Post # 1
My boyfriend and I are preparing to get engaged this winter but are faced with a conundrum. He is an officer in the Army and has schools from January 2011 to August 2011, then is deploying to Afghanistan in December 2011. The real trouble is that after he finishes his schools, he has to report to his unit in Alaska (and I’m in Maryland!) and won’t have much notice of when he will have his pre-deployment leave.
We could just get a courthouse marriage, but I am really set on having a ceremony of some sort. Any tips on how I can plan a wedding in about a month, or what I could do now to get some steps out of the way while we wait to find out when he’s coming home?
Post # 3
Welcome to the Army! It is the story of all of our lives. My Fiance did his BOLC (Army officer’s training) last year and he was given like a month to report to his unit. My guess is setting the wedding for immediately after he finishes the officer’s training would be the best time to do it because they will definitely give him time to pack and travel by car to Alaska. The days that he uses to report back DO count as leave days but he doesn’t have to ask permission (and potentially be denied) for these days.
Post # 4
Thanks! Yeah, we’re in for a trip, I commission in a year too so if we put it off until after deployment, I’d be getting deployed by then. That would be a great plan except for after BOLC he has Ranger School which has an indefinite end date depending on if he makes it through on the first time or recycles. Thank you though, this helps!
Post # 5
Do you want a ceremony, or a reception? You could do a courthouse wedding with a reception at a restaurant. Regardless, the things you are going to have to be flexible on are location and time, right? So the things you can work on now, to get out of the way, are things like researching requirements for marriage license, dress, decorations you like, flowers you like, etc. Maybe its a little pre-mature to think about if you’re not engaged yet, but knowing what you like will help to organize how to pull it together in a small amount of time. Good Luck!
Post # 6
Yep, welcome to the military way of life. My husband and I were engaged and set a date for our wedding but he was sent to another state and was not going to be able to come back and get married. We changed the date and several months before the wedding he was issued orders to report to Korea, I thought to myself, this is not happening but it was. We mutually decided that we would go to the courthouse and get married so that I could go with him to Korea, we are so glad that we did this because we were now in the same home and could sit down and talk about our wedding. We decided that he would take leave in November and that we would have our dream wedding in November. He got it approved and my mother planned the wedding, we talked on the phone and through Skype. We had a great wedding and it all worked out. It is so very hard to marry an active duty military man but I did it and we are back in Korea and have beautiful memories to share with our future children.
You are gonna have to be really flexible and you will have to set the date for before he reports. It may be easier to do the courthouse and have the wedding later. We were married a year before we had an official wedding for our families. Good luck to you.
Post # 7
Yes… it is. I would do a courthouse wedding and then have the wedding at a later date. That’s what my husband and I had to do, and it was a very special and memorable day… very intimate. Wouldn’t change a thing!
When our “church wedding” came around a few months later we had backlash from my husbands CO saying that he didn’t understand why he should grant him leave when he was already married. Buuuuut my husbands CO is a jerk. He also isn’t in the Army, he’s in the coastguard. Basically we almoat had to cancel the wedding 2 days before because they wanted him to stay, and it ended up costing $1,800 in plane tickets to get him from North Carolina to Texas, then he only got 2 days. It was insane… they actually asked us to reschedule the wedding.. thank GOD we didn’t have to!
My advice is do a courthouse wedding and then do a ceremony of your choosing, but keep it close to home (as in close to where he’s stationed) to avoid him having to fly when they might decide not to let him have enough time off, like what happened to us. Don’t make the mistake we did! You also don’t have to tell anyone if you don’t want to that you are already married… we didn’t!
Post # 8
I’m going to agree with PPs and say that you might want to talk about having a civil ceremony when he gets out of Ranger school. But if you guys decide you want to have a complete wedding, you can definitely get it done in a month. Start thinking about where you want to get married, and maybe go over what your budget would be with your Boyfriend or Best Friend.
