Post # 1
Never in my life did I think having a wedding in my hometown in Ohio would be so complicated! But alas, I live in Switzerland and I’m marrying my Swiss man. For legal reasons, we need to do our civil union this year in Switzerland and so now we are planning the Catholic church ceremony in Ohio where my parents live.
My parents already wigged out about why we are getting married this year and next year. We have to get married for me to stay here, but in Switzerland, it’s not possible to do legal unions and religious weddings on the same day normally. And really we didn’t want to be rushed to plan a church wedding in two months anyway. Plus it’s super expensive to do stuff like that in Switzerland and I want my family to be able to come! (I have many siblings and there is no way they could or would all fly).
So I’m now down to planning from abroad with my mother. First she ignores that I requested a morning wedding/midday reception, and now she’s totally negative about the idea of a midday wedding and evening reception, even though it was her idea originally! It’s mostly because she wants me to do the stereotypical generic church reception venue… and we are having trouble agreeing on a place and schedule. Everything is either too early for out of town relatives, too late, or all the events are squished in the middle of the day and someone will end up complaining about missing the football match on TV!
We’re also having trouble finding marriage preparation in Switzerland. It seems like the Ohio church is going to make it as difficult for us as possible. Everyone back home assumes that marriage is exactly the same in Switzerland as it is in the US, and that we have churches and community centres to pick different types of courses from on different months and days with different prices. I have only found ONE course so far… and nobody from the organisation is replying back to me about it. I’m betting they will charge hundreds for it. None of my friends or co-workers know either. It’s just so frustrating that church people from the US assume it’s something simple and it’s next to impossible. We would be happy to do a class, but so far it’s proving to be more a burden than a help. What a stress!
Post # 3
I totally understand what you’re going through. I’m from Southern California, moved to Sweden (Fi’s hometown). We decided to marry after I moved here so timing wasn’t an issue since Sweden grants residency to girlfriends/boyfriends (no marriage or plans of marriage needed). But trying to figure out where to get married was when the headaches came!
I wanted to get married in California, with my grandma there, friends, and family. But it proved to be way too complicated since US customs agents are crazy giving Fi the 3rd degree everytime we go back home. Although he technically doen’t need a Visa to visit the States, they will ask if he intends to marry there (which we will), so they’ll ask for a Fiance Visa, but technically, that’s only for people that intend to stay in the States (which we won’t)! Another thing is the Fiance Visa is crazy expensive and it takes awhile to process and it’s only valid for a short time after it’s approved. So either we try to book everything in advance and HOPE it gets approved or we wait until it gets approved and hope to book everything with only 3-4 months notice.
It was a nightmare. At one point in time I looked into all the other possible countries – make it a destination wedding, so everyone has to travel. But that wasn’t much easier. So I gave up. In the midst of all our inquaries, we realized that the most important thing to us is to get married and neither of us really like attention anyway. So we decided to have a very private ceremony, just the two of us, here in Sweden. It’ll be minutes before sunset, in a small pavillion by a lake he used to play in when he was a child.
Then 2 days later, we’re off to our honeymoon!
All friends and family will get pictures!
In the end, it just about what the two of you want (either if it’s with family, large or small, or not).
Post # 4
I forgot to add: Back in my hometown, there was something called Engaged Encounter Weekend, it was like a crash course in Catholic marriage prep. So instead of a period of a few weeks, it was all done on a very tight schedule. You sleep there (get a roomie) and you go to class, eat, go to class, eat, repeat until all the hours are done. It was very intense, but it may be possible to do it while you’re back in the States (if they offer a similar course in your town.)
Post # 5
@Vitsippa: Wow! Ditto on US customs being so annoying! I didn’t think about if he will run into issues with that. He goes back to the states for travel and hasn’t been given any trouble yet and we will already have been legally married in Switzerland… so it shouldn’t *really* be an issue. Still, they make it so difficult!
I could have had just the small ceremony over here, but I really want my brothers and sisters and grandma to come… and it would probably cost at least $14,000 for airfare for my immediate family to come, not even thiinking about hotels, etc. My FI’s family is small as he only has one brother, parents and no grandparents, so it really made more sense to go to Ohio for my family.
I’m just hoping I can survive the evil planning without losing sight of that important part- the actual marriage! as you say. Good luck and I hope you have a wonderful small wedding! 🙂
Post # 6
@Vitsippa: ahh yeah, I’m thinking about that for the marriage preparation. I would much rather do it in Switzerland on a weekend though. It would seem a shame to spend 2-3 days of my week trip home doing marriage prep instead of spending time with loved ones. Only the Catholic Church would want that!! 🙁
I’m really hoping we can work out something via phone/skype with my pastor. Would be SO much more helpful than making us jump through hoops from abroad.
Post # 7
I did the engaged encounter and it was a long weekend. Totally worth it though. It would be all done and you wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. I would set up the engaged encounter and if you find out your pastor can skype your sessions then cancel, if he can’t then you are all set up to be finished.
Post # 8
If it helps, I’m in a similar situation (but in Germany) and our Priest let us do the marriage prep over here. In the end, I found our day long class to be completely different than the ones I heard about in the US, however, the priest understood that it would be nearly impossible to do in the US, especially since, as you mentioned, it would come at the cost of precious days with family. Ultimately, he just needed the certificate of completion from our local Catholic office and he never asked questions about the content. Suprisingly, about half the couples in our course contained one international (Mexico, Italy, Italy) half.
In finding the course, we got lucky in that a colleague of mine was also preparing for a Catholic marriage and she found the information online. Ask your Fiance to ask around or do some inteernet searching. I would also suggest being honest with the priest about your time concerns and presenting him what you have found locally. I know some priests are more intense than others but you may be able to get away with a similar course if you can produce a certificate in another language.
Post # 9
@slicey19: Hmm, yeah I’m a little worried if we would go to a course in german over here, my language skills are ok… but words describing health insurance, taxes, medical things, etc would go right over my head in deutsch. I’m also sure doing something in german and getting the certificate translated will mean another cost. (I just got a $30 charge for a copy of a paper…they sure do like to charge money for things in Swiss land!) So here’s hoping I find something in english!
The Fiance will have to research it when he gets back from Dubai (work trip) because right now, he has no idea either. He wasn’t even aware of marriage prep classes even though he’s Catholic. 😛