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I really can't afford a big wedding. I wanted to just go to the justice of the peace but I also don't want to have regrets. How did some of you plan your weddings without having a time line of when your Visa will be approved.

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Its certainly more dificult to plan a wedding without knowing when it will happen. It was a diferent situation (not because of the visa, but actually for work reasons), my husband and I married in the justice of peace (simple ceremony, just a lunch for close friends) and them we made the party we actually wated with our family and friends (important to plan ahead, specially because his family/friends had to fly from another country). We had 6 months to plan :) So.. it's a sugestion!

About "how to make a party not so expensive": I think we spent about 10% of what my friends spent in their weddings, we had many things homemade and spent the money in what we though was most important for us (exemple: less in decoration, more in food, drinks and music). Rented wedding dress, instead of expensive specially tailored one. Small city (where my dad lives), where everything is cheaper… It is possible to amke the party of your dreams and don't spend all your money.

Fell free to ask for any help!


USCIS:

2015/3/23: I-130 Sent: (Let's start the waiting game!)

2015/3/25: NOA1 Sent by email, case routed to the USCIS California Service Center (hardcopy 2015/6/4)

2015/4/21: NOA2 (email; got hardcopy in 2015/5/6)

NVC:

2015/5/21: Got NVC case # and IIN

2015/5/29: Filled DS261 online

2015/6/1: Payed AOS fee online

2015/6/5: Sent AOS and IV packages

2015/6/8: DS261 reviewed over the phone

2015/6/8: Scan Date

2015/7/5: Payed IV fee online

2015/7/8: Filled DS260

2015/7/23: Checklist!!

2015/7/25: Checklist Scan Date

2015/8/18: NVC CC

2015/9/11: Interview Scheduled for October 8th (no letter yet, just called NVC!)

2015/10/1: Medical

2015/10/8: Interview - Approved!!!

2015/10/30: POE

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Depending on your location and the time of the year a backyard wedding is a good way to save money and still make it special. Pinterest has great ideas for DIY wedding stuff.

I agree with anamaral you have to prioritise what is important to you and spend money on those things. I think having a cocktail party instead of a 3 or 5 course meal is more affordable and manageable especially if you don’t have a lot of people, you might even have family and friends that volunteer to help.

Remember this is your special day, make it something you will be happy with.

Good luck


''No matter how painful distance can be, not having you in my life would be worse''

August 16 2013: Started dating

July 6 2014: Got engaged! (L)

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I married a month after POE and we're doing the big wedding this July, plenty of time! For the first one I bought a very cheap but gorgeous sales rack wedding dress, we got the food from the delicatessen department of our Shop Rite, which was actually delicious! We had the wedding at his mother's church, very cheap, we only got flowers for ourselves, and we just had family take the pictures. It was still a great day, and very cost efficient!


Our journey so far:

27 Mar '09: Met at work in Holland and started dating.

30 Nov '13: Got engaged in Scotland!

10 Jan '14: Sent I-129F package to Dallas Lockbox.

22 Jan '14: NOA1 received.

29 Jun '14: Congressman Lobiondo inquired at TSC about our case.

16 Jul '14: Senator Menendez inquired at TSC about our case.

21 Jul '14: NOA2 approved!! (180 days)

23 Jul '14: Case sent to NVC.

01 Aug '14: Received NVC case number.

07 Aug '14: Case sent to Dutch consulate.

13 Aug '14: Packet 3 received, completed the DS-160 form.

15 Aug '14: Sent Packet 3 back to the consulate.

21 Aug '14: Packet 4 received with interview date.

02 Sep '14: Medical examination.

16 Sep '14: Interview --> APPROVED!!

20 Sep '14: Passport with visa returned.

12 Oct '14: POE, entered the USA!

14 Nov '14: Married! <3

24 Dec '14: Filed AOS/EAD.

31 Dec '14: AOS/EAD NOA1's received.

29 Jan '15: AOS RFE received for 2014 tax return.

23 Feb '15: AOS RFE response sent.

13 Mar '15: EAD RFE received for legal married name affidavit.

17 Mar '15: EAD RFE response sent.

29 Apr '15: Filed InfoPass to find out why I still didn't get biometrics appt.

06 May '15: Biometrics appointment.

14 May '15: Received EAD (finally!)

22 July '15: Interview waived.

08 Sep '15: Got my Green Card!

nZV0p1.png

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Prioritize:

How much do you want to spend?

Where do you want it?

How many people?

What do you want it to look like?

Once you have those answers in place. Start small and work your way up.

If you want to have a wedding with just the two of you or a few friends and not at a courthouse, try looking for elopement packages. They are often the most affordable.

