Military Brides

BF is joining the Air Force

I am re posting this because I put it on the wrong board

My BF is joining the Air Force soon. We plan on doing a JOP wedding before he signs his papers to join the military so I can go with him once he gets to his first base. We are planning on having a party next year for all family to come to once we get settled since I am finishing school and doing an internship in Disney in January. Should we get married before all of this happens? We ARE NOT doing this for the benefits( I know someone will ask, I have seen some posts on here). We have been wanting to get married for a while(have been together for 5 years), we were just waiting for one of us to get estblished first since we will both be 25 next year. I'm just looking for advice from other military wives/fiances/girlfriends because I never pictured the military in my life but now that it will be present, I want to make sure I am comfortable with everything. I'm also wondering about a bachelorette party and shower too. I'd obviously do the bachelorette party before we go to the JOP but I'm thinking of having the shower closer to the party with our family next year since we aren't inviting anyone to the JOP other than a few friends and our parents/grandparents.

Re: BF is joining the Air Force

  • My FI is also in the Air Force, but we've probably had a little different of a time of it since he commissioned, but I will try to answer what I can. 

    It seems like you're waiting until he at least gets to his first duty station to join him, which is a good idea. If you're going to JOP it, as long as you don't lie to anyone, I'm okay with the VR. I will say that the couple of girls, both on here and in real life, who have done this have found it was more of a headache than they felt it was worth. I guess if you're waiting until he gets to his duty station to move with him, and you're already set to go do an internship (will that be you moving in with him first and then leaving to go to the internship? I wasn't sure of the timeline) I guess I don't see why you couldn't just plan the wedding and then have it and then move. It's a lot at once, but then you'd only have to deal with it once. I guess a bachelorette is cool before the JOP, sounds kosher, but I wouldn't necessarily accept a shower since you'll already be married. People might buy you presents anyway, but they might see it as weird. Also, you may receive way more declines to your VR/party if it's far away for your guests, since some people who would travel for a wedding  won't for a VR. 

    I was 26 when FI commissioned, 27 when we moved in together and I'm 28 (I'll be almost 29) now that we're getting married. There's a lot to be learned from the ladies on these boards, and a lot I picked up on the fly. Things can change, fast. FI has had 2 jobs since he's been in with two separate training courses (Since he commissioned he's moved 3 times with two long-term TDYs in two other states). The guy who just got promoted to captain in FI's squad has had 3 jobs in the last 2 years, each of which has moved him somewhere different. Prepare yourself for that. Also, cultivate interests that you can do on your own. I will say that the Key Spouse of FI's unit is a wonderful source of information, as is the Facebook page for the squadron. All of the wives, girlfriends and FI's I've met have been wonderfully welcoming. 

    If you're living on base, even if you're not, get involved. Volunteer to bring dinner to the family that just had a baby or work at the thrift store. Go to the meetings, that's a great way to meet people. While there are some stereotypes of wives out there, I've maybe met two, most of the women and men are really supportive and you learn a lot. 
  • P.S. I've had several friends do the Disney internships and they all loved it and had a blast! Makes me wish I had sometimes. 
  • I am waiting until he gets to his first duty station. I'm hoping to have an internship that lasts from January to May and if not I have to do an internship and my last two classes at home. We weren’t even going to do a VR; we were just going to have a reception kind of party with all of our family. Depending on when we have to be where we end up, we would have it at home or come home later to have something. We are both of completely different religions so going to the JOP was the easiest option since he’s Jewish and I’m Catholic. Having a ceremony would be too much, especially since neither of us are converting to the others religion. My friend wants to throw me a shower/bachelorette party cause she says this is a once in a lifetime kind of thing, which I get but I feel like you. If I’m not inviting people to a wedding, I don’t expect them to send me gifts. While I’d greatly appreciate them, I wouldn’t go looking for handouts.

    I’m not really sure if we are going to live on or off base. I’ve heard pros and cons for both and a lot of stereotypes too.

    Thank you for responding to me! Getting information from a person that is actually living this life is much better than reading stuff on the AF website and other sites I have seen. I’m not even sure what other questions I have. I’m just getting nervous for BMT and Tech School (and he hasn’t even gotten a date yet). I just want to get to our first station and move in and what not.

