If you didn’t know, my fiancée and I are getting married in a little over a week (August 5th)!! We’re having a “destination wedding” at Thornbury Castle in England:
When I tell people about our wedding, they always have a lot of questions. So I decided to write this blog to explain how we got here and what we had to do to be married in England. Sometime after the wedding, I’ll make a second post about our wedding and honeymoon. Anyways, here it goes.
Proposal: At the beginning of January 2012, Halie and I went to Houston for the weekend. I told her I wanted to have a nice night out Friday so I could wear one of my new dress shirts and the tie bar I got for Christmas (believable story). After dinner, I said I wanted to check out William’s Water Wall. While there, I proposed to her amongst the falling water. Here’s a picture of us soon afterwards:
Planning: Soon after, we started planning. First, was location. I’ve always wanted to have a destination wedding (I don’t like having hundreds of people looking at me) and Halie wanted to be married in a castle. Choosing England because of being easy to fly into, we started googling, emailing, and pricing castles. Finally deciding on Thornbury Castle, we picked a date and started planning the event. We thought this would be about it but soon learned that England has many bureaucratic hoops to jump through for us to be married.
First we were told we had to book the registrar to officiate the wedding. No big deal. You could only book a year in advance so we had to wait until August. Once we contacted the registrar office in Bristol, we learned that besides booking the registrar, we had to prove residency in the UK since we were not UK residents. We had to stay in one location in England for 8 days, then meet the registrar to announce our intent to be married. Yay, unplanned trip to England!
So last December we flew to England and enjoyed ourselves experiencing London during the lead-up to Christmas. After 8 days, we took a train to Bristol and met with the registrar. After filling out all the documents, our intent to be married was posted in the office. If nobody had an objection, after 14 days of posting, we were legally able to be married in England. We then took a taxi to the castle for lunch. Once seeing the castle, we were so excited. It was as beautiful as we could have hoped for and the history of the place was incredible. We are incredibly happy with the decision we made off of online pictures. Here is Halie enjoying the incredibly tasty white wine that is made at the castle vineyard:
Finally, everything was set! Almost. We soon found out that since we weren’t just visiting London in August, but also getting married, we needed a special visitor visa. After much googling and reading, I finally found what we needed to do to get our visas. First, fill out a 11 page document asking us some of the craziest questions (Have you ever taken part in a genocide? [seriously!]). Then we had to go to a visa and immigration office in Houston to have our picture and fingerprints taken. Put the crazy questionnaire, proof of picture and fingerprints, our passport, and any and all supporting documents about our trip and wedding in England into a folder and send it to UK’s Consulate General in NYC and hope everything is accepted. After a month or so, we received a package in the mail with our passport and a nifty sticker on one page proving we have a visa as a special visitor.
I think that’s about it. If you have any questions about our wedding, destination weddings in general, England, how much this all costs, etc., feel free to ask me anything in the comments. I highly recommend destination weddings. They make your wedding an unique experience and they’re surprisingly inexpensive. We’re spending a lot less than what people spend for local weddings. Anyways.
We leave next week!