Interracial Weddings

What is a wedding- legal or social??

I'm new here, just got engaged this past weekend after 3 1/2 years together!!

My fiance is Irish and I am American. We currently live in America, but his visa is expiring soon and we're going to be applying for a K-2 fiance visa, which will allow him to come back for 90 days, during which we can get married. Then we can file an application for him as a spouse of an American citizen and for me as a spouse of an Irish citizen. 

Because of the time constraints, we are submitting an application for our fiance visa in the next few weeks, then getting married at a courthouse in May/June so that he can move back to America while the spouse visa goes through. 

We want to have our ceremony in Ireland, but I don't think we could have it ready in 7 months. I'd feel rushed and I want to enjoy being engaged and planning my wedding!!!! So, we decided to get legally married in May 2012, then have our ceremony in 2013 on our first anniversary.

Is this crazy?? My mother told me it's not a "real" wedding if we're already legally married and that there isn't much planning to do anyway, but I don't see it that way at all. We're just abiding by the government's rules without letting immigration laws dictate our lives!!

Any thoughts? It's such a tough situation, I'd love to hear what others think.

Re: What is a wedding- legal or social??

  • medeawolffmedeawolff member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Personally I believe that a wedding is a social event, with the legal element being important but not mandatory in terms of having a "valid" marriage. In that vein, I see nothing wrong in having a legal marriage followed by the real ceremony some time later, especially since you have your fiance's legal status to consider. 

    It is too bad that your mother doesn't support your decision. I would suggest that you speak again with her, emphasizing the pressing legal elements over the concept of "getting married now then getting married again later". 

    I wish you and your FI the best of luck!
  • edited December 2011
    Many couples get legally married prior to their wedding ceremony for a multitude of reasons (the first couple I knew personally to do this were actually in the same situation you are, she was American, he was Irish). Others are socially married, but not legally.

    IMO, marriage is more social than legal. You need to decide what's important to you and explain to your mother your reasons for going that route. Ultimately, its your life, you have to be happy with your choice. If she's concerned about what others will think, remind her that nobody else has to know. You also dont have to tell her... though she'd probably suspect something when he hasn't left the country... Good Luck!
  • edited December 2011
    I know you didn't ask about this but I wanted to clarify your visa plans, because it sounds like you may be making it more complicated than it needs to be (we just went through the K1 visa process ourselves so I am intimately familiar with it). I apologize if I misunderstood anything in your post! 

    When does his visa expire?  If he is already here you do not need a K1 (fiance) visa to get married - just get married in the US now and then file to adjust his status from his current visa category to a permanent resident.  This is completely legal as long as he did not originally enter the US with the intent to marry you (which it sounds like he did not).  It also saves you time and expense (K1 visa can take 5-12 months and the total cost is almost $1000, plus the $1000 to adjust status).  The only situation in which this option is not viable is if he needs to go back to Ireland immediately, since you can't travel out of the US for a few months after filing to adjust status.

    I highly recommend this site: It is free and I have no affiliation except that I used it during our visa process - and we made it through in 6.5 months with no problems.  There are detailed guides for the different visa types and forums on which to ask questions of others who have been through the visa process. feel free to PM me if you want to chat more about all this.

    To get back to your question - A lot of people in your situation and K1 visa holders do what you are proposing - courthouse wedding and a big ceremony later.  In my opinion there is nothing wrong with this, although I know that on some of these boards there are folks who feel otherwise.  It just depends on what you want.  We didn't want a big wedding to begin with, and I really wanted close friends and family there for the first time we exchanged vows, so I planned an intimate ceremony and dinner for a dozen guests in about 2 months.  Then we will have a religious ceremony in Burkina (his home country and where I work) in about a year.  But if we had wanted a big wedding, we probably would have done what you are suggesting.  I would explain all this to your mom.  It is very difficult to plan a big wedding in these circumstances - that's just the way our immigration laws work.  I would imagine that most of those who are close to you would understand and support that and want to be with you whenever you exchange vows.

    good luck!
  • edited December 2011
    I think your plans sound fine, and actually quite normal for international couples.  We're having two weddings, one in the US and one in India (I'm moving to India, he's already there) and only the Indian one will be legal. But we'll still call the US one a wedding (unless we decide to do an Indian wedding and then a vow renewal, which is an option... lol). 

    I think a marriage is both a social and legal thing. I think a wedding is more social. 
    My blog
    "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." -Isaiah 61:10 NKJV
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards