Long distance relationship. How do I plan to get married? :(

posted 11 months ago in Long Distance Relationships
Post # 2
Member
1727 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I won’t be SO much help, but I’m in a similar situation. For our entire engagement minus the last couple months, my fiance will have been in Afghanistan fighting in the Army. We had a long talk before the proposal about how the wedding planning process was going to go. I figured he would propose before he left, but I didn’t know exactly when.

When it finally happened, we had three months of bliss, but still LDR, (our entire relationship was a thousand miles apart from each other) before he was deployed. During those three months, we set a date for June 2019, which would be two and a half months before he was due to come home. 

After the date was set, we had another talk. I told him I would be willing to do EVERYTHING in the wedding planning process (book vendors, get the guest list organized, get the cake, get my dress, all that stuff) but there were a few things (picking his groomsmen, getting his tux, getting his ring) that he had to stay on top of. Armed with our lists, we said good-bye and haven’t seen each other since May. 

True to our word, we have done as much of our lists as we’ve been able to. We still have some time, but I’m impressed with how organized we’ve been. I think this tactic will somewhat work for you too. 

If you BOTH want the wedding to be in America, make lists. He has to do the America stuff that you can’t help with, and you have to be okay with not having too much input and physical presence. He’ll have to visit and pick the venues, for example. Your visa will have to be on YOUR list. Prioritize your date around your visa entirely. And your fiance will have to be okay with letting go on that. 

It’ll be a lot of “letting go” on your part. But that’s kinda how it’s working for me and my fiance, and I think it would work for you too. 

Post # 4
Member
1727 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

amerymarie :  Not a problem! 🙂 It’s all about how you both want to prioritize. I was willing to do more work for an earlier wedding, rather than get married in Dec 2019 or later. And of course you know men – my fiance never disputed that idea 😉 

Take the thing that will take the longest amount of time (probably the visa for you), focus in on it and the options that can make that time shorter, and prioritize what you’re willing to sacrifice to save time/money/effort. For example, if a visa will definitely force you to wait 5 extra years, then maybe a wedding in Malaysia would be less stressful. LDR’s are hard – you don’t want a five-year engagement! <3

That’s the most important thing I’ve learned in all this 🙂 

Good luck!!

Post # 5
Member
1129 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

amerymarie :  Don’t plan a wedding a put down deposits until you’re in the US. Plan a court house wedding and have your reception at a later date when you’re in the country and can plan it with your fiancé. There’s no way you can determine when your visa will be granted so you can’t plan practically unless you want to go by their processing time estimate and try your luck.

Post # 6
Member
570 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2017 - France

My husband and I were in a LDR before got married and honestly I wouldn’t plan anything until you’re in the US because my plans went awry after I landed in France. Extra paperwork, renovations on the mairie, we ended up marrying in the mairie which is the equivalent of a US court wedding. I will surrounded by his family. My family wasn’t able to come because they had already planned their trip for our previously planned wedding date. 

We hope to have a big vow renewal in my home country for our 5th anniversary. 

Post # 7
Member
1134 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2018 - Fremont, CA

I was in your shoes. My then boyfriend/fiancé and I spent 2 years long distance. Our k1 visa process (also known as the fiancé visa) took 11 months. It’s been taking this long lately, so forget the idea of 6 months…

For the k1 visa process to be successful, it is CRUCIAL that you – among other things – have proof of having met in person in the last two years. I recommend the VisaJounrney forum for you two to get more acquainted with the process. We didn’t use a lawyer – the forum has all the info you need.

The k1 visa process is draining, but the adjustment of status (after getting married) is WAY worse. I have been stuck here in the US for 5 months without being able to work or travel outside of the country because they haven’t issued my travel authorization and work permit yet. It has taken a huge toll on my mental health.

Honestly, if I could go back in time, I would not have applied for a K1 visa. I would have had my then fiancé fly to Brazil (my home country) and marry me there (just a civil ceremony) and then we would have applied for the CR1 visa (spouse visa). It is not as expensive as the k1, it takes the SAME 11-13 months to be emitted but once approved you instantaneously get your permanent resident card, which allows you to work and travel as soon as you get to the US. 

 

Post # 8
Member
2729 posts
Sugar bee

Since the visa isn’t a guarantee, and even when you get one, you can be turned away at the port of entry, I’d wait to put down any deposits/sign contracts until you physically get to the US. You can still browse online, have him visit venues, etc in person, and have a general plan (with multiple back-ups). Just don’t put any money down. You’ll  have 90 days when you arrive, so as soon as you get here start booking & re-contacting all vendors. Plan to get married around day 60-90, so you can still give guests enough notice.

Post # 9
Member
1134 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2018 - Fremont, CA

I realized I didn’t answer your question about planning the wedding, LOL. If after reading my previous post and visiting the VisaJourney website you decide to get married in the US anyway, I recommend that you plan a wedding for 13 months after you initiate the K1 process, and that you talk to all your vendors asking them to allow you to change dates if necesssary (that has to be in the contract). I strongly recommend Thumbtack. It’s a website where you can hire all sorts of professionals. We got our officiant, our photographer, and our videographer through them. A friend of my fiancé recommended a great makeup artist. We got our cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. We picked a venue that offered catering as well, and they let us bring our own alcoholic beverages. 

Post # 10
Member
2729 posts
Sugar bee

lifetimegoals :  The CR1 processing is actually currently taking 24 months, if it makes you feel any better!! 

Also OP, processing times vary according to where you’re from and which office is handling your case. But I believe minimum time across the board right now is 7 months. Check the USCIS website for more accurate information!

Post # 11
Member
1134 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2018 - Fremont, CA

mrsaime :  thank you for your updated info about the K1 and CR1 visas! At the time I applied, both were taking about the same time (close to a year).

Yeah, the combo card (travel authorization and work permit) is currently taking anywhere from 4 to 7 months, and the adjustment of status (permanent resident card), depending on the office, more than a year… :/

Post # 13
Member
459 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

Hi Bee!

And don’t know if you already have taken steps, but I think you consider the wedding to be the religious ceremony. So why wouldn’t you get the civil one done first in Malaysia or somewhere else and then apply for a visa based on you being his wife? So you don’t need to rush things and can start planning when you’re in the US and everything is sorted out?

Post # 14
Member
281 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: By the lake

Can he fly down to Malaysia and have a simple wedding with your family and get the wedding certificate/marriage license there.  Maybe it will be easier to get the Visa approved because you guys would then be already legally married.  Then once you move here in the U.S, you guys can have another wedding, but with his family this time.  Two weddings!  

 

Post # 15
Member
1846 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I know nothing about visas, but I wonder if it would be possible to purchase an insurance policy that would get you your money back if something goes wrong?  Kind of like travel insurance?  I don’t know if that exists; maybe someone else would know?

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