“Will it be a problem that our engagement party happened after we filed a K1? ”
You are supposed to have an intent to marry when you file. In fact, one of the documents you have to provide is an intent to marry – from each of you. So, technically, you’re supposed to have established that we are engaged, and are going to get married before you file the K1. If you happen to have a party later, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Just make sure that engagement party doesn’t look like a wedding. We’ve had people get tripped up, where they’re in a foreign country. The family of the foreigner really doesn’t have the means, or can’t get the visa to come to the US. For all these reasons, the foreigner knows that the family can’t attend the wedding, so they have like an engagement ceremony, that may resemble a wedding ceremony.
What you’ve got to be careful with, is to make sure that it’s not any kind of legally binding marriage, because there’s all kind of rules and laws that could be unique to that country. And while getting married is a very formal process here in the United States, some countries, just standing up and having a ceremony, they culturally could assume that you are now legally married. And if you’re legally married, you can’t do a K1. You would have to cancel that and do a spousal visa.
And we’ve actually had people have trouble with that. They’ll have pictures, and it will look like a wedding, and they take that to the interview, and the interviewer says, “It looks to me like you’re already married. You can’t do a K1, you’re already married. Go start over.” And so, be careful. You may not want to wear wedding attire. If you do, you may want to exclude those photos in order to avoid any confusion of your situation.
Check the local customs where you’re at, and make sure nothing you do puts you in a legally binding matrimonial circumstance, because then you can’t do a K1. You could come back and do a CR1, a spousal visa, but you would have to start over from the beginning.