  • edited July 2012
    The only advice I have here is to not throw yourself a shower. If someone else family members, friends, want to throw you one after you've JOPed, cool. But throwing your own shower in any case is bad etiquette. Of course, I don't know if that's what you meant by what you said towards the end, but that's what it seemed like. Also, a Disney internship sounds like a great opportunity! Good for you! ETA: reading fail. I see that the OP has already addressed the shower topic. My bad, OP! You sound like you know what you're doing here.
  • Sounds like you've got a good plan!  Who will be invited to your wedding?  You don't have to call it a JOP if you don't want to (though you're welcome to, if you prefer) since it really is the day you're getting married!  You're not trying to sweep it under the rug as 'just signing the papers', just something smaller and probably less expensive!

    As someone who also never pictured herself as a military significant other, I'd say ask a lot of questions.  Read a lot.  Figure out exactly what you're getting yourself in for - for me, the more I understand and expect, the more in control I feel about the situation.  So educate yourself on his branch, the military in general, the specialty he'll have (if he knows).  Also, talk between the two of you about boundaries & understanding - how long will he be in?  Will he volunteer for deployments or overseas posts?  Will he re-up when his contract is up?  For us, we talk about everything - it's his career, but he fully understands that it's my life, too, that is affected.  So while sometimes he may make decisions that affect me, he always gives me as much information and choice as possible.  When he requested his duty stations, he asked me for my input and we created the list together.  That's really key for me - while the military might not give him what we've asked for, at least I know that my FI takes my opinion into consideration and we're in this together, come hell or high water.
  • We are inviting my two best friends, his best friend, two brothers, mom, my parents and grandma and his grandmas and grandpa. That will pretty much be a ceremony if you will. When do you make up the list of where you "want" to be stationed? I've talked to him about it and he doesn't want to volunteer to go overseas, he wants to stay state side, mostly because I don't know if I could live overseas. While I'd love to live in England or Germany, with my luck we'd get stuck in Japan or something. He said right now he's just signing on for the 6 years active and 2 reserve but he might change his mind once he's in. I'm hoping not because I don't really want to bring up children in a military life so we'll see. I might love it just as much as he does once I see where we are and stay in for a career. He said he won't volunteer for deployments. I didn't know you could volunteer, I thought they just sent you if the military needs you. Maybe that's only for infantry since he wants to do something with computers or linguistics. Once he takes the ASVAB we'll have more of an idea of what career he will have.

  • wpage001wpage001 member
    Sixth Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited July 2012
    I'm a bride that is active duty Air Force so I am going to look at this from his perspective. I am also a military child and was raised in Japan. Being overseas is awesome you learn so much and having children in the miliary world is not that bad. Overseas they get better education offered than here in the staes. He will put down choices in basic training, but that doesnt mean he will get them. You can volunteer and be picked to deploy. It really is not that bad. I would say to invite your family as planned and do the JOP. I would wait to have a reception or party until you actually reach your first duty station. When I say that I don't mean his tech school duty station since he will be there for less than 6 months. I am engaged to an active duty member as well so if you have questions email me @ [email protected] I don't spend much time on here, but have no problem explaining life from both sides. Happy planning! Whitney
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_military-brides_bf-is-joining-the-air-force?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:13Discussion:373e6f95-7bba-4752-9504-4e624b08be99Post:e5cd4e64-08f1-4644-a8c9-410e7550af92">Re: BF is joining the Air Force</a>:
    [QUOTE]We are inviting my two best friends, his best friend, two brothers, mom, my parents and grandma and his grandmas and grandpa. That will pretty much be a ceremony if you will. When do you make up the list of where you "want" to be stationed? I've talked to him about it and he doesn't want to volunteer to go overseas, he wants to stay state side, mostly because I don't know if I could live overseas. While I'd love to live in England or Germany, with my luck we'd get stuck in Japan or something. He said right now he's just signing on for the 6 years active and 2 reserve but he might change his mind once he's in. I'm hoping not because I don't really want to bring up children in a military life so we'll see. I might love it just as much as he does once I see where we are and stay in for a career. He said he won't volunteer for deployments. I didn't know you could volunteer, I thought they just sent you if the military needs you. Maybe that's only for infantry since he wants to do something with computers or linguistics. Once he takes the ASVAB we'll have more of an idea of what career he will have.
    Posted by mgmb100707[/QUOTE]

    Sounds like you guys have had some good conversations!  I'd suggest learning as much as you can about what the bases are like, where the locations are likely to be for his specialty & branch, and what the atmosphere is for deployments.

    For my guy, he's a Marine and a JAG (lawyer), so he's got a rather unique situation.  So for them, it's usually volunteering for deployment - they can send them anyway, but often you see people who want to add that experience of deployment (for promotion potential, respect, patriotism, etc.) stepping forward to volunteer for it and make it known that they want to go.  Also, they get to put their top requested duty stations, and the Marines may or may not listen to it, but FI and I put that list together between the two of us.

