Post # 1
I have a really difficult situation and just needed some advice.
I have lived in the USA for the past 4 and a half years on a student visa. I got engaged last year to my boyfriend of 5 years, we met in England and he moved to the USA with his family. We knew that we wanted to be together forever from the moment we met. So I applied to go to university in the states, got a place, and have been attending college full time since 2007. We got engaged last year with a view that we would get married in 2012, once my fiance had become a U.S. citizen. This is because I can then apply to stay with him here in the USA, which is the place we want to live our life.
Our problem is that we wanted to get married in England. We booked our wedding for June 2012. When I started to look into the visa situation, it became clear that getting married in England means a very long wait for my visa to come through. We would face being separated for 8-10 months (he can’t leave his job for that long), and it basically puts our lives on hold for almost a year.
UNLESS. We have our legal marriage here in the few weeks, I can apply for my green card while I’m here on my student visa, and I would have the green card before we go back to England for our “wedding” next year. Our guests would not be told that we had a “legal” marriage. Only our parents and immediate family will know.
I feel so upset about this and don’t feel excited about our wedding next year because techincally we will be married. We would have a humanist ceremony at the same place we have already booked. We were never having a church wedding so that’s not an issue.
What do you think? should we get the legal marriage, treat it just as paperwork, and then have our real wedding as planned?
Post # 3
@nicky_192: That’s fairly common, and when two of my friends got married last year, I was surprised they didn’t do the same for the same reasons. He’s British, and she’s American. It would have been a lot easier for them, but they couldn’t bring themselves to do the paperwork beforehand.
Post # 4
My husband and I went through something similar. He’s from the Netherlands and I’m a US Citizen. Because of the timing involved with the fiance visa process, we got married by civil ceremony in April of 2010 and then had our wedding in October 2010. I never expected to be a 2 ceremony bride – it was never something I’d thought about, considered, dreamed of – but it’s what happened and quite honestly it ended up being just perfect for us!
Based on what you are saying, it would seem like that would be the course that makes the most sense for you. However, I would personally recommend telling everyone involved the truth. We were upfront with everyone about the fact that we’d been legally married for 6 months at the time of our wedding and that didn’t bother any of our friends or family one bit. As a guest though, were I to be told the truth, it wouldn’t stop me from coming or celebrating with you at all. However, if I found out at or after the event that the facts had been deliberately kept from me, I would be highly disappointed.
As to your feelings, I can tell you that BOTH ceremonies were and are special to me. The legal one for the obvious reasons – I married my amazing husband! The later wedding was special because it had all of our family and friends there to celebrate with us. It just wasn’t complete for us until our family/friends were all there!
Post # 5
We just did something very similar, but for insurance reasons. My husband is a student and had the crappiest health insurance ever – as in, a $10,000 deductable before any insurance kicks in. Mine has a $10 copay and no deductable. He’s been having issues sleeping lately, and they’re really starting to worry both of us. So we got married on our five year dating anniversary – July 28th.
That being said, we’re having our wedding next June. We’ve told most people – my entire family knows, as do our friends, and no one seems to care. They’re of the same opinion that I am – weddings are a cultural event. They’re a community acceptance and celebration of your new baby family, regardless of the legality. My 12 year old brother keeps telling everyone, “Don’t worry, it was just PAPERWORK. BORING STUFF. The REAL wedding is in JUNE and it will be FANTASTIC.”
My in-laws, however, are having a tougher time with it. My Mother-In-Law won’t allow us to tell anyone on his side of the family, not even his brothers (and groomsmen) which I disagree with 100%. We’ve made it clear to her that any fallout from this will be on her head, not ours – we’ve begged and pleaded, but ultimately, we’re respecting her wishes. It doesn’t sit well with me, but there’s really nothing I can do about it.
So, really, it’s up to you (and your family) whether or not you tell people, but I don’t see the point in keeping it a secret. It’s hard, for one, especially when some people know and others don’t. And people are going to be hurt that they weren’t told if they find out the truth.
Post # 6
If this is the option that will work best for you, go for it! My Fiance and I don’t even have the residency issues, but we’re getting legally married at the courthouse during the week before our wedding. My father used to be a minister, but no longer has his ordination, and it was really important to us that he perform our wedding ceremony, so we just agreed to take care of the legal part ahead of time. We’re both still viewing our big wedding as when we get married, and I don’t think it will take away any of the excitement or specialness of the day. We’re just taking care of the legal stuff a few days beforehand.
Post # 7
@cuendillar: I LOVE your brother’s take on it 🙂