6 things no one told me about getting engaged
And my advice on how to handle them
Congratulations, you’re engaged! Get ready for a whirlwind of emotions filled with the highs and lows of excitement, stress and everything in between (but don’t worry, mostly excitement, pinky promise). It’s been a few months since Jake proposed (read all about it here) and while we had been together nearly five years at that point, there are some things you don’t experience until you get engaged. Here are six things that have happened to me and my advice on how to handle them.
You will never be truly prepared for when it happens
After nearly five years of dating and numerous chats, it was pretty much a given Jake and I would be getting engaged sooner or later. I’d witnessed many friends and family get engaged, heard their ridiculously cute stories, saw the photos and even been in many of the Bridal parties. I was convinced when it was my turn, I would be ready and answer that life changing question with a calm and steady “yes” - however this was not the case. At all. In that moment, standing there in the middle of Disney World, Jake down on one knee, all eyes on me, I lost all sense of groundedness. I was so unprepared; my makeup was gone, my hair was frizzy, I was exhausted! But none of that mattered when the love of my life was at my feet, waiting for an answer to perhaps the most important question he has ever asked someone.
My advice: Getting engaged is a big deal, no matter how prepared you think you are. Unless you and your partner agree on a mutual engagement and the circumstances, chances are you are in for a surprise (which unfortunately may differ from that fantasy proposal you’ve dreamed up). No matter how your partner chooses to ask, try and enjoy every moment, even if you were in your pjs at home when it happened. It’s all part of the fun (and makes a great story)!
You may feel betrayed (but in a good way)
Over the years Jake and I have shared many experiences and I thought we told each other everything. I had no idea he had been secretly squirrelling money away saving for a ring, or that he even had my family involved (it all makes sense now why my Mum insisted on me trying on her rings). Even a few of my close friends were privy to his master plan! As lovely as it all was, it did make me feel a little weird knowing that the people closest to me could keep this huge secret from me, especially when I am usually so good at knowing everything that’s going on! They all got me good. Kudos to you, friends and family.
My advice: It may feel strange that your partner and/or friends/family kept this huge thing from you but it’s important to remember that their ultimate goal is for your happiness. Think of it as a surprise, not a secret and cherish that your friends and family are united over a common goal set by your partner.
You will have to tell your proposal story a million times
From the moment you get engaged, be prepared to repeat yourself countless amounts of times with how it all went down. As Jake proposed in America half way through our trip, we decided that we would only tell our family and closest friends and take some time to enjoy the rest of our holiday being engaged in secret. It really was the best decision we could make, because as soon as we were home and popped the privacy bubble it was all on! We had visitors, phone calls, emails, texts, beautiful unexpected gifts, so much joy and excitement! But with a mass announcement and the individual dealings that stem from that comes a lot of repeating.. you start to feel like a broken record. Luckily, I love telling my proposal story!
My advice: Thankfully, social media makes this a little easier and most people can get the low down on the proposal through a mass post (if you choose to do it this way). For those closest to you though, give them the pleasure of hearing it from you, with all the emotion attached as you repeat this great moment and the events that led up to it. Everyone is so excited for you, it really is an amazingly heart warming part of the journey.
You will feel pressured to start planning straight away
Literally the day after we got engaged, the questions about the wedding started. And they haven’t stopped since. When/where are you getting married? Who’s in your Bridal party? What is your theme? So on and so forth. Jake and I have decided on a longer engagement (over 2 years to be exact) to give us enough time to save, not just for the wedding but for other life events also. I know everyone is excited for us, however all the questions can create unnecessary stress that sends the brain into wedding planning overdrive (not a fun place to be, trust me).
My advice: Try to remember that people aren’t purposely trying to stress you out, they are just excited for you and your big day. It’s ok to not know the answers yet, or have any idea as to when you will. If the questions start bugging you, coming up with a general reply will help you combat that stress. Simply tell them you will have plenty of time to make plans shortly, but for now you are really enjoying being engaged - it works.
Choosing the Bridal Party is ridiculously hard
These days, we are exposed to so many opportunities that allow us to meet incredible people and form beautiful, lasting friendships. No matter what stage of your life you are in when you get engaged, choosing a certain number of people to be beside you is one of the toughest things you will have to do. I hate the thought of hurting anyone’s feelings and if I could, I would have everyone up there beside me. Unfortunately that is not realistic when a budget is involved (and would look ridiculous). I have found this part so hard that I abandoned ship when I started getting severe anxiety over the thought of choosing between the amazing women in my life. Today, I am still yet to make a final decision (shout out to my besties for being so patient) but d-day is coming up!
My advice: Many of your friends will go through this themselves one day (or have been already) so hopefully will be understanding of how hard the decision can be. Perhaps you can ask someone to do a different task instead, or maybe have a more hands on approach with the set up on the day. Being asked to be involved, even in such a small way is an honour that any true friend would appreciate (at least that’s what I hope!).
Try not to forget the most important part of all
With the buzz of an engagement comes the madness of wedding planning! It’s so easy to get caught up in stressing about every little thing to organise, from the flowers in the arch way, right down to what colour and material the napkins are. So many things coursing through your mind at once is a recipe for disaster that can start to affect your relationship if it gets out of control. The most important thing to focus on is the love you share with your partner and the commitment you will be making together once the date is set - nothing more, nothing less.
My advice: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Chill out, breathe, sip some wine. Not everything has to be done straight away. It will get done when it needs to and if you're feeling the pressure, perhaps have a longer engagement. This is your wedding and guess what? You can organise it however you like.