If you want to have a big wedding and no do-over with a lot of people, remember that once the visa is in hand, the fiancé has 6 months in order to enter the country. That's a good chunk of time to plan out, if you need a longer period to reserve venues.

If you want to have a wedding at a courthouse and then a big do-over later, it seems a lot of people pick this option.

If however you want to have a wedding with no do-over, with some guests (not suggesting anything huge here), and not have to worry about much - try contacting an all-inclusive place like a restaurant or country club, or hotel. If on the other hand you want to have a DIY type thing, it's sometimes best to look for public spaces that you can rent like parks, or historical houses, or rustic barns.

No you shouldn't reserve anything until you have your visa in hand, but that doesn't mean you can't contact vendors and ask them if they can be accommodating with a floating date or even just explain the situation and see if they have any suggestions. Cost compare all venues and price out photographers or caterers if you're using them.

Make sure you pay close attention to marriage laws that are specific to each state. Some states require that you must absolutely marry in the same county the license is obtained in -- that can narrow down options.

Things you can do now: find your wedding attire (if extra thrifty buy a gown and shoes when they are having sales). Price out any accessories you can't buy now, like invitations. If you are having a specific colour make sure to send all parties a sample swatch.

For me, after we both picked the place we will marry, I've let the venue coordinator know our situation and they were flexible and offered a few suggestions. We decided not to have a reception, which wasn't practical and would blow a huge chunk of our budget. We will have a big dinner and cake cutting inside a reserved room. Everyone orders what they want from the menu (make sure you're clear on wishes about alcohol as that can drive up cost). The dress and everything else has been purchased ages ago. If you can't afford a photographer, make sure someone there is taking photos that you can rely on.

NY of course is pretty pricey but, check out sites like WeddingWire to cost compare.

Depending on what your real estate in NY looks like, and how many people you've got coming would really determine a DIY backyard thing. But if you've got space that's probably the most cost-effective of all. It's not the least stressful or overwhelming though.

Also, do a wedding your way as a couple, and not what society or the industry dictates you need. Ask yourself, do I really need this to make it a special day?


K-1 - AOS & ROC Timeline  - Immigration and the Health Exchange Price of Love in the UK Thinking of Returning to UK?

 

First met: 12/31/04 - Engaged: 9/24/09
Filed I-129F: 10/4/14 - Packet received: 10/7/14
NOA 1 email + ARN assigned: 10/10/14 (hard copy 10/17/14)
Touched on website (fixed?): 12/9/14 - Poked USCIS: 4/1/15
NOA 2 email: 5/4/15 (hard copy 5/11/15)
Sent to NVC: 5/8/15 - NVC received + #'s assigned: 5/15/15 (estimated)
NVC sent: 5/19/15 - London received/ready: 5/26/15
Packet 3: 5/28/15 - Medical: 6/16/15
Poked London 7/1/15 - Packet 4: 7/2/15
Interview: 7/30/15 - Approved!
AP + Issued 8/3/15 - Visa in hand (depot): 8/6/15
POE: 8/27/15

Wedding: 9/30/15

Filed I-485, I-131, I-765: 11/7/15

Packet received: 11/9/15

NOA 1 txt/email: 11/15/15 - NOA 1 hardcopy: 11/19/15

Bio: 12/9/15

EAD + AP approved: 1/25/16 - EAD received: 2/1/16

RFE for USCIS inability to read vax instructions: 5/21/16 (no e-notification & not sent from local office!)

RFE response sent: 6/7/16 - RFE response received 6/9/16

AOS approved/card in production: 6/13/16  

NOA 2 hardcopy + card sent 6/17/16

Green Card received: 6/18/16

USCIS 120 day reminder notice: 2/22/18

Filed I-751: 5/2/18 - Packet received: 5/4/18

NOA 1:  5/29/18 (12 mo) 8/13/18 (18 mo)  - Bio: 6/27/18

 

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~~moved to off topic as question isn't about K1 process and procedures but about wedding ideas~~


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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We waited until we had the visa in hand before we really got into planning. We decided to do a backyard wedding at my brother's and we scheduled it for a time when we could skype it to my wife's family as well. Once we picked the date, the rest was easy, a local caterer, a tent, we found some nice plates and stuff online, a small amount of flowers, my niece did the photos and my nephew provided the music. It was very memorable day for both of us!

Good Luck!


Visa Received : 2014-04-04 (K1 - see timeline for details)

US Entry : 2014-09-12

POE: Detroit

Marriage : 2014-09-27

I-765 Approved: 2015-01-09

I-485 Interview: 2015-03-11

I-485 Approved: 2015-03-13

Green Card Received: 2015-03-24 Yeah!!!

