Can people be married without having a marriage?

How does that work? My sister is unsure if she wants a marriage. But she's engaged. And my mom suggested that she doesn't need to have a wedding even though they want to be a married couple? im really confused about this. Can people change their last names t their husbands as an example and be considered a married couple?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • The thing people sometimes don't realize is that law and religious traditions aren't really absolute. You can, really, do whatever you want. You can change your name whenever you want to; will the government recognize it without approval? Who knows, that's their call, but you can carry on with your new name, who says you can't?

    Same goes with marriage. You don't need a wedding ceremony, or pay taxes for it, or higher a priest. You don't even need a ring. You can define a marriage any way you'd like, nothing says you can't.

    If you read into the history of marriage, it's changed a lot in the last 60 or 70 years. A diamond ring wasn't a normality. Name changes weren't drafted to the government and approved, you just did it and everyone else had to accept it.

    But, nowadays, people are a lot more involved with the privacy of our lives and even enforce that our choices must be approved by them. So, you can have a wedding any way you want, change your name to the husbands. But just like you freely making these choices, the government, communities, religion has the same freedom to not recognize it as "official".

    Look up Common Law Marriage.

    In conclusion, life is complicated._.

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    • A modern traditional wedding, certified by the government of the country you are in will act more like a legal contract. This legal contract defines what your marriage means, asset division, etc. These are things you can either define in great detail, have a lawyer prepare, or just not at all.
      The term Prenuptial Agreement is a pre-wedding contract that is specifically for making specific definitions of your marriage. It's most commonly used to organize assets and wealth.

    • personally if I ever got married, I would have a wedding. I just feel like wedding should be part of it. But I love my sister and if she doesn't wants a wedding than I'll be on her side. And yea, you're right. I've learned in anthropology course how even dating changed throughout history.

What Guys Said 3

  • To be married means that you sign a marriage certificate which is a legally binding document stating you are married. You can change your last name, you can live together, you can ostensibly be a married couple in every possible way but without that marriage certificate you're not married.

    Conversely, you can live in different countries, be living with other people, never speak to one another, have different last names, but if your marriage certificate says you're married, then you're married. Even if you've never had a wedding.

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  • You don't actually need to have a wedding to be legally married, it's just a tradition that most people go through. It'd be rather silly to actually force people to go through that to get the legal benefits of marriage.

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    • The actual marriage exists in legal documents signed by both of you.

    • Show All
    • You go to a person whose legally qualified to marry two people, sign some documents, and the person will declare you married. From that point on the government will see you as married.

      It really just revolves around the marriage document and the person whose been given the ability to marry people by the government. The whole idea of being married after that big ceremony is really just an old tradition that comes from various religions, the white gown and everything that people usually think of is just the Christian version. Today marriage is a legal entity more than a religious entity, and though your church might require you to go through the ceremony to be religiously married the law doesn't in order for you to be legally married.

    • ohh okay that makes sense. I think part of the reason for my confusion is because I'venever been married and I've only seen marriage in movies where there are big (or small) weddings. But movies never showed the legal part of getting married

  • not legally, no. I mean in CA we don't have Common Law marriage. So she wants the legal benefits of marriage but not the marriage?

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    • are you asking about my sister? I think she just doesn't wants to spent a lot of money of buying the wedding dress setting up a wedding and inviting a lot ofpeople. I think she's also kinda nervous

    • oh i see, she just doesn't want the stress of a big wedding. well that's understandable. I wouldn't either i mean why do people want to start out their life together in debt and all stressed out? People nowadays just seem to have kids and co-habitat, they skip the wedding/marriage all together.

What Girls Said 4

  • The wedding is just a celebration of the marriage, rooted in cultural and religious traditions. To be legally married in today's society, you don't have to have a wedding. Most people do though, but it's not necessary. This is called a civil marriage (whereas a wedding in a church or done by a priest is a religious marriage). To get married without the wedding, a couple still needs to sign a marriage certificate, but instead of signing it at the wedding it's done at city hall or a government office of some sort, in front of someone who is legally certified to marry people (Justice of the Peace, ordained minister, or something like that).

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  • Legally all they need is a marriage certificate. They can go to a justice of the peace for that. They still have to say vows. There's also a think in some states called common law marriage, where if a couple lives together long enough they can be recognized by the state as married for tax reasons but names usually don't change in that case. If she's wanting a name change without a marriage license I don't know how that works but I think to legally change your name you still have to go before a judge or justice and plead your case. Much easier just to get married legally by a justice.

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  • You can get married in a court house.. A lot of people do that. I wouldn't if I ever got married id have the wedding of my dreams. But if she's unsure she's not ready for that commitment marriage is life long not just another relationship title.

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  • No.. people can't be married without having marriage... but they can act and live together like a married couple without marriage and it falls under Common Law partner (if I'm not mistaken)..

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