Being that the military only recognizes legal dependents, TLS and I will have to be legally married before anything can happen in terms of getting me put on his orders and having me move. The process of getting put on his orders, getting an official passport, visa, medical clearance to move, etc. can take several months, so the sooner that we get legally married and get started on all of my paperwork, the better the chances of me getting to move at the same time as him are. We are both pretty traditional and don't consider it to really be married without the religious ceremony, and will have a real Jewish wedding after things are not so hectic and we have moved. Because of all this, we have been researching our options. Here they are.
*Get married in New York- The pros of this is are easy, being that I live here and that a New York State License only costs $60 . However, there are plenty of cons- New York State has a 24 hour waiting period to get married. TLS has a very limited amount of leave that he can take, and with the time necessary for travel for him between the UK and US and the 24 hour waiting period, that really dips into his leave more than we can afford right now. The cost of an inter-continental ticket doesn't help matters either.
*Get married in Nebraska- The Nebraska marriage sounds even more appealling because there is no required waiting period and the license only costs $15. TLS's brother is getting married in Nebraska in April, so if we were to get married there, we could tack on an extra day or two of leave to that trip and get married right after. However, I am not sure that I will be attending the wedding. I too have a limited amount of vacation time left, and considering that after I leave my job I will be unemployed, it makes sense for me to save up as much of my vacation time as possible so that my job can pay out my unused days when I leave.
*Get married in Vegas- My friend JMK suggested this one, probably because she wanted to say that she knows someone other than Britney who got married in Vegas. While we would love to take a vacation there, with the cost of two flights, hotels, meals, etc., this clearly is not a feasible option for us.
*Get married in Europe- We toyed with the idea of doing this one and getting a British marriage license. However, it costs $600, and then there will be fees, forms, etc. to get it approved/recognized by the U.S. Military so it ends up being more of a hassle than anything else.
*Get married in Montana- The state of Montana is the only one that does double-proxy marriages. This means that two people who are authorized stand in for the bride and groom. You get a Montana marriage certificate which is valid and accepted by 49 out of the 50 states. Iowa does not recognize double-proxy marriages, but since there are no bases in Iowa and living there is not exactly a life-long dream for either of us, this does not pose a problem. Double-proxy marriages are common/popular in the military because they make things a lot easier, and there are ads for the service a lot of times in the Stars & Stripes (military newspaper). It takes about 3 weeks to get a marriage certificate via this option.
After discussing our options, we agreed that the double proxy marriage is our best bet. The major con of it- it costs $950!!! This includes the cost of the license, legal fees, processing fees, etc. While this saves us money and time on things like flights, it is a really big check to have to write out all at once. So the moral of this story? I need to discover an oil well in my apartment.