew their vows tho.

    • That’s true. But everyone at the ceremony will think that they are getting married.

  6. Whoa. That’d be hard for me to process and take. I’ve been reading about the ‘2 wedding’ phenom nowadays, one tiny ceremony and another party afterwards with more folks.

    • But I think most of those types of ceremonies are done on the up and up and everyone knows that. Here, they will be having a ceremony, and everyone will think that they are just getting married. When we started all of this, we offered that if they wanted to get married somewhere else and have a reception here, we could do that. But that’s not what is happening.

  7. I think I’d have a mixed reaction, too. But you can’t really get married a second time, can you? I mean, you can have any ceremony/celebration you want, but it’s not technically getting married.

    • Yes, that’s it exactly. And it seems to be starting things out a bit dishonestly. Not a great start in my book.

  8. It’s sort of a two-step process – the legal ceremony and then the community ceremony. My husband and I got married overseas and there was a gap between the “legal” marriage and the wedding. We didn’t live together until the wedding even though we could legally do so. Our gap was about a month; your daughter’s is just a bit longer. 🙂

    • I guess that the difference that I see is that I imagine that everyone knew that you had already had the “legal” ceremony and that the second one was for the family. Here, they have specifically kept the entire thing a secret. And whole year is much different than a month!

  9. Hmmmmmmm Invitation wording will be very interesting! Their trust in you both is well founded. What a responsibility eh? Thank goodness you can share it here – we’ll keep you right. xxx

    • I think that the wording is going to be just as though the first ceremony has never happened. And I really appreciate the opportunity to share it here. This is why I don’t invite family or friends to read the blog. Then the secret would be out.

  10. This is a difficult one. No wonder you need time to process it. Have you had a chance for a private chat with your daughter? Perhaps there is more she could tell you. I am sure none of this is personal where you are concerned, but it does seem a shame to begin with a subterfuge to the larger group on the ‘wedding’ day. It would make me feel most uncomfortable. Secrets have a habit of coming out: if it is already thought that the other in-laws will be upset at the moment, think how they will feel afterwards if they find out that the wedding was not what it appeared to be. Good luck to you all with a really difficult situation and I hope you soon feel a bit better. They are clearly very happy talking honestly to you which is a great compliment.

    • I can’t agree with you more. I am very worried that the other parents will find out later and that the hard feelings will be even worse. Especially if it is learned that we knew before the wedding. I also am pretty sure that they would not have told me except that I asked a direct question. I appreciate the input.

  11. […] my daughter feels wonderful in, that she feels beautiful for her wedding. Even if she is technically already married, this is the day that she is making her commitment to her husband in front of all of her friends […]

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