Post # 1
I’m hoping some of you bees with international fiances can help!
My fiance is from South Africa and we are just beginning the K-1 visa process. I’ve read visajourney extensively and consulted a lawyer, so I think I’ve got that part covered. But… I’ve been told not to make any firm plans for a wedding until we have the visa in hand.
We’ve got no problem going to the courthouse to get legally married within the 3 months, etc, but we’d like to have a “real” wedding sometime relatively soon after he arrives. What do I do about booking a venue/photographer/caterer when I don’t know 100% for sure when he will be here? What did you guys do?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated! It’s a long and stressful process and I’d love some feedback from others who’ve been there (or are there now!)
Post # 3
I am in the same situation as you with the K-1 visa. What I am planning to do (and I believe, a lot of others have done, too) is just get legally married ASAP after FI arrives in the US. We are planning our real wedding celebration for next year (spring 2012) – so it will give us lots of time for FI to get here, get settled, get a job, and plan things nice and relaxed. We applied back in October 2010 and should just now be receiving approval this month. So we definitely decided to do the wedding like a year after we figured he would arrive in the country.
No way I would plan something on the fly within a couple months and risk it falling through or just be rushed. We need to give people loads of time since we have relatives coming from far away for the wedding. Such is the life of having an international honey!
Most everyone has been very understanding of the fact that I will be legally married but am having the celebration later. Some people here and there will make comments about, oh, you’re already married, you shouldn’t have a wedding party after the fact, blah blah, but for the most part people are understanding. It isn’t our choice – I am not letting the government ruin MY dream of having a wedding when and how I want.
Post # 4
My husband and I went through this last year. We decided not to plan *anything* in advance because we just didn’t know if things would go through in a timely manner or not. My DH got his visa sticker in March 2010 and we flew home to the USA (I was in the Netherlands with him) April 2010 and got married by civil ceremony the day after we landed. Then in October we had our religious/family ceremony.
I was clear with everyone in advance that this is what was going to happen because we knew that Anton’s family would not be able to afford travel that time of year and it was very important to both of us to have them share in the day with us. Everyone was excited to be a part of it, and we got no nasty comments from anyone that we knew. Honestly the only place that I found anyone to be less then completely understanding and happy for us, was on some of the wedding forums that I’ve been a part of.
I had the full on wedding in October complete with poofy white dress, father walking me down the aisle, wedding party etc. As @maggierose: said, I wasn’t going to penalize myself or either of our families for the US government. One of the best moments of the whole thing was when we were picking up my in-laws at the airport a week or so before our “official” wedding and having my FIL say to me “We saw the video of you and Anton’s civil ceremony, but it didn’t feel real. We are all so glad that we get this chance to be there and celebrate with the 2 of you even if it isn’t the original.”
Had his family been able to afford the travel here when we would have needed them to, then yes, I probably could have thrown something together in 2 months. But knowing what I know, I would never plan anything that has a non-refundable deposit or full payments until I know for a fact that I have the visa in hand and can go ahead with things. During this process, we’ve met a fair number of other people that have/are going through the same thing, and we’ve found out that we were lucky in that things progressed pretty quickly and with little to no hitches in the get-along. I know of another couple that applied before us, had their interview at the embassy about 3-4 months before us, but didn’t get the passport with the visa stamp until a couple months after us! And he was from a country that the US is on pretty friendly terms with and doesn’t have issues with immigration fraud stuff. I know another couple that had major delays (it took them almost a year longer then us) because she works for the Dept of Defense here in the USA.
My suggestion to you is to start doing research but don’t book anything until you have the visa in hand. Once you have that, set your date and start booking things. We had 6 months to plan and had no problem getting the vendors we wanted that could work within our budget. It even gave me time to do quite a bit of DIY stuff! 🙂
Post # 5
I was thinking this very same thing, and its one of the things I hate most about the process. I will be having the full wedding celebration within the 90 days. Someone once said to me that people who really want to be there will make it no matter what, so it will shave numbers off the guest list of people who are maybe not that close?
I bought my wedding dress on ebay so I had it and it wasnt sacrificed for anything.
I am making a jewelry bouquet so I dont have to worry about flowers.
I might make a wedding site instead of having invites
We may use a wedding reception centre owned by his family, so may be more flexible
DIY DIY DIY!
The other thing is my mum wont know when to get time off work and probably wont be able to come. It sucks all round!