    Living overseas is a good experience, in my opinion, but you have to go into it with a sense of adventure - but know that whether you want to go overseas or not, it's possible he could get stationed there even if he doesn't request it.  As a military spouse, it's often as much preparing yourself for the unknown and the unexpected.  A sense of humor, flexibility, and roll-with-the-punches mentality will help a lot.
  • divinemsbeedivinemsbee member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 5 Love Its
    edited July 2012
    I agree a lot with Cal that you guys will have to talk about a lot, and it seems like you're both really committed to getting information. 

    Go ahead and start talking now about the fact that you're not sure you want to go OCONUS (outside the continental United States). Also, whether being stationed there is even an option has a lot to do with his job. Right now, my FI will have to switch jobs for OCONUS to become a possibility for him. He will also have to switch jobs for him to rise about full-bird Colonel in rank, which, if he decides to put in his 20 or more and make this his career, is something we have to think about. It's the same with volunteering for deployments; they make your career look better and make it more likely that you'll be promoted, especially in certain career fields. My FI goes deployable right after our wedding, and, while they tend to not send LTs in his field into theater (they generally go once they reach Captain), it's still a possibility for us. It also looks better for him if he volunteers rather than waits to be chosen, it's like that for a lot of things.

    A lot of those things I talked about above become a bigger issue if he decides to go career instead of just do his 6. Especially if it turns out that he wants to try and become an officer, going the extra mile will be something it would be wise to do. If you both decide this is something he wants to do until retirement, things like going overseas and deployments become a lot more necessary to his career. I'll say that I'm pretty with you on parts of the overseas bit. I really have never had an interest in going to Japan. England, Germany, Turkey, Poland, even Iceland, sign me up, but I've never had an interest in traveling to Asia. Of course I'll go if that's where he needs to be, and I'm sure it will be fine, but it's not in our top 50. 

    We actually know a couple at our duty station now who were both enlisted linguists. She worked with Arabic and Portuguese, and he was in Chinese, German, and Spanish. She finished her enlistment and they got married and he went to OCS (offficer candidate school) and now works with FI. He's about to go on a trip to China as a translator for a four star general. 
  • I'll have to go where ever they need him obviously but people I have talked to that I know from work/school etc have said bad things about going overseas. I'd love to see other countries but I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be in a country I wouldn't go to normally. I'm a plan ahead girl so we'll have to see how much that impacts my way of understanding that things can happen that are unexpected. I'm so new to this so I don't even know what to expect. I've just gotten knowledge from other people that I probably shouldn't be asking because their experiences have been so negative.

    Thank you so much to everyone that has responded. Your advice is much appreciated and making all of the bad things I have been told go to the way side. I'm excited for this journey. If anyone has any advice to give me, I'd love it because I'm so new to all of this!

  • calindicalindi member
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited July 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_military-brides_bf-is-joining-the-air-force?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:13Discussion:373e6f95-7bba-4752-9504-4e624b08be99Post:8379e849-e48c-4e4b-a59c-7812786ef4c4">Re: BF is joining the Air Force</a>:
    [QUOTE]I'll have to go where ever they need him obviously but people I have talked to that I know from work/school etc have said bad things about going overseas. I'd love to see other countries but I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be in a country I wouldn't go to normally. I'm a plan ahead girl so we'll have to see how much that impacts my way of understanding that things can happen that are unexpected. I'm so new to this so I don't even know what to expect. I've just gotten knowledge from other people that I probably shouldn't be asking because their experiences have been so negative. Thank you so much to everyone that has responded. Your advice is much appreciated and making all of the bad things I have been told go to the way side. I'm excited for this journey. If anyone has any advice to give me, I'd love it because I'm so new to all of this!
    Posted by mgmb100707[/QUOTE]

    Just take opinions with a grain of salt.  Going overseas takes adjustment, for sure, and culture shock is a very real thing, but I put 'living overseas' as one of the top things that I've ever done in my life in terms of building self confidence, independence, and opening my eyes to other peoples and cultures.  It hasn't always been easy, but like most things that can be difficult, it helped me grow as a person and I view it as extremely worthwhile.

    Educate yourself - if it's likely or even possible that he'll live overseas, look into it now to try to get acclimiated to the idea because that's like soaking the bandaid before you pull it off - it will make the process a lot easier when it's necessary.  Read books on culture shock, living overseas, etc.  I feel like educating yourself on as much as possible can only help you feel more comfortable with all the possibilities of this lifestyle.  And keep a sense of adventure - sometimes places in the US can feel even more foreign than overseas posts, and moving every few years is definitely an adjustment.  You'll be better off if you can find some positive spin or something to look forward to about all the unknown aspects.  Otherwise it will just drive you nuts!

