Updated: Mar 19, 2019
Read this article before considering a wedding in the Philippines!
You might think this is a simple thing to answer. You might say, "Where ever we want to get married", but there are real life implications according to which country you get married in. It's most likely that she and her family will want you to get married in the Philippines. Understandably so, since her family will want to be a part of the celebration and you bride will want them there. It would be financially easier for your family to travel to the Philippines then it would be for her family to travel to the USA. This isn't just a financial matter either. It would be VERY difficult for her family to get a tourist visa unless they have been to the United States before. Before you decide where you get married, there are a couple things you should know.
“Something as simple as a text message about a wedding ceremony could derail her ever coming to the USA if the USCIS determined you lied on your application.”
1. A K-1 Visa (Petition for Alien Fiancé and children)
A K-1 Visa is for a fiancé to come over, not a wife, and it is filed through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) . If you decide to have a ceremony in the Philippines, they will look at you as being in a common law marriage, even if no papers were signed or filed. Her family might try to pressure you to have a ceremony and just keep it a secret, but you shouldn't agree to that, under any circumstance. Something as simple as a text message about a wedding ceremony could derail her ever coming to the USA if the USCIS determined you lied on your application. The process for a K-1 Visa in 2018 was taking 6-9 months on average from start to finish.
2. Family-Based Immigrant Visas (Petition for Wife and Children)
So, you decided to get married in the Philippines. This is perfectly fine if your planning on staying in the Philippines with your bride, but, if you want to bring her back to the United States, it will take longer to process. The process is very similar to the K-1 Visa and it is also handled by the USCIS but the waiting list Is much longer before they get to your application. The process in 2018 was taking 1-2 years on average from start to finish.
If her family insists that you get married in the Philippines, it is best to bring her to the united states on a K-1 visa first and just simply go to the courthouse then return to the Philippines to have the ceremony. Or you could offer a compromise of having it in the USA and returning to the Philippines at a later date to have a second wedding.