(Closed) courthouse before wedding :( it's not fair. need some kind words.

posted 5 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
2616 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

can you move up your actual wedding?

Post # 4
8044 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013


I guess you have to make a decision here – what’s more important… being able to have your fiance live/work in the same country as you, or having a big, fancy wedding?

Life sometimes isn’t fair… but I think that if you try and see marriage as being together vs. the dress and the ceremony and the party, you might feel a bit better. The wedding itself lasts only one day… but the marriage is for a lifetime.

I would do the courthouse wedding and then have a bigger one for friends/family if it’s so important to you. I understand that a big wedding is one of your priorities, and I don’t think you should feel like a hypocrite at all if you do this. It’s about circumstances.

I guess life isn’t fair sometimes, but I think you’re lucky you do have the choice to be with the man you love. Maybe that means you’ll have a no frills wedding, but you’ll be TOGETHER. Some people don’t have that.

Just try to put things into perspective and focus on what marriage really is about. 

Post # 5
1766 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I’m so sorry that this is not how you wanted it! Sometimes, life gets in the way of plans and hopes.

Your wedding is in February, and there still would be time to plan.  Is there a specific reason that you can’t have the wedding you wanted in February? It seems to me that there would be plenty of time for any far away family members to make travel arrangements. February isn’t wedding season, either, so you might still find venues and other vendors.  Or could you maybe have a destination wedding in Jamaica?

Post # 6
570 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I can see how you’re upset that all of your plans had to be changed- did he look into any of this (or know it from when his brother got married??) which could have helped you plan an earlier wedding? I agree, try to pull your wedding in. Even if you can’t, everyone will understand. You aren’t being cheated… you’re doing what you have to do to make sure your fiance is able to stay in the same country as you!! I think it makes sense to do whatever is necessary.

Post # 7
9145 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

Well, the other option is to allow his visa to run out and send him home to Jamaica.  Then he would have to go through the process of marrying you from there which from what I understand is much more difficult.  It’s disappointing and I am sorry you have to deal with this.

A wedding is a rite of passage and it’s understandable to feel cheated by a courthouse wedding; my FI won’t go to the courthouse or elope because he wants the whole wedding experience.  Honestly, I have been married before so I know that the wedding is just a party and you really don’t feel any different about the person the next day except it’s weird calling them your husband instead of your b/f or FI.

What matters in your situation is for you to stay together, especially if his returning to Jamaica makes it difficult to see each other and/or maintain a long distance relationship until you can have the real wedding you desire.

Post # 8
745 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

There are two components to a wedding: legal and spiritual (even if you’re not religious, there is still the element of pledging your lives to each other, which is spiritual). This will be the legal necessities only. You can still celebrate your marriage on the day of your wedding. The other option is that he has to go back to Jamaica?

I know a married couple who had a spiritual ceremony and wedding, but haven’t ever done the legal paperwork. I know another married couple who did the paperwork a month after the wedding (waited until Jan of the following year) because of financial issues. The second couple celebrates on the day they had their wedding, not when the licence was signed.

I don’t agree with people who get angry with couples who do the legal portion before or after the wedding, particularly if it’s just signing the paperwork for legal reasons. Again, the wedding ceremony itself can be a completely separate element to the legalities (spiritual, religious, emotional, etc).

Post # 9
2894 posts
Sugar bee

Is your date in February still 4 months before his visa expires? Because if so you’re golden. You have PLENTY of time to have the wedding you want. If the 4 month mark was next month and you weren’t so fond of the idea of a courthouse wedding I could see worrying but you have August, September, October, November, December and January. Not to mention what is left of this month. Don’t panic just yet. It’s totally doable. 🙂

That being said, we did a courthouse wedding before our religious ceremony. Not for everyone and that’s fine. But we don’t feel like it’s ruining anything, taking the excitement away, or making the next ceremony a farse. If anything it’s made us more zen about the next ceremony. We had our moment just together, no stress, no drama. Now that the drama has started we feel happy that we had that moment to ourselves. The circumstances weren’t perfect but it’s what needed to happen and if that means we don’t celebrate in a traditional manner for a few months then so be it. I’d rather have my partner than a party.

Chin up 🙂 You may be surprised how things work out.

Post # 10
3697 posts
Sugar bee

I think in this situation everyone would understand the reasons for needing to legally marry ahead of the wedding, and it would in no way undercut the significance of the family wedding celebration a few months later.

