|With our wedding license in hand - ready to be signed!|
“Why are you two here?” the woman asked us, looking between Abdoulaye and me, her curiosity piqued by our back-and-forthing in French. “We're applying for our marriage license!” I replied. “Where'd you find him?” she asked, gesturing toward my handsome fiancé. “The internet?” I laughed out loud and translated for Abdoulaye who understood and was already laughing.
We collected our things and headed upstairs to apply for our license, heart-shaped Christmas decorations hanging from the doorway and Charlie Brown Christmas songs playing softly over the sound system. Four days later, we returned to the office and picked up our license – ready for signature for our ceremony on the 22nd.
Abdoulaye came to the United States on a K-1 fiancé visa, which stipulates that the beneficiary (him) and the petitioner (me) must marry within 90 days of the beneficiary's arrival to the US. Since we were not sure how long the fiancé visa process would take (ours took almost exactly 7 months from applying in May 2012 to Abdoulaye's arrival in the US in December), we decided to plan our wedding, which will be in May 2013, for a date generously in the future. I am excited about our May wedding (and all the planning involved), and also that we got to plan a mini-wedding for our civil (and religious) ceremony.
|Lindsay, Abdoulaye and me at the Omni Shoreham lounge|
When the consular officer in Dakar approved Abdoulaye's visa application on December 4th, we celebrated and then emailed the family in Virginia Beach – were they available for a wedding sometime before the end of the year? While 13 is a great number (that is, 2013)– and Taylor Swift's favorite – I not-so-secretly harbored a wish to get married in an even-ending year. When everyone was available (including our Baha'i officiant) on December 22nd, 2012 – I was thrilled! My sister, Lindsay, and I picked out infinity wrap dresses and Abdoulaye and I shopped for a new suit for him in Georgetown – we were ready for the day.
While we planned to share our vows, and listen to prayers and readings from our family, at the Rosedale Conservancy near our apartment, the whipping winds and near-freezing temperatures kept us snuggled in our cozy abode. Cassie sent Abdoulaye and I a gorgeous lavender wreath, which was the centerpiece of our decorations, and we covered our radiator cover with a piece of wax fabric that Abdoulaye's family sent me as part of my wedding gifts.
Our ceremony consisted of prayers and readings from Memaw, my Dad, my Mom, my sister and John Haines, a Baha'i officiant in Washington, DC who is also a good friend. We exchanged our own vows, said the Baha'i prayer that seals the deal and celebrated with dinner at 2 Amy's around the corner.
We spent the night of our wedding at the Omni Shoreham hotel, a gorgeous establishment not far from our apartment and where my grandparents spent their wedding night over 65 years ago. Memaw, my mom's mother, came to witness our vows as well and shared a prayer for Abdoulaye's and my marriage. I asked her when she had last been to the hotel and she looked at me and smiled. “My wedding night.” I am so thankful we were able to share our wedding ceremony (round 1!) in a meaningful way with my family. I also can't wait to celebrate in style with our friends and extended family come May!
So here I am with my lovely spouse in Washington, DC – planning our grocery list for the week and putting away Christmas presents from our generous family and friends. We're thrilled to be able to celebrate our nuptials again with family and friends on May 26, 2013 in Norfolk, VA and thankful everything worked out so wonderfully for us to get married in 2012 for Abdoulaye's visa to remain valid!
**Valerie Demo, of Val & Sarah Photography, came up to photograph our little ceremony – she and Sarah will also be capturing our May wedding. Keep your eyes out for a sneak peek soon!