*Clink!* Champagne flutes (or rocks glasses if it’s your preference) meet to toast the “Yes!” you just said. Before you even have the chance to sit down, enjoy the butterflies and process what just happened, the congratulations come serendipitously. People begin to ask ALL THE QUESTIONS, poking at what’s next—
Have you picked a date?
Do you know where you’ll have the wedding? Surely a place easy for out-of-town guests to get to?
What kind of dress do you want?
Being engaged is a whirlwind. Do yourself a favor and set aside your expectations while you call upon every easygoing/adaptable fiber in your being.
Things No One Tells You About Being Engaged:
1. You’ll have to tell the proposal story over and over and over—probably even on your wedding day.
It’s sweet to relive the question you’ve waited for… maybe the first 10 times. But you’ll tell it more than 10 times, so don’t let it surprise you if strangers who notice your ring ask about the intimate details of your proposal. *Take a deep breath* and give yourself a break. You don’t have to feel guilty if it gets old! The magic or relief you felt during the proposal is not dimmed because you don’t feel like narrating your own life. Consider an engagement party where you tell it in-person to a group of your closest friends and family. Or, make a post to a social media or wedding website with the story for all your virtual friends to read on their time and not yours.
2. Your parents may have way more opinions on the wedding than they’ve had on your relationship.
Sometimes those endearing parents of yours blur the boundary between being helpful and being controlling. If your parents are trying to control the wedding, talk with your fiancé about how you want to address the situation. Then sit down and talk with your parents. *Some pro advice I got while engaged: If it’s your parent, you‘re the spokesperson for that conversation and vice versa (aka blood talks to blood). This advice keeps the us vs. them mentality from creeping in.*
If you’re in a situation where your parents are paying for the wedding, you have to find the balance of respecting their wishes and making some compromises but still making it feel like your day. If you’re paying for the wedding yourselves, there’s a lot more room for saying it isn’t what you have in mind. Of course, in this situation, you want to honor your parents. Delegating some tasks is a great way to show you need them and that they are important.
3. Friends who have recently gotten married are self-proclaimed wedding planning experts—and they’ll impart their wisdom without you even having to ask!😅
I love how The Knot puts it: Take it in stride. “You should/shouldn’t do this” can come across as telling you what to do and not suggesting what you two could do. At the end of the day, you and your fiancé decide what advice to take and who to listen to. If you take some of their advice, wonderful! But if not, just say thank you and move on.
4. One of you may be more ready to jump into planning than the other.
Sometimes it comes down to a difference in personality. Try not to take it personally if you suspect that may be the reason.
Be sensitive to each other. Talk about what you two need from this engagement season. Then decide together (this could mean compromising sooner or later than you wanted) on when to start the planning process. You two are on your own timeline. Talk about some of the logistics like when both of your leases end, are you still in school, are you having to move for a job, etc., to get an idea of whether or not there’s an urgency to start this process.
5. It’s not all sweet; planning can cause a lot of tension and stress between you and your fiancé.
The movies make it look like everything perfectly falls into place like a rigged game of Tetris or everything somehow falls apart like the last move in Jenga. The truth is, many people (yourselves included) will ask you questions. Date, location, guest number, food, color scheme, theme, photographer, first look, where are you getting the dress, can I have a plus one… trust me the list goes on and on. I think it’d be silly to say there’s not a chance of it being overwhelming—for one or both of you.
The reality is you aren’t just planning a wedding, you’re preparing for marriage. The questions start off with wedding day talk but lean seamlessly into your future together. You have finances to consider, serious conversations about kids or no kids, how you want to handle conflict, expectations for who takes care of what in the house, etc. With so much on the table, tension can grip tightly. You may feel like you and your fiancé are fighting more now than ever. If you’re fighting nonstop, take inventory on what it’s about. Is it understandable? Are you spending enough quality time together outside of decision-making? Prioritize your relationship over the planning, because your relationship is going to be around much longer than a day.
6. It’s hard to enjoy the engagement season.
For some reasons listed above plus the busyness this season brings, it can be hard to soak in any of the joy. I know I was so excited to be engaged and thought I would feel how I felt when my husband proposed throughout the whole engagement. Some people do. If you’re finding it hard to enjoy, you’re not alone and it’s not a reflection on your excitement to marry the love of your life. If you can, consider delegating some of the responsibilities you have. Spend quality time with your fiancé and find excuses to introduce each other as fiancés because a little recognition of importance goes a long way.
7. You may consider changing how long you thought you’d be engaged: shorter or longer!
Sometimes just when you think you have it figured out, everything changes! It’s neither better nor worse—it just is what it is!
Life happens and circumstances come up you just don’t expect. Maybe it’s something like a job change or a death in the family. Perhaps it’s acceptance to grad school or a lease opening up at your dream apartment. Whatever comes along, you and your fiancé’s main goal should be a willingness to be flexible for changing up the plans if it’s best for your relationship in the long run. You two may find yourself like me who only had a 6-month engagement and eloping sounded more and more tempting as the days slowly trekked by. On the other hand, you may realize there’s much more to do than you two initially thought. Having a longer engagement would give you the space to make stuff happen without the stress of being rushed.
Even though you’ve anticipated this milestone, it feels different. It’s sweeter looking down at a promise of forever and wearing a symbol to everyone that someone wants you now and whoever you grow to be in the years to come. There’s a comfort and confidence with being engaged (it feels even better when you’re married).
Sure, there’s some pressure, too. But stay true to who you are (the person they fell in love with) and work on being the best version of you there is.
Hopefully with these 8 things on your radar, you have a better idea of what to expect. I wish you and your sweetheart all of the love, a stress-free (as possible) wedding and most importantly, a beautiful marriage.
Consider these blogs for some additional resources:
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/404188-PCTX7A-527-scaled-e1598384620982.jpg203450First Things Firsthttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngFirst Things First2020-08-25 15:43:472022-04-22 13:14:288 Things No One Tells You About Being Engaged