Post # 9
Well Ranger School makes it that much more interesting. FI’s old college roommate failed Ranger School pretty much immediately (land nav of all things) so his plans changed from being in Ranger School to deploying in a month. Would it be possible to have someone perform a small ceremony in a backyard with maybe a small reception? As long as it’s not a concrete venue with a deposit and contracted date then maybe you can just have a minister/pastor/whatever work with you on an available weekend. It’ll still be a VERY special ceremony and you can always have a big reception sometime later.
Post # 10
Everyone’s advice is good.
People are more understand with the military if you do a courthouse wedding first, then the “real” one later.
Take care, good luck, and enjoy the planning however you choose to do it.
Post # 11
my Fiance is in the military too, we decided to have the wedding on a holiday. He’ll have started flight school a couple months prior, however, he gets 96 hours for pretty much all the holidays so it’s a *hopefully* guarentee that he’ll be around.
Ours is labor day weekend on a sunday, that way if he cant get off till friday, he’ll have a day to make it home.
Post # 12
Just wanted to say something on here, I am a military wife of almost 5 years now. We had a courthouse marriage early on, but we are finally having our wedding. My husband is also an Officer in the Navy, so he was gone on Sea Tour for the first 4 years, now he is on a SHORE tour, that means he cant deploy, so I took advantage of this time as I know he isn’t going anywhere. We had planned a wedding about 3 years ago, and kinda had a tenative date, but it ended up that they ship was sent our for 4 months, when they were only supposed to be out for a week! It happens, thats military life! All I can say is he can take leave for the wedding, he earns so many days, many of our friends have done it that way.
Post # 13
@laurnoxious: I am in a similar situation. My FH is joining the Navy as a chaplain. We are just waiting for his paperwork to come thru and looks like he will be sent to ODS in April. One would think we should probably get married late March-early April but he has his heart set on wearing his uniform for the wedding. LOL Which leaves me guessing as to when we can actually squeeze it in because he wants us to be married before chaplain school. To further complicate things, he has been a pastor for the past several years so we have a huge guest list. Happens when you know absolutely everyone and are a beloved community figure! My guess is with probably less than 1 months notice it will help cut the guest list down to something more manageable to like say 200-300. LOL
What I have decided is obviously we will have to print our own invitations (turn around to long). I am printing programs without a date or time, weird but will save me several hours. I will have to have my dress and accesories ready. Decided to sacrifice and use artificial flowers so I can have all decorations, bouquets, corsages boxed and ready to roll. Thankfully they now make really nice fakes! Have to get the menu planned out and all duties assigned. Praying all the bridal party can be there on short notice. And I will have to stay very flexible on the date. I have decided on an offbeat time (8:30am ceremony ,10am reception) to increase the likelihood of the sites being available and have backup plan for vendors. Ipod and sound system instead of DJ in a pinch. Doing own food (with help!). Photographer gonna be the toughest as will marriage license (heard they are only good for 30 days). Blessedly we know so many pastors surely one will be available to marry us. And I am getting a close friend to do hair, makeup and nails so no issue there. Oh and I am doing my own wedding cake and having a friend transport it. (Luckily my mom did wedding cakes all growing up so I have gotten decent at it.) Can you believe that photographer and wedding cake are the two things booked up years in advance? But there are some simple yet elegant cakes anyone can do. Just find someone who can bake!
Unsure yet how to solve photographer problem. May have to get close friends to do candids and go to studio for professional ones later.
Hope this helps! Best Wishes!
Post # 14
@jamiemichelle: My Fiance and I are in a very similar situation. We’re four months away from the wedding date, all vendors have been paid and deposits have been placed, and now hubby’s CG command doesnt want to let him take leave since the wedding is set a few days after his patrol. I dont think they take the wedding seriously since we’re “already married.” So upset right now! 🙁 At this point, I dont know when we’ll ever be able to plan a wedding without having to worry about rescheduling.