Confusing situation! Marriage on ESTA

Hi all! I am in a bit of a situation and would like your advice.

I am Korean and met my fiancé while he was deployed in Korea. We are planning to tie the knot in the fall of 2022, after which I will join him in the US.

He got his papers to go back to the US a few months ago. I am planning a visit to him over this Thanksgiving and Christmas through the ESTA waiver program.

To make our lives easier in the future in terms of me finding a job in the US and being able to visit family in Korea, we are debating signing marriage papers and having a quick courthouse wedding during my visit. I have a demanding job in Korea and have no intention of staying past my ESTA period.

Would it be possible to get a marriage certificate and apply for an adjustment of status when I’m back in Korea?

We have looked into the fiancé visa and it seems like I won’t be able to leave the US while the adjustment of status is being processed.

I would welcome any other ideas or advice. I have a close friend who also married an American and she couldn’t enter/leave the US freely to go visit family while the green card process was pending for over a year and couldn’t work either. I’m looking to avoid a similar situation.

Thank you in advance!

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