I-751 ROC Submitted: 2016-12-20

I-751 NOA Received:  2016-12-29

I-751 Biometrics Appt.:  2017-01-26

I-751 Interview:  2018-04-10

I-751 Approved:  2018-05-04

N400 Filed:  2018-01-13

N400 Biometrics:  2018-02-22

N400 Interview:  2018-04-10

N400 Approved:  2018-04-10

Oath Ceremony:  2018-06-11 - DONE!!!!!!!

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I really can't afford a big wedding. I wanted to just go to the justice of the peace but I also don't want to have regrets. How did some of you plan your weddings without having a time line of when your Visa will be approved.

We have the money, but we still chose the civil marriage, which costed us less than $200. :dance:

We are both practical and wise with money, and we rather put that money to a better use

than a one night party...which has zero effect on lasting happy marriage. :D


10-04-2013 We met online
11-21-2013 We met in person in Shanghai for 2 weeks

12-13-2013 I-129F packet sent via express

12-19-2013 USCIS NOA #1 (text and email) received

12-24-2013 USCIS assigns Alien Registration Number
12-31-2013 USCIS NOA #1 hard copy received
06-02-2014 USCIS web site shows NOA #2 approval
06-06-2014 USCIS web site shows case sent to NVC

06-xx-2014 Fiancee acquired birth, marriage, and police certificates from local police station (wrong)

06-16-2014 NVC creates case with GUZ### number

06-19-2014 NVC sends case sent to Guangzhou, China
06-24-2014 Received packet 3 express mail from embassy
06-25-2014 Completed DS-160 and paid K1 visa fee

06-26-2014 Mailed packet 3 response back to Embassy

06-26-2014 Requested police certificate from Russian embassy

07-08-2014 Received packet 4 email from Embassy

07-17-2014 Picked up Russian police certificate

07-25-2014 Fiancee medical exam (received MMR & Varicella, but they missed required TD shot)

07-31-2014 Picked up medical exam reports

08-01-2014 Request (correct) birth, marriage, and police certificates from Notarial Service (GongZhengChu)

08-06-2014 Picked up birth, marriage, and police certificates from Notarial Service

08-14-2014 Passed Interview Guangzhou embassy

09-01-2014 Received passport, visa, & sealed envelope

09-13-2014 POE

09-17-2014 Went to CBP office to get (US entry) I-94 updated correctly

09-18-2014 Applied for Social Security Card
09-19-2014 Applied for Marriage License (via online)
09-25-2014 Received Social Security Card
09-30-2014 Picked up Marriage License
10-09-2014 Marriage by Justice of Peace
10-09-2014 Got Certified Marriage Certificate Copies
10-17-2014 Received a letter from SS office that they need the marriage license
10-09-2014 Applied to change the social security card name
10-24-2014 Went back to SS office to provide the marriage certificate documents again!!!
12-09-2014 Submitted AOS, EAD, and AP
12-16-2014 Received 16 emails and 16 text NOA messages
01-05-2015 Received Biometrics appointment letter for (01-12-2015)
01-12-2015 Had Biometrics (fingerprint & picture) - Required Marriage Certificate!!!
02-17-2015 EAD and AP is approved
02-23-2015 Received AP is approval letter
02-25-2015 Received EAD/AP combo card (expires 02/16/2016)
02-27-2015 Applied for SS card name change (they took her SS card)
02-27-2015 Driver's learner permit test was denied since the SS card was given to SS office for name change
03-17-2015 Received SS card with married name
03-17-2015 Started to change all her accounts to married name
03-23-2015 Received potential interview waiver letter
03-27-2015 DMV rejects learner's permit due to "legal status=pending" and vision test failure
04-05-2015 Vision test for learner's permit
04-06-2015 DPS sent us letter that DHS cleared my wife's status to acquire driver's license.
04-10-2015 Passed Driver Learner's Permit
04-22-2015 Received Driver Learner's Permit ID card (expires 02/16/2016)
08-27-2015 Green Card approved
08-31-2015 Received Green Card "Welcome Notice Was Mailed" letter
09-05-2015 Received Green card
10-26-2015 Passed Driver's License Road Test (on 3rd attempt)
11-03-2015 Received Driver's License (expires 02/16/2022)
11-06-2015 Applied to remove conditional work remark on SS card
11-23-2015 Received updated Social Security Card.
- - - - - - - - - - Pending Future Processing - - - - - - - - - -
05-27-2017 File 10 Year Green Card
08-27-2017 2 Year Green Card Expires
05-27-2018 File USC

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When we were wedding planning, I kicked around a number of ideas for simple, casual weddings. We ended up with a beach wedding at my parent's neighborhood beach club (free for us) and a reception on my parent's pool deck. The reception was catered a local company and we had a few passed appetizers, a salad and made-to-order pasta bar, dessert bar of mini brownies, tarts, etc and a limited open bar (wine, beer, champange as none of our guests were big liquor drinkers). The price included food and bar service, set-up/tear-down, tables, linens. We had around 25 guests.

