I told the priest about our March 17th wedding
Ok, I couldn't live with the lie any longer. I didn't want to wait to the "day of" to tell our priest: "Oh yeah, we're already married....!"
I told him in a long letter of the reasons why I did it. I was being honest and forthcoming. I had questions whether we need to go to the British Columbia Court House and get another marriage liscence and sign another marriage certificate, etc.
This is what I wrote:
Greetings Fr. Dion!
My name is Ewa Jedrzejewska and my husband's name is Chad Barker. We booked our wedding day with you almost 2 years ago. We are scheduled to get married at your church on August 4, 2007. We are looking forward to this day with much happiness, excitement and anticipation. We have many relatives flying in from all over the world to share this special day with us.
As you may remember, I am a Canadian citizen and Chad is an American. I was fortunate enough to receive a wonderful maternity nursing job at Oregon Health Science University Hospital in Portland, Oregon. In order for me to be able to immigrate and live and work in the United States I had to have a "civil" ceremony to make things "legal".
The US has tightened up its border security and patrol, and this was the only way that I would be able to get my American Visa ahead of time. These immigration issues are very complicated. By me marrying an American, does not automatically make me an "American". As you may know, immigrating into the United States is MUCH MORE DIFFCULT than it was before September 11, 2001. We are working with an immigration lawyer and he suggested that we do this ASAP (have a civil wedding in the United States). Our civil ceremony took place in the US on March 17, 2007. Our "Record of Marriage" was recorded with Vital Statistics. I will fax over the marriage certificate to your office.
We were initially very upset about this, because we wanted our "real" wedding to be in the church, in front of family and friends....but this was not an option for us. It was very last minute. Our lawyer stated that if we just did the Aug. 4th wedding in Canada, Chad would be able to let through the border back into the USA but me, as his wife, would have to wait up to 6 months in Canada before my immigration papers processed. We did not want to be newleyweds and have a 6 month-long separation. We've already dated long distance for almost 2 years! The imposed 6 month-long ban from entering the United States would have also jeopordized my job at Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital in Portland, OR, as I would lose my position as a Registered Nurse there.
Having said all of this, I wanted to inform you about this situation well ahead of time. Like mentioned previously, this was not our "original plan", but as we have discovered, life throws you many unexpected things and we just have to deal with them together as a couple. Together, we have had many roadblocks (ie. long-distance relationship, immigration issues, language barriers, cultural barriers, etc), but we have tackled them together and our love for one another has grown stronger with ever obstacle we face.
Only our close family members know about our civil marriage in the USA. The ones that know understand the reasons why we had to do it...and I hope that you can understand us too. We are very much looking forward to getting married at the Holy Rosary Cathedral, as originally planned.
Due to more immigration laws, I cannot cross into my homeland (Canada) for 3 months after the USA wedding. The earliest that we can go to Canada is mid June or early July. We would like to meet with you before our August 4th ceremony to discuss program plans, ceremony plans, reading selections, music selections, etc. Would mid-June or early July still be ok?
Thank you for taking the time to read our letter. We look forward to hearing from you soon,
Ewa Jedrzejewska & Chad Barker
I received a response back from the Church's secretery to immediately fax over the marriage certificate. She understood my immigration problems and assured me that there shouldn't be any problems with us having our "religious" wedding ceremony this August.
It was a BIG load off my chest! I couldn't sleep at night!