Mama Writer

That Time My Husband Accidentally Married Me (Literally)

Today is technically mine and my husband’s wedding anniversary. We usually don’t celebrate it too much. There are a few reasons why- 1.) it’s our courthouse anniversary date. Our ceremony date is next week. 2.) At the time, my husband didn’t realize that we were “actually” getting married.

You read that right.

Husband is Korean, and things are a little different in Korea. Weddings are just ceremonies. Binding marriage has to do with the paperwork you submit. So, a Korean couple can have a wedding, go on the honeymoon, have a fight, and not file the paperwork afterwards- and it’s like they were never married.

Us, not so much. The paperwork tends to be officiated in the moment of the wedding or immediately after.

Some context. When we wanted to get married, we debated a simple courthouse wedding or a church ceremony. We decided church ceremony, then got a surprise. Our pastor of the Korean congregation was not licensed to marry couples here. Real quick, we had a change of plans. We would have to handle the “legal wedding” part on our own, at the courthouse, then we’d have a ceremony where our Korean pastor would officiate.

I bet you’re still with me- but this is where I lost Husband.

He thought our pastor couldn’t do the paperwork, so we were going to do the paperwork. He thought that was why we were going to the courthouse.


Courthouse wedding day dawned clear and bright. We were late to meet our scheduled witnesses (my parents). We both threw on some nice clothes and ran out the door. Then we ran back because we forgot our paperwork folder.

No one thought to bring a camera.

My brother-in-law packed everyone into his van and dropped us at the courthouse. We waited in line. Husband looked confused when he saw a few other people in line wearing actual, full-on wedding gowns.

But the real confusion came when our names were called.

Our judge smiled, but spoke in clipped, no-nonsense tones.

“Face each other.”

We did. Husband looked a little wide-eyed.

“Take her hands. Repeat after me.”

He did as he was told.

She asked me if I wanted the word “obey” in there, and I shook my head.

“Repeat after me.”

I did.

“Put the ring on her finger.”

Husband did.

“By the authority invested in me … I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

And we sort of did. Husband was definitely looking wide-eyed at this point.

Everyone shook our hands and congratulated us. My parents were teary-eyed. My brother-in-law was waiting outside with the van. He paused us on our way down the courthouse steps, so he could take a picture on his phone.

We’ve actually lost that one and only, grainy, flip-phone picture. I have no idea where it went.

My sister-in-law treated the family to Olive Garden on her lunch break. We told her all about the wedding she’d had to miss. Slowly, in pieces, my husband explained in Korean, and then in English, that he actually hadn’t realized today was the day we’d be officially married.

Everybody laughed. There were more hugs and handshakes.

And that’s the story of how my husband accidentally married me.