    I also didn't want to raise kids in what I understood as the military lifestyle.  But I've since come to embrace it a lot more as I've learned more and experienced it - there's a tight sense of community that doesn't exist in many places anymore.  Neighbors help neighbors, kids play in the streets, it's like the 1950's Pleasantville!  Haha, I mean, there's always drama/issues, but really - young kids are very adaptable, the military community is very supportive and like an extended family, and it's an eye opening experience for kids to meet different people, learn how to make friends in new places, even live overseas and learn a new language. 
  • I really do want to live overseas; I just don’t know how comfortable I would be in a country that isn’t Europe. I’d love to live in England or Germany; I’m just not sure what bases we could be at for the job my BF gets. I have been reading blogs for a few days and I found some of people that live state side, and some of people that live overseas. Some of them are from people that have been AF/Military Wives for a while and some that are new and have the new information on BMT and adjusting to the new life we will be living. I actually bought a couple of books off of Amazon last night and I’m really excited to read them. I want to know as much as possible before this transition starts so I am at least somewhat aware of what we could encounter. Reading your paragraph on raising kids in the military really changed my mind about that. That is the kind of environment I have wanted for a family since I was younger. I never lived in a neighborhood where kids played in the streets and interacted with one another. I’m actually really excited to experience this now. Living on base is something I want to do now. Thank you so much for your advice!
  • mgmb - the hardest thing I've ever done and the thing I'm most grateful that I did was move to China for 6 months, with no one I knew, knowing not a word of the language.  I went for a study abroad program, and I first thought to do it only about 4 months before I went. 

    It was petrifying, and I wasn't sure I'd like it, and sometimes I didn't, but it gave me such confidence in myself and my ability to adapt to anything.  It was an incredible adventure, and some of my fondest memories that I will cherish forever. 

    I hiked for 2 days on the Great Wall of China and slept in a tower - I can't describe to you how incredible that was.  I learned how to communicate in Chinese - it was empowering and thrilling to know that I could do that.  I built & ran a Haunted House for Chinese people - talk about a crazy cultural gap & logistical challenge!  I tried foods I'd never even heard of, rode a yak, saw a lot of things, met a lot of people and asked a lot of questions.  I cannot recommend highly enough taking that leap of faith if the opportunity is ever presented to go live overseas.  It's life changing in such a good way. 

    And the good thing about going with the military is that there's a safety net - there's other Americans in the same boat to commisserate with and to find a way to host holidays together far from 'home'.  I fondly remember Thanksgiving football games in a park in the middle of our school East China University, and the Haunted House I mentioned before for Halloween.  It's also temporary - love it or hate it, you'll be moving on in approximately 2 years.
  • Calindi- your experience in China sounds amazing. Reminds me of a story one of my professors told me. She did the same thing but stayed longer by herself.

    The biggest thing that is i guess "making up my mind" about this is being scared to live in a new country that I Wouldn't vacation to. I guess if we live on base we'll be in a community of people in the same boat. I'm really going toward living on base at this point. Since you said you move every couple of years, you can't really buy a house.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_military-brides_bf-is-joining-the-air-force?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:13Discussion:373e6f95-7bba-4752-9504-4e624b08be99Post:4660ef71-b552-4baf-9138-8111427edc5b">Re: BF is joining the Air Force</a>:
    [QUOTE]Calindi- your experience in China sounds amazing. Reminds me of a story one of my professors told me. She did the same thing but stayed longer by herself. The biggest thing that is i guess "making up my mind" about this is being scared to live in a new country that I Wouldn't vacation to. I guess if we live on base we'll be in a community of people in the same boat. I'm really going toward living on base at this point. Since you said you move every couple of years, you can't really buy a house.
    Posted by mgmb100707[/QUOTE]

    Nope, we don't plan to buy a house until he gets out.  Some people do, and either sell when they PCS (permanent change of station - aka move to a new duty station) or rent it out as an investment property.  It's all about what you prefer, and if you plan to return to that place after the military to see if it's a worthy investment.

    They give you a housing stipend if you live off base, so you can rent.  It depends on the base - some bases it's definitely preferable to live on base, and some bases you can find better deals by taking the stipend and living off base.

    I'd definitely advise opening your mind on vacation destinations, too - there's some fabulous experiences out there beyond Europe!
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