Weekend Wedding Planning: Visa Applications

*my passports from 3 years old to now
Throughout my wedding planning there is an overhanging sense of fear that the wedding won't be on the date we've chosen or in the place we desire. In order to marry in Northern Ireland I need a fiancé visa. Following that, to stay and live there I will have to reapply after the wedding for a residence marriage visa. As I plan the wedding thinking about fun details like hair and dresses, I’m also researching visas, starting an online application, and collecting all the information I need to convince a board that my relationship is legitimate and I should be granted permission to move to NI. I worry that as much as I plan and prepare, certain elements are out of my hands and it is pretty scary. There is the odd chance that we won’t be able to use the venue we booked and my moving to Northern Ireland could be delayed. In addition to our plans and goals for the next year we have to make back-up plans and brainstorm solutions to potential problems.

On the one hand there’s no special reason to assume that Thomas and I will be denied, but on the flip-side we simply do not have control. It’s weird that something as commonplace as getting married and moving in with your husband isn’t entirely a decision made by the two of you but something a board of strangers will have the final verdict on. It's an awkward process to ask for letters from friends and relatives detailing why they believe our relationship is legitimate. The paperwork itself sometimes seems tricky—a fiancé visa is good for six months so we can’t apply too early or it will expire before our chosen wedding date, but if we leave it until too late and some small error on the application means we need to re-apply, approval could come too late for the date we booked. I get worried as much about having the correct wording on my application as the facts themselves; I’d hate for a denial to come down to a misspelled name or misunderstanding.

Anyway, my weekend wedding planning posts from here on will focus on the more fun details I’m figuring out but I felt like at least one post about the trickier aspects of an International wedding was necessary. This is a very fun and exciting time, but there are also days when we’re talking to lawyers and I get worried about our future together being delayed. I’ll be happy to share my visa experiences at the end of this journey is anyone is curious or would find it helpful, but for now I'm going to try to focus on worrying less and doing more.

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