That was my first idea, but the fiance already shot it down. Apparently our "real" anniversary would then be on the courthouse date, and not on the day that we had our big party. She says she wants the anniversary to be the day of the party. it would drive her nuts, and I'd probably end up having to remember both dates for the rest of my life, which I definitely want to avoid. Back to the drawing board.
Matt, please keep up posted on what you decide and how it goes!
Hopefully you'll find this amusing if not directly useful.
When we decided to get married, we intentionally wanted a schlock 'wedding-mill' elopement style wedding (we both have adult kids, we've been through the traditional route before). Anyhow Gatlinburg TN is the Vegas-wedding capital of the east, so we called places there.
Some did not want to do a non-religious (too bad, a drive -through wedding would have been a hoot)*, but we found a guy who, though actually some sort of pastor, was more than willing to do non-Christian as well as secular weddings. So we did a wedding on a mountain, just us and the dog. Even our kids did not know about it till afterward.
*[ footnote side point: It's true, legally since they were not a church, there would possibly be a 'discrimination' issue by refusing to perform. However I believe that (aside from immediately essential services), no one should be forced to enter a business contract against their will. If someone does not want to do atheist weddings, or gay weddings, or whatever, there are plenty of people able to provide that service.
Besides, I'd much rather deal with someone who WANTS to deal with me than someone who is force by law to do so (and forced to pretend to want to). Lawsuits over situations like this are BS.]
I like the quiet wedding idea. We considered it, but eventually decided to just throw a party. I'm surprised the drive thru wedding places wouldn't do non-religious. Sounds like they take themselves way too seriously. We have our location already. We met at a beer tasting at a local brewery, so we're getting married there. So... At least we don't have to worry about running out of beer. And yeah, as you've pointed out, I don't have time or the desire to argue with someone who wouldn't actually WANT to marry us our way.
A judge married us in my mom's friend's condo. It was a gorgeous condo. I came down the stairs, and we got married in front of the fireplace. :)
Search on "Secular Weddings".
I was married by an ordained minister of the mail order church that started an industry, Kirby Hensley's Universal Life Church. We put on something quiet to listen to, the pastor passed a J, and we recited the things we liked about each other and the promises we would keep. Rev. Strachan pronounced us a team and the crowd of misfits and scene makers trickled in only to be astonished that either of us had done such a thing.
Haha that's awesome. I've been given explicit orders not to pass any J's until the afterparty...
The first time, we were married in the Tacoma, WA courthouse. We brought a good friend as a witness and he brought a date who was appalled at the prosaic nature of the thing. I thought it was pretty good.
My second bride was a Christian, and so I agreed to being married by a Southern Baptist minister -- I didn't really care. My demand in that compromise was that the ceremony be held outdoors on top of a mountain in winter. She wore Patagonia long johns under her dress, and I my mountaineering boots with my suit. Her parents threw us a nice reception dinner which was much appreciated, even with the non-alcoholic "Champaign". Then our core group of about 30 retired to a friends trailer in the woods, set up our tents and had a bacchanalia that lasted for two days.
Dear Li'l Sis married her wife at their Unitarian Church in an elaborate and entirely secular ceremony. It was very nice, and we could drink in the church.
My next door neighbor and his wife were married at a drag strip.
My gf and I, both agnostics, for her Nazarene mom's sake married in a tiny Nazarene church. There may have been a few religious words spoken but too few to turn my stomach.
It was on December 26 and several years later I asked her if I could combine xmas and anniversary gifts.
She replied, "Don't you dare!"
My ex-wife, now sadly deceased, was born December 18 and I asked her the same thing but with regard to her birthday. She did not like the idea.