Out in the Open

Why one couple got married in secret

The woman tricked her friends and family into thinking the wedding they went to was the real one, when in reality she has been married for a year already.
(SunKids/Shutterstock )

A bride-to-be felt like her upcoming wedding was turning out to be more about people's expectations and her family's traditions than what matters to her and her partner.

"We'd heard from people that it's your wedding, you should do whatever you want to do. But we come from families where it wasn't going to necessarily be possible without burning some bridges and breaking some hearts," Olivia* told CBC's Out in the Open host Piya Chattopadhyay.

So last year, Olivia and her partner went to city hall: she put on a dress, he put on a suit, they exchanged vows and left as a married couple. It's the only way they saw having a wedding that would truly be about just the two of them.

They never told either one of their families about it.

Recently, the couple threw a big wedding celebration for friends and family. Little did most attendees know, Olivia and her partner have already been married for a whole year.

The big wedding is very much a show, a performance. Everyone is in the room, watching you, waiting for you to look the best and be the best that you are.- Olivia

"The act of a wedding, it kind of comes away from the whole point of it—the true purpose of exchanging your vows and declaring that for everyone else to hear. It becomes a very small part of the big wedding," the twice-newlyweds explained.

According to Olivia, the fact of the real wedding date didn't have much of an impact on the fake wedding ceremony. The guests enjoyed food and dancing, and the couple's families were satisfied with the observance of expected cultural traditions.

Although a few close friends of the bride and groom were in on the secret, Olivia said that they will never likely disclose the real wedding date to their parents.

She said the fake wedding ceremony had another perk: it gave the couple a chance to review last year's vows.

"Since then, we decided that we want to say our vows every single year on our wedding anniversary to reaffirm them to one another and to make adjustments as necessary," Olivia said.

*name has been changed due to the sensitive nature of the story