Speeding up the marriage timeline, need advice
March 13, 2013 8:07 PM Subscribe
We want to get married, but need to do it much quicker than expected for visa/insurance reasons. How to handle it (snowflakes within)?
posted by anonymous to human relations (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So I'll try to keep this short, although I should probably apologize in advance - my thoughts are a little scattered at the moment. My girlfriend and I have been together about 1.5 years and have a pretty good relationship. I feel that things have moved at a pretty healthy pace (not too fast, not too slow). She's in her late 30s and has been in a few LTRs, never married. I'm in my early 30s, and have pretty limited relationship experience till now. We did have some ups and downs at first (doesn't everyone), but we got over it and are now stronger than ever. We almost never argue, get along great with each other's families, and seem to "fit" together very well. We do love each other very much and we do see a future together.
However, a small problem - I'm moving. For the past few years, I've been working for the US Gov't as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO). Since we started dating, I've been working here in the US, but about six months ago I was told I was being reassigned overseas (to Europe) in mid-2013. Okay, sounds fun...but what happens to us? We talked long and hard about it and ultimately she decided that she was okay with joining me, although that means quitting her job etc. She did ask to stay in the USA through the end of the year so she could save up some extra money, finish work projects, and have more time to job-hunt. Neither one of us is nuts about an LDR but we've both decided we're okay with it since it'll only be for 6-7 months max.
We have talked about marriage off and on for a while, but mostly in the abstract. We both feel that it's something we want to do, but we never had any reason to be serious about it until I found out that I was leaving. Bringing her overseas as a girlfriend would be extremely difficult - she would be on a tourist visa and couldn't work or stay past 90 days, no health insurance, etc. I explained all this to her - she's not 100% thrilled about the circumstances, but she does want to get married and agrees that speeding it up might not be a bad idea.
So a two-part question:
One, for those of you who have been in this situation, any advice? I know my situation isn't exactly rare - lots of people have had to speed up the marriage process due to a spouse being deployed, visa issues, or even just to get on your partner's health insurance. I think a big part of my stress is the fact that dealing with an impending LDR (even if it's temporary), PLUS an impending international move (about 4 months from now), PLUS eventually helping her to move/settle in/find work - it's just a lot to handle, even without a wedding to top it all off. I have no doubts about our relationship and feel that getting married is the right move, it just feels that it might get lost in the chaos of everything else.
Two, what's the best way to handle such a quick wedding (to get her visa in time, it would probably have to happen by Oct/Nov this year)? The whole process has been pretty atypical - I don't even know if I'd say that we're "engaged" in the traditional sense, considering neither one of us formally popped the question or presented a ring. Compare that to all the couples we know - they all had traditional weddings that were planned 1-2 years in advance, with lots of people invited and a very high price tag. We've decided that neither one of us needs an expensive, elaborate wedding, but we do at least want our immediate families there (parents + siblings, so maybe 8-9 guests total). Still, that means leaving out a lot of extended relatives and friends. To make it worse, most of our family and friends are scattered all over the US. How do I handle this without totally alienating them?