Hi Everyone! Need some advice about something.
I'm due to be married soon and I'm thinking about the ceremony. In Ireland a religious marriage (in pretty much any religion, including the Catholic one) also counts as a civil marriage so the same ceremony serves as the Catholic and civil marriage ceremony. However, in my mind they're two entirely separate ideas. One is a legal contract for taxation purposes which can be dissolved at any stage without the mutual agreement of the parties and is virtually indistinguishable from a civil partnership arrangement which can take place between two men or two women. Furthermore Ireland is well on the way to legalising gay marriage and will almost certainly do so in my lifetime. The other ceremony is a solemn commitment before God by a baptised man and woman during which myself and my fiancée will administer a sacrament to each other. It cannot and will not be dissolved in this life and brings us spiritual fruit and blessing.
My issue is, given that the two unions mean completely different things, I am not comfortable having one ceremony for the two institutions and think they should have two separate ceremonies. We would like to have a small civil ceremony first together (which I would not consider to be my wedding and I would not consider myself to be married after it) and then have a church wedding after (preferably the day after but that's unlikely to work out). I would like the two ceremonies to be as close to each other as possible and we would not live together as a married couple until after the church wedding.
Just wanted to get people's take on this? Does my reasoning about the two different ceremonies make sense? My priest is ok with this but my fiancée is concerned that our friends, and friends of my parents' in particular, will not understand our course of action and will disagree with and abuse us. Some might even refuse to attend our (church) wedding and could ostracise us afterwards and he doesn't want to put me or my parents through that kind of pain.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!