There are plenty of reasons why military couples run to the courthouse for a quick legal marriage. Those reasons don’t preclude them from having a wedding.
Eastern North Carolina is filled with military bases and military members, especially from the Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard. It’s common for them to meet a girl or guy and then make their way to the courthouse, whether that’s quickly or after some time.
There are plenty of reasons for this but the main one for this discussion is the need to get married before deployments or moves. These things tend to happen quickly and stuff needs to get in order in a hurry. One of the things to get in order is your significant other, typically for reasons related to military benefits.
Just because you’re already married doesn’t mean that you can’t have a wedding. That sounds a bit counterintuitive but it’s really popular for military couples.
Plenty of military couples have a vow renewal a year or two after their courthouse nuptials and make it the wedding that they never had. They do the whole thing, big dress, bridal parties, friends and family in attendance. The whole shebang. In fact, the only significant difference is that the officiant has a slight change in their wording for the ceremony.
This vow renewal, aka the wedding you never had, is just as flexible as a normal wedding. You can have 25 guests or 200. You can have a small backyard DIY affair or a huge waterfront blowout bash. You can have a potluck dinner or the finest plated feast. (Actually, don’t have a potluck dinner for your wedding.)
Some brides have been known to make this a requirement of the courthouse wedding. If you know you want to do the big wedding blowout but a quick ceremony is necessary, you’d hardly be the first bride to hold it over your significant other as a marital prerequisite. Just know that getting married without a wedding doesn’t mean that you can’t go back for a wedding.