Philip and I had our wedding on September 24, 2011. However, we had a tiny little secret. We actually got legally married on September 24, 2010.
Yes, I know. You're shocked. We only told our close relatives. We didn't want to take away from the wedding ceremony.
You see, in Colorado, to get married, you go to the administration building (not even the courthouse!) and tell them your name, social security number, address, etc., and then you sign at the bottom of the page. And presto! You're married!
I'm serious. It took about 5 minutes for us to get legally married. (sadly, divorce in Colorado is also super easy)
Anywho, we didn't want to make a big deal out of it because we were still not really considering ourselves as truly married. I still went by my maiden name and Philip didn't wear a wedding band. We weren't going to be really married until 365 days later at our actual ceremony. :)
However, we did go out and have a nice dinner to celebrate (it didn't seem right to treat it as a completely normal day!).
Here we are after returning home from getting (legally) hitched and having a very tasty Italian dinner (Venice Ristorante in Denver -- super delicious!).
Why did we do it? The usual -- money. I wouldn't have to pay for my insurance through my company (Philip's was cheaper). And, it meant we got back a bunch of money on our taxes instead of owing (and we needed that money for wedding and honeymoon plans!).
Do I regret it? Nope. Not even a little. Looking back, I can say that our legal marriage went off without a hitch -- something I cannot say about our actual wedding ceremony! Ha! The money we gained from it helped us have a great honeymoon (and less stressing!). And, it was nice to have a kind of intimate day to legally bind ourselves.
Should you get legally married before your actual wedding? That's entirely up to you. I had a good experience with it. However, I know some people have had bad experiences. And some people will judge you for it. I think it's an entirely personal decision to be decided by you and your partner alone!
Now Philip and I have THREE anniversaries: Dating, Legal Marriage, and Wedding! My sister even teased me the day of the wedding saying that she wasn't sure if she should get me a wedding card or an anniversary card! Smartass! :P