I think you might be thinking of the “wedding vs. vow renewal” threads that were going around a week or so back, about a person who had been married for several years but claimed she never had a wedding (because in her mind the courthouse one didn’t count) and she was getting pushback from friends and family who said the celebration she was planning should be called a vow renewal and not a wedding. Is this what’s bothering you about it?

I don’t think the two situations are really analogous, though. As far as your social identity as a couple goes, this will be the occasion when your friends and family in Jamaica get to recognize you as a married couple and celebrate you starting your life together. In their eyes and yours, this is your “real wedding.” Yes, technically you will have been legally married for a few months, but you are still kind of “debuting your marriage to your social and family circle,” so to speak. In the other situation, the person had been living as part of an acknowledged married couple for several years, so it was hard for her family to accept the event as a “wedding” rather than a “vow renewal.”

Maybe I’m misreading things (and if so, I apologize), but I hope this helps!

Post # 11
570 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@KCKnd2:  I was reminded of the same post. This is totally different, I agree 🙂

Post # 12
254 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

ALOT of people do that!

I’m an international that studied at a school full of international students, what you’re describing is not out of  the ordinary.

In fact, one of my managers right now, he and his wife got married in a courthouse, then went to his home country and had a major wedding.

My fiance and I both discussed going to the courthouse ourselves, then having the reception later. We had a little more leeway time, so we decided to wait. But that was one of the options.

So many times people do have the courthouse wedding first before the big party, don’t feel sad about it!

Unfortunately there are many immigration restrictions, and sometimes to be with your loved one you need to make compromises like that. As an international that has been working and studying in the country for ~ 10 yrs, these regulations can be RIDICULOUS and many hoops to jump through. Even the marriage visa is not really a straight forward easy process.

I would advise you to get all the legal immigration stuff squirreled away. Marrying at a courthouse first may not be ideal, but what would be worse would be if somehow your fiance did something or outstayed his visa or something or was perceived by officers to have married you just for the visa…and being separated arbitrarily from your fiance would be WAY WORSE. outstaying visas can get someone banned from returning from long long periods of time.

Post # 13
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Aww, I’m so sorry this has happened to you!

It also happened to a friend of mine here: he had to marry his fiance 4 or 5 months before their wedding because his visa was also up (he’s also from Australia like me). However, the courthouse ceremony was sweet and they had a nice dinner afterwards and immediate family came, and it is no way at all hindered the big party/proper white wedding they had afterwards! Everyone still came (and many flew many hours from overseas to attend), and you know what, that was 3 years ago and now they’ve honestly forgotten their courthouse anniversary because they only remember the wedding one!

And you know what else: his wife got to wear a cute little dress to the courthouse that she also loved, and her big dress to the wedding! (and it was a very big dress ;)) So don’t worry: it will still be just as special and maybe you could even choose a really fancy restaurant that you wouldn’t normally eat at, so you then have a good excuse to go there!

Best of luck and I’m very sure everything will work out in the end if you love each other so much 🙂

Post # 14
726 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@queenbee16:  I am in somewhat a similar situation myself. I am a US citizen, where as my FI is Irish. His K1 visa is due to be coming through wihin the next four months, and as soon as it does he will be on a plane over here. Now our wedding isn’t scheduled until late April of next year – and that means that we too, will be forced to ‘have a courthouse wedding’ shortly after he arrives. (By right, he has three months to marry me once he enters the states – but we’ll be doing it straight away so he can apply for his AOS and get he a job!) This is not ideal for either of us, and it is in no way what I imagined for myself when I was a girl dreaming of my wedding either… but really, what else can be done? I suppose that we could wait the  extra five months for him to come here – but it’s been over four years already, and I think I’v’e waited long enough! Now I am just looking at this ‘JOP wedding’ another step in the immigration process. We wont’t excange rings or anything – and although we’ll be celebrating that day, it won’t be because we’re married – but rather because, after four and a half years of being long distance … my FI (unless he does something illegal) will never have to leave me or the country again!

In short – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what you’re doing … despite what some horribly judgmental people on this site (who have never been in this situation before) have to say about it! Good luck!

Post # 15
1093 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Have you looked into the Fiance Visa? It gives you an extra 90 days. If his student visa expires in January and you’re getting married in February, this could be your solution. Your FI may need to go back to Jamaica for a little while but you can arrange it so it doesn’t interfere with your wedding.


Post # 16
726 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Mrs.DBee:  The fiance visa takes a minimum of six months to get – although it’s usually closer on eight to ten … or sometimes even more. 

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