Some other ideas...

1) If the weather is nice enough, have the ceremony and reception at a park and either hire a food truck or hire a few people (through craigslist, taskrabbit, etc) to grill up food.

2) If you are part of a church, have the ceremony in the church and reception in an attached community/activity center. Many have a small kitchen so you could self-cater. Make food that can be easily frozen ahead of time and then just heat up. Some ideas: lasagna, frittatas and quiches for a brunch reception.

3) If you have a very small group, just do the ceremony at the courthouse and then go out for a nice dinner afterwards.


9/2011: Met in Morocco

12/2011: Trip to Europe together

1/2012: My trip to his hometown

11/2012: His first trip to USA

1/2014: His second trip to USA

3/2014: Married

Adjusting from a B visa

6/25/2014: Sent AOS package (I-130, I-485, I-765, I-131)

6/28/2014: Package received at Chicago Lockbox

7/2/2014: Text and email notifications

7/2/2014: Checks cashed

7/8/2014: Hard copy NOAs received

7/25/2014: Biometrics appointment

7/25/2014: RFE for foreign birth certificate

7/26/2014: RFE responded to

7/30/2014: RFE response received

8/14/2014: Status changed to "Testing and Interview"

8/29/2014: EAD and AP card production ordered

9/10/2014: EAD and AP card received

9/27/2014: Interview letter received

9/29/2014: SS card applied for

10/4/2014: SS card received

10/28/2014: Interview - approved pending final background check; online status updated that night

11/1/2014: Welcome letter

11/4/2014: GC in hand

ROC

8/13/2016: Sent I-751 Package

8/15/2016: Package received at CSC

8/17/2016: Check cashed

8/19/2016: NOA1

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Oh I like the salad and pasta bar. Smart idea!

When we were wedding planning, I kicked around a number of ideas for simple, casual weddings. We ended up with a beach wedding at my parent's neighborhood beach club (free for us) and a reception on my parent's pool deck. The reception was catered a local company and we had a few passed appetizers, a salad and made-to-order pasta bar, dessert bar of mini brownies, tarts, etc and a limited open bar (wine, beer, champange as none of our guests were big liquor drinkers). The price included food and bar service, set-up/tear-down, tables, linens. We had around 25 guests.

Some other ideas...

1) If the weather is nice enough, have the ceremony and reception at a park and either hire a food truck or hire a few people (through craigslist, taskrabbit, etc) to grill up food.

2) If you are part of a church, have the ceremony in the church and reception in an attached community/activity center. Many have a small kitchen so you could self-cater. Make food that can be easily frozen ahead of time and then just heat up. Some ideas: lasagna, frittatas and quiches for a brunch reception.

3) If you have a very small group, just do the ceremony at the courthouse and then go out for a nice dinner afterwards.


''No matter how painful distance can be, not having you in my life would be worse''

August 16 2013: Started dating

July 6 2014: Got engaged! (L)

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Thank you for all the ideas. I will write down my thoughts. I honestly do not know what I want. I had originally said the court house and because I have long term friendships when I shared my news it was like opening Pandora's box. People started saying " I would come to NY "and how they would love to be present.

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Thank you for all the ideas. I will write down my thoughts. I honestly do not know what I want. I had originally said the court house and because I have long term friendships when I shared my news it was like opening Pandora's box. People started saying " I would come to NY "and how they would love to be present.

I'm dealing with that now. Plus family pressure that a wedding has to be done in a church. Good luck!!

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Courthouse and dinner for us...we will redeem ourselves on our anniversary.


(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)

CR- 1

Interview :  11/15/2016

Result: AP  (form 221 (g))

Correspondence with Embassy: Tons of emails, Facebook posts, tweets, Congressman inquiry

Complaint letter with OIG : 12/29/2016

Case dispatched to diplomatic pouch : 01/11/2017

Case dispatched from diplomatic mail service to NVC : 01/23/2017

Case arrived at NVC: 01/26/2017

NVC sent case to USCIS : 02/09/2017 (system update)

Case receive by USCIS (text & email notification): 03/07/2017

 

Reaffirm Petition Timeline for folks in GHANA.. Please update your information..Thank you!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1k0NXnbJdyEIRR1_Dr4t3yXmsM0tBbq-tZsj0-o3cMV0/edit?usp=sharing

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We had a lunch at a fancy hotel restaurant with close family. I also ordered cake pops that looked like lilacs vs a cake. We were married in a park where I grew up beside a wishing well (where else is more perfect?) Best of all was that it was free. My mom married us which was nice. You don't have to do a courthouse, you can certainly look for marriage commisioners.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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